Wednesday, August 25, 2010

august doldrums

I've been reminded that I have a blog and people like it when I post every once in a while. It's not that I don't have anything to say, there has just been a lot going on. I'm getting ready to leave for a 3 week trip to Europe in 7 days, and there's a lot of prep that has to happen because I'm leaving my helpers to manage things. Which makes me nervous. And testy. To deal with my testy nervousness I've been making martinis that are so strong they make my face numb. Martinis are really not a drink you should get into the habit of drinking. I wake up in the middle of the night apologizing to my liver and to the brain cells that I just killed, I feel so guilty when I drink like an alcoholic. And the most unfortunate thing of all is that it helps not at all for long-term relaxation.

Despite the hectic schedule, I feel like nothing is getting done, which is my default emotion for when I'm trying to do too much with too little time. People have been getting on my nerves, but I manage to maintain a superficially sunny exterior so no one gets hurt. I had my first negative feedback on etsy a few weeks ago. I already know there are unhappy customers out there, because I usually hear from them. This one, I heard nothing, just an ugly red "negative" post on my feedback page, with no commentary. I wrote the person immediately to ask them what was up, even though I was inclined to just ignore them since they already left negative feedback. But that would be poor customer service, and I never intentionally give poor customer service. Unless you are being such a bad customer that I have no choice. They wrote me back to tell me the creamer cracked-- or something, it was actually not totally clear what happened-- and it wouldn't hold liquid, so they were disappointed. I was so irritated by their total lack of recognition that they had other ways to deal with this--like maybe contact me so I could send them a new creamer--that it took me 4 days to respond. Taking that long to write a customer back broke my 24 hour rule, but every email I wrote was so hostile that I couldn't send it. I finally managed something bland and inoffensive:

I can't say for sure what happened with your piece unless I looked at it. Clearly, it seems you received a very rare defective item since all of my work is made to be useful and functional, not just something pretty to look at. I will replace the creamer, I hope that will resolve the issue. Let me know if this solution works for you and we will go from there.

Never heard back from the former customer, so fine, fuck off. Live with your cracked creamer.

Meanwhile, I've been working on this cool project for the Gamble House Garden in Palo Alto. The Gamble House is having a 25 year anniversary event and one of my good, long-term customers asked me to design an exclusive vase for them that would be sold as a fund-raising thing. Time to call in the Hector! All of these images are of the prototype vase I slaved over. The only unfortunate thing about this order is they want it glazed in the "bad boyfriend" glaze. I almost immediately started thinking about the brain cells that are serving me well today, but will die tomorrow as more rivers of vodka pour down my throat while I wait for kiln loads of vases covered in matte green glaze to cool down. I attempted to talk them into something else, but it's true that this vase will look best in the matte green glaze, so I had to concede. And then I immediately recruited Hector to do the glazing part too. I am merciless.

15 comments:

  1. the vase design is ridiculously beautiful, Whitney! Good luck with the glaze!

    as you know: alcohol does solve all your problems.....for short periods of time.

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  2. I don't even bother with the Etsy feedback system because it drives me nuts / has ruined my day way too many times.

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  3. Really? But your stuff is so great... don't tell me you've gotten neg feedback!

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  4. Re feedback - Have you ever left negative feedback? I just about always leave positive feedback as soon as a seemingly 'no problem' order is shipped, but wonder if that is wise. I guess I'm not sure I'd even leave negative feedback even if someone deserved it because I'd hate it to appear retaliatory. Hopefully all the positives would speak for themselves.

    anyways just wonderin'. beautiful vases. hope 'bad boyfriend' is on best behavior.

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  5. I'm pretty sure you can leave a response to their feedback detailing your attempt to make them happy and that they didn't bother to respond. That way if anyone looks at the negative feedback, it shows that you made a reasonable attempt to correct the issue. Mitigates the damage and shows that you try to make even cranky customers satisfied.

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  6. @Jim
    Thats true, but once you've left positive feedback on Etsy, you can't change it. If someone leaves negative feedback, you can send a "kiss and make up" through Etsy to try to get the customer to change it, but its strictly up to the customer. I was just wondering if it was wise for me to leave positive feedback, which can't be changed, for a customer before they've left positive for me. I'm not obsessing over it or anything, was just curious.

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  7. Love love love the vase Whit. Sorry about the stupid customer...

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  8. I rarely leave neg feedback, and then only for non-paying customers who weren't upfront about their intention to pay or not and wasted my time. Otherwise I always leave positive, and I don't wait for people to leave me feedback, I just do it in a big batch when I have time.

    I'm not that concerned about the neg feedback from one customer, it just irritates me that someone would go through the trouble to do that but not through the trouble of letting me know there was a problem with their order!

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  9. I wonder if your Etsy shopper was the same woman who wanted a refunded on my coffee cup because it developed coffee stains.

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  10. oh no! that is so funny. annoying as hell, but still funny.

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  11. The vase is STUNNING!! I too love the bad boyfriend green glaze (as evidenced by looking at my Whitney collection - 99% bad boyfriend green...). Can't wait to see the finished vase!

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  12. Hey Whitney, Love your honesty.

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  13. The hell with that idiot! Have a great time in Europe!

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  14. I know how you feel. I had neutral feedback from a customer with no explaination and it still drives me nuts. She didnt even respond to my "what can I do to make you happy?" e-mail, and I don't think I could've given better customer service. Ehhh... go figure! Love the vase! Have a fabulous time in Europe!!!

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