Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Perils of Ebay and Etsy!

Good afternoon, on this particularly wet and dismal day! I've spent the day so far feeling sorry for myself and making a huge vat of chicken soup, as I wallow in the misery of a particularly heavy cold that was no doubt brought on by standing in the rain in fields for most of the weekend at various festivals!

As I'm in a grumpy mood I thought I'd stick with it and bemoan the recent misadventures I've had as both buyer and seller on Ebay and Etsy. Here's what has gone wrong:

As a seller:- Not one but TWO beautiful gowns (layers of taffeta, boned bodices, the works) went astray on the way to Germany! Plus many more small packages not being delivered.
- Buyers not paying.
- Buyers disputing clothes sizes and other issues that were clearly stated in the item description, had they bothered to read it.

As a buyer (where do I start?!)
- Being sent the wrong item and then not being refunded the postage for sending their mistake back to them so I could get the correct one.
- Not being sent an item at all!
- Sellers ignoring my messages/requests.
- Garment completely different size to that stated.
- Garment completely different colour to that stated.
- Garment different fit to that pictured (e.g. pegged to model and not stated)
- Receiving unprofessional, nasty messages from sellers when I leave purely 100% factual feedback that doesn't say they're perfect.
- Garments in much poorer condition than stated.
- Garments dirty - deodorant marks, pet hair, eurghh!

All in all, not a success story! I've spent extra money on reimbursing buyers for mistakes made by the Royal Mail, as well as extra money on cleaning and altering garments received in poor condition. It is possible of course to make a nice bit of extra cash from Ebay or Etsy sales, but sometimes it goes horribly wrong.

Here are a few words of advice for selling:
- State clearly that you are not responsible for items lost in the post, and that you will provide proof of posting for the buyer to claim from the Post Office in the event of this happening.

- Wherever possible provide European sizes if they're on clothing labels, as well as UK sizes. This has to be my most frequently asked question.

- Always be professional with your customers, even if they have left feedback you think was unfair. I recently received a rude and unprofessional message from a seller. Will I be shopping from them again? No. If their response had been courteous it wouldn't have mattered about their original mistake, but rather than try and fix it they just hurled blame at me!

- Keep a record of what postage roughly costs to what locations e.g. I just underestimated massively how much it would cost to send a pair of shoes to Australia, bye bye profit on that item! For next time I'll have a note of how much it will cost to Australia, and within the UK, so I can compare and make a more educated guess.

- If an item is true vintage, I tend to add the word 'genuine' or 'original' in the item description to make it stand out from all the 'vintage inspired' and 'vintage style' items.

There we go, that's my rant for the day over. I'll leave you with a recipe for an easy and nourishing chicken soup in case you are also feeling under the weather. The quantities below make a huge stockpot full of soup, but you can alter the amounts to make less if desired.

250g pearl barley (rinsed)
Half a cooked chicken, shredded
Pint of stock (chicken or veg)
Sprinkle of chilli flakes
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Fresh herbs like Thyme or Marjoram if you have them.
As much garlic as you like, crushed.

The pearl barley needs to simmer away for at least an hour, so I tend to start it off by covering it in cold water and then adding the rest of the ingredients gradually once it's bubbling. As the pearl barley expands you will need to check if you need more liquid added. As well as the initial water covering it, plus the pint of stock, I added probably another pint of boiling water.

I hope you are all warm and well!

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