I hope you won’t mind if I respectfully add my thoughts to your
vent. I usually sit here lurking and devouring all the info we read,
see and hear on this wonderful site. But, your post has been on my
mind since I read it yesterday, and I simply cannot resist this
We are retired owners of a helicopter company, so we come to this
business/industry late in life. In that previous business we
literally charged for every minute our equipment was in operation. We
did so because if we didn’t we’d likely find ourselves on the
doorstep of the poor house within hours, and that’s not much of an
Coming from a business whose prices were based solely on arithmetic
we were in for quite a shock when we started our little jewelry
business. (Don’t get me wrong, good service and good manners were
also a big part of that business.) However, we’ve found that some
jewelry customers seem to think that everything that has passed
through our hands has an eternal - unconditional - free repair and or
replacement guarantee. All we can figure is that it’s the softness of
the artist’s heart in the jeweler, that has allowed this kind of
"thing" to happen in this industry. If you bought a new car, wrapped
it around a tree and then had it sent back to the dealer with a note
that said - “this thing didn’t hold up” - I think it’s fair to say
that he would be happy to fix your “issue”, but would charge you his
standard shop rate before he gave it back.
Jo Haemer gave some good advice when she (paraphrased) suggested
that you check the material for defects first. But, assuming all was
well, it seems to me that like the wrecked car, this customer should
expect to pay for repair/replacement.
Please forgive me for taking your vent and then creating a post out
of it just to state this observation, but self employed people often
sell themselves short. My wife and I call it the "Door Mat Syndrome."
Some seem to think that if they place themselves at the bottom of the
food chain they’ll be the last to be eaten by this economy, and
customers like this one. I would humbly suggest that this is the
opposite of reality. In this case I would have inspected the piece
for faulty material/workmanship. If I found all was well then I would
have contacted the customer with a quote for the “fix”. That quote
would have been my shop rate - period. We save our favors and
freebees for family, and people we love. That last business of ours
taught us that you can’t make up for a loss with volume, all that
does is multiply your losses, it does not multiply your gain.
It is my belief that there are some customers who will push you, and
take advantage of you until you have lost so much money that you
have to wait tables just to pay the rent. My unsolicited advice is to
send everyone of those customers directly to your competition, you
don’t want them in your store.
One of my favorite stories is this one. We have a dear friend who is
a talented jeweler and who has been kind enough to act as a mentor
to us. He has many decades of experience, and like the good people on
this site is willing to share those hard won victories with us.
While sitting at his bench watching him work, a customer came in and
asked for a repair to be done while she waited. Reluctantly, he
accepted the repair. Within a few minutes the piece was better than
new, and he charged her accordingly. She was a bit surprised to have
to pay “so much” for just a “minute of work.” Our friend’s reply was.
“That minute of work took me more than thirty years to learn and
perfect.” She thought for a moment and then paid, shook his hand and
offered a heartfelt “thank you.” It was a fair question on her part,
but it was also the right answer on his.
Lastly, I hope you get paid for your efforts whether it’s a repair
or a replacement. That’s what you deserve - nothing less. In the
meantime we wish you and all who come here - success.
With Our Best Regards,
Ski & Cathy