Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Teen Time

~ Birthday card for my #2 nephew - the front ~
If you have read my blog for any real length of time, you may know that I have 4 nieces, but I also have 6 nephews. This abundance of boys has been a constant problem for me as a cardmaker once the recipient has become a teenager because I'm basically a girl mom.

It is hard for me and my Muse to get into the Testosterone Zone.

~ Inside the card: a little typical humor at 17 ~
So I resort to cheap jokes and wisecracks when nothing else hits me. Some of these are big hits with the boys. Some not so much, but since they are all pretty fine kids, I get nice compliments anyway. Just wanted to share that I used PSE9 to add the speech bubble and text.

Now that I've shared my card, I would like to talk about a couple of things. First, I want to sing this from the rooftops what happened to me today. I received an order I'd made with Dick Blick art supplies and upon opening it, I discovered that one of the products was leaking. I had ordered these:

Dr. Ph Martin Bombay India Inks Set #1

Dr. Ph Martin Bombay India Inks Set #2
Now, here is what set #2 looked like when it arrived:
All that permanent ink was luckily coming from only one bottle, Cherry Red:
So, because I'm a long long time mail orderer and am loathe to have to ever return something (since I probably scored a deal with free shipping and a sale price), my first thought was, okay, looks like a lot of ink leaked, but it really wasn't that much and I'll just eat it, clean it up and go on with life.

But then I opened the bottle and used the eye dropper. It was then that I discovered that a malfunction or damage to the dropper gasket was causing the leak (and I have the cherry red fingers to prove it! hehe).

So, the dreaded call to customer service could not be avoided. I was thinking that I'd just ask them to send me another bottle of cherry red, right?
Got on the phone. Talked to a delightful representative, who looked up my order and the item, and then helped me navigate to the internet product page while we were talking. She explained that they did not carry that particular color in open stock, but maybe I might like to pick a red shade from the open stock they do carry.

So, I look, and every shade of red in open stock is also in the 2 sets I purchased. Hmm. I really had not thought past just getting another bottle of cherry red. I was just kinda bummed, bummed and ambiguous.

Then, she said, "We'll just send you a replacement set and you won't need to return the first one."


It's a $33.00 set. I think I even replied that I felt guilty now, it shocked me so. I resisted a bit, repeating that I only want one bottle. It was like I was in shock a little. It must have amused the nice lady. I heard a little cheer and reassuring in her voice. Of course, I promised her my first born grandchild as a token of my gratitude.

So, why am I telling this? It's simple. There truly are some companies out there who stand by their products, their service, and their promises. Dick Blick is definitely one of them. For the first few years that I did art, I really resisted shopping Blick, partly because so many others used them and you know me and lemming behavior. Also because they charged shipping and I actively sought out free shipping deals that did not require me to spend alot.

But finally I encountered an art supply I needed badly and could not get elsewhere. It was then that I looked around their site, compared their prices to what I was paying elsewhere, and literally added up how much more I could save with Blick even paying them shipping. The difference in most prices compared to Hobby Lobby, for instance, blows my mind sometimes. Dick Blick sells a 12-(1 0z.) bottle set for $33.18. Hobby Lobby sells a 12-(1/2 oz.) bottle set for $29.99. Dang, almost twice the price at HL! Open-stock 1 oz bottles are $2.73 at Blick; $3.99 at HL. And it is that way in most every category of items they both sell. You can clearly see how after 5 or 6 items you are paying for the shipping in product cost savings, right? Or, hey, after ONE ink set in my example.

So, no one is compensating me for my testimony today. I just wanted to praise an awesome company and give a specific example of their great customer service. They are not alone, so I really do need to remember to mention the other great companies I've dealt with as well.