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True Tales: Sticker Shock

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Sticker shock in jewelry stores

I once had a client who asked me to design an elegant custom ring. I had her sign the estimate, which also stated that the price could change if modifications were made and that I would outline those as we went along. Which I did, first when she decided she wanted more diamonds set on the shank, and then when she switched from 14K to platinum. When I presented her with her completed piece she was thrilled … until she looked at the new price. She was appalled that we had gone over the original amount. When I reminded her that I had told her about the increased costs she said she remembered that. When I asked who she thought was going to pay for those, she said: “Why you, of course. I just thought you were giving me a better deal!” — Mary Harding, mary l harding, G.G., Bellingham, WA

We once had a woman come in for the first time. She had 10 envelopes full of jewelry for repair. As she was showing me what the problem was she asked how much for the repair. When I told her the price, she told me she could get it done in New York for less money. After all the repair envelopes were filled out, I opened them, took her jewelry out and said to take them to New York. She said she was going to be my best customer. I told her I didn’t negotiate repair prices. She left the store and was gone for six months. She came back in, gave me the same repairs. And became my best customer. — Diana Smires, Diana Smires Jewelry, Columbus, NJ

This article originally appeared in the January 2016 edition of INSTORE.

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True Tales

The Sweet Taste of Vindication

A plate piled high with cookies can go a long way to remedying a false accusation.

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Last summer, we had a customer come in to pick up a pearl necklace that she “swore” she left with us to repair. When we couldn’t find it in our repair box, she got really mad and threatened to call the Better Business Bureau on us. We were all stymied. None of our records showed that she had left that necklace with us. A few days later, she sent her husband in with a plate piled high with cookies to apologize. She had found the necklace in her jewelry box. She hadn’t brought it to us after all. Those cookies were very sweet indeed! — Chay Rees Runnels, Rees Jewelry, Nacogdoches, TX

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True Tales

One-Legged Man Leaves Trail of Devastation In Search of Ice Cream

His parting words were, ‘My wife is going to kill me.’

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Our shop was very busy one afternoon, when all of a sudden my husband yells, “Oh s#!@, call 911!” and goes running out the door just as a car hops the curb and crashes into the glass door and surrounding concrete wall of the Safeway next door to us. My husband (who is a former policeman) assists the motorist as he rolls the car back off the curb and into a parking slot. He had meant to park the car, but accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake. As one of our staff is talking to the 911 operator, they ask, “Does the motorist have any visible injuries?” Hollie, our manager, was quick to let them know that the driver had only one leg, but that it didn’t happen because of the crash. (Turns out his amputation was a month old.) This man had “borrowed” his wife’s car while she was out of town and he kept saying, “She’s going to kill me!” So, the fire department comes, the paramedics come … the guy says he’s fine. He says he needs to go over to the grocery store to get what he came for: ice cream. Said he’d be back to talk to the police after he got that and away he goes with his crutches. Police come … they wait and wait … pretty soon, here he comes, driving one of those complimentary electric carts for shoppers, and as we’re all watching in disbelief, he drives right into the large decorative post in front of our shop. Backs up and then drives once again into the post as he was trying to get by it to talk to the cop. — Teri Vogan, Vogan Gold & Silver Works, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO

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If She Didn’t Like the Platinum, She Really Won’t Like the Moissanite

This real customer wanted the sheen of sparkly copper.

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A customer sent her fiancé into the store with a piece of copper wire coated with a sparkling something. He said she wanted a ring just like it in platinum with the same finish. We told him there was no finish available to re-create what he was showing us. We called a month later to tell him his platinum band was ready for pickup. When they came in, she became quite snarly because the sparkle finish she asked for was not there. We tried to explain, but she was not hearing us. She said she needed the sparkle to remind her every day of “the sparkle in their lives.” She demanded to know why it took us a month to tell her it was not possible. We explained that we had told her fiancé the day he came in. When she glared at him and asked why he didn’t tell her, he just looked at the floor. (She is 5 foot tall. He is 6 feet 4 inches.) She refused the platinum band we had special-ordered and walked out of the store. We were left to wonder what will happen when she finds out the focal stone in her engagement ring isn’t the 1.5-carat diamond she thinks it is, but rather a stunning moissanite at a tenth the price?

Provided anonymously to INSTORE’s Big Survey

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