Buying an Engagement Ring

I'm getting married. You may congratulate me.

I asked The Question, and she said yes. I know you're supposed to buy an engagement ring first, and present it as part of the proposal, but I wasn't really prepared when the conversation happened. So, the following day, we went out to shop for rings.

After hitting a half-dozen jewelry stores, we selected a beautiful ring. Of course, I'm a guy, so all jewelry is just shiny metal and sparkly rocks to me, but I was surprised when the one she liked is the one that I probably would have bought if she wasn't along for the trip.

This was on Sunday. I put down a 20% deposit on the ring, planning to move more money into my checking account on Monday so I could pay the balance on Tuesday.

Paying the deposit took a while. The nice salesperson at the store spent several minutes trying to figure out the menus and commands in the computer system. Then, when she tried to validate my check by TeleCheck, she had to call them and stay on the line for about twenty minutes before they cleared it. She said they said that the holdup was due to my address recently changing. I received a receipt, and I told them I'd be back on Tuesday.

I made my checking-account deposit on Monday morning, and went back to the store around noon on Tuesday. The nice salesperson from Sunday wasn't working on Tuesday, so nice salesperson #2 took my receipt, and spent several minutes trying to figure out (a) what I was buying and (b) how much I owed. She eventually figured it out, and I wrote another check. She ran my check through TeleCheck, and the answer came back: Declined.

Nice salesperson #2 asked if I had recently made a deposit. I told her I had, but that the bank told me the funds would be available immediately. She suggested I visit the bank to clear things up. I asked repeatedly whether I could bring back a cashier's check or money order, but she wouldn't answer that question, instead repeatedly insisting that, because she had worked at a bank in the past, she knew that there must be some kind of hold on my account.

So I went to the bank. Nice bankerperson told me that all my funds are available, and there is no reason that my check should be declined.

So I went back to the jewelry store. Nice salesperson #2 is heading out to lunch, so I had to explain the history of this transaction to nice salesperson #3, who then spent several minutes studying my receipt and looking up computer records to figure out (a) what I was buying and (b) how much I owed. She ran my check through TeleCheck, and the answer came back: Declined.

As she was walking out the door, nice salesperson #2 suggested that #3 call TeleCheck, which she does. She's on the line for twenty minutes, but the only answer she gets is that I've been declined.

I asked whether I could just go to the bank and bring back a cashier's check, money order, or a briefcase full of cash. She asked whether I have a debit card with me.

Yes, I did have a debit card with me, but I was under the impression that it had a limit of $400 or something like that. She swiped it through her card reader, and boom, thousands of dollars were exchanged for a sparkly rock. Wow, technology is cool. So now I own the ring, but have to wait a few days for it to be resized.

It was easier to buy my last car than to buy this ring.

Lessons learned:

  • TeleCheck can bite me. I haven't used checks for retail items in a long time, but I thought a check would make sense for this large purchase. TeleCheck's validation system wasted a couple hours of my time. From now on, I'll just use credit cards for everything.
  • Jewelry store salespeople could use more training on their computer systems. All three of the salespeople I observed seemed to randomly try every menu item until they got results that seemed reasonable.
  • I'm never getting married ever again.

[UPDATE: My fiancee read this entry, made a face, and remarked, "There's no love in there at all, is there?"]