Since 2008 my Gallery had been going through a very difficult time and financially i was close to being broke by 2012. I was losing my home, car, friends, and family because my business was not only pulling me down financially
but socially and spiritually. the economic decline wasn't the main factor in the loss of business for me but it was the advent of sites that store auction results so when ever i purchased inventory at auction one would be able to find my purchase price of the artwork i was trying to sell them. So the sales existed but the offers always came in at either my purchase price or 20% less than my purchase price. Even if the customer had started of with the idea that they were willing to pay $5000 for the painting I offered them, once they would discover I paid $3400, their offers would immediately adjust to $1800. So I knew had to find a new source of where I would by my inventory so that customers could not find out my purchase price and when I came across Carol Edwards Estate Sale on the internet I thought I had found something very special. It was when I spoke with her and received the asking prices of a few objects that i was sure I met my life saver.
I asked her about this small 19th century Italian painting which had an illegible signature and depicted and elderly suitor flirting with a young girl laying on a sofa, a seascape by a Serbian artist who had lived the most of his life in California by the name Alexander Dzigurksi, and lastly was a Tiffany Studio bronze piece. The price of the Italian painting was very fair and I told her I would like to purchase it. She had explained that she could not sell over the phone and that I would have to be their in the morning. So I went online and began looking for a plane ticket and the flight was no more than 3 hours away and I'm sure it would have been an easy trip but right before I purchase the ticket I sent her an email explaining that I was going to buy one, but I had calculated the cost of the trip with a rental car and one night in a motel and it added up to $500 and if she would approve I could just paypal her the funds she was asking for the painting and on top of that the $500 which I would not have to pay if I was to stay at home. With in minutes I got a response via email that she agreed to the extra fee to sell the painting without being present. She did have one requirement and that was she could not call the painting sold just yet, but she said the second after she starts the sale she would yell out sold and remove the painting and place it in the closet away from viewing so no one would ask about it. She said he would call me right after to help me arrange for shipping and this was suppose to be around 9:30am.
Well after 9:30 with no phone calls from her I tried reaching her but I had no luck until she finally called me at noon to let me know she had good news and bad news. Very quickly she told me the bad news and went straight to the good news just like this, "well i had to sell your painting but I still have that other painting you wanted". The good new part added more fuel to the fire because their was no good news. Excuse me for the language but after she screwed me she still tried to sell me something else because we both new I had only asked for the price of that second painting and so say she still had the other painting to take away from the main issue really got to me. Had I been interested in it then why did I not pay for it as I had already done for the other work and even if I had interest in it I would have never purchased from her again. Well that last statement isn't exactly true because I'm sure if she had really felt bad she could have offered me a discount on the painting that was left and maybe I would purchased it, but more important is she would have shown me that she was trying to somehow apologize for her actions. I had made one enormous blunder when she had sold me the painting and accepted my payment which was selling the painting. I'm sure if had not sold it to an important client in Europe I might have been more forgiving but considering I had sold it for $10,000 which I would like to believe is no small amount for anyone but for someone in my position who already had the date of the auction of his home due to forclosure this money meant the whole world to me. Yes, my customer yelled at me and so did his wife but luckily it was in mostly in Italian which I don't understand so it sounded more like opera then what it really was.
The worst part about this for me was the way she handled it after she stole my painting and because she took my payment and supposedly stated sold at the opening bell I felt that at 9:01 that painting was my property and not some kind of insurance policy for her where she would try to sell it for more or the same but just in case if she didn't she would always have me. Maybe she did't say sold, so then she lied to me when she told me what she was going to do that morning. Not one apology came from her behalf and my the end of the day I had already offered her 3s if not 4 times the initial amount to see if she could go buy back my painting, but it was clear she literally became someone else. This was not the lady I spoke to the evening before. As I mentioned before, I would survive canceling the sale with my customer but that day I was trying to do whatever I could to somehow save that sale and get my property back. I sent her a letter that literally pleaded with her and explained to her all about what was going on in my life and she simply couldn't understand that anger wasn't what I was feeling but I simply had to cry and I did all day long. I just couldn't handle another let down. I simply couldn't handle being treated as just some number which was exactly how she made me feel.
I honestly don't understand people these days? Their are certain people that feel that if your across the country from someone you did wrong to theirs no need to say sorry or fix things and this has to be stopped. I'm not a number, I'm a human being with feelings, a family, friends, a life, and I demand to be treated accordingly. But it's not as if I could show up at her door step and force her to say sorry or to attend a sale and make sure all her customers are aware of what she has done. I guess someone could but as I said, I was losing everything and I couldn't afford such an expedition. I don't recall exactly how many days later, but I'm sure I sent her an apology for the language I used and tried to end the ordeal in not such a terrible manner. I never received an apology but I was willing to give this person one last chance to make amends. I wasn't going to tell her she had to sell me something with a deep discount or give me amazing service at her next sale. I didn't want nor will ever ask for something for free or ask for a hand out of any kind. It was strictly up to her how she would handle herself but even after the first time I simply could not have imagined what she would do to me at the next sale. I recalled she had mentioned that it would be best that I hire a representative to attend the future sales in my place for such issues not to arise so I posted an add on craigslist and hired a young man who arrived at the home where the estate sale was to be. He waited about an hour in the line and of course he was very worried that he might not get paid because I was offering him quite a lot for such a simple job. All he had to do was to enter the home and look for the objects I had sent him beforehand and place my name on a tag. He would give her my visa info or I would call her myself.
Now I should first say that I called her many days before the sale and I didn't even sleep that night so not to oversleep because I wanted to make sure to reach her before she left for the sale. So I was quite tired by the time the sales began. So it began and he calls me to inform me that he can't find anything I sent him. I was very upset but I asked him to take pictures of what was left and text them to me. He did it like a pro and I approved of some of the artworks and he placed my name on the tags. Five minutes later he texts me that he found the works I wanted in another room and they still had not bee sold so he proceeded to write my name on the tags. Right after that he calls to tell me she's asking him al ot of questions and one that really got to me is she wouldn't stop asking how much I was paying him and as much as that pissed me of she topped that with telling him he should go home because I won't be paying him and the creme de la creme that really topped it all was when she told him he should really be careful when dealing with me because I just got out of jail. You know when I was told all of this and really to this day I can't stop about thinking of her picture on the sdlifetransitions website where she greats you to the site with a big smile and is trying to look so sweet and trustful in the hopes of earning your faith to handle the liquidation of your estate.
To this day I still wonder if she had kept my money in the first sale would she have given the consignor the extra $500 I paid her? But back to the next sale. So I some how convinced him to stay and keep working and believe me he wanted go cause he had a right to worry because I didn't know him and he didn't know me. But in the end it made no difference because she began to remove all the tags that had my name on them and began reselling them. She told him she would call me later to let me know what was left. He went home and I sat waiting and believe me I was starring at the phone like a hawk while I was once again almost in tears because of all the frustration. I followed her rules and hired some one and she could care less about the $500 I paid him for the work he did. Once again I was still in terrible financial shape and some may ask why were you out buying art and I can only tell you that sometimes in the worst of shape you have to take whatever money you have and lay it all on the line. So even though she flushed $500 of my money down the toilet I still hoped we would work this out before the last sale day in the next two days.
I received no calls that day and she never answered mine so again I planned to have an evening of no sleep just so I could guarantee catch her before she would leave the for the sale the next morning. She picked up the cell on the way to the sale and quickly got me of the phone by telling me she had just emailed me the list of what was still available and once I've read it to call her. I layed down my phone and checked my hotmail account where no emails from her had been sent. Ofcourse she did not pickup the phone all day and all evening and once again no sleep. Well before I called her the next morning I received an email and everything he had place my name on the first day was now sold to others. I was so unhappy and then I saw the second painting on the list and she described it as an unknown painting possibly Russian because it was signed off at the end. From the most pathetic shape I immediately became alive with joy. So before the sale day I noticed this painting online and to begin with this was a very small portrait of a young girl and it hung on a wall with 5 other paintings so it must have been the size of half a pinky nail in the photo. I turned to my friend and said this looks just like a F....makoff painting.
So, first off all I can't tell you how proud of myself that my knowledge was paying of. That painting had to be mine, it could only be mine, and it would have hung in my living room as a proof testament that I actually knew my stuff. Their was another 5 paintings and two ivory chess sets. I called her and agreed to buy it all. So I was happy again but she would take that away from me once again when she emailed me two hours later to inform me everything was sold. These 3 days were like an evil roller coaster that she created specifically for me. Up and down and down and up my emotions went. I couldn't stop feeling how unfair this all could be. Here I was thinking I was giving her a second chance to make up for the first sale and one shouldn't forget that as a customer I was bringing her a huge value to the table by offering to buy more paintings than anyone else at her sale.
Unfortunately she understood the consignee might never find out that their was someone like me who wanted to buy many of their paintings at their first day prices and because of her enormous attitude flaws were only able to sell them with a 50% deduction on the 2nd and third days which are her sale days. So I think it's best I stop now because I hope I get one more chance to come back here soon to finish this report by letting you all know she made a huge effort to really help me out in one of her future sales and she made every effort to make peace. Lastly, I'm sure some of you would tell me to get a life and move on and I know it may be wrong of me to hold onto this issue and I'm sure this is negatively effecting my health by not letting this go but when your down and out like I've been I just can't live and respect myself knowing this person treated me so terribly after being stepped on by so many others before her. Some where you have to draw that line in the ground and fight and try to win your self respect back.