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Cliff Yankovich: The Lighter Side

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The Business: The Lighter Side

From Customers’ Antics To Their Wisdom (Teeth)

BY CLIFF YANKOVICH

Published in the July 2014 issue

A peek at the funny side of jewelry retailing. Hope you enjoy and identify with it!

  • Having experienced the fallout from televised reports about fraudulent behavior in the jewelry business, I wonder when a story on fraudulent customer behavior will air. I was doing a trunk show once and a lady came in with a mangled herringbone. (Picture a spin cycle with logging chains.) Her story: She had taken the chain from around her neck and placed it on her bedside table. When she awoke it was in that condition and did the store intend to replace it?
  • Don’t you love it when the little thing holding in the battery goes “FWANG” to who-knows-where when you have two more people waiting?
  • Why is it that the guy who is tapping on our window 15 minutes before we open is always there for a watch battery and never for an engagement ring?
  • My research concludes our phone is 68 percent more likely to ring right after I enter the bathroom. Of those inopportune calls, 82 percent are likely to be from “Sarah,” a robot claiming to be “our local Google representative” or others of her ilk.
  • Do you remember your first time and the wonderful, euphoric feeling you had when it was all said and done? What a relief to overcome anxiety, nerves, and fears and finally go through with it. Hey, I mean the first time you fired a customer. (What were you thinking?) My first was wonderful. Julie made a custom bracelet for a lady. She loved it, but called a couple weeks later to report she lost it. It took me 10 minutes to realize she expected me to replace it. I explained that if there was a warranty issue, we would make it good but we were not an insurance company and could not replace lost items. She quickly turned into Angry Person. I politely ended the call. My stomach was churning. Imagine my surprise when she came in 10 days later all peaches and cream, bracelet in hand. She found it on the floor and from the condition of the bent and broken clasp we concluded she must have caught it on something and pulled it apart. She wondered if we would repair the clasp. I went one better and wrote her a check for the purchase amount and smiled sweetly as I handed it to her.

How is it that all of the refiners pay out the most and all of the credit card processors charge the least?

  • It could be my imagination but it seems the customers most likely to interrupt a diamond presentation or custom design conference almost always want to find out if something “is real gold.”
  • I have one of the most pronounced gag reflexes on the planet, but it doesn’t bother me to scrape away body cheese from the back of a watch.
  • Elk tooth, shark tooth. Yawn. A couple of years ago a young lady came in with a recently extracted wisdom tooth and asked Julie to put a diamond in it and fashion a bail so she could wear it around her neck. She did and she does.

Cliff Yankovich  is the pop at Chimera Design, a mom-n-pop in Lowell, MI, that he and his wife, Julie Claire DeVoe, opened in 2002.

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