Luckily this does not happen all the time, but it does every now and then.
When it does happen, it is so painfully predictable that you can set your time by it.
A brief introduction-
You call for an appointment because there is a watch you are interested in.
Of course, before making a final decision, you would like to see and try a few more.
And that is all fine; exactly how it should be.
You arrive on time. The stock is on the table, and I am all yours - to assist you, answer your every question, clarify, guide, advise, and help in the decision making process.
Exactly what you should expect. Exactly what I am trained to do.
After 20 minutes, it becomes obvious that you are not ready to make a decision, here and now today. And that is just fine. Buying an expensive watch takes time, and sometimes it takes more than one visit to close a deal. If you are not ready to part with your cash right here and now, you are not going to break my heart.
Nor hurt my feelings, nor disappoint me. I am just a salesman, and quite frankly, I don't need to close each and every deal right here and now. If I don't have the right watch or if the right watch does not fit you, or does not meet your expectation, or the price is too high, then there is really nothing I can do for you - except to shake your hand and hopefully see you again soon.
But for some strange, unexplainable reason, 30 minutes later you are still sitting in my chair, unable to walk away from the deal which is not going to happen.
You know you are not going to buy it.
I know you are not going to buy it.
Even the next buyer who is patiently sitting in a corner waiting for his turn knows you are not going to buy it.
Yet instead of shaking my hand and saying thank you and see you next time, you have an urge to conclude the rendezvous with a silly, inappropriate, and painfully predictable sentence. A sentence, which in your mind, would perfectly explain WHY you have decided not to buy right here and now. A sentence which is totally unnecessary and equally inappropriate.
Here is my list of "The Top 6 most ridiculous closing lines":
6. "I would take it, but only if you take my Amex card with no surcharge".
I seem to recall that I have told you that I am not setup to take Amex. Three times.
Many years ago I made that business decision and I will never regret it.
Even if I could take your Amex, I cannot pay Amex a 2.8 % provision just for the sake of selling you a watch. I am not in a partnership with Amex. Amex is not in the watch business. I am not paying for your reward points. If Amex has promised you that you can use their piece of plastic in my shop to get a bunch of silly points, then you'd better call them and tell them that you can't.
But they already know that.
Once Amex brings their surcharge fee to the same level as Visa or Master Card then I may reconsider.
Until then - no food, no pets, and no Amex on my premises.
5. "I would take it, but only if you were open on Saturday/Sunday".
Another version of this excuse is, 'can you stay open until 10 pm on Monday or open at 6:30am Tuesday because that may be a better time for me.'
Business hours are called business hours because they are the time of day set apart to do business.
Otherwise you will show up at 2am like I am some crazy Seven Eleven.
Yes, I start late and finish early, but as clearly stated, we operate by appointment.
The reason is simple: our stock is secured in a safe deposit box in one of the banks and if the bank is closed, we are closed. Nothing personal, but this is just one rule I cannot change, even if I want to. Government organizations, banks, city professionals, AND many retailers are closed over the weekend. After all, you don't expect me to ring your bell at 4 am Sunday and I don't expect you to ring mine either.
4. "I would take it, but I am still not sure if the watch is original".
While all other excuses on this list are just lame excuses, this comment is plainly an insult.
You've been on my website hundreds of times, you've seen the watch, and know that watch comes with TWO legal documents to verify that the watch is genuine (tax invoice and insurance valuation). You are even a subscriber to this newsletter, but if you still feel an urge to insult me by questioning both my expertise and integrity, then you are just an idiot.
3. "I would take it, if it comes with box and papers".
This excuse makes me cry.
You are happy to be intimate with a total stranger just after 2 drinks, happy to take unmarked pills that can kill you, happy to smoke, drink, risk your life by riding a bike like a maniac on busy Sydney streets, holiday in Bali, eat in filthy, cockroach infested restaurants, yet you are so bloody determined to pass on a PERFECT watch at a fantastic price just because it does not come with a $2 cardboard box. The same cardboard box which you will store in cabinet and never see again, then lose in the next house move.
2. "I would take it, but there is a small scratch here, can you see it?".
No, I can't. That scratch exists only in your imagination.
If it was there, I would see it and remove it.
And even if there was one almost minuscule imperfection, so what?
You will scuff or scratch that watch by Friday anyway.
And guess what Mr Perfect: even brand new watches often come with small scuff marks or light discoloration.
This is just the nature of the MATERIAL world we live in.
If you can't accept reality then you don't really need a watch.
Or a car. Or a pet, partner, neighbor.
What you need is a trip to Bangladesh or Pakistan and a good dose of hard, unapologetic, uncoated reality.
1. "I would take it, but I can't until I first talk to my wife"
You are supposed to be in Paris. But you hope that a 800 Euros detour to Cannes charged to the company Amex will most likely be overlooked.
La Palme d'Or, the two Michelin star restaurant, overlooking the Riviera, is all as per your expectation -cuisine délicate et raffinée.
Oysters with local the local ballet. Two tables away, an Angelina Jolie look-alike.
A minute later, she waves, signalling that she would like you to join her table.
Yes she is. Brad and the kids are still in LA, arriving late tomorrow.
"Why me...?" you want to ask, but your lips are not moving.
Slowly and patiently, she reveals the reason for this sudden invitation.
She could not help but to notice your TAG Carrera.
A sign of sophistication, good taste, and strong character - the three ultimate virtues she regards so highly.
But she is in a need of help and she hopes that you may be the right person to get her out of trouble. With bit of sadness, and a shadow of embarrassment for having to ask a favor form a stranger, she opens her heart.
Just few hours ago, a dozen of Patek watches were delivered to her and she now needs to choose one to wear at tomorrow's premiere. A watch aficionado and gentleman like yourself should be able to easily recommending the right one, but there is a small problem. Instead of delivery to hotel, there was a bit of mix up, and the watches are now on her yacht, anchored 3 kilometers south. Of course, it is only a five minutes flight by helicopter over the indigo blue Mediterranean sea (you can now hear the roar of the helicopter). But the weather is getting worse and she is worried that she may have to ask you to stay the night on her yacht. Or at least until breakfast. If this is not too much of an inconvenience, of course.
Now, you are left with a few choices.
For the rest of your life, you will either be remembered in horological circles as the jerk who refused to help poor Angelina, or the jerk who said, "Sure - I'll be happy to help, but let me just call my wife first and ask for her approval".
The truth is simple. At 4:30AM Sydney time, your wife just does not care about you, or about the Pateks or even about Angelina, so don't use her as a lame excuse.
And the painful truth is that Angelina does not care either.
So you better put on your best smile and crack an Aussie joke while running to the helipad, or you will be remembered as the time-wasting embarrassment to all men down under and every single watch owner on the planet.
And on that 18 hours flight home, you can only kid yourself that Carl from accounting will not pick up on those 800 Euros on next statement.
C'est la vie mon amie.
I am not Angelina. And you should not make excuses.
But if you foolishly insist, then pick the least embarrassing: tell the truth.