How many of you have fallen prey to the crate phenomenon? There are monthly crates full of beauty supplies like Birchbox, healthy snacks like NatureBox, and a billion others for a billion different things.
Anything you take a particular shine to, be it candles that smell like paper and coffee, mini notebooks with cool cover art, minimalist magnets, etc., you can find the website on the handy insert that outlines all the cool stuff included in the crate, and get MOAR of it.
There’s always one that has to ruin it for the rest. Someone who is unreliable sets up shop, and the newly discovered maker-of-cool-things you were excited to add to your collection of geekery leaves you hanging, and the negative column for all-things-NOT-corporate gets a tic.
I fell in love with the magnets featured in every Fandom of the Mouth Club crate I’ve received. A couple of times, the business card-sized magnet, with just the outline of various beloved characters, was the only thing I liked (I’ve since discontinued that subscription).
So I went to the website and ordered a collection of them (and a couple of t-shirts), making use of the “xx% off your first purchase” insert included with the other swag.
On April 22, 2016 I received an order confirmation email:
A week or two later, the t-shirts arrived sans magnets. Knowing from past experience that different materials are printed separately, I wasn’t worried. I figured they would follow shortly.
When I went back to the website to try to look up my order, I saw a disclaimer that I’d previously missed, stating that orders could take between two and four weeks to process:
I wasn’t sure where on that timeline my order fell, and unable to locate anything resembling a “track your order” option, I retreated back to my email account, forced to sift through old messages, trying to find the order confirmation.
It had been a month, so I sent a message to the email address listed under the “Contact” tab on the website:
A week went by without a reply. At that point, I was pissed. There’s no way around it. Buying from a small business isn’t like buying from Amazon—you pay upfront, not when your purchase ships. HalfBloodPrints received payment at the time of purchase, FIVE WEEKS after the fact at that point, and they couldn’t be bothered to respond to a simple inquiry?
So I sent a second, less friendly email:
That time I got a reply within minutes:
I was still annoyed, b/c I seriously doubted she had been out of town for FIVE WEEKS, and if she was a responsible business person, she would’ve brought her orders current before leaving, but I received a shipping confirmation email a few days later on 6/2/16, so I let it go:
AGAIN weeks went by without anything showing up on my doorstep, so AGAIN I went back to the website. I found this in the FAQ section:
I get that HalfBloodPrints is probably a one woman operation, so she doesn’t have the setup that Society6 or Redbubble has, spitting out products made-to-order within days of purchase.
A two month turnaround is just riddikulus.
Even more riddikulus is that it’s been OVER TWO MONTHS and I still haven’t received my order. I tracked the “shipment” again before writing this post, only to see that the process had yet to go further than printing the label:
SO. The moral of this story is two-fold:
1. When buying from small businesses be careful to avoid any that don’t have any customer feedback posted on their websites.
2. Don’t take for granted that something sent out in one of your subscription boxes is from a reputable vendor.
I’m looking at you, HalfBloodPrints. *glares*