Friday, May 5, 2006

Shipping Adventures, Part 2

Barn with Farmhouse, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x16

I know many of you are on pins and needles waiting for my post on frames, heh, but I am bumping it to next week. I have to follow up on the shipping story that I described last March when I had to ship a box of paintings to a gallery.

Alas, the paintings did not sell during the show, and although the gallery is about 2 hours away (a standard drive to anywhere from where we live), I just can't take a day to go pick them up and I decided to send a call tag to the gallery so they could send them back. Easy, right? Well, only if anyone in a 30 mile radius of Hooterville had ever heard of a call tag. The place in town that we normally use for shipping said they would send the call tag and I gave them all of the necessary information. Yesterday, after waiting for a week and a half for the package to come back I called and asked them if it had been sent. None of the employees knew how to issue a call tag OR how to check and see if one had been sent. And evidentally, no one there knows how to dial out to let me know either. So I tried to do it through UPS, which is unbelievably complicated and you pretty much have to sign over your firstborn child if you are just a person, not a company trying to set up a shipping account, which you have to have before you can send a call tag. They wouldn't take my request over the phone and after navigating the website for 45 minutes, I gave up and decided to go back to the original shipping location to see if they could help me.

Yes, folks, back to the hardware store. Debbie, cashier and shipper. also had no idea how to issue a call tag and in fact, didn't really understand the whole concept even after I carefully explained what I wanted to do. I nearly started to weep at that point. But she called over the manager, Stew. I am not kidding, his name was Stew, not Stu. Anyway, Stew knew what to do! It took him awhile to set it all up in the computer, so in the meantime, he peppered me with questions. What's in the package? How long have you been an artist? They didn't sell? How much do you charge for a painting? How much does the gallery get? What do you paint pictures of? Do you use oil paints? How many paintings DO you sell? Can't you just drive there to pick up the paintings? And my all time favorite: "My aunt paints farm scenes on saw blades and sells a lot of them at summer art fairs, you should try that". On my way back to the register to pay (where Stew rang me up, true to form), I remembered that I needed to buy some grass seed to fill in some patches in our yard and then I found some giant sunflower seeds for planting.

A call tag, flower seeds AND grass seed. Perfect.



I am still wondering why the gallery isn't responsible for shipping to you.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Aaron, Good point that I didn't go into. If it were a gallery that represents my work on an ongoing basis, then the return of artwork would be the gallery's responsibility, at least based on the contract and I wouldn't sign a contract for representation If I were required to pay for the return of art. However, this was a one time exhibition and I agreed to participate and signed the contract knowing that it would be my responsibility to transport the art both ways.

Lisa Call said...

Just found your blog. Nice work. Great stories.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Lisa, Thanks for saying hello. I checked out your blog and I think your work is wonderful. Look forward to hearing more about it.

Anonymous said...

Stew...suddenly I am feeling hungry...Your adventures in shipping always make me laugh. Enjoy those giant sunflowers!!

Tracy Helgeson said...

Thanks, Robin, I will post some photos of them at the end of the summer. I love sunflowers.