Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rocks, Coffee Tables, and Percolators

A few days ago I went to a produce store to look for a bathtub.  The shelves were full of plump, brightly colored, delicious looking fruits and vegetables.  "If there's anything I can help you with, let me know", the pleasant lady behind the counter said with a cheerful smile. "OK", I answered.   It smelled wonderful in there, and I found myself feeling somewhat hungry.  But, after wandering around for about 15 minutes, I noticed, to my surprise, although the produce stand was chock full of produce, there were no bathtubs for sale in the entire place.  "You don't have any bathtubs?"  I asked.  The pleasant lady behind the counter stared at me in disbelief.  "Uh, well, no.  This is a produce store."

Seriously.  No bathtubs in the produce store?   Go figure.  Well, anyway, I really did not go to a produce store to look for a bathtub.  But it amazes me how many people it seems that would.   I encounter them every day.  And a few days ago I encountered two.   Two in the same day.  Imagine that.  

I had been open for about an hour so far that day.  It started off slow in the morning, relatively speaking, and I had time to clean cases, straighten up my tables, dust, and do various other "shop-beautification" type tasks.   I was busy doing those kinds of things when a lady walked in and started looking at some of the jewelry in the cases.  My store is a rock and prospecting shop, but I have an entire section devoted to handmade jewelry featuring set stones and rocks in some form or another, wire-wrapped, bezel set, cabbed, etc.  I looked up from what I was doing and said, "If there is anything I can help you with, let me know."  I don't try to hard-sell people in my store.  I like to let them browse in peace.   

She picked up several different necklaces and looked at them, and then put them back down.  I walked over to the jewelry cases, and said, " Is there anything particular you are looking for today?"  She put put down the necklace she had in her hand, looked at me, and said, "A percolator."   Now, not much surprises me these days, but I have to admit, that answer caught me off guard.   "A what?"  I asked.    "A Percolator", she replied.   "You mean for coffee?"  "Yes, to make coffee", she said, as if I was the idiot who didn't know what a percolator was.    After pausing to let the brain to mouth filter kick in before I said anything, I finally replied, "This is a rock shop, maam."   She looked around and said, "Yeah, I noticed all the rocks.   No percolators, though, huh?"     "Uh, no".

She turned to leave, as if aggravated with me- for not having a percolator for sale in a rock shop, I guess.   Trying to save some repoire with her- this is a small town after all- I joked, "Hey, have you heard about Coffee Pot Rock in Sedona?"  She was not amused.   I gave up.   I pointed to the vendor booth next to mine and said, "Try next door. He has everything."

A little later, I was working on placing some orders, and an older gentleman walked in.  He wandered around aimlessly for a few minutes, then stopped to look at some rockhounding books.  I greeted him and told him that if he didn't see what he was looking for to let me know, because I could probably order it for him.  He turned and smiled.  "Really?"  he said.  "Well I am looking for a coffee table."   Hmm.   A coffee table.  In a rock shop.   I thought about something a friend had told me- don't ever say I can't- say I will try.  So  I took a different approach with him than with my earlier customer.  I smiled and said, "A coffee table, huh?  Well I've been to Table Rock in South Carolina- does that count?  There's also a Table Rock in North Carolina, one in Oregon, and one in Missouri. Which one of those will work for you?"  He laughed.

Then I said, "So, anyway, what kind of coffee table?"  His face lit up and he started telling me all about this coffee table he wanted- the style, the color of the wood, the length, the height, and all the reasons why he wanted that particular coffee table.  I just listened to him describe his perfect coffee table, and then, when he was through, I said, "Well, while I don't have any coffee tables for sale right now, let me get your name and number.  I'll put it in The 'I'm Looking For...' Book and if I hear of one somewhere or someone brings one here, I'll call you.  OK?"   "Sure", he said.   "Thanks".

I wrote down his name and number in the back of a notebook- it was official-looking enough that it could have been an "I'm Looking For..." book.  He smiled and then went on his way wandering aimlessly into other vendors booths.   I snickered.   I didn't have an "I'm Looking For..." Book before he walked into my booth.  But that day I created one.   And I made a man happy because I told him I would call him if I happened to come across a coffee table one of these days.   Hmmm.   And now, a few days later, that book has three pages full of people's names and what they are looking for, regardless of whether it has anything to do with rocks.

Yesterday I said to a lady in my booth, "Anything you are looking for, just let me know."  She snickered and said, "Anything?"  "Yes, maam," I said.   "Anything."    "I'll put you in The "I'm Looking For..." Book."  She seemed curious.   "The What Book?" she asked.   I picked up the Book and showed it to her.  I opened it to the first page...the one with the man looking for the coffee table.   Everyone in this book is looking for something. She looked at the page.  "A coffee table?"  she mused.  "You don't have coffee tables.  You are a rock shop."    "Yep, but someday I might hear about one, and if I do, I know someone who is looking for one."   She smiled, asked me for a business card.  She never did tell me what she was looking for, but I'm sure she will someday.

And so, while at the moment, I don't have any percolators or coffee tables in stock, I do have lots of other cool stuff.   Two beautiful specimens of petrified wood came in, one from Nevada and one from Wyoming, and some awesome ammonite fossils.  I have lots of beautiful Chrysacolla in Ryholite, and some cool pieces of malachite from here in the desert in Arizona.   There is a case full of fossils:  Petoskey stone, fossilized coral, petrified palm wood, and trilobites. There are shells from Florida, copper nuggets from Michigan,  chalcedony from California, and Wonderstone from Utah.   There is a table full of elk hides and leather.  There is Turquoise from Sleeping Beauty Mountain and Agate from the Fairburn Agate Beds.   We have silver and copper.  We have gold and gold-in-quartz.  

We have books and maps about gold and rocks.  We have magazines and DVDs about gold and rocks.   We have gold pans, gold wheels, drywashers and metal detectors.   We have polishing wheels, lapidary machines, rock tumblers, and rock saws.  We have tools, supplies, and parts.
  There is a table full of beads, bead books, bead looms, and patterns.  There are even some pre-loved jewelry displays looking for new homes.

For those of you who would rather just wear some rocks- there are four cases full of beautiful stone and bead creations from my friends Sandie and Marie.   A young local guy fills another case with his fire agate cabs- calibrated and ready to be put into a setting.  And of course there are four or five pieces of my own jewelry, and a few of my cabs.  I wish I had more of those, but, alas, I have a business to run.  Lately I haven't had much time to cut and polish rocks, which is ironic since that is why I decided to open a rock shop in the first place.

So, the moral of the story is don't ever say I can't.  Say I'll try.
And remember, whatever it is you're looking  for, let us know, even if it has nothing to do with rocks.   I'll put you in "The Book".   Come by the shop, or call, or email, or visit us online.  "Like" our Facebook page.  Follow us on Twitter.  Leave us your email so we can send you all the latest info.  Stuff comes in and goes out all the time.  You never know what we might have or be able to get, so let us hear from you.   Besides, lots of things go well with rocks.  In addition to Table Rock in South Carolina, or Coffee Pot Rock in Sedona, AZ, if you need a Chimney, there's Chimney Rock in Nebraska.  If you are looking for the Courthouse or the Jail, there is Courthouse Rock and Jail Rock, also in Nebraska.  If you are looking for needles, there are lots of those in the Black Hills of South Dakota- including one with a huge eye (for using really thick thread).  There are also some in California.  True story.  Oh, and if you ever happen to run into someone selling a coffee table, tell me.   I know a guy who's looking for one.

1 comment:

  1. Always keep your sense of humor. So far nobody has asked if I have coffee pots or tables, but I do like coffee. I also have had people ask me a lot of unrelated questions to what I do, and now I just chalk it up to good conversation and a good way to meet more people. It might surprise you how one of those people in "The Book" might have an impact on your life someday in the future. Keep doing what you do, it seems to be working. The link works great, now I need to learn how to blog. Thanks, Charlie