My wife and I were at the parks last weekend, and were delighted to discover that some of the beautiful mixed media sculptures by Michelle Valigura were still avialble for sale at the Disney Gallery. My wife and I got engaged at the park, honeymooned there, and are pretty big disney fans in general.
I never thought I'd be able to buy an original piece of art from the parks, but we were totally smitten by Peter Pan and The Lost Boys - a fantastic sculpture that really resonated with the kids in both of our hearts. We agreed that we had to have it, and started to negotiate with the gallery about the sale.
Apparently we would be unable to take it home with us that weekend, as the gallery has 'special people' who are the only ones allowed to handle the one-of-a-kind art, and they weren't available at the time to package our purchase. The gallery castmembers assured me everything would be fine with shipping, and that their 'special people' were trained on how to handle such delicate art. One castmember in particular flat out told me that it would be safer with their shipping dept. then being carried back home by hand in our car (we live in Oakland). I've had serious trouble with DelivEars and ther shipping methods before, but with hesitance and after many 'you guys better not screw this up' discussions I accpeted their line and went ahead and had it shipped.
So, it arrived yesterday, horribly broken. Whoever packed it simply wrapped some bubble wrap around it and plunked it into a used and too small box that, by looking at the exterior info, appears to be designed to ship plush toys from China to the resort. I paid a PREMIUM price on shipping for this?? They disrespected the piece and the artist - seems like as soon as it was a sale it turned into 'just another piece of merch' to the shippers... I don't even know what to say. I can't believe they would treat an original piece of art in such a disrespectful manner. The piece is broken - they assured me that they would give a full refund if we were dissatisfied after we received the piece... but i don't want a refund, I want my wedding present back - the one that moved my wife and I to make a purchase that we never thought we could afford at this point in our lives. Honestly, i would pay money at this point for someone else to have walked with the sculpture - at least it would be intact and able to be appreciated by someone else... but now? Who knows what they will do with it when I return it.
Wife in tears, I have to listen to her cry herself to sleep. Heart broken, upset, angry, dissapointed.. so many emotions.
Never ever ever let them ship something that you can't afford to lose, people. Apparently it's just not a priority for them, not matter what they tell you or how much you pay for the service. I can't even imagine what I would pay at this point for the priveledge of driving 12+ hours round trip to pick it up instead of the horror that is their shipping practices.
Damn you, Disney.