I meet some wonderful people during the course of the day. And then of course, there are the others. You really wouldn’t believe how difficult it is for some people to figure out how many beans make nine, would you?
Well, you are very welcome to my world.
As I have said, I meet some real treasures. Often elderly. But some, certainly, with more youth and vigour than I can even remember having. So funny. Upon occasions, grateful. Predominantly respectful and polite. And so many have become acquaintances or friends.
In due course I will relate some of my more endearing experiences with my buying public. But to start of with, let me tell you about some of those who not only singularly fail to warm the cockles of my heart; but instead make me want to emigrate to Vladimir Putin’s Russian Republic.
A reflection upon the present day pre-occupation with all things electronic and computerized, is the manner in which people will happily accept any price for framing their beloved artwork, which is determined by the pricing programme on my laptop. They request at least an indication of how much their torn, folded and wrinkled 1903 sepia print of great aunt Myrtle is going to cost: to be finished in an oval double mount with elaborate washlines, with low reflective UV protective glass, and in a corresponding elaborate oval guilt frame.
I enter the details into the programme, add a couple of pounds to cover hanging fixtures etc and press the Result button.
“Oh” they exclaim. Maybe with a slightly bewildered expression on their face, but ….
“Will it really cost that much?”
Er …. No, I’m only pulling your leg madam. I’ll tell you what. I’ll do it for a fiver for you.
Of course it will cost that much. Or, at least it will if you take to the guy in the posh shop on the High Street. That’s what I think. What I say is – “Yes. I’m afraid so. Your artwork is obviously very precious to you and of great sentimental value. So to enable me to do credit to it ….. etc etc.”
And their response?
“Okay then, if that’s what it will cost I suppose I’ll have to pay it.”
Now, they have just stepped onto their ‘Winning Streak/Today Was a Good Day’ joyride.
Because my default rejoinder to their acceptance is – “ Actually, I can save you a little money. Because I have no aspirations to be a millionaire, and I’m happy to cover my materials and services costs, and in addition, only sufficient to ensure that on Friday evening there is a bottle of Glenfiddich to hand. So how about …… £*** ? “
Everyone is a winner. They go home delighted because they believe that they have struck a bargain. I have something I enjoy doing, to occupy at least part of my week. And Friday evening sees me embarking upon a Happy Hour with the content of a bottle of golden splendidity.
However, if they even attempt to start to barter, the price remains where it is.
But 98% of people accept the computer generated price without a word.
The alternative scenario is one where I have generated the price from my own calculations, because the laptop programme is not available, for whatever reason..
Then the fur really begins to fly.
“You’ve got to be joking!! You can’t charge that much. I want the piccy framing, not a bloody en-suite/five bedroomed house building around it. C’mon pal. Get real. It’s only four bits of wood slapped round a grotty photo”
Now, at this point the gentleman is always facing the door. I don’t know how that happens. When he started to red-mist, he was only inches away from the end of my nose – but by the time he is taking his second deep breath, he is always facing the door. It must be the physics of the thing. Something like negative polarity. It seems to affect his blood pressure too.
Occasionally he will try to negotiate. But most often it is with the following statement.
“But …… but, the guy on the High Street will do it for £** ”
And he will look at me in a thoroughly bemused fashion when I ask him, “Why are you here then, wasting my time providing you with a price? Go to the fella on the High Street. If I could do it for that price I would have given you that price.”
At this point in the proceedings the gentleman may storm off in a fury. That is unlikely though.
Because he wants Auntie Myrtle framing. And it’s not his Auntie Myrtle. It’s his wife’s Auntie Myrtle. So he knows very well that to go home with anything else but a done deal, doesn’t even bear consideration. Not if he wants the ‘usual’ on Saturday night, it’s not. And if she had heard him describe Auntie Myrtle’s relic as a grotty photo, he would really find out how monks cope with celibacy.
He only came to me to get a price because he has already been to the guy in the posh shop on the High Street who would consider my price ‘derisory’ and ‘just for starters’; and who had offered his “You have got to be bloody well sodding joking !!” price.
So, the more likely event is that he will capitulate. Albeit, reluctantly and with poor grace
Now. You will almost certainly remember the lady who ‘just stepped onto their ‘Winning Streak/Today Was a Good Day’ joyride’. For no other reason than that your short-term memory is so much better than mine.
Well this young man (whatever his age) is about to step onto his ‘Life’s a bitch, and then you die’ treadmill. Which, as it happens, is where he does seem to spend most of his time.
Because today, he is paying top-dollar. And I’m laughing all the way to the bank.