That’s nice for you.

“That’s nice for you”

I deserved the comment but was surprised none the less to hear it from the sales guy at the high end jewelry store. 

My New York attitude hadn’t readjusted during this short trip and I was still being overly friendly, trying to engage in conversation rather than being efficient in my words. This approach had worked in dozens of retailers representing independent watchmakers around the world, but won’t cut it here. 

The sense of community and shared appreciation for the watches in the display cases wasn’t there either. I was to be categorized as a “sale today” or “nothing” – not a friend, a friendly, or even someone to get to know.

The watch I had selected to bring to NYC and wear specifically to show I appreciated the art of independent watchmakers, could actually afford what was on display, and in fact already owned one of these brands was ignored.

Questions were answered politely but to the point. No questions were asked of me other than “what can I help you find.” One piece was taken from the case to check the price, but never offered to me to look at and review. No loupe, no tray, no gloves. No offers of water or tea indicating I was a welcome guest or that I might consider staying any longer than needed.

Don’t get me wrong – I actually like NYC. I lived here twice, visit often, and had a very nice day visiting a series of retailers all of whom made me feel welcome and engaged in conversation. Almost all offered me tea or water. I think Manhattan is an amazing place and was able to satisfy my retail therapy needs in person and over the phone. I still marvel at the ease with which a new purchase can arrive at your hotel in a few short hours from almost anywhere on the island.

The error that resulted in the deserved, surly, and “what the heck was that” response was to try to show off a bit – to show I belonged in the independent watch collecting community.

“We can’t get any <brand name here>” he said. “Too much demand”

“I know” I replied “they are very busy. I’m glad I was about to get mine before the increase in demand.”

He nodded as he recalculates the odds of me buying something versus wasting his time.

“I may actually visit their atelier this coming weekend” I continued. 

“How nice for you.” He said with an accent of sarcasm and vile. Or at least that’s how it sounds to these sensitive non-New Yorker ears.