Saturday, May 19, 2012

Etsy and Blackmail Extortion

So, I recently closed my shop on Etsy, after 4 years of operation. I have to say, it was never something about which I was truly passionate. It was a nice hobby, and if I made stuff that people liked, and as long as it was at least breaking even, I had no problems with it. For the first three years, that seemed to be the standard. I loved trading and selling; I probably spent more than I made; and for the most part, it made me feel proud that I created things that people seemed to enjoy.

However, in the last year, I started getting a lot of complaints. And the more that I got, the fishier they sounded. Oh, it was a slightly different shade than I thought; Oh, I changed my mind; oh, the quality is soooo poor (for a $5 item). Always these complaints came with the demand that so long as I refunded their money, they would keep the product and not give me bad feedback.

I was a slave to the feedback system.

I was giving away and putting more money into it than I was getting. Not to mention the shipping expenses and headaches. I tried to tough it out, but my temper reached a head with the last extortionist.

I was sick of it. Sick of these scammers blackmailing me with bad feedback and only relenting when it involved free product.

So I quit. I closed my store, and a rush of relief flowed over me. I felt free. Freer than I had felt in a long time.

I’ll probably go back to Etsy as a buyer, but no more selling for me. My question is, what is Etsy planning to do about this? Surely I can’t be the only person that has had this happen. Will people just stick it out? I know that I was a prime target for scammers, since my prices were cheap. But what happens when they hit someone that has items that go for around $100 a pop?

I’d love to sell again, but it was just too much stress and I couldn’t really have something annoy me and cost money!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Year-End Summary and Goals

With the year winding down, I wanted to wrap it up with a post of triumphs, missteps, and goals for the upcoming year. It just helps me get into a headspace of a new beginning, and look to the future in a positive light.

First off, what happened this year? Well, this year pretty much rocked. It started off pretty rocky, with lots of stupid drama and hurt feelings, but was overall a much more positive year than 2010. I finally got into a groove with my new location where I love it. I’ve made some new friends, and it feels great to be busy and productive.

What I did that was awesome:

1. Took a trip to Paso Robles for wine tasting
2. Did lots of blog stuff – lots of reviews, dinners attended, events. I even got a sponsorship!
3. Took care of personal depression stuff – believe me, this was instrumental in the success of everything else.
4. Started a novel about which I’m really excited.
5. Produced, wrote, and acted in the 24 Experiment.
6. Acted in three other plays, one of which was a musical.
7. Traveled to Italy!
8. Went to Comic Con for two days and had a great time with cool costumes.
9. Discovered many new, great places to eat and drink.
10. Visited my sister and her family for Thanksgiving.
11. Took in the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA.
12. Saw Pomplamoose in LA!
13. Lived my childhood dream of seeing the Bangles live.
14. Went to Disneyland and Universal Studios

I could write out a list of things that happened this year that weren’t so awesome, but I choose to focus on what was positive about the year, and that I’m grateful for this life.

My goals for the coming year:

1. Write and produce a stage play. Possibly musical, although I’d need help with that, as I stink at writing music.
2. Cook more. I kind of slumped a bit on this one, particularly during the latter part of the year when I was so busy.
3. Finish the novel!
4. Continue to take care of myself mentally and physically.
5. Travel to Peru.
6. Make more friends.

And that’s it, for now. I’m trying to keep my goals short and focused, so that I don’t forget them. Here’s to the Year of the Dragon!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Year-End Sale!

I don't usually use this blog for self-promotion (oh, who are we kidding, a blog is the very essence of self-promotion!), but I just wanted to share that I am having a sale in my etsy shop. Everything ships free through the first week of 2012. If you want to take a peek, my shop is here.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back in St. Olaf...

I’m long overdue for a book review, and I’ve a very good one for this entry. During my plane trip for a Thanksgiving with my family back East, I read Betty White’s If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t). It’s an anecdotal presentation of her life and career, told in little vignettes of experiences in Hollywood and life. She speaks a great deal about her experiences getting older, with the famous quote “Growing old isn’t for sissies.”

The book is an easy read, delightful, and pretty thought-provoking. I’m convinced that Betty White really is as nice as she seems in most of her TV spots. She always reminds me of my grandma, and I hope that I am half as good and sweet as she always was. Ms. White always seemed very content with her life, and even in her younger days, wasn’t a complainer. Although one could argue that she had very little to complain about, I think that even the most blessed among us often have these “if only” whines, and I think that one of her best qualities is her classy demeanor.

She also explains her long-term career: she said that she’ll never stop working, only cut back. I completely agree with that. We need responsibilities, and we need something to live for. She talks about people that wait to live, that “as soon as” mentality. The problem is, “as soon as” never seems to come for many people.

Her humor is very evident: very self-deprecating, and she speaks about her appearance on SNL. She was asked to do the show a few times before, but turned it down because she worried about the pressure of producing a live show in such a short time. This generation convinced her: Facebook has spoken! Betty did the show.

Definitely a recommended read.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Purple Thursday

Instead of going out for Black Friday this year, I went to Purple Thursday. If you haven’t figured it out already, I’ll pontificate a bit on Purple Thursday. You see, stores started their sales incredibly early this year. In fact, a store that opened at 5 AM on Friday morning was viewed as a relatively sane practice, as opposed to stores like Wal-Mart, that didn’t bother to close on Thanksgiving, and started their sales at 10 PM on Thursday night! Therefore, Purple Thursday was born (my nephews and I created this term, for fun).

And of course, my sister had that all-important gift to retrieve, and since I was visiting her and her family for Thanksgiving, I tagged along for moral and physical support (more people to hold places in line!).

The prize? A 46” TV for $200! However, it was not to be, as we didn’t wait in line from 6 PM to 12 AM, when the sales at Best Buy and Target started. Seriously, that is just a bit too much for me. We got there at 10 PM, and saw Girl Scouts selling donuts and sodas (great idea! I would have bought some cocoa had they been selling that), and Target was passing out Luna bars for sustenance! Best Buy turned out to be a fail, as the desired TV sold out within 3 minutes, but Target was still a go, thanks to my husband being nice and holding a spot in line at Target!

The $200 TV wasn’t to be, but I did manage to snag a $265 Element for my sis, by simply walking in and grabbing an offered cart containing the item! Score!

Moreover, it was a nice memory to add to the list of goofy adventures with my sister!

Monday, November 14, 2011

My interview on Jazz 88!

Discussing the 24 Experiment!

Click on the link to listen!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

24 Experiment

I’ve been really busy for the past couple of months! With my vacation, and getting back into the swing of things, I’ve barely had any time to blog.

What else have I been doing? The 24 Experiment.

The 24 Experiment gathers a group of writers, actors, and directors with the objective of writing, casting, rehearsing, and performing a play within 24 hours. Daunting, no?

But we’ve found a group of artists crazy and talented enough to do it! I’m terribly excited about the whole thing.

Basically, we all show up on Friday night, the writers stay and write through the night, then the next morning, the actors and directors show up to run rehearsals for a show that night!

If you’re local and curious to see how it all turns out, be at the Point Loma Actors Theater on November 19, at 7 PM. Tickets can be purchased here.