Monday, April 14, 2008

Lost and Surprisingly Replaced

It’s rare to have a happy ending to a lost earring story, but I now have one. The credit all goes to a customer-oriented store and an artist who obviously doesn’t throw things out.

Over 10 years ago I bought a necklace and matching earrings at Appalachian Spring in Georgetown. The thing I have always loved about this store is that there is an artist behind everything they sell and many things are one-of-a-kind. In fact, they always include a card with the artist’s name when you make a purchase.

I had overlooked this jewelry for several years when it lay hidden on the bottom of my jewelry box. But then I rediscovered it when I figured out how to organize my jewelry on my door.

The last time I wore it was the Saturday when I met Reya and Mouse at Montmartre for lunch. It was only when I got home that I realized I had lost one of the earrings. I had been to services at Temple Micah that morning and to the restaurant. But calls to both failed to turn up the lost earring, which probably fell on a street in Capitol Hill.

On a whim, I called Appalachian Spring a few days later to see if they had any ideas. They said they had been able to replace lost earrings on a few occasions when the artist was still contributing to their stock. They suggested that I bring the necklace and remaining earring in so their buyer could have a look at it. (The buyer has obviously been there for a long time.)

A week or so later I got a call that the buyer had confirmed they no longer sell items made by this artist, BUT she had contacted the artist, who had agreed to consider replacing the earring.

A month had passed and I wondered if I would ever hear anything more about the lost earring when we returned from Germany to a message from Appalachian Spring: We have your replacement earring.

I now know that the artist who made the necklace and earrings is Denise Althea Graham of Radiant Shadow in Portland, Oregon. The ticket showed total charges of $35, with the following note:

I apologize for not contacting with cost beforehand. I had asked the artist to call me with cost, but I think she was so amazed she still had some of the same pearls left that it slipped her mind. I waived shipping.

Denise (the artist) had left me a hand-written note on the back of the earring card: Remember -- If you use the rubber stoppers provided, it helps prevent earring loss! (This experience has made me a rubber stopper convert, as much of a pain the neck as it is.)

What a store! Can you imagine getting customer service like this at many other stores in this day and age?

I cannot go in Appalachian Spring without buying something. And true to form, I found something beautiful to add to the collection of little things I imparted to my favorite dog-sitter. Gewels, if you are reading this, you will just have to wonder what’s in the box until I next see you!


Blogger Kristin said...

What a great experience! I've never been to Appalachian Spring but I might have to go.

5:51 PM  
Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

now there's a store and an artist who embrace the concept of customer service!

channeling sherlock, I just pulled up the picture that was taken right after lunch at montmarte: even with blowing the picture up; I could only really see one earring (the one on your right ear) since it's a dangly earring I should have been even able to see the one on the other ear even if considering the position of head and hair). I hypothesize that the earring went missing before the montmarte excursion.

8:21 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Kristin -- I think there is one in Union Station, a little closer for you.

Mouse -- How interesting! As I recall the picture was taken after lunch. It probably came off as I unwound my scarf. Who knows? Fortunately I can quit wondering as I now have a matching pair once again.

8:34 AM  
Blogger steve said...

IS IT MY $500 (Excuse me) for helping her dogsit?
I doubt it...ya'll probably don't think I did much, bit I was there in spirit..oh yeah...I was there!

9:30 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Steve -- You'll just have to work it out with Gewels. Although I think Jake would probably vote to give it all to her! He's not big on subcontractors...

10:09 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

That is certainly rare treatment of customers and beautiful unique jewelry! I have lost so many earrings and I can't work those rubber stoppers because they are too small for the limited dexterity of my hands so I always look for the lever clasps now.

Can't wait to see the jewels for Gewells!

11:15 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI -- The box doesn't contain jewels, but something pretty nonetheless! Even Jake approved! :)

7:12 AM  

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