Question of the Week #9

Another Sunday, another question of the week. I actually had another question in mind for this week, but something extremely annoying happened about midweek… so annoying in fact, that I felt compelled to write about it, so without further ado….

What makes YOUR face look like this?
Question of the Week #9- What is your pet peeve?
One thing that REALLY annoys me, is when folks order patterns thinking that they are actually getting finished, sewn pieces. This used to happen only rarely, but even so, I have since gone through my entire website, making sure that the word ‘pattern’ is prominently displayed everywhere it seems appropriate. But it hasn’t really seemed to help. 

It happens most often with the PortaPockets Inserts. I don’t know whether it’s because it’s such an unusual commodity, or whether it’s because it’s my best-seller. Either way, it’s gotten to the point that now at least twice a week I get an irritated phone call or email from a customer who is highly surprised (and sometimes insulted I might add), to find out that they didn’t receive a finished PortaPockets Insert for $12.00 + $2.75 shipping. It makes me want to say, “Are you kidding me???”

The capper was this week. I received a wholesale inquiry from a young lady who shall remain nameless. She operates an internet store and for those of you who don’t know, the wholesale price of most items is generally half the retail price, or in this case, $6.00/pattern. I told the gal I’d be glad to wholesale to her, but I needed to have a copy of her business license and all of her store info first (standard procedure). When I received it however, I noticed immediately that the only items for sale on her website were….finished leather handbags… an automatic redflag. I could feel my blood pressure rising, so I delayed responding to her. I was hoping she would realize her mistake and just go away. 

No such luck. On Wednesday she sends me a noticeably irritated email. She informed me that she needs 7 PortaPockets Inserts (at $6.00 each) , PLUS 7 Encore Inserts (at $6.00 each), and she kinda needs them SOON. She was actually expecting to receive 14 handmade, finished Inserts for for a grand total of $84.00. When I questioned why she thought customers would be looking for patterns on her strictly handbag site, she of course had to admit that she thought she was getting finished items. Uh….REALLY?  For $6.00 each?

Am I the only one that finds this insane? Do the samples displayed on my site really look like they would cost only $12.00… or less???  Have we as a society become so numbed by the influx of Walmart quality goods from overseas that we can no longer recognize the quality of a handmade item when we see it… never mind assigning it additional value because of that? Heck, I can’t even get the supplies to make a PortaPocket Insert for $12.00, so even if I was willing to work for 10 cents per hour, I still couldn’t make one for $12.00!  Do you think Americans will ever get over their seemingly insatiable desire for low priced goods at the expense of quality?

So… my dealings with this customer ended with an email I sent to her simply stating that I wished there was some way she could understand how completely offensive her offer was to me. I got no reply and I guess that kinda says it all. 


So how about you? Got any comments? and oh, by the way, what’s YOUR pet peeve?

18 Comments So Far, You're Next!

  1. My biggest pet peeve is during the winter. When there is a snowstorm and visibility is next to zero, some drivers only clear a small portion of their windshield and don’t bother to clear the rest of the windows as well. I try to clear as much as I can off the entire car, because I hate it when a big pile of snow comes flying off the car roof in front of me and lands on my windshield.

  2. I certainly understand the frustration of people wanting everything they buy on the cheap. I own a custom decorating business – and I emphasize the word CUSTOM. I spend a great deal of time preparing beautiful, custom made draperies and accessories. Every effort is made to produce as perfect a product as possible. But many of our clients would rather pay a J.C.Penney price than mine. It is difficult making people understand what they are getting in comparison, and the fact that nobody else will have the same treatment in the same fabric. These are one of a kind. I feel the same way about handbags. I love making them, but never will people pay what they are truly worth. Oh, well. Such is life. I tell myself that I have the satisfaction of making a beautiful product and sometimes that has to be enough!

  3. Your pattern story is amazing..can’t blame you for being ticked off – some people are just plain DUMB and expect something for nothing as you say! Having sewn/quilted for many years, I have a few pet peeves:
    1) people who see something lovely you’ve made and say they love it and “you could make those and sell them!” – and they usually think for “peanuts” – yeah right – NOT!
    2)from my teaching days when people come to class expecting you to thread & show them how to use their machines – arggghhh!!! (even when the class info. said to be familiar with your machine!)
    3) also from teaching days when people say they haven’t changed the needle in their machine for over 10 years because it hasn’t broke yet so why change it!!!??

    That’s probably my “better” peeves from a long list – lol – but I’m feeling much better now as I step down from my soapbox! Thx Kat!

  4. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. People are so spoiled going to places like Walmart and Xmas Tree Shops (I’m guilty too) and getting things for dirt cheap that they’re offended when someone wants fair payment for hard work. My own pet peeve involves rampant misuse of the apostrophe so I won’t bore you with that 😀

  5. I have realized that most people have no idea what it takes to make something unless they actually do themselves. I love to sew and do needlework but when asked to sew or make something for someone they never want to pay what it is worth. They want something for nothing. That IS one of my pet peeves also because I have run into similar situations. I usually just make things for gifts. I do have to say that I have purchased a couple of your patterns and I feel that the price is very reasonable. Your bags are gorgeous and very well made. The directions are easier to follow than I thought they would be and the result is stunning.

  6. Tommie O'Sullivan

    Here, here! A rousing good peeve. One of the reasons I refuse to shop at Walmart. I hate shoddy merchandise. I don’t understand people who don’t understand quality and the fact that there is a cost involved

    Some years ago there was an executive who was taken on a tour of a new auto manufacturing plant with the new technology of robots to do a lot of the work on the assembly line (that tells you how long ago it was) When he was finished with the tour, the people who ran the plant proceeded to tell him how much money they had saved by not paying people to do the work that robots now did.

    He responded with one question. Sweeping his hand across the floor, he asked, “How many cars did your robots buy this year?”

    There’s a reason that our manufacturing has left the country. Let’s hope that smaller manufacturers can start to bring some of it back.

    Tommie O’Sullivan who is officially embarrassed to be from Arizona these days.

  7. My comment? That woman was a nut case………unfortunately there are more of her kind every day.

    My pet peeves? Too any to list. I stay home to steer clear of them.

  8. I have to agree with you, as well. I make a variety things from recycled wool – old sweaters, etc. and I took some items in a new shop in town that that takes handmade items on consignment – and she made a comment like ” Well, you don’t buy your fabric, so you don’t have that much cost.” Well it is time to educate her. I spend a lot of time prepping my recycled fabric. I gather, wash & dry, take apart, make up my product, add details, and package – I feel better now. Thanks!

  9. si ces clientes là ne savent pas lire, ce n’est pas de ta faute. bises

  10. This is precisely why I stopped taking commissions and made to order jobs….people want “the best” and “highest quality” but want it done at discount prices…most want it done for less that the cost of the raw materials!
    The standard reply to the price quote usually is..”but you work at home”..
    Even the occasions when I offer to let them do some of the basic prep (like cutting t-shirts for a memory quilt) to lower the price (saving some labor costs) the answer is always no, because “that is too much work for me”…or…”that will take too much of my time”…yet I should do it for them for almost free????? I love what I do, but it is very discouraging. I share your frustration. Anne

  11. I ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH YOU. PEOPLE THINK YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO MAKE THINGS FOR NOTHING AND DON’T CONSIDER YOUr TIME OR TALENTS. THANKS FOR THE VENT.

  12. EXACTLY!!!! My first project was the Boho Baguette and a porta pocket to match. Well, when my friend saw it, she exclaimed, wow! why not make a bunch and I can put them in my garage sale for $20 each (with insert included). Mind you, I am currently making THREE purses for her (I know I will get ziltch for my time, you know friends, etc), but I went ballistic and told her the material, electricity, my time, and supplies cost more than that and if they want cheap, go to WalMart and support foreign trade. That is my pet peeve. I have sewn since I was 10, over forty years or so, and I am still amazed when someone asks me to do a project and when I tell them the price quote, they act insulted. I tell them I get $10/hr, the same as my job as a MA. I tell them if the guy who makes my car can make over $20/hr and benefits and not have to pay for utilities and delivery of his product, then they are getting a bargain. I can’t understand why people think homemade means cheap! If anything, I try to educate them that they are receiving a unique personally tailored item they would pay more for if ordered from Neiman-Marcus! Do others share this problem? I find relatives who know your skills are sometimes the worst. My daughter (bless her heart) insists she pay top dollar for my work and insists her friends do too. Oh, by the way, my boho and porta pockets(when I get it done) will be entered for one of your contest. I used denim, which I will never do again, especially for a first project! But I’ve had so many compliments on it, and I told them I would never make another one like it again!! Thanks for all your hard work. I guess we seamstresses (hmmm…notice the word stress in that!) will have to work harder to educate the public the worth of our products…quilts, bags, suits, you name it.

  13. Well that does it. I guess we’ve gotten to the place where we just don’t know HOW to read.

  14. How about relatives that hand off their unfinished projects because “you are so good at finishing things”?!!

  15. Forest Perea

    I am so glad that I am not the only one that has this problem. I actually closed a shop that I had several years ago for this same reason. People don’t understand that it takes time and money to gather the experience and materials, not to mention the tools to do what we do. Looking at an internet shop perhaps the customer base will be a little better. Then again reading the original pet peeve maybe not!LOL

  16. My pet peeve is tailgaters! The ones who must ride your bumper, no matter how fast you go or no matter how many times you tap your brakes.

    Your pattern peeve is definitely worth being irritated over. I have a hard time selling things for more than the cost of the materials.

    Your bags are gorgeous!

  17. Two pet peeves of mine are people who are too lazy to push their shopping carts to the corrals and people who loudly blow their noses in restaurants–it turns my stomach!

  18. Your have every right to feel insulted and in ahh of what people want for nothing. I sell hand crafted handbags, mostly at craft shows. I cannot tell you how many people come up to me and offer me less than 1/2 of my price. I usually tell them I did not know I was at a flea market or a haggel house and I call it.
    Arm Candy