19 January 2012

Rude and Ruder

This week I’m having a whinge.  Rant begins:

Much to our amazement, people continue to ask outright how much Calypso cost.  I think it is extraordinarily rude but there is no shortage of people who really press to know how much she cost.  Most people realize they should pull their heads in when I reply that I don’t discuss my finances with people, but there is a sizeable minority who really push to know exactly how much she cost.

But there’s no point just complaining about rude people, so I’ve decided to take it back to them.  To this end, Doug came up with an excellent response to anyone who persists in being so rude.  I shall now reply First tell me, how much were your hideous shoes? We cacked ourselves laughing at this possible response, and I swear I'm going to use it. And you know, this has all sorts of possibilities, depending on how the person presents.  I could say How much was that hideous toupee?, or How much was that hideous rag you’re wearing? Or How much did it cost you to get that hideous beer belly?   'Hideous' is the essential word in all of these encounters, and for the rest I shall have to wing it.   All come-back suggestions will be considered, so suggest away, you’ve got my email address.  I don’t see why the onus should be on me to be the polite one, when I have tried to gently deflect the rudeness of others, so if they continue it shall be Game On.  Could have a bit of fun with this.

I’m afraid I don’t subscribe at all to the The Customer Is Always Right doctrine.  Who made up that rule?  Rude customers, that’s who.  My Shop, My Rules is what we work to.  And my rules include that people will be polite to me, and in turn I will be polite to people.  Those wot think they can come in and behave in a way that would earn them a smacked bum if they were a child get short-shrift here.  Mind you, I have only physically thrown one gobsmackingly rude old bat out of the shop – literally had my arm around her shoulders and escorted her to the door – and doing this only once in three and a half years just serves to demonstrate how remarkably tolerant I have become in my old age.

And what is it with people who just walk out of the shop without even saying Goodbye?  Even if it’s just me and them in the shop and we’ve had a little chat, many people just turn and walk out without another word.  How rude is that?  Manners, people!  I quite fancy enforcing the French practice, which is particularly seen in the more upmarket parts of Paris, where the customer has to be the one who initiates a greeting upon entering a shop.  If the customer fails in this most basic of courtesies then either they won’t be served or the shop keeper will at least ignore them for as long as possible – and the French are tres very good at ignoring customers when they have a mind to.  And then the customer has to be the one who initiates the farewell, because that’s just polite.

I know I’m harping on like a graduate from the Miss Manners Academy For Polite Gels this week, but how much does it hurt to be courteous?  If you can’t break your face and crack a smile or even go the whole hog and be downright friendly, the least people around you should be able to expect is courtesy.  So ends the rant.  But smarten up your act before you step foot in my shop, people!  Only nice people allowed.

Meanwhile, we continue to bring new things into the shop every single day and it’s going well.  This week we have brought in almost the last of the French enamelware – can’t believe we’ve gotten through so much already – and we’re now down to one box left of Deco glass.  But more copper pans are to come, more lamps are awaiting rewiring, more pictures (which is just as well because we’re selling heaps of the old French magazine covers, illustrations and advertisements), and some more interesting metalware such as those fabuloso fire tools that I took so long to source.  All coming out over the next few weeks.

A friend alerted us to an Antiques Fair being held in Noosa last weekend which we hadn’t heard about, so on Sunday morning we went for a quick squizz before we went into the shop.  Most of the dealers there were complaining pretty loudly about the lack of buyers the previous day, but it didn’t take long to identify a few problems – fully one third of stock on display there appeared to be undeclared reproductions, and the prices of the ‘real’ things were as a general rule gobsmackingly expensive.  We saw a glass vase with frog similar to one we have in the shop for $82 that was priced at $165!  At an Antiques Fair!  Get out!  You can see why we actually have to traipse off to Europe to buy large quantities of high quality pieces at realistic prices, because you just can’t get enough things here at remotely affordable prices.  Luckily, we really like traipsing off to Europe twice a year.

And as for the reproduction stuff at the Fair, it was easy enough for us, as dealers, to spot most of it.  But some of it was such low quality and often there were multiple examples of exactly the same thing (always a sign of probable reproduction) that even a beginner with their wits about them should have been able to tell.  As I said while chatting with one stall holder (who did have real things), when I go to an antiques fair I like to see antiques, not pretendy antiques with people trying to fool me.  She said something about it was good to have those sellers there because they helped make the Fair look bigger, and they offered things at lower prices so people could find things they could afford.  But as I said, if people think they’re buying actual antique or vintage items, when in fact they’re buying something that was made last week, that’s not honest.  Not much she could say to that.  It’s not unique to Australia – I’ve had similar conversations about large amounts of undeclared reproduction items with Antiques Centre Managers in the UK as well, but it’s always disappointing when you encounter it.  Gives the industry a bad name, I reckon.

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