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taken for granted : demeaning and insulting prices

updated sun 10 dec 00


Snail Scott on fri 8 dec 00

At 06:37 PM 12/7/00 -0800, Earl wrote:

>I brought the pot to school and we were/are displaying it in the Library
>until she chooses to take it home. The Principal saw it and commented
>on it and the teacher told her that I had made it and how much she was
>buying it for.
>Her blunt comment in response was that I was too high priced and that
>she guessed she wouldn't be buying any of my pots.

>Earl Brunner

Some people say that from lack of appreciation;
others say it from lack of cash.

Some people say "it's too expensive" because they
believe it's overpriced. Most of them don't say it
to me directly, though. The ones who say it to me are
usually appreciative, but don't want to say outright
"I'm too poor to buy it" or "My spending priorities
are elsewhere". Often, a less-than-courteous response
covers the embarrassment of someone who thought it was
within their means and just found out otherwise.

I couldn't afford to buy my own work. Neither could
many other people. I'm glad that some people can,
though. I value my customers, but the ability to
write a check is not a sign of moral virtue. The
opposite isn't true, either.

I believe that purchase is the highest form of flattery.
Not because of the money involved, but because that
person has said, in effect, "I like your work so well
that I will take it home and give it a place in my life."
Some people wish they could say that, but can't.

I once donated a piece to a charity auction - a small
woodblock print. Not a huge investment of my effort,
but not zero, either. It sold for less than the cost
of its nice-but-inexpensive frame. I was a little annoyed;
I would rather have given the charity the cash value of
the frame and saved the work. The buyer came up to me
after the auction, though, and said, "I've always loved
your work, but could never afford it. Now I've got a
piece of my very own that I can see every day!" She and
her husband were delighted. I was still annoyed, but but
the fault wasn't theirs for paying what they could for
something they loved.

I have to sell my work to people who can buy it, at prices
that allow me to keep on making it. I try not to think
less of my non-customers, though. I am one!

I still have no respect for the skinflints who say,
"Sell it to me on the sly; we'll split what you'd save
on the gallery commission." F**k them for asking me to
compromise my integrity.

Janet Kaiser on sat 9 dec 00

> I still have no respect for the skinflints who
> "Sell it to me on the sly; we'll split what
you'd save
> on the gallery commission." F**k them for
asking me to
> compromise my integrity.

Good for you Snail!

Wish every artist, maker and potter had the same
level of integrity... Would sure make our life a
lot easier.

Come to that, I wish everyone would always keep
their prices the same wherever they sell... From
the studio, off the veranda, at craft fairs,
through shops or galleries, via the internet,
etc. etc. What is lost on commission and/or
wholesale marketing is made up with direct
sales. A win-win situation which also keeps
customers from getting the idea they can "do a

Customers then become more object orientated -
rather than price orientated. They can choose
what they like, without the price being a
negotiable factor and therefore a worry. It also
gives the artist/maker their very own and
recognisable "market value".

In the transition from active artist to gallery
alone, I was approached by a mean man wanting to
do a deal at a preview. He really liked my work,
blah-blah-blah. Then came the drop in voice and
offer to do a deal to get around the gallery...
I laughed in his face... Said I was
unfortunately the gallery too... Boy did he

He later approached another artist and I suspect
he offered the same line... The body language
was more than obvious... Anyway, the artist came
back the next day and withdrew a piece of work
from the exhibition, with a mumbled excuse...
His has not been selected since and I notice
other local galleries do not show his work...
Word certainly gets around one way or another.

The "art lover" still sometimes comes in and
looks around, but keeps his back to me and sends
his wife for the addresses of artists and makers
of work he likes the look of. I sadly always
have my address list at home on those days. Or
if the contact details are given in my absence,
I phone with an exact description, so the target
artist/maker can selectively increase their
prices accordingly. This works well too... I
have known one to get twice his original price,
because he said "It was more than this at The
Chapel of Art". No true, but old skin-flint was
not to know. He was probably delighted with his
little self.

I was delighted too... I did not earn a bean,
but it is my job to promote artists and makers.
We are all in this together and if we do not
work together, no one is going to make it. It
can quickly turn from a win-win, to a lose-lose
situation. That is not good for anyone,
including our customers. Indeed, the best is
when it is a win-win-win situation: artist,
gallery and customer all happy as pigs in the

Janet Kaiser - Wicked and conniving gallerist
that I am.
The Chapel of Art . Capel Celfyddyd
Criccieth LL52 0EA, GB-Wales Tel: (01766) 523570