Shopping consultants - Beware!

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#1
135 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
I've learned over the past few years that the onboard shopping "consultants" are actually funded by the big stores (e.g. Diamonds International, Cariloha, etc) and to take their "recommendations" very lightly because they are only recommending the stores that pay them.

Unfortunately, my experiences on a recent NLC cruise hit a new low with them recently.

We were looking at a piece with a $13.5K price. I asked for their "best price" and they came back with $10K. We're thinking about it, wandering around a bit and the shopping consultant approaches us and we chat a bit. She says the most I'll get them to come down is another 10% but probably won't get that much. Also tells me we're dealing with the manager so, we'll get the best possible price. We go back and ask if they can do any better, they come down to $8900. We talk back and forth, my wife is still unsure and finally I say "can you do $8K, I think I can talk my wife into $8K". They go off, supposedly have to call NY (yeah, sure), my wife says to me "No, don't want to spend that much now", I tell them "never mind", but they quickly say "OK, $8K". We apologized and left. Later that afternoon, we see the shopping consultant again - she tells us she's been looking for us and the store is willing to give us an even better price (we didn't go back).

So the trusted shopping consultant tried to convince us the absolute best price was going to be $9K. We got them to $8K and apparently, they were ready to go even lower and they sent her out to find us.

The lesson: Don't trust the shopping consultants and make sure you keep pushing for a lower price. I got a 13.5K piece down to $8K and can't help but wonder how much further they would go.
#3
303 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by Keith1010
Excellent writeup. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Keith
Shopping consultants are like contractors. Some good and some not so good. Let the buyer beware.

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#4
4,595 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Hmm, I wouldn't spend $8k on a piece of jewelry overseas unless I had done so much research that I would have known what to get down to, and even then would have been weary.
#5
Nashville, TN (we moved, again)
21,021 Posts
Joined Dec 2003
I will never, ever get why people buy expensive stuff overseas. Two biggest are jewelry including watches, and so called art. There are so many places to buy stuff right here at home. Places that you can go back to if there is a problem.

And, isn't it amazing that there are jewelry stores at all these tourist spots - from Disney hotels, to Caribbean ports to Alaska.

Thanks to OP for sharing.
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#6
135 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
To the 2 recent comments about "why buy overseas":

First, your comments aren't really relevant to the thesis of the base note which is directed at those that are already of the mind to buy overseas. But, this is Crusie Critic and comments going off topic is common, so I'll go along and comment.

We have found that the Carribean shops have far better selection than you find in stores in the US, except for the chain stores in the malls. As for the chain stores in the malls, the Carribean stores beat those prices every time. We have purchased fine jewelry in the past and always had them appraised by a local trusted jeweler and we've always been very pleased with the result.

That all being said, one of the reasons my wife was reluctant was exactly 1025Ccruise had said - we hadn't done enough research. But that's the difference between my wife and I
#7
AZ
182 Posts
Joined Sep 2016
Since my fiancee works in Sales, we always make it a point to go to the Diamonds International presentation on the ship so she (and me, to an extent) can observe what they do and see if we win any of the door prizes.


  • We've seen their reps tell the attendees "Now I want you to turn to page 3 of your guide and write 8:30 AM Priority Tender at the top" and the attendees respond, like Stepford Cruisers, by turning to page 3 and dutifully writing it down.
  • We've seen reps recommend bringing multiple forms of payment because they remember that one lady who couldn't buy a $10,000 ring because her credit card was maxed out and boy wasn't she lucky to have brought a second card (PRO TIP: If you max out your credit card at a Diamonds International in some foreign land, you're adulting wrong).
  • We've seen their reps tell people to be sure and buy that diamond you like from the first port because if you see one at a later port that you like more, you can just return the first one for full credit and buy the second (which also means that you may well be buying USED jewelry when you shop there -- lightly used, but still used).
  • We've rolled our eyes when they explain "Now remember to have your VIP card handy because this card tells the Diamonds International staff that you're a smart cruiser who knows what a good deal really is" (No, it just tells the Diamonds International staff that you're a credulous sucker they can rip off).
  • We've been appalled at their telling people "Diamonds International's warranty includes a 48-hour return period if you don't like what you bought for any reason" when the warranty listed in the guide clearly states that "Buyer's Remorse" is NOT a valid reason for a return.
Needless to say, we stick around long enough to see if we've won anything, then high-tail it out of there (by which point the presentation is largely done and the DI spokesdroid is repeating themselves). While we've thought periodically about working in sales on a cruise ship (she'd be the seller and I'd be the bookkeeper/assistant/whatever-you-call-the-other-dude-who's-not-selling), it would be at the art auction, not Diamonds International. We have to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror every morning and like who we see looking back at us.
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#8
135 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by RaiderDuck
Since my fiancee works in Sales, we always make it a point to go to the Diamonds International presentation on the ship
I love the term "Diamonds International presentation" - because that certainly is what it is.
#9
645 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
On my last cruise I decided to go to one of these shopping presentations. It was supposed to be for Alaska shopping. Well it wasn’t. They only really talked about jewelry which I had no interest. Never again.


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#10
AZ
182 Posts
Joined Sep 2016
Originally posted by KarimaJ
On my last cruise I decided to go to one of these shopping presentations. It was supposed to be for Alaska shopping. Well it wasn’t. They only really talked about jewelry which I had no interest. Never again.
That's how we got roped into attending our first DI presentation: We were at the big exercise center giveaway/spa sales pitch and the Cruise Director stopped by to say "At 2PM there will be a presentation in the theater about the ports we'll be stopping at and how to get good deals on the local merchandise." We figured it'd be a presentation on local customs, how to haggle, etc. Nope. It was hard sell on how great Diamonds International is and how your life will never be complete unless you're wearing an expensive-ass watch (I haven't regularly worn a wristwatch in years), and here are all the Diamonds International shops at the ports, blah blah blah.
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#11
Columbia, MD USA
2,951 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Originally posted by 1025cruise
Hmm, I wouldn't spend $8k on a piece of jewelry overseas unless I had done so much research that I would have known what to get down to, and even then would have been weary.
That's my feeling exactly. Even with the research how can you be sure exactly what you are buying.
#12
1,081 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Originally posted by garycarla
I will never, ever get why people buy expensive stuff overseas. Two biggest are jewelry including watches, and so called art. There are so many places to buy stuff right here at home. Places that you can go back to if there is a problem.

And, isn't it amazing that there are jewelry stores at all these tourist spots - from Disney hotels, to Caribbean ports to Alaska.

Thanks to OP for sharing.
I agree with you.

But, my inlaws have been dealing with a jewelry store for years in STT that they love. My BIL even bought an engagement ring from them on the phone and it was everything it was cracked up to be.
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#13
45 minutes from Port Canaveral
337 Posts
Joined Mar 2013
I have to add here that some friends of ours have gotten some really nice jewelry at good prices in the Caribbean, but they worked at a local jewelry store for years and know what to look for and what a good price is. I admit do I love the look on the salesperson's face when my friend pulls out his loupe and starts examining the stones. It's usually a cross between surprise and horror.....
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#14
CA
1,484 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by PATRLR
To the 2 recent comments about "why buy overseas":

First, your comments aren't really relevant to the thesis of the base note which is directed at those that are already of the mind to buy overseas. But, this is Crusie Critic and comments going off topic is common, so I'll go along and comment.

We have found that the Carribean shops have far better selection than you find in stores in the US, except for the chain stores in the malls. As for the chain stores in the malls, the Carribean stores beat those prices every time. We have purchased fine jewelry in the past and always had them appraised by a local trusted jeweler and we've always been very pleased with the result.

That all being said, one of the reasons my wife was reluctant was exactly 1025Ccruise had said - we hadn't done enough research. But that's the difference between my wife and I
In the age of the Internet, "not enough selection" isn't really a valid argument anymore. Now, being on a cruise, internet access is a bit harder to have, but if you're dropping that much on something, no reason you can't step away, do some quick research, and then come back if you really want it. That said, the only thing that likely will be "gone" before you get a chance to do any research is art, but art usually can't be researched to any good specificity in price anyways. Jewelry can. You get the basic price of gold/diamonds/jewels beforehand, and a few sample prices from "name brand" designers and you can get a ballpark of what you should be paying. Any "big" designer can be bought on shore. That said, I don't recall any "brands" on a cruise ship that deserve a "designer" premium, but I haven't sailed Norwegian before.

IMO, just think of it as a casual splurge. Like overpaying for a drink or meal. You do it more for the experience with no real thought about the price. Cuz if you need to consider the price, then just buy it back home. Diamonds especially. If it's got any diamond bigger than a filler diamond, just get it from BlueNile.com or Good Old Gold or your local shop if you've got a good relationship already.
#15
2,083 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
Originally posted by geegee1
my inlaws have been dealing with a jewelry store for years in STT that they love. My BIL even bought an engagement ring from them on the phone and it was everything it was cracked up to be.
I've also been dealing with a jeweler in STT for over 10 years. We're very pleased with the quality and value. We've been doing business so long they'll even send me pieces on approval.

When once questioned over why they don't advertise on the ships, our jeweler said they'd rather pass the savings on to the buyer.
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#16
1,117 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
i had a similar experience.

i went to DI in cozumel (the one right at the pier). that was the location where the consultant was working. i found a necklace i LOVED. price tag was $3750. I couldnt swing it. they came down to $3500 and i said no thanks.

we then walked the entire storefront of cozumel. At the second DI, i saw the same necklace, this time priced at $3000. they offered me $2500. i said no thanks.

we then hit the third DI. same necklace was around $2500. I said no thanks (at this point, we saw what was happening and knew there was a fourth DI).

We then proceeded to the fourth DI. at this one, the necklace was about $2100. Knowing this was the last stop, i said look, ive seen this necklace now four times today, price consistently dropping. I said if they would take $1500 cash id buy it right then and there.

they then did the usual dog and pony show with the calculator, "calls to the higher ups" and i walked out with the necklace for $1500.
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#17
strasburg, oh
102 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Originally posted by PATRLR
I've learned over the past few years that the onboard shopping "consultants" are actually funded by the big stores (e.g. Diamonds International, Cariloha, etc) and to take their "recommendations" very lightly because they are only recommending the stores that pay them.

Unfortunately, my experiences on a recent NLC cruise hit a new low with them recently.

We were looking at a piece with a $13.5K price. I asked for their "best price" and they came back with $10K. We're thinking about it, wandering around a bit and the shopping consultant approaches us and we chat a bit. She says the most I'll get them to come down is another 10% but probably won't get that much. Also tells me we're dealing with the manager so, we'll get the best possible price. We go back and ask if they can do any better, they come down to $8900. We talk back and forth, my wife is still unsure and finally I say "can you do $8K, I think I can talk my wife into $8K". They go off, supposedly have to call NY (yeah, sure), my wife says to me "No, don't want to spend that much now", I tell them "never mind", but they quickly say "OK, $8K". We apologized and left. Later that afternoon, we see the shopping consultant again - she tells us she's been looking for us and the store is willing to give us an even better price (we didn't go back).

So the trusted shopping consultant tried to convince us the absolute best price was going to be $9K. We got them to $8K and apparently, they were ready to go even lower and they sent her out to find us.

The lesson: Don't trust the shopping consultants and make sure you keep pushing for a lower price. I got a 13.5K piece down to $8K and can't help but wonder how much further they would go.
I had a similar experience at the flea market in Cancun Mexico. I was looking at a $300 necklace and offered $150. We haggled for a bit but they would only come down to $250. A couple of hours later the jewelry store owner tracked me down in the flea market and said they would accept $150. It was too late by then because I had already spent all of my money
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#18
135 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Originally posted by codex57
In the age of the Internet, "not enough selection" isn't really a valid argument anymore.
That's a matter of personal preference. For me, fine jewelry purchases include an emotional component (e.g. "I love it"). I'm not going to get that online. It's great that it works for you and I am sure many others, but, that doesn't work for me.
#19
Cincinnati
3,109 Posts
Joined Jun 2012
Originally posted by pebbles1102
I had a similar experience at the flea market in Cancun Mexico. I was looking at a $300 necklace and offered $150. We haggled for a bit but they would only come down to $250. A couple of hours later the jewelry store owner tracked me down in the flea market and said they would accept $150. It was too late by then because I had already spent all of my money


I absolutely hate haggling. What I end up doing in Mexico is looking at the item I want; asking the price, then say ‘no’ and walk away. They start lowering the price and keep shaking my head until they get to the price that the item is worth to me (at least half price, sometimes 25% of the original price).

I agree with the others; in terms of jewelry and art - unless you are knowledgeable enough about the product to appraise it yourself, I wouldn’t pay more than the item is worth to you. As in, you like the item, are willing to pay x for the item. And if you get home and find out the item is ‘worthless’ you aren’t upset. You are paying for the enjoyment of the item as opposed to perceived value. Lying in stores in port and on the ship seems to be an epidemic; and it just takes a simple forum search to find out how hard it is to return these items.


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#20
192 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
We were on a land vacation in Cancun years ago heading to the shopping mall when a local guy on the street told us not to go because it was a cruise ship day and all the prices were double the usual amount. We didn't believe this and went anyway but didn't buy. Went back the next day and sure enough every store had one big sign up "Today everything 50 percent off".

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