Our local vendors
I had a whole long blog post about putting things on hold and how I’m still thinking about questions - especially after Bonnie’s comment on that – but the post was so long and rambly and wanky even *I* didn’t want to read it. So I deleted it, and now I’m going to go open a beer, pour myself a glass of Shut the Fuck Up, and play a little Sims 3. You’re welcome.
Another thing that’s on my mind right now is the amount of time I spend online answering questions (and this is NOT to make anyone who has asked me a question lately feel guilty). I think I’m agitated about this right now because not only have a pulled a muscle in my wrist typing in the last week (HOW LAME IS THAT) but also in the last… oh… three weeks or so, I have received … ten Etsy messages. No, twelve. But two of them were only to tell me I have an item featured in a treasury.
Most of these messages, at least six of them, are people wanting to know about my neatly wrapped yarn cups. Someone apparently favorited a listing from November of 2011 when I was taking custom orders after being in that magazine (I didn’t know you could favorite sold items, but whatever) and now that sold item has been making the rounds. Again. Eighteen months later, or however long that’s been.
Now, in spite of the fact that I’m in a situation right now where I keep emailing someone to get information back, and get nothing but the sound of crickets, I still answer people when they contact me. Even though I am annoyed, and have a completely irrational moment of “MY questions aren’t being answered, why should I take the time for YOURS? Clearly *I* don’t matter, why should I give when I am not getting?” — and that’s not juvenile at all. Which is why I respond. And – in my opinion – I answer well. I thank them for taking the time to contact me. I acknowledge their question, I acknowledge any frustration they may have (for example, if they don’t realize that the custom order listing they are looking at was for March of 2012, not 2013, and was actually sold in November of 2011), and I construct an answer specific to their question, rather than copy/paste. If I have what they’re asking about (soap sets, yarn mugs, ceramic mermaids, whatever) I direct them to where they can find it on my new website, and then as a nod towards Etsy’s policy of not wanting you to admit you sell someplace other than Etsy, I offer to re-list the item on Etsy if they are uncomfortable purchasing on an unknown site.
Anyway. Out of those ten messages, one turned into a custom order, one wound up buying off my main site, one had a few more questions for me, and the last seven people just never got back to me. Never Got Back To Me. Not a “thank you”… not a “fuck you”… nothing. Crickets.
The custom order? That woman was lovely. Funny, excited, happy. The one who bought off my main site? Former Hanks customer, an out-of-towner who had found us on Ravelry when looking for an LYS when visiting her in-laws, and she was so excited to find me and find I had what she was looking for. I love that. No, really — interactions like that with people make my day; that’s what makes the hard work worth it. But the cricket people? What. The. Hell. I just don’t even.
What am I supposed to do with that?
What am I supposed to do with people who don’t answer?
What am I supposed to do with people who don’t answer me?
Obviously, me being me, I will continue to peck out the most professional and in-depth answers that I can, whenever I can, to whomever emails me. Because that’s how I am. That’s who I am. Part of me wants to email the people who don’t email me back (whether I’m answering them or asking them questions), and ask them, daily, “did you get this? Now? How about now? NOW?” … but part of me is just… so… very… tired. I wish I had a Magic Eight Ball which could tell me if the person is going to be a non-responder, so that I could just not even bother. But then… the chance! The chance of making someone happy, making someone’s day, making someone realize they can get something they thought they couldn’t… I love that. And I wouldn’t get that if I just… didn’t answer people. Without people, I wouldn’t have a job.
One of two things is going on if I’m not posting; I’m busy as fuck, or I have a lot on my mind and don’t trust myself to be coherent about them yet. Sadly, lately, it seems that just when I get to the point of being coherent, I get too busy to have time to write to the extent that needs to be written. Right now I have 28 minutes until dinner, which are leftovers, so I’m going to take 26 of those and write something up!
I need to evaluate my hold policy for work. Things are getting …. well, they’re not out of control, but they’re getting to the point where I can see them getting out of control. So I need to come to a new policy, one that is both fair to the customer (in that they get what they want when they can afford to buy it) and is fair to me (I don’t have to provide space for the item indefinitely, and actually get paid for it).
Let’s say it takes me 15 minutes of online work to change the quantity of an item, relist the item as a custom order for someone, including any descriptions that need to be written and pictures re-uploaded to the new listing. 15 minutes isn’t much. Unless ten people a week ask me, and in that case that’s two and a half hours of work. Is that fair? What else could I be doing in that 2 1/2 hours? Does the price of the item(s) justify the work? How likely is it the customer will be happy enough to recommend me to their friends and family?
Let’s say someone asks me to hold an item. Is it a limited edition item? How many people are going to want it? How long are they asking me to hold it? In the time I’m holding it, could I have sold it? Did I have other people asking for it? Is that fair to hold it to a random person who asks first, if I have to then tell a regular customer that they can’t have it because it’s on hold?
Let’s say someone asks me to hold an item in my sale section. How long do they want me to hold it? Why is it on sale? Do I need money? Do I need the shelf space? How long is a fair time to hold it so that the customer can pay for it but I am not inconvenienced by not getting my money when I need it, or not being able to use the space?
I’ve always been a firm believer in across-the-board fairness; what you deny to one, you should deny to all, and what you offer to one, you should offer to all. But I can’t go around saying, yes, I will totally hold this very large item that I marked down to get rid of, for three months while you do I don’t know what. That’s not fair to me. And it’s not fair to others who might want to buy the item right then and there but can’t, because it’s on hold. Sure, they wouldn’t have been able to buy it if it were sold, either… and you could ask yourself, “who would know the difference”… but *I* would know.
Someone once asked me (years ago) if I would do something for them I didn’t want to do, and they said, “if you were really my friend you would do it.” To which I was all, “fuck you, if you were really *my* friend you wouldn’t ask me to!”. Yes, I am a master of the “You Mother Fucker Defense.” (If you don’t know what that is, you need to read the Sweet Potato Queen’s first book. HIGH FREAKING LARIOUS.)
So, anyway, I have started posting sometimes, when I have something limited, or on sale, or marked down, or more than three people have been asking me about every time they see in-progress pictures, that I can’t hold this something. That it is first-come, first served… the reason being that I don’t want to be a dick to a friend if they ask me after someone else has asked me, and I’ve either already said yes, or said no and now feel that I can’t say yes. However, it does make me look like kind of a dick to say I can’t hold things.
Or does it? Amazon doesn’t hold things; you have the money, you buy it! You don’t, you don’t! Barring layaway (which beeeeelieve me, I have looked into being able to provide, but can’t) most stores are not going to hold things, unless they’re locally owned. I’m willing to be your local grocery store doesn’t hold things. Gas stations, to my knowledge, aren’t going to hold you a couple gallons until Friday. Wait, did I say locally owned? Yes, that’s true. Local stores run by local people who are actual humans, will hold things. I am a locally owned, er, “place”… so why am I wigging out about having to hold things? Is it because space is at a premium? Is it because I have held things longer than I felt I should, and now I’m just getting bitchy at everyone who’s asking, because of one situation?
Blargh. I just want to be fair to everyone. INCLUDING MYSELF. Mostly myself, for my peace of mind. But yes, other people, too… especially friends and long-time customers. But I have a really hard time saying “OK, so I will hold stuff for you, and you, and youuuuuuuuuuuu… but don’t tell anyone. It’ll be our little secret.” I just… I’m way too transparent for that. Besides, then someone I didn’t want to hold stuff for would ask me in person, and I giggle when I lie. So that would go well.
ANYWAY (did I already say that?).
It’s 7:01, I am now officially late for dinner. Anyway. Something. I don’t know what I want to do, but I have to do something, because this is really bothering me. I’m not asking for advice, I’m just venting about what is on my mind. I know that somewhere, there’s a really good idea that is both fair to me, and fair to regular and future customers. I just don’t know what it is yet.
That was a tasty beer. Slightly fruity (it was the “blackberry juice” on the label that got me).
New at Ingenue Avenue, a selection of guest soaps inspired by Sarkara Sweet’s cupcake line!
If you don’t know what this is you may be too young to be reading my blog.
I do love the first clear day after a week of rain.
Out of all the awards that my uncle has won, I think this is my favorite (as far as looks go).
I have discovered in the last few days that having ceramic week right after yarn week is a big fat fail — mostly because I dyed so much yarn and the weather was so rainy (I hang the yarn on the back porch to dry, and the air was so wet that it just would nooooooot dryyyyyyyyyyy) that I couldn’t get all the yarn wound. And I wind yarn on the same surface that I hand build ceramics on, and I can’t do both at the same time. So I have to choose between winding the yarn (a should-do) and playing with clay (a want-to-do). I’ve been playing with clay but I feel guilty for not winding the yarn. But if I wound the yarn instead of working on ceramics, then I get frustrated that I’m not doing what I want to be doing that day. GO FIGURE.
Here’s a photo of a former fairy door in the park.
Yeah. I got nuthin’.
And as much as I hate it when people say “hey, I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging!”… I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging! Dye weeks really take it out of me; I have to start the dye pots pretty much as soon as I get up, because they take about an hour to heat up. Each dye pot can take two skeins of yarn, and I have four pots. Each color takes at least two hours (both dyeing and setting), so plus an hour to warm up, and I can comfortably get about three colors done in a day. Four, or even as much as five, if I push myself. Which I did in the last week or two. So I can potentially dye as many as … never mind, I don’t feel like doing the math.
When I decided to stop making lotions and lip balms, I decided to use that week as “catch up” instead. Since yarn club is about to start, I decided to spend a good portion of “catch up” week dyeing yarn club, as I also have a lot of restocks to dye and knew that yarn club would take a lot of time — I wanted to go ahead and dye everything, all three selections in both bases, as many as I needed, to get that out of the way. I did that last time and it worked out well. Except that I was too low on one base I wanted to use to dye that color… so I dyed two out of three. One of which has an overdye, so that took twice as long as it would have for all 26 skeins, and the other one had a color that I had a real problem with the match of color and yarn. I would dye it, take it out, it would look fine, I’d hang it to dry, and then when I went to wound it found places where the dye had not taken as deeply as I wanted, so I had to redye it. On almost all 26 skeins of that, some of them twice. So that was a time sink.
Then it was finally time to dye my restocks… I think I started those on Wednesday. And winding. OH THE WINDING. I don’t know what I did before I had this electric winder. Took a lot of Advil, probably.
So now, Saturday. All of the yarn I dyed yesterday is still too wet to wind. The rain we’ve been having has not been helping — I have to let the yarn dry on the porch because Tiny Kitten. Please don’t suggest that I put the yarn in the spin cycle in the washer to press out the water; yes, I know that can be done, and everyone I know who has done it has burned out the motor on their washing machine. I can’t afford to buy a new washing machine right now.
Most of the yarn I dyed Thursday is also still too damp. Some of the yarn I dyed Tuesday and Wednesday was slightly damp, but I wound it yesterday anyway, only hung it back up instead of putting it in the staging bin. I still have almost 40 skeins to wind.
I guess what I’m saying with all of this, is that it keeps me away from the computer. And in the spirit of trying not to overtax myself on something that was taking a lot of time and energy, I let a few things fall to the side. Like blogging. And answering email. And laundry. And cat boxes. Ugh.
Aaaaaaaaaaand, now I have to run, because we’re meeting some friends for lunch. So then. Happy, er, what the heck is today? Happy Day that Ends In Y!
As stressful some weeks as squeezing in two social knitting events was, now that I’m not meeting anyone, at all, ever, for anything, I’ve been feeling rather unsocialized – working at home does have a few drawbacks, and lack of human interaction is one of them. Don’t get me wrong, I adore That Poor Man. But a chatterbox he is not, and I miss my girlfriends.
So with Wild Iris still closed for moving (I KNOW, I don’t want to talk about it), Sharon and I decided to check out Broken Shelves the other night. They are a new place that’s opened up in early April, and the official name is “Broken Shelves Books & Art.” Used books, art, cozy space. The website is pretty basic, listing location, but if you’re on Facebook they have a pretty active page here.
In addition to seating for about… hmm, between comfy chairs and tall seating, they have seating for maybe twelve or thirteen, they also have a small bar (!!!) where they have a nice selections of beers, but most importantly, have a cider on the menu. I like cider a lot more than I like beer. And I like being surrounded by books, especially old books, so to be on a comfy couch, with my knitting, and a cider, next to a shelf that says something like “please handle these old books carefully”… well, I was at home.
Having said that, I don’t know that it’ll become a replacement place for Thursday Night Knitting, should Wild Iris continue to be delayed. The only reason I say that is because even though it definitely would seat everyone in our group, it would take up the entire store to be able to do that – especially on spinning night, where a couple of tables might even have to be moved. And I’d hate to descend on a brand-new business and ask them to keep that kind of space open for us every week. But I would definitely go back there again, to hang, with one or two girlfriends. You know. If any of my beer-drinking book-loving knitters were available Just sayin’.
When I walk the dog, I may be listening to my headphones, but my eyes take in everything. OK, maybe not everything. But a lot. Like this little lot. It looks like at one point it was a cross-through street. It’s between 9th St and 8th St and it is just two houses deep. There are old stone street markers (Gainesville used to have these white stone street markers on all the corners; you can hardly find them now, but they’re still around in the older parts of town) and someone has buried them upside down in order to block off the road. The road has long since been torn up, and it really looks more like a double-sized lot than a through-street or alleyway.
If it wasn’t so shady, years ago I would have lobbied to make it a community garden. What a perfect space, right? And there are so many hippies in my neighborhood that you know a community garden would be right up it’s alley. So to speak. It’s an alley? Get it? See what I did there? Sadly, it’s pretty much a full-shade area, and while the neighborhood has used it a couple of times as a get-together spot for our Crime Watch group… nothing much happens there. It’s like an invisible area that people walk by and ignore. Nobody tends to it. Nobody trims the weeds, mows the grass, digs up the air potatoes. There are a few broken bottles and probably some condoms and syringes (STAY CLASSY, EAST SIDE).
But in the Gainesville in my dreams, it’s a sunny community garden. Neighbors meet there and chat, and work together, and their kids play nearby. The day care up the road has a kids section, and feeds kids a few times a week from food only grown in the garden. It’s pretty, it’s sunny, it’s safe, and it gives everyone in the ‘hood a sense of pride and responsibility. In my dreams it’s not invisible.