Shady Businesses

So I was doing some pick-ups and drop-offs downtown yesterday and decided to stop in to a couple of jewelry stores I hadn't heard from in awhile. Sometimes they just forget to call me and their workbenches are piled up with repairs.

I would say that 90% of my clients are independent jewelers - who genuinely look forward to seeing me stop into their shops to chat for a little while and handle their business. The other 10% are jewelry chain stores. Usually they are glad to see me, and many of the employees recognize my face and come up to see what kind of goodies I'm carrying in my satchel.

One of the places I stopped in to touch base was an independently owned jewelry store that puts emphasis on "high-end fine jewelry" and they charge a mint for things you can really buy anywhere. The standard markup here in the Springs is about 300% - but this particular store averages about 500%. Hey - they have a reputation, and they can get away with charging those prices, so more power to them.

The store manager was busy with a client, so 3 of the employees came over to talk with me and see my stones. Then a young man walked in and started talking with the assistant manager as she came out of the back room. The manger was wrapped up with her client and walked to the front of the store, then asked, "Alright, who was here first?" The assistant manager said, "Oh - This guy was." One of the employees said, "Actually Jennifer has been waiting for about 15 minutes." The manager looked very confused - so she started helping the guy.

What kills me is the guy knew he wasn't there before me, and still took it as though he had been waiting as long as I had. What the fuck? He looked like he was in his mid-20's... and was dressed like the kind of kid who is riding on daddy's money.

Meh - the assistant manager came over and said, "We don't have the authorization to buy any loose stones with the Black Market being so hot right now. We can only work with our company in California. Also, business is down so we are working mostly from inventory." Without missing a beat, I said, "Not a problem! I have a had a full Federal background check, but don't have those credentials with me today. More than anything I wanted to touch base in case you have any stone repair needs... I don't have a full inventory of stones to offer anyway because my sales have been so good."

Do you think I'll ever send "high-end" business their way? Not a chance in hell.


Gossip Time!

The rumor mill is still up and running and keeping me in the loop!

The Agency I was working for is officially down to 1/2 the staff they had when I was employed there. The automotive industry has had such a breakdown with bailouts and the unstable auto economy that there just isn't much money left for small-time advertising companies. The Agency has been trying to diversify, but it is far too little, too late. If they wanted to expand and get their foot in the door of another market type, they needed to start trying 3 years ago when auto began on a slow decline.

In other news - it sounds like things may be shaking up for The Boss in her work life / home life balance. As she has been desperately trying to maintain her stranglehold on the Media Department, she has made a stranger of her husband. While I gag at the idea... she has confided that she and her husband no longer are sharing a bed. So much of her energy has been tied up in the advertising business that she has nothing left to give to her personal life.

I'm still thinking The Agency will have to close their doors in less than a year (I guess May 15th, 2010). Anyone else care to take a stab at their closing date?