Last updateWed, 22 May 2019 1am

Martha Williams

The Way It Used To Be: You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours

Reprinted from September 1992

You can spot her as a lady of distinction the moment she enters your store. She is well dressed and every hair is neatly in place. She walks with confidence and flashing on her fingers are several costly diamonds. As she continues her promenade across the floor to the counter, you also observe that she is wearing expensive earrings and a fine wristwatch.

Already you have made a mental judgment about her and you can hear the jingle of the cash register as you anticipate the big purchase which you are sure will be forthcoming.

Now she’s smiling-like she knows you and you’re embarrassed because you just can’t seem to remember this particular lady. You decide to “bluff it.”

The Way It Used To Be: Your customer likes to feel important

Reprinted from July 1992

Did you ever ask yourself what one particular feature a customer most desires in a jewelry store? Is it the selection available? The store location? The discount?

Actually, it is none of these (regardless of what people tell you). It has been proven that people prefer to shop at stores where they feel they are well known and welcome.

People are tired of blending with the woodwork. They want to stand out, to be recognized and appreciated - they want to be known!

For many months, I patronized a local beauty shop. Each time I arrived, there was an obvious time lapse before the receptionist came to the counter to see what I wanted. Each time the same girl would look at me blankly and say, “Yes?”

I was forced to explain, “I’m Mrs. Williams. I have an appointment.”

The Way It Used To Be: A 28 Karat Gold Heel

Reprinted from June 1992

“Can you tell me if these are real diamonds?”

An anxious customer shifted uneasily as he brought forth a man’s ring from his pocket. His furtive behavior implied that his ring might be “hot.” He glanced over his shoulder repeatedly as though he half expected the local vice squad to burst through the door and arrest him. 

RB took the ring and checked it quickly. “No,” he said in a flat tone. 

“No, they’re not diamonds or no, you can’t tell me?” the customer asked.

“No, they are not diamonds!”

The Way It Used To Be: The Ballad of RB and the Safety Chain Problem

Reprinted from May 1992

One of those kids with the long hair and out of tune guitar ought to write a song about my husband, RB, and his troubles with a certain safety chain.

One day a lady came in to purchase a new band. She was carrying a baby in her arms - who no doubt had contributed to her rash of broken watch bands and safety chains.

 “None of them seem to hold up for me,” she complained bitterly. She held up the broken band for RB to see.

The Way It Used To Be: Looking for Lost Watch Parts

Reprinted from February 1992

For the record, every watchmaker who has ever drawn a breath has lost a part!

Perhaps watch parts are blessed with certain mysterious powers and they can at times simply disappear into thin air. No amount of hocus-pocus can make them reappear again. On occasion, even whole watches have been known to disappear… temporarily and otherwise.

Now a woman’s intuition does, indeed, help in recovery of these watch parts, which is why most watchmakers insist that their wives work in the store with them. Let me tell you about the time RB lost his parts…

The Way It Used To Be: Caught in the Generation Gap

Reprinted from November 1991

Class ring manufacturers make a variety of school ring designs, so pleasing students is fairly easy, but try to please the parents!

A proud mama came in with her 16-year-old daughter, Margaret.

“Margaret wants to select a class ring,” mama announced briskly.

“Surely, Margaret,” I said. “Wont’ you step over to the display case? We have lots of new styles this year.”