Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Retentive Ones

All That Glitters

Portrait of a man with an exploding mind


For those of you who do not understand, or who are appalled, by my politically correct termed heading; you are most likely the percentage of the population I’m going to be talking about so I may suggest you turn the page and read about a subject other than this one. 

I was told by a few to stop lamenting and writing about watches and the infirm who present them to me, so I’ll do my best not to mention them, even though many fall directly into this not so unusual human behavioral trait. 

We all know at least one person that falls into this behavioral category. I have had, over the decades, the pleasure of knowing what amounts to an entire retentive football squad. Fortunately, I’m not married to one… well maybe on some matters (I’m not worried, she never reads my column, so I hope you don’t mention to her I wrote that!). It’s an inborn trait that is beyond micro-managing or “being fussy”. They are not necessarily all super rich or privilegedthey come from all walks of life. Dealing with this special breed of Homo sapiens is more than just annoying – it’s downright painful – and I use all means and creative maneuvers to avoid dealing with them. I remember telling one of my staff members years ago to tell the party on the phone I had died, yes it was so sudden, all to avoid a oneonone appointment with this person. (Yes! He was that bad!) 

Being in the jewelry business for most of my life, it’s inevitable I have to deal with them. I did for decades, and the result is having my blood pressure and a few gray hairs raised by enduring so much unnecessary wrath and nonsense. Anyone in the service business and especially the food industry has dealt with them a time or two…that’s a guarantee. 

When it comes to the subject of jewelry the true retentive ones shine through (pun intended)So now that I am entering my late 60’s, I guess maybe I’m calling some of them out! Problem is they don’t realize that they are! 

There is something about their jewelry that really brings them out of the mangroves so to say (let’s call them “Retentives” so not to offend anyone more than I have). 

It can begin with nitpicking every detail about what exactly I’m going to do to perform a repair that involves adding a new prong to their precious diamond ringAre you using real gold? Do you have to remove the diamond? How do I know I’ll get my original diamond back? How do I know if I can trust you? You’re not a drug addict or a degenerate gambler are you? Are you a Republican, Independent or Democrat? I’m not leaving my ring unless I can sit down next to you while you do it to make sure don’t steal anything! And then there is my favorite: How do I know you are not going to steal the jewels out of my watch if I leave it with you? I can go on and on but just talking about them makes my blood boil! 

The worse part about it is they are almost always the ones with the crappiest diamond ring or piece of jewelry and/or the watch is a fallingapart rustedout relic. 

One time a woman nearly vaulted over my counter when my mother took her ring four feet away to clean the smut out of it so she could examine it better. She screamed, ranted and rolled until my mother immediately gave it back to her! She gasped and sputtered that her husband told her to never let that ring out of her sight, ever! So, after I sat her down and administered a calming bottle of water (I swear the veins popped out on her neck and face, she turned bright pink and was sweating profusely. I thought she was having a heart attack!) she finally let me examine the filthy dirty ring. I was shocked to notice it was the worse looking diamond I had ever seen. No wonder the husband told her to not let it out of her sight! Now there was no way I was going to accept anything from this Retentive Whackayankeedoodle! So moments later one of my sales associates escorted her and her dirty broken ring out the door.  

There have been various other encounters with people like this but not as extreme as that particular case. Dealing with the Retentives for over a half century, I now have a builtin alarm system in my DNA so that a bell goes off in my head when I encounter even one in training at my sales counter. As soon as the conversation turns to insanity or profound paranoid drivelI quickly excuse myself for no apparent reason and do an exit stage left to my safe and secure workshop, wishing I had a sixfoot, two-hundred-pound bouncer named ‘Bubba” to finish the goodbye and have a nice day” part of this Retentive encounter.  

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and is the owner of the Harbor Goldsmith, Marco’s Island jeweler since 1994. “Go Where the Islanders Go!” He welcomes your questions and comments about all that glitters! 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *