There are times I stand there stupefied by some people’s reaction to a single word, and that word is… NO. It is then sometimes followed by another two words: I can’t or I won’t. I’m not usually abrupt with the word(s) in question; there is always an explanation or an alternative option as to why I use the word: No.
I find no real joy using the word—okay maybe sometimes—after all, I’m in a business to serve on an island in paradise where everyone and everything is happy all day and all the time, where there is no room for negativity or for any reasons that cause unhappiness.
That all being said, if you believe any of that, I still have shares for sale in my diamond mine on an obscure spit of sand in the Ten Thousand Islands!
Sorry, let’s get back to the subject of No. The reason I have to use the word is because I have a reason. “Gee sir, I’m sorry I don’t have a battery for your remote control for your retracting hurricane blinds!” I even made an effort and checked my vast collection of “WATCH” batteries to see if by chance I did, and I did not. I did use three words, NO I DON’T have that size battery and suggested he try the two hardware stores on the island.
His reply, “So why can’t you order me a couple?”
Last time I checked, I was a jewelry store, not a hardware store for hurricane blind remotes, besides have NO idea where to find that size if it’s not available on the island.
I’ve already mentioned in the past the numerous household Items and appliances folks bring in to a GOLDSMITH assuming I’ll fix them.
I also use the word NO on jewelry–related items, such as watches that require a skilled factory authorized technician or a certified watchmaker to do a complicated battery change. Only recently, a gentleman handed me his $85,000 handcrafted Swiss chronograph as if it were a wounded sparrow, and asked if I could fix the second hand that fell off and was bouncing around inside the face. I explained I’m a goldsmith, not a watchmaker, and that this apparently simple thing is NO easy task. This thing had more bells, whistles, dials and buttons than a Challenger spacecraft. There was NO way on Earth I would attempt to even change the battery let alone dismantle this can of worms.
“Well, I see you sell watches. Are you telling me you don’t service them?”
First of all, it’s not every day I get a watch of such value stroll in here, I’m used to battery changes on Movado’s, Seiko’s, Pulsars and the usual Timex’s. You know, the peoples’ watches. Not the .01% population of the Maserati’s of watches.
If any of the brands of watches I do sell has an issue, I return it to the factory where it is replaced or repaired, usually for NO charge. I suggested he try a shop in Naples with a qualified watchmaker. Needless to say, he wasn’t exactly happy in paradise hearing the word NO from me.
It goes on and on from there, I say NO to repairing so–called “fine jewelry” purchased by late–night insomniacs’ watching TV shopping channels. And a special NO to internet jewelry purchases that fell apart the day it was received as a gift. Also melting a whole bunch of tiny diamonds to make you one large one is also a BIG NO! I still can’t believe I had to explain that impossibility to someone. My explanation… you can’t melt twenty dinghies together to make a yacht.
I try to be accommodating, I really do, like finding the info online and giving addresses and phone numbers to service centers for the unfortunate souls who don’t know the internet from a hairnet; and where certain brands of broken watches can be sent for authorized repair. That’s not me just saying NO, that’s me saying NO for a reason, and then going out of my way during my very busy day being nice, smiling happily and being very accommodating.
I’m often asked why can’t I take the watch in and send it myself to a repair facility…? I used to do just that many years ago, and lost my shirt doing just it! Today, NO… Because it’s way too expensive to package, insure, and ship a $50 watch only to find out it cost more to repair the darn beat–up old thing than it is worth, customers usually say forget it, or now it is their turn to say NO, but now they want it shipped back unrepaired and all at my expense. Not to mention the suffering from incessant phone calls about when the watch will be back fixed or not. Most authorized service centers have a slow turnaround, and it can take not just weeks sometimes months especially if parts have to come from abroad.
Well, enough of the negativity, you want to see a smile on my face, buy a new watch, or a little something for someone special in silver, gold, or diamonds, and the word NO won’t even be in my vocabulary.
“Praise, like gold and diamonds owes its value only to its scarcity.” ~ Samuel Johnson Writer/Poet
Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith of Marco Island since 1994 he welcomes your questions and comments about all that glitters at www.harborgoldsmith.com.