It never ceases to amaze me how much the big-box jewelry stores charge for not only their merchandise, but also for their services. You would think that more people would seek out the best deal around, compare convenience and quality, and make an informed decision as to where to spend their hard-earned money, especially with the internet at the tips of our fingers. This is obviously not the case, as big-box business appears to be just as strong as it’s always been. Perhaps the “shop local” movement has died out, or perhaps people just don’t realize that true jewelry professionals still exist. Now, we have business…we haven’t been here for nearly 28 years from a lack of people walking through the door, but when we see examples of what these corporate-owned stores charge, we can’t believe people continue to shop there.
Case in point: A woman came in the other day with a diamond wedding ring that had 18 prongs. Her story is not uncommon, and I give her much credit for being leery about what she was told, and for checking out her options. She had taken the ring into a chain store to have it cleaned. After the woman behind the counter briefly inspected the ring, she said she could not clean it because the prongs were so worn out that the cleaning process would surely dislodge her diamonds (not true in this case). She instructed the woman not to wear the ring and said that it had to be repaired immediately. She proceeded to write an estimate of repair on the back of a generic business card (her name penned-in on the other side, which is a subtle way of saying 'I want my commission'). The customer was stunned with the cost for re-tipping the 18 prongs…$449.00, which is about $25.00 per prong. She was told that it would take about three weeks, and that her ring would be sent off to a lab somewhere. When the customer said she would have to discuss the cost with her husband, she was immediately encouraged to take advantage of their in-store financing, and was asked to fill out an application so they could get the process started right away. Feeling pressured, she left the store and began to shop local.
A day later she wound up across the counter from me. I inspected her ring and informed her that she needed some prongs re-tipped. She asked how much it would be to re-tip all 18 prongs. I told her at the most $200.00, but probably less as not all the prongs needed re-tipping. She then produces the business card with the big-box (whoa!) estimate, and tells me the story. I told her that we have two Master Jewelers on-site, and that she would have her ring repaired within the week. Though we do not currently offer in-store financing, I informed her that she could make payments on the repair if she needed to, and pick it up at her convenience with no interest or hidden fees of any kind. She left the ring, of course, and will no doubt be extremely happy with the work performed and the cost (update: she was very happy to have ALL of her prongs re-tipped for less than half of what the other store quoted her) .
Big box stores are retail machines. They have high rent, high marketing costs, high staff turnover, and high prices. As a result, their sales associates work on commission, tend to be pushy, and are not actual jewelers…I think they sell payment plans (and insurance, which we DO NOT sell (read the fine print!!)) more than jewelry. Most of these establishments can’t even change a watch battery or adjust a watch band. Though you may be familiar with their location, or their “name” (due to the relentless radio and TV commercials, not to mention print ads), I wonder how many people just don’t know that they’re paying up to three times more for the same size and quality merchandise that they could find at a locally owned store. If you ever want to upgrade your previous purchase, expect to have to double the cost at a big box…with us, as long as you spend a little more, we’ll always let you upgrade.
So buyer beware…it will pay you back in spades to shop-out where you spend your hard-earned money. Come to our store to compare…we’re sure you’ll be back, and we promise to take care of what you buy from us for as long as you have the piece.
Below are a few of the many pieces that we have priced at $449.00 or less...your dollar goes quite a bit further here on East Main than anywhere else!