Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Right. What I'm going to be blogging about is not going to be very interesting to the general masses but for art people..well, yeah.

I've noticed this growing resentment towards Art Friend from schoolmates and teachers in ADM and apart from acknowledging that the collective disdain is somewhat peer-influenced, I'm still going: whut?

Resentment issues:
a) Monopolizing the art supplies market in Singapore - TRUE
b) Bad customer service - ARGUABLE.

The common gripe with (b) is that the service in Art Friend is inefficient, to the point that it seems intentionally lazy compared to the close attention paid to the customer in a smaller art store like Straits Commercial. Now I'm usually all for rooting for the underdog, but in all the mass support for the seemingly under-appreciated smaller store and critique against the bullying of the corporate monolith...have you guys even considered the reason why the service in Art Friend may be lacking? When I hear the complaints about the latter's employees, it always sounds so damn personal!-- such an idiot, so arrogant ladadada.

I think the issue is that the employees were never given adequate training and that's not quite their personal fault, and its not fair to fully blame their supposed lack of initiative. What it is, is a glaring oversight made by the management and hey, maybe the reason why it's never been remedied is because the customers (that's us) have never complained enough, or with enough detail.

Because I know what it's like to be thrown into a job without having been taught the relevant skills and common know-how. At my internship they were requesting and assuming I knew how to pdf things to the specific technical requirements - and I never even knew such specifications EXISTED. The first time they told me to call the courier I was all - right, courier..we have one?

I would choose to believe that the harried and unhelpful looks/efforts from Art Friend employees is not due to laziness or arrogance. They're just blur sotong AND TRYING TO COPE WITH THEIR JOB. Trust me, I recognize this expression - it's been on my face far too often.

So one time, I couldn't find the conte crayons and asked for assistance. He looked at me curiously. So I said, "They're kinda orange-y..waxy crayons." He thought for a moment, pointed to a bunch of orange-y pencials, paused a moment and then, handed me a box of children's wax crayons. They don't know! That's okay! They (sometimes) really do try! So when I eventually found them by myself, I went up to they guy and told him:

"These are conte crayons."

"Orh," he said nodding, "ok thanks ah."

See, you help them learn.

And in another incident, I was with Zara at Art Friend and there was this boy with um, his chauffeur (don't ask how we managed to infer their relation) and the boy was getting supplies for a school project requiring the construction of a box out of styrofoam boards. They asked an employee - what kind of glue can we use to glue the boards. And so helpfully, with good intentions, the employee pointed out to them that amazing, all-purpose glue!-- UHU superglue.


From personal experience, I know for a fact that UHU glue melts styrofoam.

But you can't expect random people to know these random facts! So we interrupted their consultation, shared this nifty bit of info as well as introducing them to that nifty little invention - THE GLUE GUN. So all in all, Zara and I saved the world.

Honestly, you can't expect random employees with no art background to know the nitty gritty details of art supplies and their characteristics, there's just too much! As art students ourselves, we already get so boggled by the assortment of art junk, brand names and quirks.

Give 'em a break, that's all I'm saying.