Last updateWed, 01 Apr 2020 1pm

The Way It Used To Be: Martha’s Laws for Jewelers

Reprinted from October 1999

From the book, “Murphy’s Law - And Other Reasons Things Go Wrong” by Arthur Bloch, we read, “If anything can go wrong, it will.”  And from Dr. Robert Mat of the Bronx, “In the hospital more deaths occur in bed than out of bed, so get the patient out of the bed.”  Since the jewelry industry has never had an official list of laws, listed below are a few, which may take root:

  • If they want it in white gold, you have six yellow gold ones in stock.
  • Spend all morning cleaning and decorating an inaccessible show window and by closing time there will be a dead fly lying within it - right in the center.
  • Set aside a repair job to do another and the customer will be back to claim it with in 24 hours.
  • Get a repair job ready right away and the customer won’t be back for a couple of months.
  • Given two customers arriving at the counter at the same time, you will automatically home in on the one wanting a spring bar.
  • Have on hand an assortment of 20,000 spring bars and you won’t have the one you need.
  • Accept repairs for a watch needing only a stem and crown and odds are three to one it won’t run if wound.
  • Unbreakable mainsprings break. Unbreakable crystals break. Waterproof watches leak.
  • Accept 12 checks during the day and one will be hot. It will be the one on which you didn’t get proper identification.
  • Engrave it in script and the customer will have wanted block.
  • Accept a difficult watch band to install and insist you can do it, and you won’t be able to.
  • Throw away a part, and you’ll need it later.
  • If you put something down, it won’t be there when you need it.
  • Customer’s who complain have very loud voices and automatically select a time when the store is full of customers.
  • Decide to stock a brand of watch bands and you will discover the discount store across the street had the same idea.
  • Check out every brand of watch, study the functions and lay in a sizeable stock and 12 other companies will come out with more functions at a lower price.
  • Promise a mounting job out the next day and the jeweler will go home sick.
  • If a watch runs well on your timing board for 30 days, it will automatically stop when it’s being delivered to its owner.
  • If a crystal is needed for a round watch which measure 31.1 mm, you will have a 31 mm and 31.2 mm.
  • Talk up the merits of accuracy of an electronic watch to a prospective buyer and when you pull one from the display, it will be off time or stopped.
  • Send you favorite son to four years of jewelry school and he will join the Peace Corps.
  • Purchase an expensive system of watch bands and within 60 days they will change the box and display, making yours obsolete.”
  • Throw some sticky fingered, barefoot and drinking a Slurpee out the door and he will prove to be your best customer’s grandson.
  • Have on hand identical neck chains measuring 15”, 16”, 20”, 22” and 24” and the customer will insist on 18”.
  • Send a nasty notice to a customer on a past due bill and he will receive his notice the very same day you receive his check.