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Old 24 November 2010, 12:11 AM
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Ponder Jewelry store price-switching

Comment: This anecdote appears often on religious websites, but never with
any specification of the exact source:

"Soren Kierkegaard once told a parable about two thieves who broke into a
jewelry store, but instead of stealing the jewels they simply switched the
price tags. They put high-priced tags on cheap jewelry and low-priced tags
on valuable gems. For several weeks no one noticed. People bought cheap
jewelry for exorbitant prices and rare jewels for spare change.
Kierkegaard's point is pretty obvious: sometimes we have difficulty
discerning between what is valuable and what is worthless."
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  #2  
Old 24 November 2010, 12:16 AM
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Can anything be purchased in a jewelry store for spare change?
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  #3  
Old 24 November 2010, 12:31 AM
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I doubt that this would have happened. After any sort of a break-in, the first thing you check is inventory. No way that staff members would fall for this for “several weeks”. Maybe a couple of hours later, but jewelry store staff would be well informed as to the value of their inventory.
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Old 24 November 2010, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolf333 View Post
Can anything be purchased in a jewelry store for spare change?
Maybe one of those velvet boxes?
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  #5  
Old 24 November 2010, 05:25 PM
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What sort of thief breaks into a jewelry store doesn't steal anything?!?! A dumb one!

Can they really be considered a thief if they're just putting price tags on stuff? Yes, they're breaking & entering, but not really stealing things now are they?
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  #6  
Old 24 November 2010, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diddy View Post
I doubt that this would have happened. After any sort of a break-in, the first thing you check is inventory.
But since the "thieves" didn't steal anything, the proprietor(s) wouldn't necessarily know there had been a break-in.
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Old 24 November 2010, 06:26 PM
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That jewelry store must not have employed very knowledgeable sales people.
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  #8  
Old 24 November 2010, 06:29 PM
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Sounds more like two jewelry store employees pulling a prank, than two thieves.
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  #9  
Old 24 November 2010, 06:30 PM
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Do jewelry stores put actual price tags on expensive items? I've not seen that, even in a less electronic age.

ETA: Here's a version of the story from July. And one from a book published in 2010.

Last edited by Avril; 24 November 2010 at 06:37 PM.
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  #10  
Old 24 November 2010, 06:48 PM
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I thought it was going to be a Hustle style scenario where they walk back in the next day and buy all the cheap jewelry. Oh well.

But I agree that it probably couldn't happen. Even the most junior staff would notice that their top range necklaces were now retailing at $9.97.
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  #11  
Old 24 November 2010, 09:43 PM
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Parables often use extreme situations to make the point. The readers are not expected to believe that the event actually happened; so the fact that no jeweler would fail to differentiate between valuable gems and junk (or even would sell at both ends of the market) is immaterial.
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  #12  
Old 24 November 2010, 11:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Do jewelry stores put actual price tags on expensive items? I've not seen that, even in a less electronic age.

ETA: Here's a version of the story from July. And one from a book published in 2010.
The jewelry store that we buy from has small price stickers on all of their merchandise. You can't see it unless the associate takes the piece out for you though. They're turned away from the customer. I think it's their way of encouraging people to take the pieces out of the case and get a better look at them.
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Old 25 November 2010, 12:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
But since the "thieves" didn't steal anything, the proprietor(s) wouldn't necessarily know there had been a break-in.
Unless we are talking inside job, I doubt that someone can break into a jewelry store without somebody finding out.

I would wager that if someone broke in, there would be obvious evidence.
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  #14  
Old 25 November 2010, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
Parables often use extreme situations to make the point.
The original post doesn't really read like a parable. At least not a good one in any case.

I do remember a similar story I was told as a kid, about soldiers (or pilgrims) travelling through a dark passage and they see what they think are precious stones on the ground. Those that pick them up believe themselves millionaires, but when they get outside they realise that they're just worthless pebbles, and they realise how foolish they've been. Those that didn't pick them up are driven insane by desire for the fortune they missed.

(For some reason these people didn't talk to each other)
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  #15  
Old 25 November 2010, 11:31 PM
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Why didn't they pick them up?
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  #16  
Old 26 November 2010, 01:52 AM
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Because stealing the valuable deprives potential ownership to the customers until the pieces are replaced or recovered. The point wasn’t for the thief/invader to profit, it was for the customers to benefit.
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  #17  
Old 26 November 2010, 01:37 PM
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If you are answering my question, I meant the soldiers (or pilgrims) in the story above.
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  #18  
Old 26 November 2010, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
If you are answering my question, I meant the soldiers (or pilgrims) in the story above.
My bad. Reading comprehension fail!
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  #19  
Old 26 November 2010, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chloe View Post
Why didn't they pick them up?
Good question. If memory serves, but I might be making it up, they were carrying loads of booty already. So they had to sacrifice something to get the jewels.
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  #20  
Old 01 December 2010, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Kierkegaard's point is pretty obvious: sometimes we have difficulty
discerning between what is valuable and what is worthless."
What about this point?

Think for yourself. Don't believe what's written without questioning it, just because it's written. Have a closer look. Be skeptical.
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