Friday, May 20, 2016

If Insurance is a Joke, How Come I'm Not Laughing?

When we opened our jewelry stores ten years ago, it was an exciting time.  We opened a store in three different communities that did not have a one-stop jewelry store.  We are unique in that we make all our own high-end jewelry, have a gemologist/designer/goldsmith on staff (my husband) which means we can meet all jewelry needs from repair to making a custom piece to appraising items for insurance purposes.  We also buy gold and silver from people who need to sell their old gold for cash or turn it into a designer piece for themselves.


During our first year, each store was burglarized at least one time.  It was devastating.  If you know anything about insurance companies, they will rarely reinsure you the second time you have a claim. You are put on a "list" and no one in the industry will reinsure you.  There is no way around it and that noose is always around your neck making you wonder if staying in business is worth the risk.


When an arsonist high on drugs set fire to our business a couple years earlier, the insurance company paid out a few thousand dollars against our claim of $300,000.  You ask why?  Because they can.  And we were put on the "List."  No insurance.  Ever. Again.  The loss was both business and personal and all these years later, still saddens me at the precious items we lost.

The first time we were robbed in our main store (the one I work at) our daughter-in-law was the store manager. At the end of the day, the trays of rings and baubles are placed into the safe and displayed in the showcases in the morning.  DIL was putting the jewelry out for the day when two women came in to browse.  She forgot to leave the doors locked until the jewelry was put into the showcases.

Thieves often travel in twos.  One will keep you occupied while the other robs you blind.  This time was no exception.  DIL had the tray of diamond rings out and glanced away for a moment.  The two women left the store along with a couple handfuls of rings to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

DIL was terrified she would lose her job or worse.  We assured her that accidents happen and tried to calm her. We tried not to show how despondent we were. is where it gets humorous - if you can find humor in this kind of situation.

Hold on, you can laugh

The afternoon of the day two women robbed us they came BACK INTO the store, sat down at the desk and asked if we buy gold. DIL quickly realized what was happening. She looked at the first item which was one of our bracelets and told them she would buy it for $150 (a fraction of the value). They accepted it eagerly and as she suspected, the thieves then gave her several rings -- with OUR TAGS STILL ON THEM.  She grabbed the jewelry and had a few choice words for them.
jewelry robbery

They ran out of the store and apparently took the rest of the jewelry to the pawn shop in the next town.

The police were called.  The report filed.  The street people came in droves to tell us WHO took our stuff and where it ended up -at a pawn shop/fence in the big city.  I called them.  Yes, they had our goods but it could only be released to the police.  The police were called.  MANY times.  The police knew they only had 30 days to retrieve the goods from the pawn shop.  After that, the pawn shops are not obligated to keep stolen goods and they can be resold.  Each time we called the cops we were assured they were on top of it.  After 45 days, they finally made it to the pawn shop.  Our goods were gone.  "Sorry," they told us.

Because the girl was under age, she got a slap on the wrist and got away with grand theft to the tune of over $50K.

Fast Forward

We are located on the main street in our town,  As in most towns, there are many down and outers who stop in -- to chat, to sell the odd piece of jewelry or to dream of what they would like to buy or have custom made if their ship ever comes in.  

My husband has a heart of gold and gives them more than what their items are worth and will loan them money when they need it -- I KNOW, I KNOW. is our new form of insurance.  We hadn't planned it that way -- it just happened.

They look out for us.  They report to us.  They tell everybody about us. They bring in their friends and relatives who can afford to buy from us.  

A few weeks ago, three different people told us that there was a young woman (the SAME one from years ago) who bragged she had robbed from us many times and was going to hit us again.  Over the past few years, we have found valuable pieces missing with no clue when or how they disappeared.  

One day a young couple was asking the price to have a pair of emerald earrings made.  Something didn't feel right but hubby couldn't put his finger on it.  The next day, they came in when I was there and asked about a few other things. I had no idea they were 'casing the joint.'

Day Three.  They came in and while the man kept my husband occupied, the woman stole several things, reaching into the cases and helping herself to the goodies.  It threw us both into an immediate depression.  Of course, these things never happen at a "good" time, but I was already in a low state and trying to stay afloat in the throes of very disturbing news from the previous month.  

After they left, hubby realized what had happened and I clearly heard it in his voice when he called me.  My heart was so heavy for him as we didn't need any more gloom and doom.

Then I remembered I had the man's phone number because the idiot thief gave it to me to call him when the earrings they ordered were ready.  

"Hi, is this Zack?"  I imagined he had not given me his real name -- but his real phone number! "Were you in our jewelry store earlier today to place an order?"

jewelry store robbery

"YES!  Hi."

"Congratulations!  You were on Candid Camera!  If you would like to bring back the items you took from us in the next 30 minutes we will not take this to the next level." I had no idea what that next level would be but was compelled to inflict some kind of threat.  It is common knowledge around town that the cops do zip all - not just our own experience.

"It wasn't me.  It was HER." 

"Time is wasting.  I suggest you find her quickly - you have 28 minutes."

Of course, they didn't come in -- I knew that the items had already been transformed into drugs, but hopefully I sent a message.

That evening a drug dealer called us to let us know he had our stuff. We had been kind to him over the years and he wanted to return the goods to us.  Hubby met with him and it was watches and rings we were not even aware were missing.  They were lower end items than what they had robbed earlier that day.

Depression was getting deeper and many negative thoughts were running rampant. Trying to rise above it was a struggle but necessary.

Are you still with me?  It gets better.

The following day, one of the native carvers who has several of his pieces on display in our store popped in to chat.  Hubby told him what happened and watched the carver's face turn red and fire come into his eyes.

"I'll be right back."

Twenty minutes later he came back.  I could not post here what happened but suffice it to say, the thief won't be robbing from us again.  We were clueless.  This man took it upon himself to set things in order.

native masksThe carver also gave us the girl's picture and we will be posting it to all the businesses in our town as she has robbed many of them repeatedly.  The carver told us to rest well, he was bringin' in the cuzzins'. We'll leave it at that.  It is their business and they obviously have a need to make things right.

"You don't rob from good people.  They are our friends.  They help everybody.  We are watching you."  That's the message they are sending.

We have no idea what this all means except it is the best form of insurance we have had for a long time.

In the middle of gloom, a child brings a smile

Small children, especially babies, are oblivious to what is going on in the adult world.  They love unconditionally and only want to be loved back.  No matter what you may be going through, a child has the unique ability to put a smile on your face.

Here's my little Diva at 2.5 months old.

Her big brother dotes on her and wants to stay near her at all times. She giggles when she hears his voice or sees his face.  Nothing - ABSOLUTELY NOTHING - could be better than that.


photos courtesy,,,,

No comments :

Post a Comment