It’s that time of year where you go looking for things to buy for other people, or things to suggest other people buy you. As a result, I’ve been doing a lot more online shopping… or trying to.
When the beau asked what I wanted for Christmas, one of the items that popped into my head was a certain Mythbusters t-shirt. It turns out the t-shirt is ‘not available outside the US’. It’s available through Cafe Press, who I’ve ordered from before, so I’m guessing there’s some copyright licencing issue.
But that’s not the only recent shopping hiccup.
Remember the caesin dpns I won on ebay? Well, I thought the postage amount from the US to Australia that Ebay had automatically listed was a little low, so I send a request for a confirmation on the total. And heard nothing back. A week later I sent another request. Still nothing. Two weeks have now passed and, looking at the feedback on the seller, there’s now negative feedback from a different buyer complaining that they paid for but haven’t received their item. I’m now very relieved I didn’t pay straight away, as I normally do, and figure I may as well give up on this one. But it’s funny how you end up wondering about it all. Did something happen to the seller? Is he/she okay…
You might think this was just part and parcel of international shopping. But I’ve even had problems locally. I’d like to make the Ribbed Wrap Jacket by Jo Sharp in 100% silk. Firstly, because I’d like to knit garments that didn’t make me itch when worn against the skin. Secondly, because I love silk and would like to knit with it more. Having heard about Beautiful Silks, I found their site and examined their list of yarns. Unfortunately there was no information about yarn weight and no pics to show colour or texture. Since they have “MAIL ORDER OUR SPECIALTY” plastered all over their site, I sent off an email asking if they sent out shade/sample cards. The reply (all in upper case) said ‘Yes we do, where do you live?” So I sent them my address. This is where it got a bit wierd.
They sent me information on how to reach their shop by bus. (Again, all in upper case.)
So I emailed back thanking them for the information and telling them I work weekdays but had taken note of their Sunday hours.
Did a shade card come? No. It’s been just over a week, so I figure the postie would have brought it by now.
Now, I can see this from the shop’s perspective. Shade cards can’t be cheap to produce, and that only a percentage of people requesting them will actually order something. It must seem like customers are pretty lazy if they live close(ish) and still want one.
But then again, if I visited the shop it’s unlikely I’d buy one skein of everything, is it? I’d still want a shade card to take home with me, so when I plan a garment I can consider if any of their yarns will suit. And I’m not going to visit the shop if I don’t know whether they have anything that I want – because I don’t know if they have yarns in the weights I’m after. For all I know, even considering the lack of info on the site, their yarns could all look like novelty yarns.
Then there’s the whole issue of them assuming the customer isn’t frail or sick or whatever, but I won’t go there. Really, if they’re going to be frugal with the shade cards perhaps they should ask if there’s something specific a customer is after, or sell the shade cards for a small fee (which might not cover the cost, but would discourage non-serious buyers). Or at least put more info and pics on the site.
I can’t decide if the overall impression of rudeness was in the attitude or the fact that the emails were in all caps, which newbies to the internet often don’t realise makes it look like they’re shouting. But I am left with an uneasy feeling that if I did order something, and the order went awry, they might be just as unhelpful about sorting it. Maybe I’m better off looking elsewhere.
You know, I do hesitate to mention this sort of thing, and every time I do I find myself thinking ‘well, I’m never going to get any “nice blogger” award’. But I feel it’s more important to tell other knitters about such encounters, and let them make up their own minds about whether I’m overreacting or the shop really was rude.
Knowing my luck the samples will turn up in the mail today. Well, if that happens I’ll definitely post about it. If the yarn is good I’ll enthuse about it.
In the meantime, can anyone recommend a good 100% silk yarn in both 8ply and 10ply?