Last updateTue, 14 Jan 2020 10pm

Martha Williams

The Way It Used To Be: Business was booming (like a nuclear bomb) this holiday season

Reprinted from February 1998

There were fewer days to shop between Thanksgiving and Christmas so I was sure business, which had not been impressive through the fall, would pick up after Thanksgiving. So, on the evening before Thanksgiving we decorated for Christmas anticipating the flood of business that would be waiting for us after Thanksgiving with the family.  After Thanksgiving, things didn’t seem much better, but I knew things would pick up, they always did, so I wasn’t worried. During the next few weeks I read the papers and watched television where people were encouraged to buy from QVC or catalogs or over the Internet. It seemed like every time I had the TV on the local stations and the national stations were busy telling people not to buy much, to hold in their impulses to shop and if they did buy wait until after Christmas and even then to shop the internet and catalog sales or shop over the television.

The Way It Used To Be: Who says jewelry work isn’t romantic?

Reprinted from January 1998

People always told me it was such a romantic occupation RB and I had. Working with gems and jewelry, gliding around showing baubles.  Somehow I never could see how they could equate the humdrum life of everyday jewelry work with what we did. Perhaps if we’d been sending stuff out to the trade shop and it went out in one condition and came back all shiny and pretty it might have been different. We always saw the jewelry brought in by the customer very dirty, very worn and not romantic at all.

The Way It Used To Be: Haunted With Memories

Reprinted from December 1997

They say one shouldn’t talk about other people and one shouldn’t talk about the dead who can’t defend themselves. So if one is going to get any satisfaction in life by discussing those who make his life miserable or unhappy or are just annoying, when is this supposed to be done? I came into adult life with an assortment of relatives on both sides to make up for any void I felt in my life for this sort of thing.

The Way It Used To Be: No Handshakes Please

Reprinted from November 1997

When you think of a shaker, what comes to mind? Is it the little thing that sits on the dining room table which dispenses something that runs up your blood pressure? Is it some religious group from yesteryear? Do you perhaps think of a Middle Easterner with a title?

The Way It Used To Be: Want some time off? Don’t hire help!

Reprinted from October 1997

Some years ago RB and I had worked the store as a couple and business was becoming such a success that we were having problems handling everything. We discussed the situation. RB said that I should have a girl or woman to assist me in dusting figurines and running errands. I said he should have a watchmaker to take some of the load off him and send some jewelry repairs out. In those days there was no such thing as antidiscrimination laws. If you wanted a man you could ask for a man and vice versa.

The Way It Used To Be: A is for Apple, M is for Mooch!

Reprinted from August 1997

Some years ago, RB was standing at the counter with his head visor on, looking at something when a customer walked in and walked up to him and said, “Are you a jeweler?” RB was taken back. I think he responded rationally, but he said he felt like saying something equally as stupid such as, “No I am a dog groomer. I am grooming a dog right now,” or, “Why do you ask?”

The Way It Used To Be: “I’d like to speak to the person who makes your long distance telephone decisions”

Reprinted from June 1997

Way back in the ‘30s or ‘40s, the telephone was a magic instrument. Hanging on the wall with a crank, we could hear the voices of our loved ones miles away. We had to contend with party lines and lines down, but the contact we had with the world was worth it. Now, thanks to Judge Green, we have not one bill as we had back then, we have multiple bills, and the bills just keep going up. Just like every other store owner, I pay about five different bills, from a variety of sources having to do with the telephone. As if this isn’t enough, about ten times a week, I am distracted from my customers and work to respond to sales pitches with all kinds of offers.