A synopsis of the email I received:
"My gallery encourages lunch break visits... very popular to relax for 15 minutes in the city... council staff use the cafe as it's the nearest real coffee to the main office...They got aggressive, began almost shouting, acted like I'd yelled at them or spoken like they were stupid or something. It was upsetting when I'd been as polite as possible to them when they knew they were openly breaking rules."
This pair were hoist by their own petard though. As they were wearing their council badges, the gallery manager was able to contact their manager about their conduct in public. This local authority apparently has rules about conduct while publicly identifiable as council staff, so having offered that tidbit, the gallery manager left the rest in the hands of their manager.
He wasn't bothered how much it did or didn't cost to get into the gallery.
He just didn't want to be there full stop.
And wasn't worried who know it.
A submitted tale...
The first member of reception staff to arrive switches the phone settings from 'absent' to 'present', goes through the voice-mail, responds to anything urgent, and then checks emails.
My colleague came in, and found almost 20 missed calls from the previous evening, and around 10 from early that morning, but no messages left.
About 5 minutes before opening, the phone rang.
"Oh so you do have staff! I assumed that you were too busy drinking tea or playing croquet to bother even phoning me back! When do you actually open today?"
"Our hours are 12.00 to 4.30 on weekdays, I'm sorry if that wasn't clear in our voice-mail message when you called. Because you called after 4.30, and then before 12.00, there was no-one here to take your call, again I apologise if that wan't clear. And please be assured that I would have returned your call, but regrettably didn't have a number to return your call to."
"...well, Thank you!"
The gentleman had called almost 30 times, but hadn't listened to a word of our instantly played voice-mail message, preferring instead to immediately hang-up, get increasingly frustrated and continue wasting his own time.
The staff member was awarded that week's chocolate biscuit for handling an unpleasant visitor.
I am both impressed and vaguely concerned that this venue/team has a weekly award for having handled an unpleasant visitor. That either indicates a good sense of humour, or a worrying necessity for boosting morale in the face of unrelenting stupidity.
If you have a tale of museum, art gallery or heritage venue woe or comedy, do drop a line in, and it may even become a cartoon of it's own!
The caves and tunnels are underground.
Bits of the country have flooded.
Our caves and tunnels are partially flooded.
The electricity has gone to that area. (and even if it hadn't, electricity and water?...)
Even with pumps, the damage to the stone needs to be estimated before it's passed as safe for public access.
There's really not much we can do for you, so getting angry at staff will only make them get increasingly polite and smiley towards you, while also loosing the will to actually help you out.
There is currently only one route to our venue, due to extensive roadworks.
That one route now has a broken down lorry in it, waiting for a vehicle breakdown bloke.
The roadwork minions won't move any of the cones or fences for people to drive around it, or turn their cars around.
The phone is a bit busy as visitors stuck at the back of the line of traffic want to know what on earth is going on, and no roadwork minions will explain the situation to them.
Luckily, we've really enjoyed handing out the contact details for the company behind the roadworks, so complaints about the attitude of their staff can be sent directly to them.
Handy Gallery Attendant tip #18
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