Wednesday, February 27, 2013

15 Stories project: Mr Grey the Goldsmith, part II

If you missed the first part of this story, please read it here: Mr. Grey the Goldsmith, Part I

To continue...the year is now 1996...

The last six months of my employment with 
Mr. Grey the Goldsmith were rather uncomfortable. He wasn't dealing well with the pressures of his personal life or his business and his behavior became more manic and erratic.

At the same time,
I was growing restless. I was making about $2 over minimum wage while friends working on jewelers row in Philadelphia were making twice as much.  I still needed to work full time for Mr. Grey the Goldsmith plus part-time as a waitress so I could support myself (and my budding business). He had given me a few small raises over the almost two years of my employment, but it still wasn't enough. I had gently danced around asking for another raise with no luck---He didn't seem to have a desire or the resources to compensate me for what (I thought) I was worth.

I believe the beginning of my end with 
Mr. Grey the Goldsmith, ironically (or is it coincidentally), started when I got engaged. I don't remember whether Mr. Grey the Goldsmith offered to help us find a diamond or if I asked him for his help. Either way, he contacted his diamond dealer and had him bring over some diamonds for us to look at. After much thought and debate (about whether we even wanted a diamond), Ben and I decided on a beautiful Lazare Kaplan diamond, slightly under a carat. Mr. Grey the Goldsmith told me how much it would cost and I went home to have Ben write a check. (Which was way more money than we should have been spending at that time.)

In the meantime, I discovered that Mr. Grey the Goldsmith was making a profit off my diamond. He had added an additional $500 to the price of the diamond rather than just selling it to me at cost. Now, since...
  • I had been working for Mr. Grey the Goldsmith for over a year and a half and...
  • I wasn't making much money working for him and... 
  • I had to tolerate his strange behaviors...
I found the fact that he was adding on a "finders fee" terribly hurtful! I felt violated and taken advantage of. So on the day that I handed him the check, I told him that my feelings were hurt that he was charging me extra for the stone. Well...he did not have a very good reaction to my confession. His face turned beet red, he stood up from behind his computer screen and ripped the check up into tiny bits of confetti. (Oh, and I never did get a diamond.---There is a little more to the engagement stone story but it's not really relevant here.)

Yep, that was the beginning of the end.
A few weeks later the finale happened.

As I said, 
Mr. Grey the Goldsmith's behavior had became more erratic in those last months. On this day in mid December, he had an argument on the phone with one of his best customers. The customer, a local jewelry store owner, was complaining about the price of a custom piece Mr. Grey the Goldsmith had made for him. Mr. Grey the Goldsmith was screaming into the telephone, told the customer to F**k off and slammed down the phone.

I can not remember why I chose this volatile day to talk to Mr. Grey the Goldsmith about my financial situation---but I did. Did I plan on talking to him on that day anyway? Was I just looking for a fight? Who knows.

  • I remember standing in front of his desk as he stared into the computer screen.
  • I don't remember my exact words but I do remember being very calm and matter of fact.
  • I remember explaining to him that the salary I was receiving wasn't enough for me to pay all my bills. I told him that I feared that I would have to get another job to make ends meet.
That's when all hell broke loose. 
The events that followed are fuzzy but this is what I remember...
  • Once again, his face turned beet red.
  • He started ranting about how everyone was out to get him...his customers, his wife and me...
  • He began to throw things. When the stapler went flying I started to get scared.
I said nothing. I was just thinking,
"He's carrying a gun and he is completely wigging out. Is he going to shoot me in a blind rage?"

I said nothing. I simply packed up my things, left the building and went to my scheduled dentist appointment----since I was about to lose my health insurance and all. A few weeks before Christmas and I was out of a full-time job---but at least I didn't get shot!

Life is always full of surprises, a month later I received some great news...
To be continued...


metalmusing said...

You and your cliff hangers!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great story!

Anonymous said...

Great story!