Friday, October 18, 2013

Just another crazy customer day

"And I have the sense to recognize that I don't know how to let you go."

Today, for your amusement, I have another crazy customer story.

I had this bead set listed on Etsy.

A few days ago I got two messages on Etsy in succession.
1. do you do custom work?

2. I bought this bead on ebay and I am having trouble finding beads to go with it. I thought if you can make me a pair like your yellow ones but lighter I think it would be a good match.
She had won this bead from the amazing Cynthia Tilker.

Making a custom pair of beads hardly seemed worthwhile, but I asked Neil and he observed that it might lead to more sales from the customer. Plus sales have been slow, the beads are twelve-dot no-brainers, and I'm nice. So I replied.
Hi Susan - Yes, I can do that. The cost would be $10 plus $2.00 shipping, paid in advance. Let me know if this is OK. Cynthia Tilker does such beautiful work, I'm a big fan of hers too.
When I next checked, I'd gotten seven more messages from the customer. Spelling and grammar mistakes, all hers.
1. its my first from her. the last one was $$$. ok send me a reservation. can you make the sprinkled stff black?

2. the last one she sold got $444.00

3. forget what i said about sprinkles it was meant for someone else. if you can make a lighter yellow i thing your blackish color in the backround is good. can you make it black and light yellow.

4. no sprinkles just light yellow and black. if you think you can match my bead send me a reservation to pay you.

5. the yellow ones you have in your set can you make the yellow match my bead better? If its a yes great

6. Please send to Sue Bxxx, street address, Scottsdale, Arizona, zip code

7. im having trouble learing etsy im new. i want 2 beads to match my bead. i thing a black backround will make it even better. send me a reservation for $12.00 ill pay
Against my better judgment, I created a reserved listing for her. I copied the listing she liked, changed the title to: RESERVED for SUSAN SOMEONE, and changed the description to read: TWO BEADS ONLY reserved for Susan Someone in the style of the listing pictured with paler yellow.
Here is your reserved listing. I can't promise to match Cynthia's bead since I don't have it in hand. I think my beads will coordinate with it.
Much more quickly than I could possibly fire up the torch and make the beads, let alone anneal them and photograph them, nine (nine!) more messages arrived. I've corrected spelling and some grammar.
1. i thought i asked you to make a lighter yellow

2. ok i pay now then you make the bead?

3. im new to etsy. just learning.

4. $40 for 2 beads is a little to much for me.

5. I paid the $12 but those beads you made me look nothing like your set. I wanted the style of your set. you made different styles.

6. I paid you now the pictures are gone. the beads looked nothing like your set. Whats going on?

7. I think for now on I have to see pictures with everyone. Im down $12. You showed me pictures that looked nothing like your beads and the pictures went away.

8. now i have to try to get my $12 back. this is so ridiculous. I just wanted 2 beads like your yellow ones but lighter and you sent me pictures (that are no longer here) that look nothing like yours. they werent even yellow.

9. I see you get reviews that are nice. Why did you decide to do this to me? Keep the 12 bucks its not worth the aggravation. You taught me a $12 lesson. see pictures before paying. I have no idea how you sent me pictures and now they are not there.
She even e-mailed me, after she'd gotten my email address from the PayPal transaction.
my two beads look nothing like your set.
I tried explaining, as though I were dealing with a sane person. Why?
Susan - I haven't even made your beads yet. You will be getting two beads just like the ones in the set, but paler yellow. It's not too late to cancel the sale. If you are uncomfortable and would prefer a refund, I will happily refund your $12. Once I make and send the beads, custom orders are final, so please decide now if you'd rather cancel the sale.
Two more messages arrived.
1. Someone sent me pictures. I thought it was you. I have no idea who it was. Im sorry. I still want them.

2. I found the beads. I am so SORRY. SO SORRY. Please forgive me.
As I said, I'm nice.
No worries. Etsy can be a little confusing at first. I will be mailing your beads on Wednesday.
But I told myself, one more word from her and I'm done.

Predictably enough, the camel's back got broken. She sent another message.
can i see a picture before you mail them.
Without blinking, I refunded her money and cancelled the transaction. I feinted and hedged my bets with this explanation.
Dear Susan - I've decided to cancel this transaction. I didn't explain well enough up front that custom work isn't refundable or exchangeable. For $10 (minus fees) I don't want to worry about whether or not you will be happy with the beads. Thanks, Liz
Neil said, you haven't heard the last of her. Neil is one smart guy.

Here are her next two messages.
1. i wouldnt of returned something that cost 12 bucks whether i liked them or not.

2. Hello Elizabeth, I would like to cancel my order #1234567890, placed on Oct 14, 2013. I apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to hearing back from you soon.
I couldn't resist. I replied.
Here is where it gets more weird. Four more messages (and counting? God, I hope not) arrived.
1. I never wanted to cancel this order you did. I would of kept them no matter what. I never return anything so I dont know why you was so worried I wouldnt write them. Furthermore I never wrote this.

2. I never wanted to cancel this order. I wanted the beads. I dont know why you was so worried I didnt want them. Furthermore I never wrote this.

3. What did I do so bad that you dont want to make my beads? Because I asked for a picture? Those things I said earlier were meant for someone else. I thought I explained that.

4. All I wanted was a picture. As soon as I asked you for a picture you cancelled my order. Most artist show approval pictures even before the buyer pays. AS long as they were some shade of yellow they would of been fine. I really like your beads and I never ever returned anything.
I have no words. I won't be responding to her. Ever. Again.

The funniest part is, I made her damn beads. I made three, to be sure I had a closely matching pair. They turned out really nice.

What I'll do is make another dozen or so of the same style in a variety of colors and list the set.

And keep my fingers crossed that she doesn't buy it. You can't block someone on Etsy, but you can damn sure cancel any future transactions.

End of my funny story. I hope. On with my older, sadder story.

January 1, 2002. New Year's Day. Marty wasn't coming back.

I posted this.
I spent most of yesterday grieving.

I spend hours today writing him one of those letters where you say everything you really want to say and then some - and then you burn it.

It turned out so great, I am tempted to send it. But I'm going to sleep on it.
I knew that if he wanted to come back, he'd have to want it more and work for it harder than anything he'd ever wanted or done in his life. But he didn't want to come back.

In his own way, I believed he was trying to be kind, to tell me he wished me well. I chose to hope it was something else.

Well, he did write twice in three days and send me a fucking picture of himself.

Oh yes, and he wanted to clear a clouded conscience. It was that time of the year. And the last time we spoke, in early October, he said he cared - and then I heard not a word for almost three months. Silence can speak volumes.
So he wants to be civil, to send holiday greetings and well wishes and chit chat. And I want to turn it into something more profound - well, I guess I just better get over it.

I'm not sure I can respond in kind. At one time I thought I couldn't stand to lose touch completely, to not know if he stayed here or moved or got married or lived or died. I wanted to have some contact, even just as a friend.

So here is the opportunity. But I'm not sure I can be light and cheery and tell him a pack of lies about how well and happy I am.

You know, maybe I do love him enough to let him go with grace, to wish him no ill, to even hope he finds happiness. Of course, it would be a lot easier if happiness happened to find me first.
Sleeping on it gave me no insight.

On January 2, I was just as confused and conflicted.
I am listening to everyone's advice and I haven't called or written back to Marty at this time.

But isn't it possible that he meant no harm by writing to me?

Because, if he really wanted to hurt me and use me, all he'd have to do would be to show up with flowers and contrition, and, with a little persistence, I'm pretty sure he could have me anywhere he wanted me again.

All he did was offer holiday wishes and say nice things about me.

So is it wrong to accept Marty's friendship, such as he is offering it? To try to salvage some sort of vague consanguinity out of the ashes of love?

As for the rest of it, the hope and the disappointment, the resurgence of my feelings for him, well, that was all self-inflicted, wasn't it?
I didn't know how to stop caring.
I am not delusional, I do not think he is coming back, I understand it is over, and I know it would be almost impossible for us to be together again even if he had a total change of heart, which he clearly hasn't.

But I don't know how, today, this minute, to make my heart stop aching.

I know time will help. I know this is a temporary setback. I know it won't take me another five months to get back to where I was a week ago. But where I was a week ago was still in a very sad place.

Despite everything, I don't believe that Marty is corrupt and evil. I think he is immature and was careless with my heart when he spoke all those words of love last summer. But I believe he meant them at the time he said them, that he felt the feelings, if only briefly, that the intimacy scared him shitless, and that he is, in the end, a lonely, lonely man.

He is, in fact, a lot like me, lost in his dream fantasy of Mary, the woman who kept him at a distance and always guessing. He isn't really happy at heart, any more than I am.

So, what do I really care what he thinks of me, if I let him see me bleed, if he knows I am as big a fool as he is? Let me wear my heart on my sleeve, let me say the things I want to say - he's not coming back anyway so it doesn't really matter, does it?

I can spill my heart out, say my piece, let it all hang out - it changes nothing.
Days passed. I remained immobilized, lost in indecision.

Then, on January 10, a light clicked on.
I think you will be pleased with me. I have listened and I have pondered and I have deliberated - and I have let Marty's last letter go unanswered.

That letter, you recall, said that he and Mary still love each other, and that he wishes and hopes to move home again some day, and maybe they'll have a chance to become a real couple again.

Hmm. Lots of qualifiers there. Wishes. Hopes. Some day. Maybe. A chance.

On New Year's Day I spent hours trying to write the words that would bring it all to closure. And the more I wrote the less I knew what it was I really wanted to say.

So I did nothing.

I was still struggling with it though.

I felt like I was standing on the edge of a precipice - the one that represented my liberation. I was getting ready to jump and I was pretty sure I was going to fly.

Then something else happened.

He posted fucking NEW pictures of himself on his personal ad.

In one picture he's sitting at a piano and in the background are the bodies of women holding wine glasses. He's wearing a bright multi-colored striped sweater. The word flamboyant comes to mind. So does the word asshole.

And I want to give him the lie, I want to say, how dare you feed me this sanctimonious BULLshit about Mary and your love for each other and your plans to be with her again - and then work so diligently to market yourself to prospective new conquests (victims)?

But all that would do would be to tell him I still cared. Right?

So I didn't.

In the end, maybe there really is nothing I have left to say to him.

I declare myself free of the albatross that is Marty.

Happy Independence Day to me.
It was progress. But it wasn't to be the last time I would declare Independence Day from Marty.

One day at a time, one baby step at a time, I went on living my life.

Nothing is ever simple.
I still have to figure out what to do about this new relationship with Mark, who says he loves me and wants to give me a diamond ring and is sure that if I let him make love to me I will forget all about (Marty who?).

Regrettably, right at this 10 seconds of the universe's unfolding, I am not in love with him.

"What ravages of spirit
Conjured this tempestuous rage
Created you a monster
Broken by the rule of love

And fate has lead you through it
You do what you have to do

And I have the sense to recognize
That I don't know how to let you go

Every moment marked with
Apparitions of your soul
I'm ever swiftly moving
Trying to escape this desire

The yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do

And I have the sense to recognize
That I don't know how to let you go

A glowing ember
Burning hot and burning slow
Deep within, I'm shaken by the violence
Of existing for only you

I know I can't be with you
I do what I have to do

And I have the sense to recognize
That I don't know how to let you go.

Sarah McLachlan

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz