Reality TV Show Tests Jewelry Customers’ Attitudes Toward Adultery

Would you intervene if you saw someone buy jewelry for both his wife and mistress? Customers of Great American Jewelry in Massapequa Park, N.Y., were faced with that dilemma during a taping of ABC’s What Would You Do?

“ABC approached me about filming in our store for an episode of the show,” says Laurie Chariton, owner of Great American Jewelry. “They thought our store was a good fit and it was great advertising for us.”

For the episode, which aired Oct. 19, hidden cameras filmed store customers interacting with actors playing the roles of saleswoman, cheating husband, and unaware wife. The remaining salespeople and customers are all real. The store held a one-day sale on the day of filming to attract a crowd.

“I was really surprised by some of our customer’s reactions,” Chariton says. “ I thought a few women who came in would automatically call the cheater a sleaze, but they were interested in protecting my sale.”

While some of Chariton’s frequent customers were concerned about her sale, others stood up for their beliefs. Chariton’s sister and brother-in-law—who both were unaware of the filming—each called out the suspected cheater on his actions. “My brother-in-law is one of the most honest men I know,” Chariton says. “What you see in the episode is real.”

Chariton says situations like this arise frequently in her store—and it’s not always just the men who cheat. “My husband has been in this business for 35 years, and he’s seen a lot,” she says. “He told me a story about a well-dressed woman who came in to buy jewelry with one man one day and another man the next.”

“I’ve learned not to ask too many questions,” Chariton says. “You never know who customers are buying for.”