Doesn’t Quite Get The Prints-iple

, , , , | Right | March 22, 2019

(I’m busy working on a painting in the back of my art gallery when an older woman comes in. My painting area is obvious, in full view of the front, so anyone coming in can see what’s going on between the two extremely wide aisles. The woman is somewhat shabbily dressed, but I have no judgments because I’ve previously sold pieces to people in all kinds of clothes, clean or dirty. She’s looking at the paintings on the walls and after giving her a while to look around, as is customary, I walk towards the front to ask if she has any questions or needs help with anything. The woman does not look at me once during the following conversation. Zero eye contact.)

Me: “Welcome to [Name] gallery. Is there anything I can help with?”

Customer: “Not really, but these are very nice prints.”

Me: “Well, actually they’re original paintings, not prints. I do have a couple of print bins at the end of the middle aisle if you are looking for a print.”

Customer: “Well, they look like prints to me. I should know.”

Me: “No, they’re original paintings, all done with brush and paint.”

Customer: “Right.” *smiles sweetly* “Well, you don’t really know. You’re just an employee, after all.”

Me: “Actually, ma’am, I know for a fact because I own the gallery and those are my paintings you’re looking at.”

Customer: “Well, how would I know if they’re not reproductions and you’re just trying to rip people off?”

Me: *trying to be patient and educate her* “For one thing, if you look closely, there are built-up areas of paint in different spots. As well, I can show you the back of the painting if you’d like, so you can see where the paint is on the sides of the canvas and some is actually on the back as well. I only sell prints on paper, not canvas. My originals are always in frames. I never frame the prints, they’re always in the bins so it’s easy to flip through them.”

Customer: “Oh, only originals are in the frames. Okay.”

Me: “That’s right, but if you’re looking for prints, the print bins are at the end, just down there.”

Customer: “Hmm, no, I don’t want any prints. I only buy originals.”

(I watch her for a couple seconds more and then go back and keep working on the painting, but keep an eye on her. She never once goes to the bins to look at any of the prints or even glances my way while I’m obviously painting an original. As she’s leaving:)

Customer: “Well, thanks for the information. I really do like the prints you have up.”

Me: “… “

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Art Always Gets A Pass

, , , , | Hopeless | September 4, 2017

(It is about seven pm and I have just walked into a museum in NYC that has my favorite painting in it. I did not know this previously, and found out after spending the day with my parents at another museum. We are tired, weary, and a tad short on funds. I approach the ticket desk to see how much it will be for one student and two seniors to enter.)

Employee: “Senior tickets are $17 each and students are $12.”

Me: *sullenly turns to my parents, who are sitting down*

Mom: “You go, we will sit here.”

Me: *turns to employee* “One student, please.”

Employee: *accepts my payment and looks thoughtful* “You know, I get free passes that I don’t use. Why don’t you all go?” *hands me three tickets*

Me: *tearfully and excitedly* “Thank you so much!”

(This was about five years ago, but I’ve never forgotten the act of kindness. I was able to see that painting with my family and take a photo with it. We really enjoyed the museum, all thanks to a kind employee!)

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Found It A-Moo-sing

| Friendly | March 17, 2016

(We decide to go on a family outing to an art gallery a four hour drive away because of an art exhibition that’ll only be showing for a couple more days. Unfortunately, this also means that all of us are extremely tired. My mother wants photos of all the artwork and is busy instructing me on which ones to take. The artwork all consists of fairly standard things like fields, trees… and cows.)

Mother: “Take a photo of that one, sweetheart… and all of those together! And oh… oh…”

(Suddenly, my mother points to another painting, which an old lady just so happens to be standing beside.)

Mother: “That cow, there!”

(The lady turned around, alarmed, realised what had just transpired, and shared a laugh with me. My mother, oblivious as ever, had moved on to another painting, none the wiser.)

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This Shopping Trip Will Bear No Fruit

| Romantic | January 18, 2016

(We’re visiting my fiance’s grandparents for the holidays, and they decide to take us to Tlaquepaque, which is an arts and crafts gallery/shopping center. While his grandma is looking at rings in a shop we wander further to the back to look at several skulls that caught my fiance’s eye, one of which appears to be carved quartz. As he debates buying one, I happen to notice a tiny figure sitting on a table marked as clearance items. I point it out to him.)

Me: “Isn’t that pretty? I wonder why she’s on clearance?”

(He picks up the figure and carefully turns her over, revealing a small chip on her backside just below the tag that lists her price and piece’s name, which I recognize as an Eastern goddess.)

Fiancé: “There you go. She’s got a little nick on her base. Fifty bucks isn’t bad for jade or even jadeite, if you want to take her home. Though I can’t pronounce her name or tell you who or what she is.”

Me: *smiling, knowing how he’ll react* “It’s Quan Yin and, among other things, she’s a goddess of fertility and children.”

(Just as I expected, my fiancé carefully but quickly puts the goddess back on the table.)

Fiancé: *shoos me toward the exit* “She’s too tiny to be that expensive. Let’s move on.”

(I couldn’t help laughing at his sudden change of heart. For the record, at the time of this story I was six months pregnant. And, yes, he did buy me a pretty souvenir at another shop.)

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A Formless Complaint

| Right | November 14, 2015

(I work with the arts centre in my town. I’ve worked about seven shifts at this point, so getting to grips with things, but still a bit hesitant at times. One day in my last half an hour a tall, artfully-disheveled-looking 60-ish man enters. He charges up to the desk (and into my personal space).)

Man: *unintelligible due to the gallery’s echo*

Me: “I’m sorry; I didn’t catch that, the echo and all! Can I help?”

Man: *very condescending* “HOW… MANY… PIECES DO…” *points at me* “YOU- HAVE- IN-HERE?

Me: “Erm… I’m not exactly sure myself but I can—”

Man: “Ah, no, you’re only the help. I understand.” *under his breath* “Women.” *laughs through teeth as he charges off around the exhibition*

(15 minutes later after he’s been around the gallery.)

Me: “I hope you enjoyed the exhibition!”

Man: *smug* “Well, I counted them.”

Me: *smiling through gritted teeth* “Oh? I’m sorry that I couldn’t tell you the exact—”

Man: “There’s… a lot!”

Me: “Um…okay brilliant.”

Man: “There aren’t enough people I know in these pictures. I didn’t like it. Where did this even come from?”

Me: “It’s from the Tate.”

Man: “Oh… well, still. Maybe… arrange something more interesting next time.”

Me: “I’m not actually in control of what is shown in the exhibits, but if you could fill out a visitor survey for me, I could definitely pass your suggestions up to the curator.”

(The man just stops and stares at me for an uncomfortable five seconds.)

Man: “I don’t believe in tainting art with forms.”

Me: “…”

Man: “Just… project this onto the creative directors. Okay?”

Me: *giving up* “Okay, sure. I’ll let them know.”

Man: *emphasizing* “Project.”

(He walked outs of the gallery whilst sighing under his breath.)

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