The Way It Used To Be: Did I really say that?!

Reprinted from March 2000

Do you ever wonder what your competition is up to? Jewelry publications also wonder.

I have been reading with great interest about my competition here in El Paso having wonderful sales with different things including Millennium diamonds. I don’t know how it could be that no one ever walked through my door and asked to see a Millennium diamond…hardly any diamonds for that matter.

With all the competition from QVC and the Internet and people with lots of money heading off to chain stores, the market for diamonds around here has shrunk somewhat.

I read every article in this huge jewelry publication which has to do with what other jewelers sell and had sold recently. One day this huge magazine called me. Can you imagine how excited I was to have someone desire my opinion and review my sales?

This pollster asked what kind of business I had and I told him, basically mom and pop. He went on to ask what range of diamonds we sell and I told him we sell or stock only round, usually in sizes under a carat. He mentioned watches. I told him about our average sale which is certainly under $500. He must have spoken to me for 30 minutes or longer. 

As time passed. I forgot about the interview but noticed I was now getting a lot of calls from out of the area, which concerned the selling of specific jewelry items. One fellow called and as we were chatting he was pushing fancy cut diamonds. I sort of blew him off. I told him we already have suppliers since we’ve been in business since 1947 and that we really don’t sell many diamonds over 50 pts. He kind of snorted, and we chatted some more. I explained that my husband had died and I run the store with a nephew now.

After a bit of chitchat, he asked me if I had been interviewed by that huge jewelry publication. I asked him why because, by then, I had forgotten this interview.

He said, “Let me read it to you.” He proceeded to read a bunch of quotes that we sell fancy cut diamonds, have a big market for them and our business was very good all the time, etc.”  I was speechless.

So this is how some of the big magazines make their salaries…they interview jewelers, flatter them by the attention and then quote them in the magazine saying whatever they want them to have supposedly said. Isn’t this quaint?

The next day I got a call from a watch company and I asked him, “Did you read this in a jewelry publication?” He was stunned and said, “Yes.” So this is why all the quoting of successful people in the trade is done, I guess.

I then discovered the praise went on in print with their quotes of our accomplishments here at our little store, and up in New York people were wearing out the phones calling us for business. It was really flattering, but hardly accurate. 

I told one man I might not get to the jewelry show because I had a donation jar on the counter with a sign that said, “Please donate so owner can pay for plane ticket and hotel room so she can attend jewelry show.” So far there is 35 cents in it.

I just may not go to the shows at all this year. I’ll sit back here and read how great sales are and how many diamonds and watches we’re selling. Maybe I’ll even go high tech and get on the Internet.

There obviously are no limits to what the mind can do with a little bit of imagination. These should be published in fairy tales for children under six. But then I like reading that I am selling big fancy diamonds! My ego runneth over.