Jewellers Reveal Stories Of People Buying Engagement Rings – Then Promptly Returning Them.
It can be either one of the happiest or most heart wrenching days of your life the day you propose to your partner. Not only have you bought this beautiful and usually expensive ring, but you're putting everything on the line for the one you love.
Well, things don't always go as planned. These jewellers share stories of the not-so-lucky ones who end up returning the wedding ring, instead of having a partner wearing it for eternity.
1/20. I've been in this business for over 10 years, and I've sold enough engagement rings that I really have no idea how many are out there at this point. Sooner or later, this is bound to happen. I've had it happen a few times. Here's the worst story.
A couple comes in together (let's call them Mike and Stephanie). Mike is ready to spend about $20k, which is a LOT of money for a young couple, and I'm showing them rings in that range, but Stephanie keeps pushing for more, and more, and MORE. Finally, with enough begging, pleading, smiles, and thinly veiled sexual promises, she talks him into a 3 carat center diamond, with an elaborate setting, for around $30k. Honestly, I don't feel great about having to witness this whole exchange, but at the end of the day, it's none of my business, so I complete the transaction.
About 3 weeks later, Stephanie comes to my office alone. I assume she needs the ring re-sized or something, but instead she asks me if I can remove the center diamond and replace it with a CZ (cubic zirconia, a very cheap diamond substitute). I'm surprised, so I stammer "sure, but why? Are you traveling or something and don't want to risk the stone?" She responds that it's nothing like that, she just prefers to have the CZ in there for now.
Obviously, every red flag in existence is waving in front of my eyes at this point, so I say OK, take her ring, and tell her she can come back in a day or two to pick it up with the CZ in it. But as soon as she's out the door, I'm dialing Mike. After all, HE'S the one who wrote me a $30k check, so HE'S my customer, not HER. Mike picks up, and after a moment of small talk, I ask him if he knows what Stephanie is up to. "NO!" is the shocked response.
Mike called me back the next day and told me that apparently Stephanie was planning to call off the engagement and return the ring, but keep the 3 carat diamond. He was obviously very upset, and asked me if I could give him a refund. I offered my sympathy, and gave him back his money. Needless to say, he was very grateful that I had called him.
About 2 years later, Mike came back with another woman who I liked much better. They're happily married with two kids now. Mike and I have become friends, and he's probably referred me 10+ other customers over the years. As for Stephanie, after she left my office that day, I never saw her again.
2/20. I only worked in jewelry for about a year and a half and it only happened once, but I had known the guy for about 12 years, putting us both in our mid 20's. He had a ring on layaway for about 3 months making payments, came in Christmas Eve to make the final payment and left the happiest man alive. Came back Boxing Day and I said "Hey! How did it go!" thinking he was in to get it re-sized to fit her finger.
I figured it out when he wouldn't even look me in the eye and walked right past me so a co-worker would help him instead.
She was his daughter's mother and instead of spending the rest of their lives together, she broke up with him on Christmas when he proposed.
3/20. I worked at a jewelry store in a mall close to my community college, and while my time there was short, I have experienced someone returning a ring.
It was the week of Mothers day and he was the first person I was able to sell diamonds to since I had finished my diamond certification course, or whatever its called. Anyway, he told me and my boss he wanted to propose to his girlfriend, who also happens to be the mother of his 2 or 3 year old son. He picked out the diamond that was a specialty diamond to the store (story continued on the next page...).
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After he purchased it I hadn't seen him for about a month, when he walked into the store asking to speak to my boss. After about 10 minutes and a sorrowful shoulder grab my boss started the return. Come to find out, his fiance had said yes but then I guess guilt started to settle in cause she wasn't sure if her son was his. Worst part about it all is he helped raise the child from day one and involved him in the proposal.
4/20. Back when I worked at a pawn shop there was this guy that came in all the time to buy jewelry for his live in girlfriend. He worked on offshore rigs and when he got home, he'd pick up something small and nice for his gf to show her he missed her.
Well one day he came in wanting a ring. Said he felt it was finally time. Awesome! We pick out this great ring that he knows she'll love, and off he goes. Says he's going to surprise her with it that night.
That night, I'm still at work. He comes in looking pissed. Apparently this time he came in after he told her he was heading back to the rig and he'd see her in a few weeks. He go the ring, then went back to the house to surprise her with the proposal, and tell her he had a few weeks off instead. He walked in on her and one of his best friend going at it. Not even an hour after he had left.
He asked if he could return it. I said yes. He asked if he could spend the cash right then, I said yes. He asked if he could look at our shotguns, I said no. I didn't want any part of that. He left, never saw him again.
5/20. I had to return my engagement ring. We were young and dumb and thought we were making mad bank. A stupid expensive ring? Sure, we have 12 months to pay it off.
Two weeks after we bought it, he gets laid off. We returned the ring and used the money for the down payment to move across the country.
Three years later I have a new ring. It isn't cheap, but something we could definitely afford.
6/20. I used to work in a pawn shop during the summers between college. We would say that once a week would get someone coming in to sell engagement rings that were turned down. It was always sad because my boss knew that he could get them for a cheaper price because the people just wanted to get rid of the rings. The poor souls would usually leave with around half the money the ring was worth just to move on.
7/20. I sold jewelry years ago as a second job. One guy will always come to mind. He was young, very shy, and only after seeing him a couple of times, and becoming friendly. He would come into the store once a week and look at the rings. When he finally settled on one, we put it on lay-away, and he would still come by to look at it each week. I came to really like him, he was a good and decent man.
We counted the days together, each week, we counted down to his big night.
The day he came and picked up the ring, I remember putting it in the fanciest box we had. I wished him well and off he went. When I didn't see him the following week, I just smiled, knowing he was happy.
But then he came back a month later (story continued on the next page...).
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About a month later, he came back carrying the little bag. He said, "Can I give it back, Charlie?" I asked him what happened and he told me that she said no. I didn't ask any more questions.
I would have done anything to fix him at that moment, but I knew that there wasn't anything I could do or say to make him feel better. So I just told him that I was sorry and I rang up his return. As he was leaving, I said, "She has no idea what she's missing." I never saw him again.
8/20. Not a jeweller but I did return and engagement ring. The ex-fiancee and I had broken up for good in December of 2005 and I had held onto the ring because I was an idiot ("There's still and chance man!"). The following St. Patrick's day I decided to pawn the ring to get some booze money to go to a party with this girl I had been seeing since the middle of February. Pawn store clerk hands me a receipt with the invoice number and he notices that the last three numbers were 666. I thought that was pretty fitting. Best part is that the girl I was getting booze money for became my wife three years later I now have a beautiful daughter.
9/20. I worked at a jewelry store for 2 years. I'd say 1 out of every 15 rings we sold would be returned. I actually got pretty good at picking out the couples whose relationship wouldn't make it to the wedding. Its the little things that indicate couples are in love; holding hands, smiling, showing each other respect. The couples that were snippy at each other usually didn't make it.
10/20. Just out of university I ended up working in a jewellery store.
Now I mostly did the paperwork, but I did do sales occasionally too. One day a friend from high school came in. He'd been dating the same girl for the past 8 years and it was no surprise at all that he was going to propose.
So I started walking him through the rings. But the store had this stupid policy of the salespeople having more experience being allowed to lay claim to all the diamond sales. So Linda comes along and physically pushes me out of the diamond case and says that she'll take over (story continued on the next page...).
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Uh, no. We've known each other for 10 years, and I've been friends with the girl he's choosing the ring for since I was a toddler. He stands his ground and says he'll only buy from me, because he trusts me and he wants me to get the commission.
Well, Linda is pissed. Let me tell you. So she pulls me aside and says she'll 'help' with the sale. Now, I'd gone through diamond sales training and had the certificate at this point. There was no reason at all I couldn't do it by myself. But out manager was an idiot and she didn't care about rules. (She let one guy 'borrow' 2 carat diamond earrings overnight to wear to a party. Yes, you read that right.)
So I go back to my friend and Linda hovers over us. Eventually we pick a ring we both think my friend will like.
When we go to ring it up, my manager and Linda again physically push me away from the till and put it under Linda's number. My friend sees this and gets rather upset. I am told very harshly by my manager that since Linda is on the clock the sale has to be hers.
I just cave and let them do it. My friend is not happy, but he takes the ring.
A week later, after the proposal, they both come into the store. I give them congratulations and hugs and we chat for a few. Linda's looking really smug.
Except my friend isn't wearing the ring. She's wearing a different one. One from the store across the hall. I look at it and it's a beautifully designed ring, I would have chosen it too if we'd had anything like it.
So guess who's looking smug now? The three of us turn to Linda and we do the return.
Screw you, Linda.
11. I worked/work odd days here and there in a jewellery shop. Because I'm not full time and only do the odd day, I don't often get to see the outcomes, however there was one, fairly amusing time that I did.
The guy was young, late teens or maybe early twenties, and looked like a typical chav type. He went on and on about how much he loved his girlfriend, and how he wanted the perfect ring for her. I showed him a few, and each time he asked if we had anything cheaper. Finally, he settled on a 50 silver and cubic zirconia dress ring. Now, I'm not saying price should matter that much when it comes to engagement rings, but this was ridiculous, and the ring even looked cheap and tacky. Anyway, off the guy went, only to return literally a few hours later to return the ring because she'd (unsurprisingly) said no. He brushed it off, made comments about her being rude and such.
Then he topped it all off by trying to hit on me.
12. Not a jeweller, but from the guys point of view:
Went shopping for a ring. Found a great one. Picked it out, was going to pick it up after work on Monday.
Halfway through Monday, I get laid off, and have to return the ring so I can use the money to move across the country.
The jewellers were super nice about it and gave me my deposit back and everything, and called occasionally wishing me luck in finding a new job.
Sucked big time.
13. It's better to return a ring than to give it to your next girlfriend! Don't do this, please.
My ex, who was obsessed with the 'idea' of me (not the 'real' me), decided to propose and bought a cartier engagement ring. I overheard him talking to his mother (he still lived at home at 35 and she still ironed his underpants). After a few serious alarm bells, I finally got the courage to leave him before he got the chance to propose.
Anyway, he was upset about this break up and started frequenting my uni library. He saw a girl who has my hair colour and style and starts to chat to her. Turns out her name is the same as mine. They start dating and he turns her into a mini me, taking her to our holiday places and posing her in identical poses. They buy a dog the same breed as mine (he hated animals and was allergic) and CALLS IT THE SAME NAME AS MY DOG! He proposes and gives her the ring he chose for me.
A year after our breakup he 'bumps' into me, and was so proud to tell me their story. Yuk yuk yuk. Return the darn ring and get the poor girl her own.
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14. My brother in law is a jeweller. He told me that he can always tell when someone is going to return the ring. If the man and the woman are WAY off on how much to spend, it's over. In his experience, it's mostly the women who want to spend over 10 grand. When the guy wants to spend a few hundred and the woman wants to get a 2nd mortgage, it's over.
The other one is when the woman is buying the ring instead of the man. He says he sees it often and they used to take bets on when she would be coming back to try and return the ring. They don't do that anymore because most of the time the woman came back within a few months to return it.
15. I noticed an exchange on our sales report that was a fancy expensive wedding set that was traded for a nice gold Rolex.
He probably came out ahead there.
16. I sold jewelry for almost a year at a retail store and frequently we'd have young men come in (sometimes really drunk) to buy engagement rings for their girlfriends and they'd come back in a few days to return it. Personally, I guess because of my age and that I'm a woman, these men felt like I needed to hear about their "annoying girlfriends" and how they tried to mend their relationships with an engagement.
17. Not a jeweller or an employee of a jewelry store, but the unfortunate chump that had to wind up returning an engagement ring. After moving across Canada to chase who I thought was going to be my wife I found out she was cheating on me. Roughly 6 months earlier I had spent what savings I had buying the engagement ring that she wanted from a rather well known chain jewelry store in Canada. Well to make a long story short they wouldn't take it back, as much as I fought with them they pretty much told me I was S.O.L. I wound up selling it privately and losing roughly 5k in the deal.
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18. I have a friend who broke off the engagement and kept her ring anyway, convincing herself that she was owed it.
19. I worked at a pawn shop owned by a friend's relatives for a short time and the thing that comes to mind when I read this thread is the time I probably ruined a relationship.
A lady came in one day with a ring, she asked if we could appraise saying "He said he spent $5000 on it, I want to check to make sure" I thought it was funny, so I took the ring in the back, Checked the gold - fake Checked the diamonds - all fake
Head back to the lady and hand it to her saying it's definitely not $5k more like costume jewelry. Needless to say she was PISSED, stormed out of the store yelling "I'm gonna kill him!" I chuckled and went about my day.
20. I bought an engagement ring today. Finding this thread is not good luck.
Breaking up is hard to do.
And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.
People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.