Service of Full Measure III: Fleeced by a Vegetable Stand and Museum

September 5th, 2013

Categories: Deception, Food, Full Measure, Museums

Cup runneth over

Seems I just wrote one of these. Sign of the times.

Not Fruitful

I’ve commented about a great fruit and vegetable stand on Second Avenue and 49th Street in Manhattan. I never knew who owned the stand but the young men who staffed it were friendly, some more helpful than others, the prices were excellent as was the quality.

ugly vegetable standSomeone else seems to have bought the stand–the same older man I’d never before seen is there morning and evening. The prices stayed the same but the quality and variety have plummeted. Asparagus were old and shriveled; peaches that looked OK on the outside were rotten. I got the feeling that the produce was bought from a seconds stand at Hunts Point, if there is one.

Since I began to write this post, the stand disappeared altogether and it’s back, with the original staff. If the owner rented the stand to someone so the staff could take a vacation he’d best try something else next year.

Watch Out

Jammed museum exhibitWe made a day trip to a well regarded museum in a college town to see a heavily publicized and advertised exhibit we’d looked forward to. Much of the museum is under construction. The exhibit was tiny–three modest rooms–and was far from a retrospective of the artist. In addition, open to the public in the main facility were another three spaces with select pieces from the extensive permanent collection and one more room with a few pictures from another artist.

Salt to the wound: Because there was so little for the public to see, the rooms were jammed and it was hard to get near the paintings and drawings. This is never the case in the spacious galleries.

We were there for less than one hour. Nevertheless the museum charged its standard $20pp.

What was the replacement fruit/vegetable man thinking? Didn’t he realize he’d lose the regular customers or was he, like so many in business, counting on the trade of hundreds of new customers rather than keeping the loyal ones because he’d soon be gone? As for the museum, it has our money and doesn’t care about our reaction and disappointment. Should it?

Disappointment2

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6 Responses to “Service of Full Measure III: Fleeced by a Vegetable Stand and Museum”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    Instead of crying about injustice, act. Write the museum, informing it of your disappointment over its lack of judgment and sensitivity, not to speak of greed. If it fails to apologize and at least send a free pass for a future visit, go the way of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. Still nothing? This is a college town? There must be an art department. Need more be said?

    Why take it out on the grocer? He made an error, and apparently rectified it in time to save his business. Holding his feet to the fire shows lack of understanding that we all make mistakes. Who really cares what happened as long as fine produce is back on the shelf? Continue to enjoy the good stuff.

  2. JPM Said:

    The temptation to make money by milking a “good name” has been around ever since people first began selling stuff to one another. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much gypping to destroy one’s customer base.

    In the case of you fruit stand, I just hope that the original team of vendors is soon able to restore your confidence in them. It sounds like it used to be a great place to shop.

    As to your museum experience, I suspect that you were the victim of an ongoing debate in the art world as to what the purpose of museums really is. When Andrew Mellon set up the National Gallery of Art in Washington, he didn’t call it, “The Mellon Museum.” He also insisted that its galleries forever be open for free to the public. They still are. In contrast, money and “being in the lead” dominate the thinking of the Metropolitan Museum. There they charge $20.00 plus in admissions fees, and if you donate enough money, they’ll rename a gallery after you “in perpetuity,” which is defined in legalese as meaning not more than thirty years.

    It sounds like the college town museum you described has caught the Metropolitan flu. Build, grow, expand, improve, get richer and to hell with taste, scholarship and the public. The marketers can always round up more live customers. I’ll bet what was open was full when you were there? Also, I’m guessing, but was the museum you visited in Texas?

  3. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I was thinking that I would write the museum. Although a two hour drive from our home we’ve visited at least once if not twice a year for over 20 years.

    As I wrote about the fruit vendor my guess is that he rented the spot and tried to pull a fast one on passersby, not realizing, because of where the business is–on the street–that many were regulars. One day if my favorite young man isn’t busy I will ask how the other guy fits the picture both out of curiosity as well as to warn him about the quality issue.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    JPM,

    The museum was not in Texas! And I’m not telling.

    I have already returned to the fruit stand once and as long as the quality remains will continue to do so, though for quite a while I’ll look far more carefully at everything I pick than I had to do before as I don’t care to throw out food I’ve just bought.

    In both cases milking and greed were involved–not the recipe for making people feel that they received a full measure of either fruits and vegetables or of art. It puts a bad taste in my mouth.

  5. Claire Said:

    If I’m not mistaken, the fees that museums charge is often accompanied by a sign that says “suggested” or “recommended” with the fee amount. Usually, you can pay any amount that you want to as long as you pay something so I would not label the fee as greed.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Claire,

    You are correct at a museum such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, however the option isn’t always offered and I can’t swear one way or another if it was at this museum.

    Further, we’d not have known what a skimpy amount of material there was to see the day we visited…nobody breathed a word, so we wouldn’t have thought to skimp on what we’d off based on the reality of what there was to see!

    In an earlier post I wrote more extensively on the subject of museum fees. From that post: Along with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Natural History Museum also has suggested fees–rather than a hard and fast ticket price–in a list posted in The New York Times on the occasion of the Met’s raising its suggestion to $25. Along with the Brooklyn Museum [$10], they are the only ones that offer the option of paying what you want/can among the 15 most expensive on the list of 23. To get in to the others, from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, $24, to the Museum of the Moving Image, $10, you must pay. The last seven also suggest you pay, from the Museum of the City of New York [$10] to the Staten Island Museum [$3].

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