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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Extended Summer and Extended Summer Hours!

Due to global warming, I have decided to extend my summer hours as long as I can keep wearing my Hawaiian shirts in to work.   It looks like that is going to be at least through September at this point.  I'd like to add that this is one distinct benefit of global warming (actually it's probably the only benefit but that's another story) and I'm going to take full advantage of it.  So until further notice (or you seeing me wear long sleeve shirts) we will be continuing to have the following hours: Tueday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 11-6, Saturday 11-5 and I am open by appointment only Thursday evenings from 6-8.  I'm partly doing this as the first four Thursdays I never got out of the shop before 8 anyway (because people kept making appointments) so I'm trying to get back a few of those hours.

The ring pictured (badly---I apologize, Kady's not in to take a picture, I just finished it and the customer is coming in to pick it up right away and my finger was the only one available)  is a custom job I just completed for a customer using his 3 ct. blue sapphire and some diamonds made in 18k yellow gold and 950 platinum.  I'm always happy to use a customer's stones to make up one of my signature rings!   And isn't my pinky cute!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

More on Security (But This Time it's Mine)

Not too long ago I wrote a series of pieces on your security and safety.  Today I want to write about MY security and safety. 

18k triangular shaped earrings with Ethiopian opals.
18k Ethiopian opal earrings
Yesterday I was soundly berated for having terrible customer service by a customer calling to complain that her husband, who was coming in to get her ring cleaned, was turned away from the door because he came by before I had opened (he was 40 minutes early).  She was furious that he had traveled a distance (which he had) and she couldn't understand why I wouldn't let him in since 1) they were customers--and therefore I should have recognized him, 2) he had traveled so far to get here and 3) since I was on summer hours, which she inferred were different than my normal ones in the morning, and therefore I should have allowed him entry. A number of years ago I got a complaint on Yelp from someone who was irritated I wouldn't let her in after closing hours even though I was obviously still in the store. And more recently, a customer on Yelp also complained I had too many security signs up on my door and that they were intimidating.

So let me first discuss her actual complaints and then I'm going to explain exactly why I do what I do.  Yes these people were customers but I have thousands of customers and I have well over a thousand who routinely come in to have their rings cleaned and checked.  So unless you're in my store with some frequency you can't expect me to recognize every person who comes to my door.  Maybe when facial recognition programs get better, and I can afford one, this won't be such a problem.  I also have customers who come from all over Massachusetts, and other states (one from Chicago who never misses a cleaning) and they all are pretty much aware of my normal hours, and on the rare occasion when they show up early, they are usually fine with having a cup of coffee down the street while they wait for me to open.  As for the summer hour thing, I have a sign posted on my door with my slightly reduced hours, however they were only shortened on the closing end, not the opening end.  For thirty years, I have never opened my doors before 11 am.  This has never changed.  It is posted on my door, every cleaning reminder that goes out clearly has our hours on it, it is all over my website, and there is always that old concept of calling up to check on hours beforehand.

But all of these things are really moot.  What is important here is the REASON I won't open my doors before or after my normal hours.  Every single jewelry related security organization and insurers KNOW that most robberies occur either just before or just after your opening and closing times.  Criminals like to gain access before you open because no one else is in the store besides the employees so it makes their job easier (if you can call it a job).  Additionally jewelry is usually exposed during the set up process and not in either the cases or the safe.   They will often come in just before closing time for the same reason.  Criminals have been known to routinely dress up as delivery men specifically to get in before opening hours.  For this reason, my insurance company, does not allow me to let people in then.  It is just too dangerous.

Okay, so I hear yourselves saying, well I'm not a criminal and I know that so why shouldn't I be allowed in?  First of all, because if I don't know you well, I have no idea whether or not that is the case.  Even if you have been in my store and bought something from me it doesn't mean you are still the same type of person who bought from me originally. (Here are two cases in point: I was passed a bad check for a replacement wedding band from a customer who had gotten his first one from me. We were never able to collect on it because he had become a drug addict and was on a rapid downward spiral in his life.  And then we had a young woman once who bought and paid for one pair of earrings and stole a second pair at the same time.)  Secondly, and more importantly, I can't tell who might be behind, or off to the side of you.  As soon as I open the door for you, it is possible someone out of my sight can slip in behind you. 

And this is the real problem here.  If a criminal comes in somehow, not only is my life placed at risk (as is yours if I let you in and they come in behind you), but all of my livelihood is at risk and all of the pieces that my customers have entrusted to me are at risk as well.  How would you feel if something you had in for repair with me, or a stone of yours that I was making a new piece up with, was stolen, because a customer insisted on me breaking protocol to accommodate their needs?

Now you're probably thinking, oh this kind of stuff doesn't happen in places like Cambridge.  But it happens everywhere.  And it's far worse than most people think.  Did you know that total losses from jewelry industry thefts are higher than losses from bank robberies almost every year? While I have never, knock on wood, actually been held up in the store, we have had incidents of thefts (including one almost 30 years ago when we weren't set up yet and we allowed a customer in and he got away with an entire bag of jewelry) throughout our 30 years on the block.  We have had grab and runs, sneak thefts and even had a set of keys stolen. 

And besides all of these issues, when you come in before I open and I have to stop my set up process to help you, I can't always get set up on time, which either means I'm back to letting people into my store before I'm properly secured or I'm delaying other customers who do come by at the appropriate times. Additionally, my cleaning equipment takes time to get warmed up in the morning so routinely it isn't even ready before my opening time. 

So if you come to my store before I open, please expect to be turned away. Even if you see me in the store I cannot, and will not, let you in.  This is for your safety, and to be quite frank, more importantly to me, my safety as well. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tax Free Day is Really Happening

The governor signed the tax free day bill last Friday so our sale is on (as those of you who are existing customers should already know since you should have gotten an email about it---if you haven't please let me know and I'll get one out to you).  And again for those of you who aren't already customers, you can at least save the tax on anything up to $2500.  I've already had people in putting stuff aside so if you are interested in taking part in our one day event, you should come in sooner rather than later.

The picture above is a quick phone snap I took of a new necklace (since my trusty assistant and blog photog, Kady, isn't in today to do it) I just put out this morning. It's a new chain link I designed and it looks better in person than in my lousy photo. My wife Kathy had been complaining that I hadn't put any new chain designs out in awhile, so I got to it.  She loved it, but then said it needed big diamonds all around for her to wear it!  My moonbeams necklace that was out (see a picture of it here) was claimed yesterday by one of my regular customers, so this new one is kind of a replacement. 

I think (although I'm not sure) the first tweet of some of my bands went out recently.  These were the nerd bands shown in this blog article here.  Apparently they were so thrilled with them they had to tweet them to all their friends.  The tweet was under the customer's name so I can't tell you where to find it but I found it amusing that they were doing it. 

I am a bit under the gun this week with some complicated custom jobs but I'll get back to writing again next week.  Come on by!