Opinion: Pet Peeves

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Buying Time

By Mark Crantz

By Mark D. Crantz 

My wife loves jewelry. Me, not so much. From kings and queens to Al and Peggy Bundy, the line is clearly marked. Women love jewelry and men join flash robs to get it.

Years ago, I bought an engagement ring for my soon-to-be wife. The jewelry store was a place in Chicago that everybody went to. The mayor, fire chief, Cubs players, Bears players, county commissioners even the mob guys knew it was the place to get a clean diamond at a little bit more than it fell off the truck. During my purchase, I got to talk to the store’s owner. He was a dead ringer for my dead grandfather, except he was alive and breathing. I asked him, “Are diamonds a good investment?” He answered, “No, son. They just buy you some time.”

I was taken aback by his brutal honesty. There’s not a lot of it out there in the commerce world. Everybody is pitching something. From baristas asking for 25% tips to pour a $5 cup of coffee to the cable company that walks you through the cable repair by phone and then requires you to go to the cable store for parts by car and then embeds it in the cable bill like they came to your driveway. The gamesmanship is everywhere. A business associate once suggested that if you go down the street with a quarter in your pocket and still have it at the end of the day, then it’s been a great day. It never happened to me. My business associate got my quarter.

The Laguna Art Museum recently held an event that gave interested residents an appraisal of their jewelry. Interested parties were limited to five pieces for inspection. It was called “The What’s It Worth” event.

I asked my wife if she would like to get some of her jewelry appraised? She looked at me, as though, I suggested a full day at the dentist. “No. I don’t care what it’s worth. The sentimental value is immeasurable.” I sputtered, “Are you telling me that I could have purchased costume jewelry and you would have loved it as much?” My wife sighed, “No. You’re twisting up what I’m saying.” I looked at her lost. “Untangle the twist up. Give it to me straight.” My wife smiles and says, “The expensive jewelry just bought you more time. And time’s up. I need a bigger diamond engagement ring.”

“Okay then,” I said. “We’ll go get the present engagement ring appraised at a jewelry store and trade it in for a new bigger one. My wife winced. “No can do. I’ll keep my present engagement ring and make it into a necklace. There’s no trading in the old investment for a new one. That’s tricky math. If you loved me, you’d know this.”

We didn’t go to the LAM event. I was appraised at home of my rights and duties, as a husband. Love is grand. And another grand. And another grand.

Crantz tells the Indy that he’s made plans to join more flash robs. Don’t tell the police department.

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