I'm completely in love with Etsy. And one of the reasons is that buying handmade items from the people who actually made them is so rewarding, for both buyer and seller. I recently bought this light switch plate from Trixie and Radar. Unfortunately, when I received the light plate it was cracked all the way across the back. (Damn postal workers and their rough handling of packages!) ;-)
I sent a message to the sellers, just to let them know what had happened, not expecting them to refund my money or anything like that. After all, I know there are no guarantees in life, and I hadn't purchased shipping insurance or anything like that. I kind of thought it was just one of those things and I'd say, "Oh piss!" and use it anyway. After all, the front part of the plate was still held together by the decoupage and it was still fairly usable.
But Trixie and Radar, bless their hearts, upon hearing the news, immediately and with no questions asked, made and shipped me a brand new lightplate. It arrived the other day in excellent condition and is now happily adorning the wall of the office in our new house.
To me, this is just one example of the complete difference between buying handmade and buying from the big, impersonal box stores like The Pits of Hell (otherwise known as Walmart). Walmart couldn't care less whether I'm satisfied with my purchase. Their idea (and so many other retailers' as well) of customer service is just blow enough smoke up the consumer's ass to keep them buying. Etsyians, on the other hand, want you to love your purchase because it brings you the same happiness that it brought them when they were making it. They feel warm and fuzzy inside when they know their item is treasured and loved. They want you to be happy because they want you to be happy. They provide customer service because it's the right thing to do.
Walmart? Walmart could care less. They provide customer service because they're afraid if they don't you might find somewhere else to buy your cat kibble and your toilet paper and your Lucky Charms. Oh, no, wait. They're not all that afraid, because they've taken extra steps to ensure your loyalty by running everyone else who sells cat kibble and toilet paper and Lucky Charms out of business...
But that's another story.
So, just a public service announcement. This Christmas season, buy handmade! Support local artists and people who take pride in a job well done. :-) Not the money hungry execs who want to grab more and more of your hard-earned dollars to spend on expensive Scotch and high priced hookers.