Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa.
Have I shared that I have a new camera? The old HP was not an expensive critter, way back when we got it, and we had used it and used it, until it was just worn out. So on July 31st husband and I went to the local Radio Shack and found a new one. After a whole lot of camera looking, we decided on an Olympus FE-47. I was thrilled, and I felt pretty special. The Olympus was a big improvement over the HP, five zoom settings! AmazingTruelyAmazing and a big WooHoo! For a people watcher, and I say that with perfectly good moral tones I remind you, it is my favorite new toy.
Then came a little black cloud. Actually, it was a little black line---missing pixels on that almost brand spankin' new digital screen. The folks at Radio Shack weren't too kind. "Yeah, you must have damaged it by dropping it", she said. "It is my favorite new toy, and I DID NOT drop it", I replied. "Ok, then call Olympus" she said. That little black cloud increased in size, as my concern for my favorite new toy grew.
With certainty of a big struggle in my immediate future, I called the 800 number for Olympus. On the second ring, a person, yes, a REAL person answered. Her name was Virginia. I suppose she was just a well trained Olympus employee doing her job, but that really doesn't matter, because she is now my hero. I told her that the lady at Radio Shack told me I had damaged the camera, even though I'd taken really good care of my new toy. I asked her if she thought the black line of missing pixels would grow, because if it stayed the same size, it was tolerable. She smiled (I could tell by her voice). "You really do not have to deal with something like that", she said. "Let's just get a few bits of information, and we'll get a new camera sent right out to you", she added. She made the whole event remarkably easy and pain free. Then she inserted a tremor into the phone call. "It should only take about ten days for the new camera to arrive". Oh, heavy sigh. In a voice, slightly disillusioned, I'm sure, I said "Um, I'm an artist and I use my favorite new toy almost every day". (really, I doubt that I told her "favorite new toy", I probably said camera, like a normal person would) But that disillusionment on my part, immediately concerned her as well. My new friend Virgina then proceeded to add extra numbers or something to my Olympus customer service file. Did I mention that Olympus has a contract with UPS, so that all I had to do was take the camera to the UPS store, and they packaged and filled all the forms there? That was Tuesday at 4:00PM. Today, Thursday at about 2:00PM, here comes the UPS guy with a little box. I assumed my husband had ordered some clever new bass bait, because of the size of the box, but no, it was the camera. AmazingTruelyAmazing.
Long story short, amazingtruelyamazing customer service. Many blogs have been written and posted on FASO websites about clients and patrons of art and how to get along. Sometimes an artist will post some complaining words about a client. Crazy questions asked by a client who doesn't know their art as well as the artist thinks they should. Fair or unfair barbs are sometimes exchanged between artists and gallery owners. May I share that my new friend Virginia has it totally figured out? She absolutely overwhelmed me with exquisite customer service, amazingtruelyamazing customer service. She was kind and generous to the max to a customer from Iowa who might never buy another camera. But my friend Virginia is crafty too, because she knows that if I do buy another camera, it will be an Olympus. AmazingTruelyAmazing customer service outweights a few missing pixels everytime. Oh, and you can take it to the bank, that my next advice to anyone who wants to know what kind of camera to buy will be: "you should buy an Olympus".
So in the great wide world of art marketing, and taking care of your tribe or whatever you call it, there is an old (really old) verse that comes into play. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Hey, it works for Virginia.