Thursday, January 5, 2012

Thoughts on Proper Handling of Vintage Items .....


I bought this cutie at a local antiques shop. It is made from antique quilt pieces. Love it; so cute.

At the same time I had purchased a late 30s - 40s faux pearl necklace with a fancy rhinestone clasp.

When the cashier at the shop was bagging my purchases, she grabbed the paper sticker tag and literally ripped it off the necklace, while I stood there and cringed. She then stuffed it down inside this little bag and I went on my way.

When I got home and lifted the necklace out, it fell apart all over the floor. I spent a long time on my hands and knees hunting down every little bead and the rhinestone clasp; inwardly grumbling at the shop owner's carelessness.

I have encountered mishandling of old, vintage, antique items before at yard sales and thrift shops and the like, but was stunned to find a antique shop owner handling items so roughly. Even if she is new at the business - and perhaps inexperienced.

It happened again this week, at a large, well-known antiques mall in a nearby town run by very experienced antiques dealers that have several mall locations all over the state, with years of experience under their belt.

I purchased some hats in a paper hat box, a delicate embroidered cotton dress from the 1930s, and two pieces of vintage costume jewelry.

One of the owners of the mall checked me out, and as she started to (very sloppily) fold the dress - a very delicate, almost sheer cotton - over the hanger it was on, I must have made a face because she stopped and asked me if I wanted the hanger left on it.

I abruptly said NO - because the dress, flopped over the wire hanger, could get holes and rips from the edges and wire parts of the hanger. Inwardly I thought "DUH" but I didn't say it out loud.

Next the woman stuffed - and I do mean stuffed - the necklaces into tiny ziplock baggies. One is a glass beaded choker; one is a rhinestone necklace. Each could easily be broken when crammed into any space. I was really blown away by all of this and left the place in disbelief.

If I had a shop, delicate vintage jewelery, especially beaded necklaces and chains and the like - would be boxed. Period. The only thing I might stick in a plastic baggie would be earrings or pendants.

And fragile antique dresses and textiles would also be carefully folded and boxed. Period. Or, I might have plastic garment bags.

This just makes sense to me. This is how I ship things all around the world; so far so good.

Has anyone else encountered mishandling of purchases at antiques shops where sellers should know better?

1 comment:

Crystal Graydon said...

I am shocked at how these people are mishandling such fragile items--such a shame! Have you spoken up and just told them plainly how you want these things packaged? Cuz they're definitely delicate and deserve to be handled with the utmost care. I mean, you're purchasing them, for goodness' sake, so you should have the right to be "picky" and tell them how you do or don't want them to package them. :p