Gift Pricing -How much is yours?

Speaking of Two Lovers the other day reminded me of an unrelated event from a few years ago…

I asked Mrs. Rumm what she would like for Christmas. She told me a plain white gold wedding band. The one she already had was the standard gold type. She wanted a white one to go with different outfits. Or something. Who am I to question such things?

I recall buying the wedding rings with her first time around. Both of us wanted nothing other than “a plain ring”. Nothing fancy. As a result, the two rings we bought were each in the region of £40 (Irish punts). Our taste in jewellery hasn’t changed.

Now it was maybe six or seven years later… 2004ish. We had a new currency (the Euro). We had gone through an economic boom. Prices were higher. So adjusting for currencies (bring it to, say 55 euros), inflation (80ish?), a bit of greed (90ish), some more greediness (100ish), gold price fluctuations (….?) ..and a bit more on top, I estimated the absolute maximum cost such an item could possibly be would be 130 – 150 euros.

“OK,” I said. “No problem.”

Next day I entered a Jewellery Store (this sentence seems odd to me, but if I said “entered a Jewellers” it’d have a whole different connotation to my dirty mind).

“Can I help you?” enquired a pleasant-looking, well-presented male assistant in a calm voice that sounded like melted chocolate flowing over a lush carpet.

“I’m looking for a plain white gold ring for my wife,” I informed him, “Nothing fancy.”

“OK,” he smiled softly and lead me to the counter. He pulled a tray of rings from underneath. The first thing I noticed was the lack of prices.
The second thing was all these rings had something fancy about them -diamond studs, ridges, fancy engravings, etc..

Instead of jumping immediately to the vulgar issue of price, I hummed and hawed and finally asked if he had anything plainer.
“I’m really just looking for plain white gold -no decorations or anything.”

He considered this quietly and carefully before selecting one of the more plain bands from the same tray. It had only a few small indents here and there.

“Yeah, it’s not too fancy, I suppose,” I had to concede. “How much is it?”

“That one is 600 Euros,” he said as though his voice was massaging my temples.

Shocked, I couldn’t help myself.

“Six hundred!!?” I gasped.
“I told you it was for my wife,” I said, “not my girlfriend!”

Without batting an eyelid, the assistant creased his brow and nodded as though this made complete sense to him.
“I think we may have something more plain in our other store,” he confided. “I can ring them and have it here by tomorrow.”

“A simple, plain white gold ring?” I enquired, slowly turning towards the door.

“Yes yes,” he nodded.

“And how much roughly would that cost?”

He waved in the air and shook his head as though conjuring a nominal amount between old friends.

“Pah -no more than three-fifty,” he informed me, his voice having lost some of the chocolate softness.
“Come back tomorrow I’ll have it for you,” he smiled.

In truth, I almost felt bad not going back there the following day. It seemed a breach of trust somehow that instead I went down the road and bought the first one I spotted for less than two hundred -and that was difficult to find too let me tell you!

I still don’t see how it could be possible for something like that to jump to more than four-times its price in a few years. Madness I tells ya!

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Full disclosure: I can’t say for certain if the “I said wife, not girlfriend” line is truly original. It’s possible I heard it somewhere before. It sounds like something Rodney Dangerfield might have said. Either way it was fun using it. …A little disconcerting that the guy didn’t even flinch, but fun nonetheless. 🙂

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