[The names have been changed to protect the innocent]
One thing I bought Louise for her birthday was a gold necklace. It was from John MacIntyre’s in Glasgow, and if that name means nothing to you (and I’m guessing for most of you, it won’t) then suffice to say that it is a jewellers which is very proud of it’s old style customer service, and it’s swanky fashionable interior. The following is a recap of my first experience buying jewellery there.
The store is located in a lane between two streets in Glasgow (Mitchell Lane) and is situated next to several fashionable pubs. You walk into an old fashioned tenement entrance and get in the lift on the ground floor. The lift attendant asks you “Gold or Silver?” as the departments are on different floors. Having been warned about this I was ready with my response “Gold”.
Up to the first floor and I’m greeted as I get off the lift by another attendant who asks what I’m looking for.. I say gold again, and he smiles and asks “Gold what Sir?”. I flummox him a bit by saying I’m not sure. Either a necklace, or a ring, or maybe some diamond earrings? Obviously this is not the done thing, I should at least have an idea of what I’m looking for (I do, sort of, but want to make them work for their money and see if they have anything better – I’m very much a ‘I’ll know it when I see it’ kind of shopper).
“Ohh well have a seat for a moment please” he says, pointing to a very posh looking seating area before disappearing through two glass doors into what I can only presume is the shop itself. No sooner has my bum brushed the soft welcoming leather than he’s back saying that Ethel will look after me and to go on through.
I walk through the glass doors (taking great care to open them first) and Ethel is waiting for me, standing tall behind the counter (all 5’0 of her), looking very efficient and slightly like Mrs.Slocombe from ‘Are you being served?’.
“So what are you looking for today?” she asks.
“Well that’s the thing” I say, “I’m not entirely sure..” I smile, half-laughing to indicate that I’m only part-serious. I think this was my mistake, she now presumes I’m an idiot.
“Well surely you must have something in mind” she says, rather curtly.
“Hmmm well I had thought of a necklace, or maybe a bracelet… actually she’s lost a necklace recently so maybe I could replace that…” I say, thinking aloud.
“Right, I’ll be back in a sec, stay there” she says (although the tone reminds me more of Barbara Woodhouse.. SIT!)
She pootles off in to the back of the shop, and I’m left looking at shiny shiny things and lots of brilliant lighting.
She arrives back and plonks down three soft rollout cases. She takes the first, unsnaps the catch and asks: “Now, what price range did you have in mind?”
I tell her and she immediately closes the catch again.
“Ohhh, well then…” she says, shuffling the cases round and opening another one.
“How about something like this then?” she says as she deftly and quickly shows me a few bracelets.
“Ohhh bracelets… right… ermm…”, I stutter, “actually I was thinking more of a necklace..”
“Well I’m sure you said bracelet” she fires back.
This is not going well.
“OK, well I did but I wasn’t sure what I was looking for.. so let’s start over. I’m looking for a necklace..”
Just then another assistant comes out and asks Ethel if she spoke to someone on the phone earlier that morning, Ethel says that she had. The other assistant then says that the woman has just arrived (and can be seen through the glass doors rubbing the leather covers on the seats with a look of awe on her face, or is it jealousy?). Ethel looks around, tells me to hold on a second and disappears round the back of the shop again.
She emerges moments later with a rather attractive young lady, and tells me that Donna will be looking after me from here on.
I think Ethel and I are both as relieved as each other.
I start over with Donna, asking to see some necklaces and giving her my price range. Soon she has a few more soft cases opened and is asking questions about Louise’s style and likes and is generally being very helpful, including pointing out the ‘old fashioned’ necklaces that I should stay away from (and which I wouldn’t have touched with a bargepole anyway…).
At this point I should point out that, as well as being attractive, Donna was… let’s say curvy… and was wearing a very low cut top and a pushup bra. Hey, I’m a guy, we notice these things (in the same way we don’t notice when you’ve had your hair done). You can see where this is heading can’t you.
I finally narrow the choice down to two of the necklaces and to help me make my choice Donna offers to model them for me. Note: she offers, I didn’t ask!
She puts one on and asks: “So, do you like what you see?”
You couldn’t make this stuff up…
Needless to say that I bought the first one she tried on, it happened to be the more expensive of the two necklaces but I don’t think my self restraint would’ve lasted through the second one.
It was only when I stepped back out into the street that I began to wonder if she’d done that before. If you ask me it’s a damn sneaky way to manipulate us poor men out of our hard earned cash.
I bet it works every time.