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Real Deal

The Case of the High Society Hit & Run

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The Case of the
High Society Hit & Run

The nasty dent in an employee’s car suggests one of Wilton’s Diamonds’ best customers may have just fled the scene of an accident. How should manager Drew Milton handle the situation?
 

It was a typically quiet, late summer morning at Wilton’s Diamonds. The only blip on the door counter came in the form of Miriam LeFleur, one of the town’s more prominent citizens and one of Wilton’s top customers, in to pick out a birthday gift for her granddaughter. Drew Wilton, the store’s general manager, spent over an hour with Mrs. LeFleur, showing her the latest creations from several of her favorite designers till she finally settled on a pendant she felt was just right for her Emily’s twenty-eighth birthday.

Sara Beckwith watched Drew work the sale with a slight smile, knowing that Emily would return the gift, as she typically did, in exchange for another style entirely. Seemed her grandmother was always trying to outfit her in jewelry fit for a proper southern belle, while Emily’s taste ran to the contemporary opposite.

 
EDITOR’S NOTE: Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories, but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved. The names of the characters and stores have been changed and should not be confused with real people or places.
 

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Sara was often bemused by the store’s more affluent clients. She herself came from the “other side of town" — from a family that was happy and self-sufficient, but for whom fine jewelry gifts were an unreachable extravagance. In need of a part-time job, she answered the help wanted ad Wilton’s posted in the town newspaper the week after her high school graduation, and was shocked when she got the call for an interview with Drew’s mom, store owner Peggy Wilton. Peggy was impressed by Sara’s grades and volunteer activities, and her determination to work her way through college. Sara was both delighted and intimidated when she got the part-time job five years ago, and was very pleased when Drew offered her a full-time position after graduation.

He said that he valued her proven sales ability and that her degree in business management and communications would be an asset to the store. Sara couldn’t think of a place she would rather work as her first ‘real, grown-up job’.

Her years of training with Wilton’s came in handy in her new position, and the commission she was able to earn lifted her income nicely. After just six months as a full time employee, Sara was able to do something she’d dreamed of since she was in the 8th grade: buy a new car, a fully loaded, cherry red Honda Civic. She could not have been more proud of herself!

Sara was as meticulously careful with her car as she was with Wilton’s most valuable inventory. She glanced over at it as she walked out of the store on her way to meet a friend for lunch that slow, late summer day, but was not at all prepared for what she saw as she got closer. There was a serious dent and a long, nasty scrape in the driver’s side door — damage she was certain was not there when she arrived that morning. Sara rushed back into the store and called for Drew to come out to the parking lot.

While they looked at the car together, Sara told Drew that it could only have been Mrs. LeFleur who hit her car, since no one else had been in the store that day. Drew suggested she contact the police to file the report with the police to file the report she would need for her insurance, but told her in no uncertain terms not to accuse Mrs. LeFleur of anything — not to even mention her name to the police, since they did not see the accident happen and had no way to prove she had anything to do with it. Drew even offered to cover Sara’s insurance deductible if necessary, rather than involve one of his best customers in something that could create a real problem for the store. Sara called the police, met with them outside the store and then went on to meet her friend for a delayed lunch.

Late that evening, while he was finishing up some paperwork in the store, Drew took a call from an irate Mrs. LeFleur, telling him she’d just received a visit from the police. She told him that she resented the ludicrous accusations of his employee, and even more, the lack of integrity he displayed in failing to come to her first before allowing Sara to send the police to her door. Despite Drew’s blind-sided apologies, she ended the conversation by telling him that she would never shop in at Wilton’s again — and that she would see to it that none of her friends or family members did either.

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THE BIG QUESTION:


Is there anything Drew can do to make things right with Mrs. LeFleur? What about Sara? She flagrantly disobeyed Drew’s directive — but was nonetheless honest with the police officer who asked if she had any idea what might have happened.

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