I’m changing the subject slightly to “Worst thing you’ve ever seen a
customer do,” but I can’t resist telling this story.
I was exhibiting at the Contemporary Crafts Market in Santa Monica.
I had just finished a pin that I really loved which featured, among
other things, a dentalium shell (thank you Andy Cooperman :-)).
A woman came up to my booth, admired the pin, wanted to buy it but
only if I would discount it. I think I had it priced around $800.
We had quite a conversation about this as you can imagine. At one
point, right in the middle of a sentence, the woman’s front tooth
fell out onto my table! She picked it up, put it back in her mouth
and kept on talking. I was aghast … and then utterly flabbergasted
when it happened a second time! This woman was the last person in
the world I wanted to own that wonderful pin.
She finally gave up and walked away. The friend who was helping me
in my booth said, “Don’t be a jerk, Beth. If you sell the pin
through a gallery, you’ll only get $400 anyway, so why not give her
10% off?” I had to admit that she had a good point but the woman had
already walked away and I wasn’t sorry.
So, of course, the woman came back for one more try and I gave in
and agreed to the 10% discount. I also explained to her that while
the dentalium shell had been filled with epoxy to strengthen it, it
was still relatively fragile and might not survive a drop onto a hard
floor. This concerned her a little (but not enough!).
A year later, at the same show, this very same woman came up to my
booth wearing the pin … and the dentalium shell was broken in
half!! She had stopped by to complain, not about the broken shell,
but that all of the stones in the pin had faded since they weren’t as
bright as they looked on my postcard mailer. I explained that it
would be impossible for all the stones to fade equally and that the
discrepancy was due to the colors of the postcard being
over-saturated. I showed her another of the pieces I had used on the
postcard and compared it to the printed image. She somewhat
reluctantly accepted my explanation.
She didn’t say a word about the broken shell and neither did I.
I’ve never seen her since.