Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Tales of Astonishment!

No good deed goes unpunished!

Sometimes life feels just like that. I have to say that in the past 15 years of being a full time crafter and folk artist I have crossed paths with some of the nicest, funniest and most wonderful people in the world, but just when things are running smoothly you come in contact with a customer or fellow crafter that truly astonishes you. I had this experience just this last month.

Because of my printing website I get a lot of questions from crafting newcomers. They usually want to know specific answers to questions they have about starting a website or running an online business. I try to be as helpful as I possible can to these people, because I remember what it was like starting out. It seemed like there were so many things to do and all of it was new to me. I feel like what goes around, will come around and any help I give these new crafters will return to me 10 fold. So needless to say sometimes I spend a lot of my time talking to these people. The most common request is to look at their website and give my opinion on ways to improve the site. Now this is not a one click proposition, I really look at the site and I try to give them my honest opinion. I do not look at these people as trying to get something for nothing, they are asking a peer for help, and if possible I gladly try to do it.

This past experience just floored me. I had a customer ask for the same website critique and I gladly obliged. I emailed her praise on many things and made a few objective suggestions about the site, starting with the name on the site didn't match the web address domain name. Now this type of mistake leads me to believe she is very new to online retail and needs a little help. She didn't acknowledge my suggestions, so I thought I might have hurt her feelings and decided to keep my opinions to myself! As our working together on her printing order progressed I realized I had a problem customer on my hands. Needless to say the order went down hill and after she received her order she wrote me several nasty emails telling me what a poor business owner I was, how I need to fix HER mistakes for free and then she went on to tell me that the work I do is cheap and easy to do! I was floored! I politely explained my company policies to her and realized you cannot please everyone, and moved on.

Now the astonishing part, she emailed me and asked me to tell her how I had made an item she had purchased from me, because she wanted to sell the same items on HER SITE!! I told her this was not ethical to copy another crafter and that I was surprised she would ask. She has now emailed me several more times, called my home and even tried to place another order with me. Boy is this gal CLUELESS! So time moves one a few days and I get an email from a good customer and she is asking me questions about a certain customer that she is having trouble with and guess who it is? This disgruntled customer is now contacting other crafters and bashing me and my work. She even asked this other customer how to do her own printing! Now fast forward a few more days and I get a phone call from another customer and guess who has contacted her? This clueless customer is asking her how she makes her products, because she would like to make them and sell them on her website, ASTONISHING!

Now I want to think this women is just naive and doesn't think she is doing anything wrong in asking such questions. I feel sorry for this gal because in her attempt to make a great website she has alienated many fellow crafters and website owners. Guess who won't me trading links with her! I hope she finds her way and doesn't step on any other toes. This whole experience has taught me one thing, sometimes you just have to laugh at the situation and be astonished.

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