A little over two years ago my husband and I made the mistake of purchasing our wedding rings from the Zales jewelry store in our local mall.  The rings are beautiful, so there was no mistake in the choosing of them; the mistake, rather, was believing Zales would provide decent customer service.  We knew when we bought the rings that we would have to deal with the store staff on a regular basis as we brought the rings in for their semi-annual inspection and cleaning in order to maintain the warranty on our diamonds.  Every time we bring the rings in for the inspection, the salespeople demonstrate their incompetence and rudeness.  Once their incompetence exhibited itself when the salesperson tried to give me someone else's engagement ring when I went to pick mine up!  Once they failed to notice that the top prong was no longer holding the tip of the diamond during their "inspection."  They often gave us our rings back still dripping wet with the cleaning solution.  They've signed the wrong dated blanks on the inspection forms.  They've given us our rings back without the paperwork which we then had to demand.

However, this past experience angered me the most because it demonstrates by far how completely stupid and rude the staff really are and how unconcerned they are with keeping my jewelry safe.  I mentioned earlier that the staff had once tried to give me someone else's ring rather than my own.  That really didn't surprise me because they expect you to leave your rings and your paperwork with them while you shop for about twenty minutes without giving you anything to show that the store has your rings and identify which ones are yours.  I handed them my two thousand dollars worth of diamonds and the corresponding paperwork and they handed me back....absolutely nothing.  So, if someone else happened to bring in their rings at the same time, you hoped that if they picked up their rings first they were honest people and claimed the correct rings.  It seems that the "brilliant solution" some bright Zales employee invented to deal with this problem of not being able to tell which rings belong to which people is a colored paperclip.  I walked into the store this past Saturday with my rings and paperwork wondering how irritated I was going to be when I walked back out of the store.  I gave the salesman my rings and paperwork and he handed me a yellow paperclip.  I gave him a look that said "What the hell?!"  His response was "Don't ask.  Just keep it in your pocket and bring it back with your in about twenty minutes to pick up your ring."  He then disappeared into the back with my rings.  I proceeded to return to the store where my husband was shopping to explain the situation to him.  We purchased the items he had found and returned to Zales.  The salesman with whom I had spoken earlier was busy, and I was glad of it because I wanted to talk to someone else about the paperclip situation.  A saleslady come up to us and asked if she could assist us.  I help up the yellow paperclip and told her we needed to pick up our rings.  I then asked her, "Doesn't the store have a better method of keeping up with rings that are dropped off than a paperclip?"  Her demeanor changed instantly and she replied with a snippy "It's better than nothing."   I responded "So, the best thing you can give me when I give you two thousand dollars worth of jewelry is a paperclip?!"  She then held up the paperclip and said in a belittling manner "Your two thousand dollars worth of jewelry has been on this little paperclip in the cleaning solution." 

Did she honestly think that made the situation better?  Now I know when I give them my rings they put all three of them on a little paperclip and they honestly expect that to prevent them from being taken by someone other than myself.  I don't care that the color of the paperclip holding my rings and the paperclip given to me match.  I don't know how many people saw that the salesman gave me a yellow paperclip when I dropped off my rings.  What's to prevent one of them from walking two minutes down the mall to the drug store, purchasing a box of colored paperclips for ninety-nine cents, and then proceeding to use a yellow one to claim my ring?  I happen to have a yellow paperclip sitting on my desk right now...if I take it in to Zales today would they give me someone else's diamond ring in return for it?  When you drop clothes off at the cleaners they at least give you a numbered claim ticket.  Heck, you go to the deli down the street and you're given a numbered ticket to pick up your meal.  But I drop off thousands of dollars worth of jewelry at the store where I purchased it and I'm given a paperclip. 

I've emailed Zales customer service and they are currently "researching my inquiry."  We'll see if I actually get a response before I have to take my rings in again for inspection.  If they try to give me a paperclip in return I'm going to demand they do the cleaning and inspection in my presence because I refuse to leave my wedding rings without some form of claim ticket with a Zales logo on it and a number which corresponds to a tag placed on my rings.