A Seinfeld Holiday Season

December 23rd, 2009 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

Keeping a sense of humor is so important during the current difficult business environment. We’ve had a couple of sales this holiday season that could be the basis for a sit-com script.

Last spring, a long time client wandered in to the shop and was mesmerized by a fine Cartier Tank Francaise wristwatch in our estate department. Her wistful looks and careful consideration of the watch as well as our conversation convinced me that  she was going to buy the watch, or at least prod her husband into buying it for her– she had a birthday coming up. However, weeks and then months went by and we heard nothing.

Early this season right before Thanksgiving, another long time client came shopping for a 40th birthday present for his wife. He wanted a stylish high quality watch that would suit her very active lifestyle. Right away, the Cartier, with its waterproof stainless steel case and scratch resistant sapphire crystal, leaped to mind. He loved it, the price was right, so he put down a deposit on the watch and had me hold it for the birthday. At the time, I didn’t think about it, but client #2 was the brother-in-law of client #1.

You guessed it– in early December, client #1 and hubby came in together. She looked in the estate case said “Where’s my watch?” Of course, we had to tell her it was sold (it was in the safe!)– she was very disappointed. Hubby, a pretty savvy guy, said “My brother-in-law told me he has something on hold at Mardon”– I tried to keep a straight face, but they knew immediately. What could I say, other than to offer to provide another Cartier like the first one– and of course, she wasn’t having any! She was not smiling when they left.

When #2 picked up the watch a week later, I gave him a heads up– he laughed and said the story is like something from an episode of Seinfeld. When he left, he was working out the details of how to break it to his wife that she was getting her sister-in-law’s watch.

I worried and fretted for days about precipitating a family squabble. Later, when wife of #2, , came by (beaming!), to have her new watch adjusted, and #2 told me that things worked out just fine, I breathed a sigh of relief. Since then, we’ve seen #1 and hubby as well, and we’ve all had a chuckle.

Of course, now #1 is looking for a better watch. Life is good!

The second sale is still in the works, so keep smiling, hold the thought and stay tuned– I’ll post in a few days. The story is worth waiting for.

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