Saturday, June 03, 2006

Jewelry stores: the horror.

There are further difficulties with closing. Specifically, the title company has not given me a final number. Without this I haven't been able to get to the bank to get a cashier's check, and we're closing at 4 on Monday--I can't make that time either, but Eric can and I'll just be late; they'll have to put up with it since I'll theoretically be the one with the money--and I work that morning so I have no time to get to the bank that day either. I think it'll work out that I can call the bank and pick it up on my way to closing, but I'm not pleased with Louisville Title right now.

However, we resolved the other stuff, including the electrical work we'd requested--it turns out that our inspector may not have known what he was talking about, which is a little disturbing. We didn't get the quote for a whole-house rewire as we'd requested, but the essential stuff is safe now so we're not going to worry about it yet.

Now, jewelry stores. I've been meaning to write this down for a week and kept forgetting whenever I had time to sit down and do it. I haven't been in a jewelry store since--no, that's not true. I went to a jewelry store in 2002 to pick out a watch for my graduation present, but Mom was with me and was ruthless about getting salespeople out of our way. Before that was several years earlier, also with Mom, but Mom was looking for a nice present for Dad and the salesman kept pressuring her to buy a particular piece she was looking at. I didn't like that. I was also pressuring Mom, because I liked the piece and I thought she should get it, but that was different: I was the daughter, and I had a right. They should have been leaving her alone. (She did end up getting it, though I think it took longer because she was trying to make up her own mind while ignoring both me and the salesman.)

Anyway, last week Eric and I stopped at Kay Jewelers to look at wedding rings because we'd been discussing wedding planning and figured hey, why not. So we stepped into the store, finding the right case almost immediately, and a saleswoman swooped.

"Finding anything you like?" she said. "Looking for anything in particular? Let me know if you want to examine something." Then, before we could do more than thank her, "Let me show you some of these new tungsten rings. See the hammered finish on these? I think that's lovely. You might consider our Superior Fit (or whatever) rings. See how they're concave on the inside? That's so the edges don't become sharp." The insides were convex. She said to Eric, "Are you a diamond man, or do you want something a little more simple? We have yellow or white gold here, and some two-tone rings here. We have thinner versions for the ladies," she said to me. "What's your ring look like?"

I lifted my hand and showed her my sapphire, and her face contorted itself from normal salesperson cheerful into a rigid polite. "That's very nice," she said, and quickly talked about other things. It was clear that she was horrified that my ring was not a diamond, and probable that she felt none of the rings she was showing me would be a suitable match, as I had probably gotten my ring from a Cracker Jack box. Or perhaps she figured Eric had been too cheap to get me a diamond and therefore we wouldn't be such a good sale. She sailed on with her pitch nonetheless, talking nonstop until we said, "Thanks for showing us the rings," and walked out.

It took me a while to recover. I never had such a jewelry experience before--or any other sales experience, except maybe shopping for my car. I had no idea walking into a jewelry store was such an ordeal. I wonder if all jewelry stores are like this, and if they've tried noninvasive salespeople or just assumed raptors are the best way to get people to part with large sums of money for tiny rocks and metal. Eric and I had already decided that we would never be able to buy gemstone jewelry anywhere other than at the gem show (where we got my ring last year--have I mentioned how much I love this ring? I still hold it up in different lights to see how it sparkles and changes hue) and now I'm not sure I'll be able to buy jewelry anywhere else, except maybe on eBay.


koalabear100 said...

I think jewelry people are more aggressive with 1) men buying engagement rings and 2) couples buying wedding rings.

1) Men tend not to be as knowledgable about fashion as women. Some men will just buy the first shiny thing they see. It's no coincidence they have all those annoying engagement ring store ads on the radio.

2) When people buy wedding rings, the odds are very good they will be buying *two* rings from the same store. The clerk is working on commission. You'd want the sale, too.

Your sapphire is an antique, isn't it? Charming antiques are not allowed in stores, unless you are removing the stone to put in an updated setting.

Tungsten? You've got to be kidding me, they found something besides platinum? Should we wait for the new aluminum line?

Jenny said...

1) Certainly. Some men probably want the assistance.

2) Sure I'd want the sale; I just didn't like her way of going after it.

No, it's not an antique; we put it together at the gem show, buying the stone from one vendor and the setting from another. Yeah, tungsten--tungsten carbide, specifically. They've also got just plain steel. Aluminum would at least be light. But probably too cheap to be worth their while.