Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Going Postal


Having one of those days?
You know, I thought I was just being paranoid before when I said my mailman hated me ...

After years of getting everyone else's mail in my mailbox BUT mine, having my packages returned without my knowledge (never mind overbearing office ladies holding them hostage!), and having my own letters returned to me claiming not enough postage I thought I'd seen it all, but this, while being a single, lonely little letter, is a new low.  This gem was post marked yesterday ... yes, you read that correctly, YESTERDAY.  I know ... I know!  I'm stunned too!  I thought, as I'm sure you're thinking as well, that it came directly out of a Civil War era soldier's breast pocket, but surprisingly enough that's not the case. 

Should I be concerned?  I see this person in an uncomfortable uniform doing a job that never ends -- no sense of satisfaction of a task completed -- a job well done, sitting before my mailbox wringing his hands (letter in his clutches) thinking about the fate soon to befall his LEAST favorite customer ... *gulp* ... me!!!  Ok, maybe I take it a little too far in my imagination, but I must say, it's getting more, and more difficult to not take this personally.

But, uhm ... you know, if I happen to go missing ... maybe start by looking in the backs of South Seattle area mail trucks, that is, if I'm not being held, and tortured in the sort facility!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Etsy-Etsy, Regretsy, banana-fana forgetsy, me-mi-Protesty ... Etsy!

Let's do Ebay!

Ok, let's not ...

You may remember an earlier post about a little dust-up concerning Etsy, and alleged resellers (like our old friend Ecologica Malibu) not only allowed, but featured, and most shockingly protected by the powers that be over at ye olde Etsy homestead by a quick shuffle of words, and notifying the Community that, you know, nothing's changed, y'all just misunderstood the entire time.

What is a reseller, you ask?  Well it used to be widely understood that a reseller would be a shop operating as the buyer of previously manufactured goods, and punting them as handmade solely by the shop owner on said shop's Etsy account -- a site made famous through the advertising prowess of its users (since the company began with a firm stance on non-promotion making it the responsibility of its users to spread the word, thus bringing traffic to the site as a whole), and its mission statement touting itself as "... the world’s handmade marketplace." 

Now it seems the company is turning toward a new direction of "small business marketplace," rather than the "'handmade by you' marketplace," of its origins.  Which, in all honesty, in my opinion would've been perfectly acceptable (not everyone shares this opinion), however, they forgot to tell their members.  Ok, ok ... Etsy is a privately owned business, they don't owe us anything, I guess.  Cool.  But, I, and many do agree with this one, find it completely hypocritical to go around soap boxing about integrity this, and integrity that, doubling the size of the integrity team, blah, blah, blah, when it seems the company has absolutely none whatsoever by the way they have handled previous, recent, and current investigations, seller suspensions, and shop closures.  This has left many of us crying foul, and many more who absolutely can not close their stores tomorrow because they rely on their income through this venue in what some call "protest," but I feel is more of a "demonstration" (don't you just love a good sit-in?!).  There have been numerous comments about the "pointlessness" of a protest against a privately owned company, calling the 4,100 members committed to closing for a day just a mere drop in the Etsy bucket of some 800,000 accounts ... and I have to say I somewhat agree.  However, if ANYONE in the Brooklyn offices, at all, notices how many active accounts have closed for the day (if the sales reflect) it will, perhaps, convey the displeasure of the Community with the complete lack of transparency the company provides its customers, the double-speak coming out of headquarters, and utter buffoonery displayed by the current CEO, and company in their blogs, and fora.  What Etsy doesn't seem to understand is that while you certainly can't become un-famous, you can most definitely become infamous-- what, exactly, they want to become known for remains to be seen ... though, I think we're getting glimpses.

                                                              ***

The incident that sparked the controversy has taken on a cyber-life of its own these past few weeks with yours truly scoring a quote in Huffington Post:

I always looked at Etsy as the "springboard" of small businesses if that's how a business wanted to use it. Some are perfectly fine remaining small (by small I mean "handmade by you"), others are not. Before ever opening an account here it seemed to me that businesses who graduated beyond "handmade by you" terms had made enough with Etsy to set up their own B&Ms or websites where they then took control over their entire selling process instead of relying on the Etsy marketplace.

It now seems to me that Etsy wants to stretch its umbrella so as not to lose the companies that have outgrown it.

I get it, but again, just own it.
 

Beyond Etsy sellers fearing they can not compete with outsourced manufacturing, people like myself are now concerned about being associated with businesses with questionable ethics, and business practices.  I, for one, am not comfortable selling side by side with business owners exploiting third world laborers, and possibly children to score huge profits off the mistreatment of others.  That's not what I thought Etsy stood for, and I can officially say I'm no longer confident in that opinion.  Never mind importing potentially toxic materials (like lead, and butyltin for hypothetical funsies!) in fuel guzzling ships from half way around the world all under the guise of ecological responsibility.  I find it difficult to wrap my brain around how that could possibly be construed as "green," but If Etsy, itself, can create spiffy new definitions for words like "collective" to incorporate factories I can't WAIT to hear what they have in store for terms like "child labor," "sweatshops," and "unfair labor practices!"  Those points aside, I'm not out to destroy any one person's or shop's reputation, because frankly drafting phony emails from manufacturers, hiding behind a husband's Bar Association number lashing out with poorly constructed Cease and Desist letters sent to anyone who publicly commented on the matter when lie, after lie, after lie, (oopsie, I mean alleged!) was uncovered really does it all on its own.

**Post Edit**

As of the autumn of 2012 there have been many changes to the Etsy machine, and as much as the people working for the company deny that it's become a free-for-all venue for people punting factory sweatshop made wares, many of its customers, buyers and sellers alike, feel otherwise.  You can still find authentic, handmade pieces, and many wonderful stores run by designers and creators with their integrity intact, but as always with online shopping, buyer beware ... now more so than ever when companies bait-and-switch their customers by drawing them in under the guise of shopping for authentic handmade pieces, and quietly change the rules while they think no one is watching.  In fact, the store that sparked off a lot of the original outrage would be welcomed on Etsy's new selling platform with open arms.  Whatever floats your boat(wood), I guess.