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Martha Williams

The Way It Used To Be: Marching to the beat of a different drummer

Reprinted from March 1994

RB had some extremely irritating habits (such as carefully putting the honey in the refrigerator and leaving the bread wrapper open on the kitchen counter after a midnight snack). All in all, watchmakers do not generally think like any other breed.

Let me explain why I say this. One time when we were considering buying a new car (our old jalopy was up in years), we began shopping the various dealers for new models while we could still drive our trade-in. We finally found one that appealed to us both. It was a sleek, green beauty with all the extras, and I could picture us gliding down the road with the stereo playing one of our favorite tapes, the air conditioner keeping us cool and comfortable, and the cruise control keeping us clipping along at a steady pace.

The Way It Used To Be: Motivation - sell all of your customers all of the time

Reprinted from November 1993

Money, recognition, adventure, security - these are the four basic drives that turn your customers on, and every prospect who comes into your store is obsessed by one of them.

Hand in hand, a young couple approaches an elaborate downtown jewelry store. They pause at an outside display window and he tenderly slides his arm around her shoulders. Together they gaze at the sparkling wedding sets, exchanging warm glances.

A passerby might note their average dress and obvious inexperience and think to himself: “Gee, those kids are out of their class. They’re just dreaming if they think they can afford to buy a ring from that prestigious store!”

The Way It Used To Be: The biggest pest alive is…the telephone shopper

Reprinted from October 1993

Many years ago, the harried housewife found it difficult to get to the local department store to do her shopping; thus, the store “shopper” was established.

The busy lady could then sit back in her easy chair and literally “pick and choose” whatever she desired right in the comfort of her own home.

The practice proved to be a boon for the department store, but for the little lady to sit at home and phone the jeweler for repair estimates is an unbelievable pain in the neck for the jeweler.

I had a good example of that one day. The phone rang when I was very busy, and a sweet voice inquired, “Do you fix watches?”

The Way It Used To Be: Do You Have a Pot to Pickle in?

Reprinted from September 1993

Can the independent jeweler/watchmaker husband and his wife toil together side by side for more than 40 hours a week without having to pay their marriage counselor overtime?

That is an interesting question.

All you wives out there - you haven’t forgotten, have you, when your watchmaker/jeweler husbands didn’t even have a pot to pickle in? That’s fine, because now he’s got a pot that’s a tribute to your good cooking, and everything else you’ve accumulated together.

All this togetherness, though, is enough to make you a candidate for a libertarian movement. You go to work together. You come home together. You scrounge the floor looking for lost parts together. You spend all your holidays together. You spend Christmas Eve wrapping customers’ gifts together.

The Way It Used To Be: Traveling sales reps

Traveling sales reps:  if you want to sell the jeweler, you better “woo” the jeweler’s wife

Reprinted from July 1993

When you meet her on the street, you may not immediately notice the distinguishing features that set her apart from other women.

But if you look closely you will notice that she is wearing two watches, one on each wrist. Or maybe it’s a man’s wristwatch with a band that is awkward on her dainty wrist. That should give you a clue that the lady is married to one of those fascinating men - a watchmaker.

The unusual taste in watches is just a reflection of one of her many chores. She is simply checking out a “troublemaker” watch under normal wearing conditions. This and many other such duties may seem menial to many, but don’t you believe for a minute that she isn’t a very important cog in this machinery called the watchmaker trade!

The Way It Used To Be: Death of a salesman, or how you’d like to see his face on the barroom floor

Reprinted from June 1993

One particular hectic Monday, after closing the store, RB dropped by the friendly neighborhood tavern to “unwind.”

Perched comfortably on a stool, RB was sipping a cold beer when a dejected looking fellow slid in next to him. He looked so lost in thought. After a few minutes had passed the fellow looked mournfully at RB and moaned, “Hi.”

RB introduced himself and learned that his sad bar mate was named Sam Sneer, and that he represented a large eastern jewelry firm called Seedy Manufacturing Company.

The Way It Used To Be: Resentment plus retaliation equals revenge

Reprinted from May 1993

An enraged customer leaves the jewelry store in a huff. As he slides into his car at the curb, he mutters to himself, “I’ll get even with that so-and-so if it’s the last thing I do!”

Anger has excited him to such an insane degree that he almost strips the gears of his car as he “peels off” in wild, reckless fury.

This man’s foolhardy action was touched off by a tactless, though insignificant, remark that the jeweler made, but it was the climax of the resentment toward the store owner that had been smoldering in the customer’s mind for a long time. The jeweler’s curt remark only fanned the customer’s dormant anger into flame.