Saturday, December 4, 2021


Last night after getting off work at 5, I was rushing. I had to get cash out of one bank account and deposit it at another. The banks close at 6, so I was cutting it close. I also had to pick up some pearls that I'd gotten restrung as a Christmas gift. It was one of those things that turned out to be pricier than I expected, but I knew that it would be a big deal for the recipient, so I went ahead with it. 

I am seriously out of my element in a jewelry store. I am not a jewelry person. I never have been really. I love my earrings, but other than that, I don't really wear jewelry, ordinarily speaking.

So there I was, in the middle of one of these high end jewelry stores, where people glide by on little cat feet, and the music is muted, the lighting tasteful. Standing there tired from work and hungry to boot, I was anxious to get home, but this was not something that was to be rushed. There was photo ID verification and then the pearls were brought out and they had to photograph them to be able to match it to before and after pictures if necessary.  Of course, she has having trouble with the tablet. 

I really try hard to be patient. I am not the most technologically proficient person in the world either, so I wasn't faulting the girl. It's just that I was sooooo hungry, and I was tired, and I was cold and achey, probably from my booster. All I reeeeeeeally wanted was to head for...heeeeeey! Startled, I leaned into look at the pearls a bit more closely. 

I said to the girl, "These pearls aren't graduated," and I pointed out the mistakes. There were 3 places where small pearls had been tucked in between noticeably larger pearls. 

The girl said, "No. They are not. I am really surprised WE didn't catch that,' and she called an associate over who looked at the pearls and agreed that the mistakes were pretty obvious. I groaned inside,  because I still had one more stop to make and I had to be there before six. 

They said that they would contact the repair company and send them back out to be corrected. They assured me that they would be back before Christmas. They asked me to wait as they called the repair company. 

I did wait, hands in my coat pockets, listening while she spoke to 'Ray'. She explained the problem and Ray evidently disagreed. She examined the pearls and listened intently, holding them to the light, and making squinty eyes. Much to my surprise, I heard her saying, "Yes. I agree with you" and "No. You're right" and words that made it quite clear to me that nothing was going to be resolved. 

By the time that she hung up the phone, I could tell that this was not going to be resolved to my satisfaction, so I said, "They're not going to make this right, are they?" 

She defended their work. 

I said, "What really bothers me is that two employees here looked at the pearls. You agreed with me, and made the call, and now suddenly, you've decided the job is satisfactory. I'm not happy with that change." 

She said, "We can send the pearls out to be restrung." 

I asked her what the point of doing that would be. They were not to be held to a standard this time. I couldn't reasonably assume that it would be any different the next time. 

She looked uncomfortable. 

The store manager glided over. The discussion had been a quiet one (I am not a fan of big noisy public scenes) but it evidently disturbed the feng shui of the gracefully elegant shop. I don't know.

She asked if there was a problem. I told her there was. I explained that two people had agreed that my string of pearls had been restrung out of sequence until they spoke to the repairman who had changed their minds. I was quiet but firm, "This is unsatisfactory, but there is no point in debating it, because at the end of the day, you have my pearls and I will need to pay you to get them back. What I do know is that I will never do business here again." 

She said smoothly that she was sorry to hear that. 

I paid the bill and I left. 

Oysters turn their irritations into pearls. Me? I drowned mine with a hot cup of soup and two ibuprofens and reminded myself that in the grand scope of the world's problems, this was not a biggie.


  1. What has happened to customer service. It saddens me. You maintained you dignity without turning into THAT customer. Well done.

  2. If they have any place you can evaluate them on-line, I would certainly do so. It's the only discomfort you'll cause them: the potential loss of business from negative reviews. So sorry this happened. I've dealt with it several times lately too and haven't been as nice as you. (no yelling, but extremely terse)

  3. Oysters turn their irritations into pearls... that's a good line that I shall probably borrow sometime. Funnily enough, we were going through Jane's mum's jewellery the other day and in a box, unknown to us all, was a string of natural pearls that we think were her mother's before her. They will be valuable no doubt - such a pity they seem always to live in a box. I hope Jane wears them instead.

    1. We found a string of pearls in an envelope tucked at the back of a china closet. I have a string of pearls. I should wear them more I guess.

  4. Oh dear, upsetting the shop's Shue Fengi is not good.

    I can't see that you've said anything out of order, so why not name the shop, make a comment on their website and if you can, a third party site. Phrase what you say carefully. Bad online reviews hurt companies and this case, although not all are, it is deserved.

  5. In the midst of troubled times, you'd have to think that they would do better. But maybe they have been good times for them. Who knows?

  6. How strange that the salespeople agreed with you and then got talked out of it. Are the pearls so close in size that their graduation (or lack thereof) is debatable? If that's the case maybe no one will notice. (But I know you'll notice, and anyway I guess the crappy customer service is really the point, isn't it?)

  7. Pearls are meant to be worn. It's good for them. (or at least that's what I've always understood)

  8. A pity that whoever it was got them to change what they said...and good for you for standing up for yourself.

  9. Cara bought me a beautiful pearl necklace from Dubai, when she was working in Afghanistan. She bought us matching sapphire bracelets before she left to go there in the first place. Strange to admit that my nicest pieces of jewelry are gifts from her. I should wear them more, really.

  10. Oh this really makes me mad, what bad treatment. Congratulations to you for keeping your cool - but it wasn't a good outcome. It would have been more satisfying if you had raised your voice, while still being polite, so that other customers could hear you!

  11. Horrible, those winter evenings when you have to 'dash from pillar to post' (is that just an English expression?) when it's dark and you're worn out. Can you bank online?

  12. Normally we do, but this was something that involved carrying cash from one bank to another to be deposited in an account in a different name, so it is best to do that in person. Pillar to post is an expression on this side of the pond as well. My greetings to your family, and hug your mama for me!

  13. Still, disappointing and disheartening. -Kate


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