When I went to start this post, I kept trying to open the dashboard on Temerity Jane, probably because I’m about to write about some shit that annoys the hell out of me and that’s my habit. I’m going to eventually move those archives, most of them at least, over here, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. That doesn’t have to do with this post, just a thing that happened that now I’ve written down.
Okay, two things that I’m real het up about this morning.
First. There’s another one of those memes going around with a bunch of little girls dressed as princesses except for one who is dressed as Batman and it says something like be a Batman in a world of princesses or whatever. It’s cool for a lot of reasons. One, Batman is cool. Two, it’s cool that little girls are into dressing up as Batman if they love Batman. Three, it’s always cool when a kid breaks from the pack because that’s not always an easy thing to do. HOWEVER. It’s also not cool. It implies that breaking from the pack automatically makes you superior in some way. Sometimes the pack likes awesome shit because it’s awesome, you know? And it’s fine if you – or your kid – wants to like that awesome stuff, too. It’s like shaming someone for liking pop music because it’s popular. Shut the fuck up. It’s popular because people like it. You’re a people. Do the math, jerk.
It also implies that choosing a superhero is superior to choosing a princess, and that is some bullshit internalized misogyny to stick on your four year old. “Boy” stuff is not inherently better than girl stuff. Girls who are into “boy” stuff are not “cooler” than girls who are into “girl” stuff. Yes, it is very awesome that more and more little girls are becoming comfortable with choosing superheroes over princesses or choosing to like both. But your daughter’s preferences of one over the other don’t make her a better or worse child than the one next to her. She is not more awesome, more evolved, or more cool because she wants to be Batman instead of a princess. You stop telling her that. You don’t let her think that. You let her know that whatever she likes, whatever she wants to do, whatever she is interested in – it is all fine. And whatever the little girl next to her likes, whatever the little girl next to her wants to do, whatever the little girl next to her is interested in – that’s all fine, too.
If you send the message to your kid that she is better (and I’m using the general “you” to encompass the dickbags I’m talking about here) and heap praise upon her for being such a cool girl for choosing Batman over Sophia, she’s going to think it is better. She’s going to think she’s made a better choice than the Elsa next to her. She might grow up thinking that the superior way to be is whatever way chooses the least “girly” option possible, because the “girly” choice is the lesser choice. And it’s not. It’s a valid choice, too. These memes and ideas – you know, where you see a little girl dressed up as Superman next to two of her friends dressed up like Cinderella, and someone comments, “you’re raising her right!” – are the ones setting these girls up to spend their younger years claiming to “not be like other women,” which, in addition to being a dick thing to say (which, still, most of us have said/legitimately felt at some point or another), also sets her back many, many years in developing the female friendships she’s really going to want and need someday.
Anyway, there’s a lot of points to be made from that and I could keep going, but you’re all smart people who can totally extrapolate further and get everything I wanted to say from the disjointed mess I left up there.
This is the other thing that is bothering me a lot. I’ve been buying a lot of stuff on Etsy (STICKERS IF YOU MUST KNOW), and I’m in a lot of Facebook groups for handmade things (ALSO MOSTLY STICKERS IF YOU MUST KNOW), but this applies to most small business/WAHM-type things. I am really, really over poor customer service/cutting some slack for slow shipping and poor communication being the rule rather than the exception lately. I don’t understand why people who are running a business at the same time want to be treated as someone who is doing me a favor.
Mostly what I have been running into lately is incredibly slow shipping. In some ways, I’m fine with this. Most shops post lead times. Those lead times factor into a purchase decision, right? If I need something in two weeks and the shop lists a lead time of 4 to 6, then I can’t buy from that shop. But if they say they ship in 4-5 days, I should be able to expect I can give them my money and get my item. That’s not a crazy concept. But people are making me feel like that’s crazy. The date the item should arrive goes by and nothing has even shipped. If you ask in one of the groups dedicated to these items, you’ll get responses like, “I always give it a week or so more” or “you know, it’s a one woman shop,” and things like that. Like I am supposed to be cutting some slack because, hey, one person is doing this all on her own. But but but I gave you money and you said you could have it done by this time. That was part of the whole arrangement. There are ways to avoid that, like not making more sales than you can handle – Etsy does allow you to sell certain quantities, but many shops insist on making to order so they can sell unlimited numbers. Or you can put down an honest lead time with cushioning. I feel like a lot of shops avoid listing long lead times because people won’t buy if it’s going to take that long. No, they won’t buy if you miss your fake deadline by weeks or months. They’ll be pleasantly surprised if things show up early.
What’s making me so mad about this lately is that yeah, most of us do want to support small businesses. And we do want to shop small. And we’re being encouraged to do this, to choose little companies making their own shit over big, faceless businesses. You want to be the company I choose over Amazon, Walmart, etc, but at the same time, you want special treatment, too? And the people jumping in to defend the small Etsy companies just make it all worse. You have to cut her some slack, she’s doing this on her own, what do you expect? I expect that when I give you my money, you’ll fulfill your end of the bargain with a the product you promised in the time frame listed. I’m not even saying you can’t list a two month turn around time, I’m just saying I don’t think it’s too much to ask that you actually meet it once you set it. And buyers are put in a position of actually feeling like an asshole for expecting to receive what they paid for in a reasonable amount of time. How very dare you, the shop owner has children, the shop owner has a lot going on, the shop owner was abducted by aliens, you have no idea what’s going on in her life.
Listen, I paid actual money to buy a thing. I didn’t use my special money that I set aside for special businesses who can just, you know, keep it until they feel like they’re up to doing the contracted work someday. I won’t keep buying cool handmade shit for myself and for gifts if I’m always expected to be understanding and give leeway and look the other way and not file PayPal claims and not leave bad reviews when things don’t go right. This is not… we are not friends. You are not doing me a favor and I am not doing you a favor. I give you money, you give me things. That is what Amazon and Walmart and everyone else do for me. I’m sick of being made to feel like the Great Satan for having expectations of receiving products in exchange for money. How is this a thing that is happening?
AND DON’T GET ME STARTED on the ones that print the shipping label on the very last day of Etsy’s turn around time window and then just LET IT SIT THERE and then claim “oh I shipped it, I don’t know what’s wrong” like I’M NEW HERE NONE OF US ARE NEW WE ALL KNOW WHAT “PRE-SHIPMENT INFO SENT TO USPS” MEANS IT’S 2016 COME ON.