A Gem from the Jewelry & Watch Repair

Waiting my turn in the local Jewelry & Watch Repair, I was treated to this gem.

It’s a tiny shop in the basement of the local mall, low light, not especially inviting and definitely devoid of foot traffic. I was one of only three customers in the place this morning, but that’s more than I usually see there. I’m guessing the other two were either a couple or a father and daughter. They were ahead of me. The owner and one other jewelry and watch repair professional were behind the counter.

The place has been under new ownership for a year or so. The previous owners ran the shop for decades.

The new owner chatted with the other customers about a repair job he was doing for them. I couldn’t help overhearing; the entire place can’t be more than 20×30 feet.

“Are you part of the family that’s always owned this place,” asked the guy, “or did you buy it from them, ’cause–”

“Bought it,” the owner interrupted, obvious irritation in his voice. I bet he gets that question or a variant all the time. Too often, I’d wager.

“– they were great people,” the customer continued, unfazed, right through the owner’s response. “Always did a great job for us–”

The owner interrupted again, ignoring the second part of DaddyHubby’s comment. “Let me check on that for you,” he said, turning to a computer on a desk behind the counter.

The father/husband and daughter/wife traded a few comments back and forth in unobtrusive tones. But then DaddyHubby spoke too loudly, pointing a question to the other repairperson.

“How much do you know about watches?”

I tried, unsuccessfully, to stifle a guffaw. Dude, I thought, did you seriously just ask that? Bear in mind, the sign in front of the shop reads, “Jewelry and Watch Repair.”

< several seconds’ pause >


“I know a bit,” deadpanned the repairman.

DaddyHubby didn’t pick up on that, either.

Instead, he launched into a description of a watch of his – “it’s a Fossil,” he said, like he’s talking about his Rolex or at least a Cartier – then went on with a bunch of other blather about the timepiece, which we were all informed has a dancing robot on its face and for which “no one” can figure out how to replace the battery.

< another longish pause >

“Well,” said the repairman, his face again absolutely blank, “bring it in and we’ll take a look.”

By that time the owner was prepared to report on the status of the job that the couple was there to check on in the first place. With that done, he turned to me. I showed him the a new bracelet I’d received as a birthday gift and the extra links I was hoping he could connect.

I didn’t catch whatever else passed between the customer pair and the second repair professional. By the time I’d paid for my bracelet, they were gone.

After thanking the owner I turned to the single-paned door myself, then stopped short.

I turned around.

“I’m sorry,” I said to the two men, “but I can’t help it…. How much do you know about watches?”

They burst out laughing.

And I’ve been chuckling about it all day long.

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Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), proud introvert, veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger (https://ivwords.com) nonprofit founder (https://theclimateknights.org/) and big-time reader. As they say, if you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff. A ginger, too - ergo the "Red" - although some of it's going white. Cinnamon-Sugar, I call it. Tattooed to boot; seven so far. At age 54, I'm stilling crankin' AC/DC & Metallica, but now and again I spin some Eric Church and Black Uhuru, too. I love hanging out with my (much) better half, spending time with our kids, writing, hiking, riding my mountain bike and reading.


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