Saturday, December 10, 2016

“Art vs. Retail”

The great thing about the SBS-268 Building is there are a mix of different things in the building’s many rooms.  But this is also the source of some serious friction and unpleasant exchanges.  There are different aspects to this (including offices that don’t appreciate strangers wandering around in the building), but the most serious conflicts are between art galleries and retail shops.

The retail shops are the main cause of the conflicts, as they set up shop in the building knowing full well that the building has more galleries than retail spaces, and that the galleries attract a lot of people who are just looking at art, and only infrequently buying it.  And yet, when people who are wandering around looking at art wander into their shops - which are not overly different (in appearance) from the art spaces - and look without buying, the owners of the retail shops get all bent out of shape.

Generally, what happens is an art seeker will wander into a new retail shop (that - remember - looks nearly identical to the neighboring art spaces) and start looking around.  The retail shop owner will be helpful and answer questions about the things for sale, etc., but if the person doesn’t shell out some cash for something in short order, the polite speech of the shop owner turns cold and an almost threatening atmosphere begins to develop in the room (these are all small shops within small rooms, incidentally).

So an art-seeker who is paying attention soon realizes: “Ah... this isn’t an art space, it’s a shell-out-some-cash-or-get-out space! - Best to avoid this place like the bubonic plague...”, and henceforth never set foot into that space again.

That’s the backdrop - I had one such experience with a new shop in the building, in Room-2060.  It started pleasantly enough.  I noticed a new... something (you never quite know what people are doing with their spaces in this building until you go in and talk with them) and so I walked in and began looking around.  The shop owner said hello and I began talking with him.  By his overuse of polite speech, I should have known sooner that he was evil, but (unfortunately) I didn’t pick up on that right away.  Still, I sensed it was a throw-some-cash-at-the-owner-or-stay-away kind of place, so I avoided it after that... until one day last week when a friendly acquaintance from an art gallery in another part of the building mentioned an interesting display in Room-2060.

I responded: “Room-2060?  That’s an emit-cash-now-now-now-or-disappear place!  I think it’s better not to go there...”, but my friend insisted we go there and kind of dragged me along.  I walked in with my friend and it started off pleasantly, but soon degenerated.  We didn’t throw cash at the guy within 60 seconds of entering the shop, and then the initially overly polite guy suddenly got rude and started ranting about a number of things....  He ranted about the gallery next to him: “They hammer on the wall!  And there’s a smell of alcohol!”

Now you might be thinking “’Hammer on the wall’?  Well of course the guy is angry!  I would be too!”, but it’s a *gallery* and they use small nails to hold pictures on the wall.  And galleries typically have opening parties where wine, etc. is provided....

Getting back to Mr. Evil though.  He continued talking in rude language and in a barely suppressed rage about someone who had come into the shop and stolen something.  I mean... all these things had nothing whatsoever to do with the two people he was suddenly ranting to, but I guess a Crazy and Evil person doesn’t need a *reason* to do something....

Anyway - it was a profoundly unpleasant experience.  Hopefully I’ll never see that evil man again.  Certainly I plan to never set foot in his shop again, and I will certainly never buy anything from that package of Evil hiding behind a thin veneer of overly polite language.