Tom Shane's World

Global Gratitude

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I have just returned to Bangkok, where I will be staying for five weeks. It has been around nine weeks since I was here last; a very long time for me. Typically I am here for three weeks, and then back in the States for five weeks, then back in Asia. Anyhow, I am amazed to tell you how many of my Thai friends asked about the Colorado fires. Their awareness of our news, including President Obama’s visit to Colorado, never ceases to amaze me. Their concern is real; as well as a way to again thank me for the support we provided them during their floods last fall.

Part of the pleasure that I derive from being an international businessman is being able to observe how sensitive some people and cultures are toward what is happening throughout the world. Of course, there is an equal fascination on my part to observe how little some people care about anything that is not in their own back yard.

In Shane Co.’s sales training, we try to focus on having our salespeople pay attention to the customers, to be sure that they are getting the best possible service at all times. We want their experience to be memorable and superb. I suspect there may be a correlation between those individuals sensitive to others – whether in a store, in a school or community, or indeed just sharing a planet (even if living an ocean apart) – and their cultural upbringing.

Having said that, we need to respect the rights of others to control their own environment. Some people, as well as some countries, seem to be more concerned with what is going on elsewhere than they have a right to be. We need to be sure not to impose our sense of law, right or wrong, moral or immoral, or any of our other standards, upon others.

As we are in an election year in America, I am always listening to see which candidates understand that there should be limits… of control over others, of moral standards, etc. I love to be in a free atmosphere, subject to those freedoms causing harm to others and thus possibly infringing upon the rights of others and their own freedom. Having seen many so-called communist countries offer greater capitalistic freedom than so-called capitalist countries, and having been in so-called military-ruled kingdoms or otherwise dictatorships that offer more personal freedoms than so-called free countries, I really think we need to focus on our own best interest… which will allow us to set a great example to others.

I usually avoid political blog posts, and this time I don’t wish to violate that principle by talking politics, but I do hope that the more sensitive we are to the needs of others, the better we can improve our own standard of living.

Tom Shane is the owner of Shane Co., the largest family-owned retail jeweler in the United States. For four decades Tom has traveled the globe buying gemstones, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and pearls directly from the gem cutters for Shane Co. He is the third of four generations of the Shane family to work in the jewelry business. Tom started learning the jewelry business at his father's side at age 12, assisting his father in his store. Tom opened his own jewelry business in 1971, establishing Shane Co. He was 22 years old at the time. In 1996 Tom was knighted into the order of Leopold II in the Kingdom of Belgium in recognition of his lifelong achievement in the diamond business. Tom currently resides in Colorado, but spends a great deal of his time abroad purchasing gemstones for Shane Co. You might know his voice from the Shane Co. radio ads which are the longest running radio ad campaign in history, or you might have caught him at a party with other Colorado celebrities in an episode of South Park.

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