When I started the process of buying Megan’s engagement ring (and it was a looooong process), I took notes and wrote a little diary to chronicle the experience. I couldn’t share my observations with her at the time, so I thought this was a fun way to share it with her later.
Flash forward a few months: Not only did she love her ring and say yes when I proposed to her June 29, but she loved the letter and wanted me to share a version of it with the world. I thought it may be a little too “inside baseball” for the average Joe to appreciate, but this is only the first of many times in the next few months that she will be getting her way :-).
MEGAN EDIT: In my defense, not much has been posted on the blog this year, and well, this was too incredible to NOT share! (Parts have been redacted to not share actual names of businesses and people.)
I’ve cut it down quite a bit (the printed version is 63 full pages), added a fuzz of background and Megan has included a thought or two. If nothing else, you’ll learn why I think you should avoid [jewelry store in downtown Jefferson City] like the plague and (in future posts) where I hide my money/valuables at home.
12/7/11 Dear Megan: So…. On my lunch break today, I decided to take a stroll downtown and drop in on one our fine community’s friendly neighborhood jewelers. I figure I’ve got to start out somewhere if I’m going to find you something sparkily, right? MEGAN EDIT: I had NO idea he started looking in December. OK, that’s not completely true. He hinted around at it, but with Christmas on the way, and let’s face it, that’s a national holiday for my dad’s family, I was too distracted to notice much.
I’ve read online that you (well, “I”) should avoid places like Kay and Zales, because blah blah blah save downtown blah blah blah mom and pop blah blah blah craftsmanship blah blah blah #OCCUPY THE JEWELRY STORE. A few websites suggested that local stores will be cheaper because the wholesale cost of diamonds is pretty much the same for both the big chains and mom and pop stores, but the mom and pop stores don’t have to pay for the huge national marketing costs. Plus, you get better service and—let’s be honest—it’d be kinda cool to have it from a local store, kind of like a double-dip cone from Central Dairy over on Madison St. is way more fun than a quart of Blue Belle from QuikTrip.
Holy crap, I hope that “they’re actually cheaper than the chains at the mall” thing is not true, because the engagement rings at [downtown Jefferson City jeweler] were EXPENSIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE. Like, I showed her pictures of a few of the rings you’ve picked out online and she whipped out a $7,700 ring. Holy cow, [Saleswoman] I’m wearing a belt I bought for $4.49 (plus $1.99 shipping) on eBay and you show me a $7,700 ring? Without the band or the stone?!?!
MEGAN EDIT: I would have smacked you if you spent $7,700! There are so many more important things to do with that kind of money!!! Also, I’m buying you a new belt. I was kind of hoping for a kinder, gentler initial ring shopping experience. To be honest, I was disappointed. If this is “better service than the mall chains,” then Kay/Zales must pepper spray you and drown an orphan puppy when you walk in the door. [Saleswoman] was dressed in a ratty sweatshirt, and didn’t even bother to ask me my budget. I know Randy/Monte on ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and SYTTD Atlanta (I’m mortified that I know both who Randy/Monte are and what SYTTD is) are wedding dress guys and not ring experts, but I really wanted—no, needed— a well-dressed guy with – let’s face it, great hair – to swoop in and save me by getting her back on my price point. (This is a rare sentence for me. I’ll—God willing—never again wish for “a well-dressed guy with great hair to swoop in and save me.” Enjoy it. Savor it. Go on. I’ll wait.) And she smelled like cigarette smoke. Classy.
MEGAN EDIT: LOVE THAT SHOW!! I love it more that you actually sit and watch it with me :-). I don’t know which one I like more; I guess it depends on which show I’m more into at the moment. Randy is originally from Mt. Vernon, IL and that’s about 2 hrs from STL (maybe less) so I guess Randy.
I expected to be… I don’t know… catered to, almost? It took a lot of courage to walk in there for the first time, and I was very overwhelmed. I needed someone to calm me down and guide me. Like, I wanted [Saleswoman] to sit me down, offer me a cup of coffee or cocoa (I would politely decline), ask me about you, smile sweetly, get a budget in mind, styles you like, etc. Instead she sat me down, pulled out four rings and started yammering away about I don’t even know what. “Semi- this, 25-point this blah blah blah.” I’ve at least heard of the four C’s of diamond shopping (cut, clarity, carat and cooties), MEGAN EDIT: color but I’m by no means an expert and she didn’t even try to explain things to me and generally made me feel stupid and cheap. “Well, we tell people like you buy a very nice setting, get a tiny stone, then let her upgrade it a decent one in a few years.” Dead serious. I didn’t say—and won’t type here—what I wanted to say what I tell “people like her.” She finally dropped me down to the $5,400 rings (just the ring, not the wedding band or stone) and I was like: “Um, I’d like to be at $X with everything out the door, in total.” She nodded, then went on like she hadn’t heard me. Overall, it was just plain weird. There were some pretty rings, and they had some that were similar-ish to the ones you liked. I guess it was beneficial to at least see some and hold some in person. But will I be buying from there? Nope.
I’m not gonna lie: it was more than a little discouraging. I would never buy you a ring from a seedy pawn shop, but I’ve got to believe I’d get better customer service there, and they’d actually help guide me through the process. I’m going to add to this with each shopping trip. I’d really like to tell you all about this stuff as it happens, but well, you know, that’d kind of ruin the surprise. Heck, I really want to write about this on my blog! That’d kinda ruin the surprise too, though and this is for you, not the rest of the world. This little mini-diary will have to be the next best thing.
MEGAN EDIT: Brian knows I don’t hide anything and want to share. Besides, don’t you agree? This is too good not to share. And the best is yet to come!