The Alan Brady Show writers are diligently working on the finishing touches for that weeks show, when Mel comes in to introduce his cousin Maxwell. It seems Maxwell is a wholesale jewelry salesman that brought Mel his cufflinks he ordered, and Mel wanted to know if they would like to buy something.
After he sells Buddy some cufflinks and Sally a pair of earrings, Maxwell then turns his sights on Rob. He has noticed that Rob has his eye on an a copy of the "Empress Carlotta" necklace, as a gift for Laura. It is a reproduction of a historical necklace. It's colossal, rather gothic, baroque and antique looking, it resembles a more grotesque theatrical prop than a necklace of any quality. As Rob says, it looks like a chandelier.
Rob is torn. He can't take his eye off the necklace, and the very slick Maxwell, an astute, gum popping salesman works on Rob to persuade him to buy the necklace. He compares the immense "Carlotta" necklace with a small, simple (yet elegant), single pearl drop necklace. Maxwell practically hypnotizes Rob. After learning that he can buy the giant necklace for only $2 more than the simple one, he buys it, smiling ear to ear.
Later when an excited Rob arrives home from work, he eagerly calls Laura to the livingroom. He makes a fuss, removing her apron and makes her sit down, to "attend her coronation"! Laura catches Robs excitement as she realizes Rob has brought her a present, and for no other reason, Rob says, "because she's a great guy"!
Rob gleefully gives her the box to open, grinning widely in anticipation of her expression when she sees the necklace! Laura's grin quickly drops off her face, as she opens the box, and in shock snaps it shut again, almost as if she didn't want it to escape! He gets her to put it on, and Rob thinks she looks wonderful. He is deliriously happy she seems to like it, because he was SO afraid she wouldn't.
She is not sure what to do, as she realizes how important the gift was to Rob, who is as giddy as a school boy still thinking she loves the necklace. She doesn't want to hurt his feelings, especially since it was a very thoughtful gift, however ugly the necklace may be.
She tries in vain to convince Rob that it is much too valuable to wear, and attempts to hide it away. Rob won't hear of it. He wants everyone to see her wearing the necklace, much to her dismay. She continues to hide her true feelings about the necklace to spare Rob's feelings.
Later that evening, a very proud and boastful Rob has called Jerry and Millie to show off the necklace. He makes a big production, hiding Laura behind the drapes and, while trumpeting regally, pulls back the drapes with a majestic flair to reveal Laura and the Empress Carlotta necklace!
Jerry is stunned. He also thinks it looks like a chandelier! Millie, on the other hand, immediately realizes how hideous the necklace is. Through unspoken, feminine intuition, she understands Laura's plight. Jerry asks Rob if he can get one just like it and is instantly cut off by Millie, claiming that it wouldn't be right having TWO of the necklaces in the same neighbourhood. The boys agree, and a relieved Millie joins Laura in the kitchen to make coffee.
In the kitchen the women discuss the ugly gift, as Laura puts the necklace down on the counter with a thud. Laura explains that a normally tasteful Rob does things like this once in a while. Even so, she can't tell him how ugly it is, he's too sensitive and she can't hurt his feelings. Rob was too happy giving it to her. Millie suggests they put it in a blender and drink it! Or perhaps wear it in a bad neighbourhood and hope she gets mugged by a thief with bad taste!
Laura begins to realize that she has to tell Rob the truth, because Rob wants her to wear it everywhere. Millie tells her it'll only get harder the longer she lets it go.
After the Helper's have left, Laura gets her nerve up to tell Rob. She makes him sit with her as she tries to explain. She cuddles with him on the couch and tells him how nice it was that he spontaneously gave her a gift, and how touching it was that he gave it to her "because she was a nice guy", but she just can't tell him the truth. He takes it as further proof of her delight in the gift.
As a distraught Laura leaves to get ready for bed, Rob tells her not to take off the necklace because he wants to see how it looks with her nightgown! Laura runs into the bedroom in tears, to which Rob takes as tears of joy. He tells her he's going to buy her a matching bracelet, which makes Laura cry louder. Rob is delighted thinking he has really made his wife happy.
The next evening Laura is explaining to Millie on the phone how she couldn't tell Rob last night, and she can't tell him right now as he's invited his parents over to see the necklace.
While Rob's parents are entertaining Ritchie, and Rob asks her if she has shown them the necklace. She hasn't, of course, claiming to be waiting for Rob to come home. Rob gets Laura to put it on.
Upon seeing the necklace Rob's mother bursts into tears. She thinks it's the most beautiful thing she has seen, and she goes to museums! They let her wear it and it makes her start crying harder. Laura gets a brainstorm and sees an way out of her dilemma! She takes Rob into the kitchen and delicately asks Rob if he would mind them giving his mother the necklace. Rob is overwhelmed, not with hurt feelings, but with adoration for a wife that would give up her new necklace in such an act of kindness. He kisses her and they go back into the livingroom to tell his mother the good news.
Rob's mother is trying to take off the necklace and when Rob helps her, he reattaches it. She is perplexed and when she asks why he's done that, he says that Laura would like to give it to her for an early birthday present. His mother is so surprised by it she starts sobbing all over again!
A few days later, Rob comes home, sneaking into the house behind Laura, who is reading on the couch. He has another jewelry box like the one that had the Empress Necklace in before! He quietly takes a wall mirror off the wall and comes up behind Laura to surprise her with the present. Laura is flabbergasted, thinking he's brought home another Empress Carlotta necklace. Laura is upset to the point of exasperation of having to deal with the whole thing again. She protests his finding another identical necklace, but Rob is sorry, he looked all over town but couldn't find one.
Laura opens the box to her astonishment. It is the elegant, tasteful teardrop pearl necklace that Rob had originally looked at before. Laura is filled with relief and joy at such an beautiful gift. She is delighted with the delicate necklace.
Rob thinks Laura is only putting up a brave front at the lost of her Empress necklace. He vows to Laura that he will scour the world overand not stop until he finds another! Laura bursts into tears at the thought, much to the delight of Rob, who again thinks she is overcome with happiness!