Decades ago my experience in the art world was that businesses were run by humans and pretty much did what they said they would do; any mistake was quickly rectified. Then over the years my success with honest galleries diminished to the point where I finally abandoned the prospect of working in the art business because the chances of honesty had become so small. Case in point: just this year the one gallery that is not actively screwed me over (after selling quite well for several years) seems to be dark most of the time and the owner has been arrested for breaking and entering. This is not a comment on the state of the whole world perhaps. But I do find it extremely curious. (Am I a fool or a tolerant Christian for not storming in with the police to seize my work?)
But a string of bad incidents then unfolded. XS contracted with DHL, and regretted that I needed to reaffirm some of the information I'd supplied, questions that weren't relevant before. Rather than being delivered as promised it was held at customs, subject to commercial duties and taxes that XS knew nothing about (despite my preparatory paperwork in this regard). For 2 weeks the box sat in customs while the two companies repeatedly requested the same info I'd supplied. When I called for clarification inevitably it was the other company at fault and I found myself in response to endless questions saying, "call this person at this number in this other company" as if I'm on staff. At one point my friend Olivia (playing the recipient in this drama) had to provide her (German version) personal SS number! (What? Germans need an SS number to receive mail?) She and I give all the info we had. No action. So I called customer service, only to be told that our info was wrong, including that Olivia's SS number is "not valid"! How do you confirm something like that? It's like being told your face is the wrong one!!
So of course I called the number given with the direct 5-digit extension (and not only reach yet another person but am told, I'm not making this up: "we don't use extension numbers any more" (!!!!) Who writies this stuff??) I explained that I'd happily pay immediately any new charges, if only the package is delivered! The promised delivery date had long passed, and now they need a "letter of authorization". "Yes, say I, that's me and I authorize!" "No, it has to be from the shipper." "I AM the shipper!" "No, we have a contract with someone else." Well after an extra fee the package finally got delivered, a month late, followed the next day by–get this–a letter to Olivia announcing the upcoming package delivery!... Mr. Kafka, we will see you now!
I'm not used to dealing with machined responses to unusual circumstances, like individual preferences. I can feel the tug of conformity, knowing it'd be much easier to simply shut up and take whatever is offered on the Sale table (that apparently makes every other customer blissfully happy.) Conform, and your life will be easy. Insist on your own way and you will pay an unknown price. All alone. And you WILL BE HAPPY about it!