Quite by accident, I came to frequent a jewelry store that would help me take care of those small problems with watches that can be so vexing. I was tired of department store attendants who could not replace batteries or change watch bands. It seemed that every time I took a watch in to be fixed, it was cheaper to get it replaced.
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That’s when I decided to visit a jewelry shop. It was the “little things” that impressed me. I was struck by how they took such care in doing things right. They served the customer with great skill and solicitude. Even their little paper bags with roped handles had a special charm. When my old department store watch broke, they proposed a reasonably priced, American-made watch with their name on it. I knew I could trust them to back up their name. I was even told that they would replace the battery free of charge for as long as I owned the watch.
Over the years, this watch has served me well. My jewelers have never let me down. After all, it is “their” watch; it has their name on it. Whenever there is a problem, I take it to the store and they take care of it, usually without charge. On my part, I spread the word that there is a good jewelry shop in town that treats people well.
Recently, the watch’s battery went dead and I rushed over to get it fixed before traveling out of state. I entered the small store and was greeted by those behind the counter. There is an atmosphere of pride and professionalism that permeates the store. I am impressed by the dazzling displays of beautiful and marvelous jewels. Through a window, one can see the workshop where the master jeweler works with his highly magnified and thick glasses so as to better see the jewels he fixes.
I presented my powerless watch to the lady at the counter who took it back to do the relatively simple job of replacing the battery.
It was then that the “little things” started to happen — those things that keep me coming back. After a short time, she returned and reported that the small rubber gasket on the back was starting to come apart and that it should be replaced. She enlisted the help of John, the master jeweler, who took it to his workshop and replaced the gasket free of charge. When he returned the watch, he asked me if I wore the watch on the right or left wrist. I replied the left wrist. He then said that if that was the case, the buckle on the leather watchband should be on the other side and promptly changed it. We exchanged pleasantries and I left the store.
During my encounter at the jewelry shop, not much commercial exchange took place. We really didn’t stimulate the economy. In fact, they received no money from me. However, I did give them my trust. And they reciprocated by giving me excellent service. We strengthened a precious relationship that money cannot buy.
My experience with the watch was for me a very practical lesson in the way economy should be. It should be built upon honor and trust. There needs to be that human element by which people show genuine concern and a desire to serve others. There needs to be that passion for doing things well and right. Such things may not appear directly on the bottom line, but they are the foundation for good business.
I cannot help but think that this is what is missing in today’s frenzied markets. Everything is so focused on the big things: sales, massive production and quarterly earnings reports. The human element gets left out. If we are to return to a balanced economic order, more “little things” need to happen.