|Yeah, these vendors are passionate alright... but I guess that's a nice way of saying stupidly emotional.|
Before diving into detail let me just tell you guys that this article isn't so much about the quality of this vendor's product so much as it is the shitty way they treat customers that don't give every item they buy 5 stars (on Etsy that's a perfect star rating, btw). Even if you never see yourself buying bath bombs I think it's a good reference article for how vendors should treat their customers, especially if they claim that they're making a living off of their store. It's gonna be a long one, so sit back with a snack and enjoy. More after the break!
Once upon a time at Babscon 2016, I was vending and happened to notice a craft vendor going by the name of The Fizzy Filly. They were selling bath bombs of various sizes, something that is actually pretty unusual at a brony convention. I was quite happy to see more variety pop up at the con and near the end of Sunday bought a bunch of mystery bags from them. I was pretty new to bath bombs in general so I was excited to use them as quickly as possible. I tested them out, they were great, and so when I was done with those I used even more of my Babscon profits to spend about $50 on their Etsy store.
|Baths by yourself are fun but baths with friends are better. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)|
Now I'm getting near the end of my supply and figure I might as well reorder since the majority of the bath bombs were pleasant. I look at my past purchases as a quick way to get a link to their store, and Etsy lets me know that I haven't put reviews for any of the previous bath bombs. Writing reviews is unnecessary to make more purchases, but as an Etsy store owner myself I know that reviews are a great way of letting potential customers know if this is a reliable store or not, so I take about half an hour out of my own personal time to write them up. 8/10 of my reviews are 5 star positive, and I even took the time to make short descriptions about how the bath bombs turned out. The two that weren't perfect reviews were 3 stars for the Maud and 1 star for the Dazzling. In the original descriptions, which Capper General will end up whipping me for not screencapping, I basically put that they both ended up being grey water instead of the colors advertised and that the Dazzling one had no noticeable scent, making it entirely useless. I told customers to avoid buying the Dazzling one.
A mere 5 minutes after I finished typing up all the reviews, I get a message from one of the store owners:
But no, by the second message (which were minutes apart, and as such I didn't have time to say anything in between) the store owner starts getting angry and dramatic saying that the reviews were ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE and that I was telling people not to buy any of their products, completely ignoring my 8 other positive reviews. Then they start trying to guilt me by saying as a fellow Etsy shop owner I should know better. Like wow, I really love it when I give money to a shop and then they start chastising me like a little kid. And FYI, being on Etsy for less then a year and not getting anything below 4 stars isn't much of an achievement. People are known to go easier on new vendors, and yes, as far as I'm concerned you're still a newbie until you hit your first year of both online and convention sales.
So I reply within an hour, with my typical walls of text:
TLDR; If the product you get isn't as advertised and that the customer is unsatisfied they have every right to give it below 5 stars when reviewing it. Yes, I feel like that with my own store too. I mention that, because the Dazzling one wasn't even close to the description, I might have gotten a dud. AKA an accidental mistake. It's not uncommon when you buy handmade crafts on Etsy, and to be honest, after awhile it's expected that if you buy in bulk a minority will have flaws. But if that minority was a single listing then as far as Etsy is concerned it gets its own review, so that bad item is going to get a bad review.
She replies back, pretty much bribing me to ignore the quality of the product and write positive reviews if I get a refund back for the two flawed bath bombs:
"I'm sorry I pissed in your lemonade."
"I'm sorry you feel bad about lemonade piss. IT WAS JUST A PRANK, BRO!"
Ya'll get it now? That second one isn't an apology so much as it was downgrading what they did wrong and not admitting their mistake. So after the bullshit apology, they over exaggerate how much potential damage the bad reviews could do to her store, completely ignoring my 8 other 5 star reviews, not to mention their hundreds of other positive reviews. Oh, and totally ignoring my claim that one of the bath bombs was a dud by saying that it was other people's favorite. Like, whoop de fucking do, maybe I would have liked it too if you had actually remembered to put the color drops and scents in.
Then, without me asking for it, they refund both the bath bombs, just expecting me to give them positive reviews because they paid their whore. Personally I don't even believe a 3 star product needs a refund, but who turns down free money? At this point I just want to get this over with and am willing to let this stay in the past as I avoid only those two types of bath bombs while getting a bunch of new types.
So I reply back, making an entirely unnecessary apology in order to smooth things over:
I mean shit, at this point I'm bending over backwards while they shove refund money up my asshole. I even go out of my way to let them know that for future purchases (Yes, meaning that even after getting put through all this overly dramatic bullshit I was still willing to buy from them again.), I would contact them directly before putting in an imperfect review. I even make a pretty good suggestion of maybe making some Overwatch themed bath bombs in the future.
That last message I sent was just a quick one asking where the refund money was being sent so that I could check on its processing time. After I saw that it went through I went ahead and altered the reviews. If I could have I would have just deleted the two reviews, but since Etsy doesn't allow that I had to alter them. 4 stars for the Maud one and 5 stars for the Dazzling one. Now, since I fucking hate knowingly lying to people I put in a paragraph for the Dazzling one stating that the 5 stars weren't for the bath bomb itself but for the customer service. Looking back, I guess I was still lying, at least to myself about the service...
From there I assume everything is smoothed out, and since the owner said that this was their living I figured they would appreciate another purchase. And as an extra little thumbs up, I even doubled my order from last time making the total over $100 and put in a little note with my order saying how happy I was that everything was alright again. I went to bed, and the next morning I find that the entire order is canceled. So instead of spamming them with butthurt, I just straight up ask them why they canceled it:
And holy shit, the amount of entitlement here is fucking amazing! They never once admit that they sent me a dud or ever gave me a real apology. Oh yeah, I'm sure you guys are really trying as hard as you can to make a living off of this, and yet here you are refusing a $100 order because "you hurt our feelings before you changed your reviews". You're new to the fandom and to vending in it yet here you are being as dramatic as possible telling me how devoted you are to it.
Were you shits here for pink Celestia? What about when Faust left the show? How about during Las Pegasus Unicon? Do you even know what EFN stands for and why other media groups stood up to them, ultimately creating the very site you're reading this on? Because I was here for all of that, and I've lived through the more negative parts of the fandom. I'm even here through its unsexy shrinkage. I've vended at brony cons for years now with crafts I made with my own two hands WITHOUT a crafting assistant, and witnessed many conventions rise and fall. And when I'm not crafting, I'm working two part time jobs with online classes, and also have to keep up with social media so that my Twitter doesn't fall apart when I'm busy with the rest of my life. So don't fucking tell me how hard you work and try to puff your chest out with your shaky at best dedication. You aren't fooling anyone, and you especially aren't fooling an experienced fandom crafter.
Don't try to guilt your customer into thinking they're the problem, because they're not. You, the vendor, are. At this point, even if they publicly give a genuine apology, I don't want to buy anything from them again. But regardless, there's still a chance they'll be vending at a brony con in the near future. So I leave them with some parting words before continuing my double shift at work:
Of course, knowing them they probably didn't bother looking at it. So they probably ignored the part where I told them I wasn't going to keep this to myself. Which is too bad for them, because that was their last chance to apologize before this article was published. Hopefully after this article they actually take good customer service to heart and are nicer to other customers that have issues in the future instead of finding ways to bribe them for positive reviews and pushing all the blame on them.
|Here's a listing of 50 beautifully scented 4.5 oz bath bombs for $65.00, w/ free shipping! That comes out to $1.30 per bath bomb, about a third of the price of The Fizzy Filly.|
By the way, if you're interested in getting into bath bombs, a 4-5 oz bath bomb will fill a shower tub nicely. The Fizzy Filly charges up to $4 per bath bomb- quite pricey but I was originally willing to let that part slide since they were new fandom vendors. Anyways, you can get very similar bath bombs for $2 and less over on Etsy, especially if you want to buy in bulk. And shit, you can even get free shipping with many of their competitors!
The Fizzy Filly doesn't even offer any discount codes for repeat buyers, much less free shipping. Oh, what's that, the others don't have colors like they do? Well guess what! You can get color drops for dirt cheap on Amazon, free shipping too. At this point you'd only be buying from them for the unlicensed character names, which if you combine your own color drops and MUCH cheaper bath bombs you can just do yourself. Gee whiz Fizzy Filly, I wish you had told me to buy from your competition earlier!
So, if you're a vendor reading this, I hope you pay close attention to the way you treat customers... I mean, if you weren't already. As far as I know most vendors in this fandom are very polite and understanding with their customers. And you know, as much as I cuss and am generally a saucy writer here on HN, I am a lot more polite in private messages if you ever consider buying something from me. If I do something wrong, like say ship out something late, I'll admit it right away and typically offer some sort of compensation, like a free small mystery bag with your order. Or just issue you a refund if you want it. I don't fucking force the refund on you expecting a 5 star review regardless.
(Oh, and P.S. I'm changing that Dazzling review from a 5 star to a 1 star again since it's based on customer service. And The Fizzy Filly better hope that I won't be able to review that canceled $100 purchase. Otherwise things are gonna get ugly~)