It was bound to happen. I have been trying to be nice, but when anybody can walk in my open door, and I mean anybody, I have no control over what can transpire. It’s usually the same old adage, “I never paid that much up north!” or “What do you mean I have to leave it, my regular jeweler always does my repairs while I wait! “
Apparently, I’m her irregular jeweler. I bite my tongue, and should I politely mention the price of gold has skyrocketed in the past four months case you haven’t noticed, “Oh you haven’t bought gold since the series ‘Dallas’ went off the air? Well all nice and good, except nice gold jewelry costs bit more now than it did back then, and yes, the gold market price somewhat affects my gold jewelry prices and every other jeweler in the known world and other well-known galaxies!”
I also apologize for being so busy! (Why?) Which is the reason I can’t put four new prongs on your priceless 1/8 of a carat diamond ring while you wait because you don’t want to leave it. Mainly because you don’t trust anyone, including me, and you also mentioned it’s because you’re leaving to go back up north in the morning. Oh, I understand now… your bad planning now becomes my emergency, even though you have been frolicking like seabirds on the island since November.
Then there is what is really going through my mind, so if everything is cheaper up north, why did you haul it all the way down here to the Florida Everglades? And I’m not going to apologize for being the busiest jewelry store on the island.
It’s late February, or better known as “High Season.” I have two shoeboxes full of patient customer’s jewelry repairs, and custom work, then there’s the umpteen appraisals I can’t get to, twenty–five or thirty watch battery changes sitting back here that seemed to come out of nowhere every hour, and on top of that, I’m Richard the ringleader here at the Island Big Top Circus, a show that must go on here as soon as I open the door every morning until I lock the door at 5:30 each evening. I swear I see myself leaving my shop when I come in every morning!
In season, I don’t do anything for my own mother or immediate family “while they wait,” how do think a perfect stranger demanding me to do it now is going to make out?
You would not believe how many folks come in on their way to the airport expecting to have a complicated repair done here and now, and for that reason I should do it… “Oh! No problem folks! I’ll drop everything I’m doing now, close the store get it done pronto then deliver it to the Fort Myers International Airport! What gate will your flight be leaving from?”
All and all, my staff and I make it through each week winning and pleasing most hearts and minds; we especially relish the moment when we lock the door for our Friday night prosecco happy hour! Sorry, it’s a private party. During the week we enjoy many tears of joy moment usually resulting from my son or I personally accomplishing an impossible repair or project and bask in all the accolades that go along with it. The flowers, chocolates, muffins, cookies, pizza, and even meatballs that get dropped off on occasion by adoring clients are appreciated.
I work with family and employees who I consider family, and never does a day go by that some colorful character comes in and makes it difficult to keep a straight face. One time, a gentleman came in asking advice on what to get his wife for their 50th anniversary. One of my sales ladies made a few suggestions, but he said everything she showed him was all too expensive. So, she politely asked what was his budget for the piece of jewelry?
He replied, “Twenty dollars.”
Twenty dollars!!! For being married to you for 50 years?! In here that might get you two jars of jewelry cleaner and a polishing cloth and you can expect the silent treatment at home for a few weeks. So, she suggested a card and some toilet water of some kind next door at Beall’s for his price budget.
Instead of getting perturbed at her, he broke down laughing and confessed he was a hopeless cheapskate and never bought her a nice piece of jewelry ever and that was that. A half–hour later, he repented, saw the light, and bought his wife a beautiful diamond pendant that was way over the twenty-dollar budget.
Another day, another dollar, or penny–pinched… I’m trying to explain to a woman for a half–hour that enlarging Granny’s old platinum ring five sizes larger will cause the ring to break in half, but to no avail; until I mentioned even if I attempted the impossible, it would cost her over $250. To complete the miracle, well that was the deal–breaker. So, she grabbed the ring and out the door she flew. Apparently, Granny’s ring wasn’t that important!
It usually comes in three’s—bad fortune that is another unhappy soul. Her husband bought her a beautiful gold palm tree for Valentine’s Day. She loved it but wanted a longer and heavier gold chain than what it came with. After she made her selection, she put it back on her neck and made her way to the door, I called to her “Madam there is an additional charge for the more expensive chain!” It was a little over a hundred dollars more to be exact. Her reaction was surprising, however. She saw no reason it should cost more for a few more inches longer and a heavier gold chain? Mo gold, mo money comes into play here.
Here in the shop, the impossible is done daily but miracles take a bit longer. “Excuse me, sir! You at the workbench! Are you the jeweler? If I bring in my watch and I supply a new battery will you install it for free?”
Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and the owner of the Harbor Goldsmith Marco’s Island Jeweler since 1994 and welcomes your questions and comments about all that glitters at www.harborgoldsmith.com.