**This post, “How Not to Do Business,’” was written as a way to blow off some steam. I was extremely frustrated, and as a result, it is extremely long. If you make it through the whole thing I’ll send you a cookie.**
In the world of Instagram there are these little things that small businesses do called “Instasales.” They post photos of some of their stock, and the first person to leave the email attached to their Paypal account gets to purchase the item pictured. I’ve participated in a few. I bought some moccs for Flynn, some hair bows for the girls, and some bow ties for Grayson – all transactions went off without a hitch.
There is this one shop owner who sells handmade stuffed creatures, and those creatures are hot. In order to purchase one of those creatures from her Instasales you have to have fast fingers. I’ve tried several times to grab one of those suckers. And I’m never quick enough. Over time she has had to change the “rules” of her sales in order to “make her job easier.” I never understood why she always seemed on the defensive when she changed the rules, and why some people then felt the need to complain.
She recently had a sale in which the perfect little creature for Irelyn was posted AND I had a little extra cash in order to get it. I read her rules thoroughly. The most important one being, “First to leave Paypal email AND name attached to that account gets it!!” That’s copied verbatim from her rules. So when that perfect creature popped up I worked fast “Lacey – email@example.com.” I refreshed. BAM! I had done it. I was first! I was going to buy this creature and surprise Irelyn with it. Perfection. Other potential buyers left their emails, only to be hit with the familiar feeling of disappointment when they saw they hadn’t been quick enough. One person even congratulated me on the “win.” I waited, knowing that in a few minutes the seller would tag me in a comment saying the creature was mine, and the invoice was being sent.
Instead I got this, “@OtherBuyer yours! Sorry, @lilmissnerdgirl I need the name attached to the Paypal account.”
What? Hadn’t I left my name? So I asked, “Was my first name not enough?” A side note: I no longer use my full name on Instagram, and changed that some time ago. My account is also private at the moment due to spam and other reasons. I also do not give my last name in public forums unless I’m specifically asked to do so. My last name is not mentioned here (on the blog), not on my LMNG Facebook Page, not on my Twitter, and not on my LMNG Google+ Page. If a last name is needed I always try leaving just the initial first. So, in this case, her shop feed is public and I didn’t want my full name out there. Others may leave theirs willingly, but I don’t.
I scrolled through her other creatures for sale. On later posts she changed her rules to say, “First to leave Paypal email AND full name attached to that account gets it!!” The seller changed the “rules” in the middle of her sale! Am I the only one who thinks that is unprofessional?
She hadn’t responded to me, so I left her another comment, “Oh, I see you’ve changed it to say ‘full name’ on subsequent posts. That’s unfortunate that it wasn’t mentioned before. I just don’t like sharing my full name on Instagram.”
Another follower of the seller’s posted a comment agreeing with me, which the seller promptly deleted.
The seller’s response, “sorry, I’ve never had to say that before today. The point of asking for the name is to cut down on confusion and just the first name doesn’t help me do that and technically it’s not the name on the Paypal account. :/ sorry!” Another side note: Having both my first name and email doesn’t make things clearer? How many people out there have the same first name AND same email address?
Of course, I couldn’t let it go. Disappointment and frustration was taking over. So I replied, “It’s your business do how you want to do. Just bummed it wasn’t mentioned before & that I won’t be able to participate in these flash sales.”
And, of course, the seller must always have the last word, “sorry, again, it wouldn’t be fair to those who followed the rules completely. Like I mentioned, I’ve never had to say it before (for 1000’s of creatures). xo”
I didn’t say anything after that, and let her have her last word on the situation. Even though it makes it sound like I don’t know how to follow rules, which I DO and I DID.
In my opinion, the proper way to handle this would have been to: 1.) Let me buy the creature; 2.) Change the wording on subsequent posts so she didn’t run into the same problem again; 3.) Make a post after the sale indicating the change in the rules due to some confusion; 4.) Party on.
Instead, she made me look silly and lost at least one customer. Yes, you’ve sold thousands of theses things, good for you and your pocketbook, but obviously your “rules” are not clear-cut at the moment.
Maybe I am overreacting, but I feel like I have been slighted. This situation was not handled properly and judging from past posts, I believe this is not the first time she has changed the rules mid sale. If you were playing soccer, made a goal by kicking the ball in with your left foot, and then the referee said your goal didn’t count because you now had to make the goal with your right foot (and it hadn’t been specified beforehand), would that be fair? I don’t think so.
Anyway, I feel better now that I have blogged it out. The frustration is gone. My mom can sew, so she can make my kids a creature of our own creation and it’ll be more special that way.
Maybe some of this story will end up in one of my scripts.