A Picture Of Rule-Breaking

, , | Right | July 2, 2021

I work in a small art gallery that displays and sells the work of various local artists. One day, as I am patrolling the floor, I spot a woman examining a print and then lifting her phone as if to take a picture.

Me: “Ma’am, picture-taking is not allowed within the gallery.”

Woman: “Oh, but this would look so lovely in my parlour.”

Me: “Yes, and for just… [price], you can take home the print. We can even frame it for an extra amount.”

Woman: *Scoffs* “Why would I pay? I can just print it out myself.”

Me: “Which is why photographs are not allowed. If you want a copy of any of our art, you need to pay for it.”

The woman shook her head, then turned and raised her phone again, obviously hoping to just ignore me. I stuck my hand out between her phone and the portrait, ruining her shot. She turned, let out a frustrated shriek, and stomped off, raising her phone to take a photo of a different piece on her way out.

I followed this oversized toddler around for a good minute, continuing to tell her that photos are not allowed and using my hand to prevent her from taking an actual photo. Finally, she stormed out of the gallery entirely, flipping me off as she went. I then went and found our lazy security man, who had apparently been having a laugh watching me follow her around and act like a picture goalie.

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“Kind Of” Seems Mild

, , , , , | Working | March 10, 2021

I work in a small art gallery. The owner is not who you’d expect to run an art gallery; he’s ex-police, very blunt, not very polite… Okay, he is kind of an a**hole. Also, as it turns out, he’s kind of sexist. I should have figured this out when, at my interview, he suggested I go talk to my husband about whether I should take the job.

One day, I’m at the front counter and my boss walks past me and gestures abruptly.

Boss: “Come here now.”

We go to a display of glass items.

Boss: “See all this? This is dust. It’s dusty. What have you been doing all day?”

Me: “Helping customers and then eating my lunch.”

Boss: “No, no, no. Cleaning comes before lunch. And see all this?”

He points to an imperceptibly “dusty” frame.

Boss: “Dust. Dust. Dust. Does your house look like this? Your husband lets you get away with this?”

Me: “Well, no, because he—”

I was going to say, “He does most of the cleaning, actually!” but my boss interrupts me.

Boss: “You’re a housewife; you know that things are supposed to be clean!”

Me: *Pauses* “Okay. I’ll get some paper towels.”

I had to walk away before I said something I’d regret. Later, the owner let me go the day before Thanksgiving, a couple of weeks later, for “not selling aggressively enough.” Good riddance, as I was about to quit anyway. I work at a much better art gallery now with bosses who are a thousand times nicer.

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Entitlement On Display

, , , | Right | February 2, 2021

I work in an art gallery, taking admissions and managing the gift shop. Last year, my predecessor in gift shop management ordered ten copies of three different books that are related to WWI and WWII, but, while nice little history books, aren’t really the kind of thing one usually gets from an art gallery gift shop.

I recommended books from the Canadian War Museum which had images from various artists focusing on WWI, especially Vimy. The timing would have been perfect since it had been a hundred years since the end of the war and many places were talking about it. Instead, she went with the three books from a local publisher; we only sold one.

The publisher gives retailers the option that one can return books for a refund, so long as it’s been no more than a year since they were ordered and they are still in sellable condition.

Since we are coming up on the end of the year since those ones were ordered, I make arrangements to return all but one copy of each to the publisher — keeping the single copies out for our Remembrance Day display — along with some other titles of theirs. Due to an upcoming expansion, the gallery gift shop will be moved to a different space in the building and reduced to about a quarter of its current space, so the more stuff I can move out of here, the better.

The books are in a box, taped shut, and ready for when the courier arrives.

A woman comes up to me and asks if I have more copies of one of the titles I have on display.

Me: “We do, but they’re in a box waiting to be returned.”

Woman: “Oh, I just know I won’t forgive myself if I don’t get a copy.”

I assume this means her friend is buying the other.

Me: “Oh, well, if you’re both getting one, I’ll gladly take one out for you.”

Woman: “Oh, thank you so much! I’m sorry for the trouble.”

Me: “No problem at all!”

I try to lift the tape in such a way that I can seal it again afterward, but it doesn’t work, so I just rip it off and trash it. After getting the book she wants, I grab the one on display and ring up the code in the computer. While this is going on, a man wearing a jacket with the courier company logo comes in, and I haven’t retaped the box shut yet. He waits while I finish with the two women.

Me: “Okay, who’s first?”

I look from one woman to the other:

Woman: “I’m buying.”

She holds out a 20$.

Me: “Oh, you’re buying both?”

Woman: “No, just one, dear.”

I look to her friend, confused.

Me: “So… are you buying one, as well?”

Her friend shakes her head.

Me: “So… just the one copy?”

Woman: “Yes, that’s right, dear.”

Me: “You could have taken the display copy.”

I say this in a “helpful” tone, trying to convey that I would have been fine with her taking our “last” copy.

Woman: “Oh, no, I never take items from the display.”

I maintained a smile, sold the book, put it in a paper bag, and handed it over along with her change and receipt. Then, I bid them a good day as they left. Then, I had to turn my attention to taping the box shut once more to hand over to the courier, all the while inwardly facepalming over the uselessness of having had to open the box in the first place, since she was only buying one copy, just because she didn’t want “the display copy.”

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You Can Trash Under My Umbrella… Ella… Ella

, , , , | Right | December 27, 2020

I work at the main admissions desk and gift shop in an art gallery.

Our entrance consists of two sets of double doors, leaving a small room, surrounded by glass. This room contains, among other things, an umbrella stand.

This umbrella stand comes up to just above my knees and is basically a metal can with disconnected line art making the image of an umbrella on it. People are constantly mistaking it for a trash receptacle, which is fair; I understand that unless you study it carefully, it is very easy to make that mistake.

I’ve tried printing out a sign with two bold black arrows on either side pointing down, an image of an umbrella, and the words “umbrella stand” between them, but I still have to dump out the odd coffee cup. Again, if you’re just walking through, I can see why people might make the mistake.

Last Monday, it was raining, so I brought my umbrella to work. This is a long, black umbrella. By long, I mean it comes up to my hip, so it’s definitely taller than the stand. I left it in the stand all day, without tying the strap around it, so that it could dry. At this point, with an umbrella sticking out of it, it should be pretty obvious that this is an umbrella stand, right?

When I got off the bus for home, it had started raining again, so I opened up my umbrella, and…

Someone’s used tissue fell out.

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Will Be Complaining For A Calendar Year

, , , | Right | April 30, 2020

I work in the admissions and gift shop in an art gallery. There is a university in the same city that has a restoration going on, and last year they were selling calendars to raise money for said project. Ours is one of the locations carrying them. I get a phone call:

Me: “[Gallery], how may I help you?”

Customer: “I saw on CBC that [University] is selling calendars to restore the building. Are you selling them?”

Me: “Yes, we are.”

Customer: “I live in [Other Province]. Would you be able to ship one to me?”

We have never done this before, and I have only been working there for a few months.

Me: “Um… I’ll have to check with my supervisor. May I have your name and number and I’ll call you back?”

Customer: “I don’t give out my phone number. How about you give me her number and I’ll call her?”

Me: “Okay, no problem!”

I give her the number, and after we hang up, I give my supervisor a heads-up about the call. Fast forward a few weeks; the following has taken place.

We do agree to send the calendar, but the payment has to be processed from my station upstairs. As we can’t call the customer to have her give us the credit card number in real time, she instead tells it to my supervisor, who writes it down, and then brings it up the next day to have it done. The card number is declined. We have no way of calling the customer, so we decide to wait it out. She eventually calls back.

Customer: “I ordered a [University] calendar some time ago. When should I be expecting it to arrive?”

Me: “Well, unfortunately, we couldn’t finish processing the payment as your card number was declined, and as we had no way of contacting you, we had no way of rectifying this.”

Customer: “You had my address! You could have sent me a letter!”

She is now clearly upset.

Customer: “This is the problem with [My Province]! You’re always dropping the ball when it comes to business! My family was from there and can be traced back!”

She went on for a bit about how it was all our fault and we should have sent her a letter, because, of course, WE were the ones dropping the ball. She was perfectly ready to give us her credit card number but not her phone number when nearly the whole world runs on phone lines and the Internet. But no, WE should have sent HER a letter.

I was eventually able to end the call with an apology and a “hope you have a nice day.” Once my supervisor came out of a meeting she was in, I told her what had happened, and both she and another office staffer agreed that the customer was probably trying to get a free calendar.

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