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belated nceca thoughts : packing

updated thu 2 may 02


Stephani Stephenson on tue 30 apr 02

your post reminded me:
on three separate occasions ,
three separate galleries returned work to me, after the end of the
with contents smashed to smithereens.
barely any packing material.
they had neglected to use the reusable
packing and boxing I had originally sent work in.
and had used flimsy boxes,
barely 1/4" clearance on one piece.
these were all three, pretty compact, durable
One sculpture, single boxed, had a single piece of bubble wrap ,
haphazardly strewn around it.
All three were 'art center' galleries.
Extra insurance for the value had also not been purchased on two of
(though it wouldn't have mattered as packing was so bad.)
I had even paid in advance for return shipping, including full
insurance on 2 of the pieces, and paid for original shipping on all
On one occasion the gallery pleaded, 'we are just poor not for profit
gallery', we can't afford to reimburse you and our insurance doesn't
cover this...."
on another they paid me $100, , on a $400 piece, while they filed a
claim. Paid $100 because that is what the UPS limit was and they had
neglected to purchased insurance for the stated value.

Another time I shipped a piece to a show
It arrived broken in half.
In this instance my original packing was more than adequate
double box, heavy duty boxes, lots of cushioning and regulation four
inches of packing between outer and inner box.
This was a one -person show so the gallery had other pieces of mine,
but they did not think of notifying UPS.
Fortunately they did save everything 'as is' upon my instruction and I
insisted they notify UPS. I retrieved the package to follow through with
the claim.
As I examined it , I noticed a 1" diameter 'stab wound' like a 'puncture
wound' on the side of the box.
A closer look revealed that this 'puncture' went all the way through
the double boxing and ALL of the packing AND the fired ceramic
sculpture, and continued all the way out the other side.
and the sculpture break was right at the sight of the 'stab'

I could only deduce that somehow in transit a large metal object (a fork
lift tine? WHO KNOWS???) had REAMED everything.
(I envision the box being launched from a cannon, then coming to rest
directly upon an upturned joust or sharpened farm implement......)
I have no idea what really happened.
UPS came to inspect and they did admit responsibility.
fortunately I HAD insured piece for full value.
And UPS made good on it, but they did send a representative to examine
and I did have to stand up for myself and let them know I was familiar
with the packing requirements. they didn't just volunteer to cover it
till I made my case and made it assertively. I also had to show them the
'wound' and point out what extreme force would have been needed to go
all the way though boxes, packing and fired ceramic too. At least they
did honor the claim.

I must admit though , in this situation, the gallery people were not at
all knowledgeable about what to do. They were 'busy' and really just
wanted to toss everything away. They never would have noticed the
'puncture' and would not have known how to talk to UPS about it.
This isn't a slam on galleries but I was dismayed to find out in these
specific situations that gallery personnel or the show's coordinators
weren't as knowledgeable or professional in this aspect as I would
have hoped.

Kudos to the conscientious, well informed and professionally trained
employees , coordinators or volunteers at galleries and shows, we need
more of them!
Stephani Stephenson