The inside of the store is for me, like a kid in a candy store. The pottery, the wood things are so beautiful. Sorry that the first person who bought the bowl there, didnt take it back the next day? I bought a lovely wood bracelet and so many people admire it. I have also bought things there that I took to England as a gift.
I have just left this shop after being berated in front of a store full of customers by the owner.
Trying to exchange something.
I had even called the day before to see if I could make the exchange!
Honestly, I cannot remember being treated in such a humiliating way in my adult life. I am a university professor, so I generally don't find myself in situations that call for such a tirade.
We own a small cottage on the coast in Maine, about an hour and a half away from this shop. When we visit the cottage, we like to take day trips along the coast.
On our first visit to Camden, we walked by Once a Tree and I fell in love with a piece of pottery. At 5:45, we tried to go in and buy the bowl. The owner was standing by the door and told us to come back another day - she was closing in 15 minutes.
I kept thinking about the bowl, so on our next visit we bought that it and a few others (about $500).
I loved this pottery so much that we planned to buy a new piece of it each time we went up. I even bought a curio cabinet to display this pottery.
It was my mother who noticed a tiny hairline crack in the largest piece of pottery. It was barely noticeable, but since the bowl was $240, she convinced me to take it back.
I had not dropped the bowl or mistreated it in any way. I had travelled around in my car on the way home, but mostly it sat on a dresser in my guest room for a month while I shopped for the perfect curio cabinet. According to the artist's website, the bowl is oven and microwave safe. It is meant to be used, so a tiny crack shouldn't have occured.
Since the shop isn't one of those big box stores, I called the day before heading out to the cottage to see if they would exchange the bowl for me. The emplyee who answered the phone told me it would not be a problem.
My boyfriend wanted to buy me another $240 bowl and told me to pick one out while he exchanged the orginal bowl. He soon found me and told me that he would not deal with the owner. This surprised me because my boyfriend is the most calm and patient man I know. She had told him that the bowl was NOT oven safe. I'm ot sure why, we hadn't used it in the oven, and the artist's website and STORE RECIEPT says it is oven safe.
I went to see what was going on. The owner began to tell me, "I would not sell a piece of pottery like this. You would not buy it". Not once, but over and over and over again. During our drive up, the hairline crack had spread to the end of the bowl. I agreed - I wouldn't buy a piece of pottery with a hairline crack that ran half it's length. She asked me where the original bubble wrap was in a very accusatory way. On and on in front of a store full of customers. Honestly, I was on the verge of tears.
I told her that I had called ahead to see if the exchange was OK. She didn't believe me and kept repeating that she wouldn't sell me a bowl like that.
I just kept saying that we wouldn't have driven HOURS out of our way if we didn't get the OK over the phone. The owner asked her employee if she told us the exchange was OK. The employee said that she did, in fact tell us that. I feel awful for this employee who is going to get it now :(
I kept my cool and let her say her peace. In the end, she gave me the cracked bowl back and let me buy a replacement bowl for half off.
Why did it have to be such an awful experience? If the owner would have calmly told me that I was misinformed about the exchange, and offered to sell me a new bowl for half price, I would have walked away happy and kept buying this pottery from her.
Now, I don't even want to look at the bowls. I hope that feeling goes away since I found many other galleries that sells these bowls - the LL Bean in Freeport, Carry All in Scarborough, On the Main in Ogunquit, and Nature's Outpost in North Hampton, NH.
It's so rare to find art that really moves you. I hope after dealing with a more gracious shop keeper, the love I felt for this pottery comes back.
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