Tag Archives: Business (small, handmade, customer service, etc)

CleverGirl and the Destruction of the Toy.

23 Jan

This post may be in multiple fonts.  I’m having a technologically moronic day. It happens on occasion….


Anyway, here we go…


Boy was given a fabulous electronic horn/kazoo hybrid by his uncle for Christmas. And it broke within a couple of days after arriving.  So I emailed the company…. Anyone who knows Alex knows that music is his life.  Ok, it’s a young life, but every day is filled with music- either his appreciation of (and trying to educate me on the finer points of Bach, Beethoven, and my favorite, Dan Zanes) or performing as he follows me around the house or plays along with his favorites… I’ve always dreamed of having my own Pips to follow me around and back me up in everyday situations… For now I have my own personal wandering minstrel, which is a fine, strong start. 


So Boy has been pretty distressed about the demise of this most curious instrument….


Anyway, finally received an email back with instructions on how to obtain a replacement…. 


“If the unit is no longer working. The unit need tobe deliberately destroyed. Showing proof that the unit is no longer workingby via e-mail.” So we have to destroy the toy (referred to here as unit) DELIBERATELY and show proof.  Maybe I’m reading it in the wrong tone- because the toy is already broken, just not visibly (the sound doesn’t work…not really going to show up in the photo and I don’t have the technology here to do the whole youtube thing with this….)… But I feel like I have a mission.  I feel like I have been given the ultimate challenge.  I feel like I should call up the boys from Mythbusters to have a go at this because they have some really cool toys of their own that could take out this Kazoozamaphone or whatever the heck it is called….  Of course, being a goofball with the heart of a prankster who happens to love photography this has my brain swarming with possibilities…. I’ll post the photos here once the job is done. Gotta go drink some coffee and survey my instruments of toy destruction. (of course this destruction must be completed, photographed, and disposed of while boy is at school…. there wouldn’t be enough hours of therapy in the world to help him if he saw what we have to do to his innocent toy.)  (note: despite mentioning it was a gift in my emails they require, if a toy can’t be returned to the place of purchase, a sales receipt- which I do not have because that’s traditionally not how the whole “sending a gift to the nephew who is 4 and like pretty much everything” thing works…. Still waiting to hear back on that)   *hugs*CleverGirl  

There is still time to buy handmade for the holidays!

16 Dec

One of the many joys of buying handmade and direct from the person who makes and ships your goodies, is that you usually have a wider window for shopping when there are deadlines involved….

I’m finding that many domestic US sellers on Etsy.com are shipping orders placed by 12/17 in time for the holidays…  I am one of them and you can find me here: CleverGirl.Etsy.com

My top tips for buying handmade with the shipping windows closing:

COMMUNICATE.  Check communication the seller may have left for you- check shop announcements and always check their profile on Etsy.com – lots of shop policy info and sometimes some fun info about the artist can be found in the individual’s profile….

If you don’t see the info you need- click contact and send them a message and be sure to include: the item(s) you are interested in, when you need it to arrive, and where you need it to go (city,state, zip are helpful!)…
I have added a priority shipping upgrade to my shop but it must be purchased as an “item” as Etsy doesn’t allow for us to have multiple shipping speed options and prices within a listing and I’m busy packing up orders to head out tomorrow and I just don’t have the time to go in and edit 100+ listings…

Of course, my dear blog readers, if you buy before noon tomorrow (12/17/2007) and put “beclever” or “blog” or something that lets me know you read this in the “notes to seller” area when checking out of Etsy, I’ll upgrade you at no charge (so don’t add that Priority shipping upgrade listing to your cart!)  to USPS Priority…

Also, as someone who has worked retail and done lots of shipping over the years, please keep in mind that once a package has left a seller’s hands and is in the hands of the US Postal Service there is nothing they can do to change or speed up the delivery of your package- so if you want it faster let us know- I can do 3, 2, or overnight via FedEx (make sure you allow for 24 hours in addition to the delivery/shipping times as I do need to pack up your goodies) at an additional charge- many folks can and are happy to help with such details…

Also, at the risk of sounding a bit cranky (from when I worked in shipping for a major US toy store way in the past…I still have flashbacks :-) please do not lambaste the person you purchased an item from (or leave them negative feedback)  if there is foul weather, and if the post office takes longer than their “suggested” time on first class mail and priority mail this time of year- they do not guarantee delivery dates on those types of packages.  Once a package is out of our hands, and it has been labeled and shipped properly, it really is in the hands of our friendly postal workers!


Let’s all do our part (read the instructions, ask questions, and not expect anyone to be a mind-reader… I think that goes for everyone this year- buyers, sellers, husbands, wives, parents, kids, etc….)   to keep all of our increased stress levels to a minimum and let’s all work together all year to make the holidays more enjoyable and less stressful!


Group hug.

Peace out.

Always be clever. 




14 Jul

We just returned from MangoMania and I’m all mangoed out.

MangoMania is an annual festival thrown by the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce here in Cape Coral (why is it not in Pine Island? I don’t know. Maybe the mangoes are snooty and are all about celebrations just not outdoor ones with carnival foods and bounce houses.

“Yes, by all means, promote commerce and local farming just not in our back yard.”

I said to my sister this morning, “I don’t even think we have mangoes here” but I googled and I was wrong. So very, very, very, very wrong.

Pine Island alone has over a dozen types of mango. And lychee. LYCHEE! Who knew…

When we head to the local grocery store or even to the farmers market I rarely see anything grown closer than 50 miles and most of the grocery store produce is from Costa Rica.

I thought about this while walking around the MangoMania grounds (at the German-American social club). There were many craft vendors and a pretty fair amount of mango peddlers and purveyors of mango products. But it definitely seemed as though most of the mango folks were from out of town. I was kind of surprised. Prior to realizing this I bought a loaf of mango bread for breakfast tomorrow and I was talking to the guy working the booth. These folks, and their evil mangoey goodness were from the Miami area. All the way on the other coast. I feel cheap. I feel used. I feel like they should crown me Mango hussy of the year. I was so excited and blind when I was reading about MangoMania this morning and supporting local farmers and businesses. Now I feel like I need a shower.

As artists many of us try to “buy handmade” and buy locally when possible. In this world of mass production and sweatshops we are trying to make a difference and we are trying to keep our money where it is needed-to support folks like us. Now I’m thinking so locally that I feel bad about buying the mango bread from the guy from Miami and not from the local farmer. I want to apologize to that local farmer and his family.

I don’t always buy local but I am making a choice with every purchase I make these days- I’m trying my hardest to buy from real people. I am trying to buy from the source. Some times it’s not financially feasible. But then I am reminded of a fabulous business report written by my old boss way back when I was working in commercial production (tv commercials) – he put in his manifesto that we all need to think about NEED and WANT.

So that’s what I’m doing… I’m thinking a whole lot about need and want to help me stay local and stay smart. My thought process goes something like this:

1. Need or Want

2. Financial factors

3. Local or long distance

The way I look at it- if it’s something we need, that we have to afford, then I’m probably going to spend the couple of extra dollars (if necessary) to buy local. Why? Service. I’m a firm believer, after years in customer service and sales and trying to trim budgets, in that a purchasing experience is more than shoving money over a counter and claiming an item- it’s the service that comes with that item. I am big on online shopping these days as we are a one car family and I’m home with the little guy 24/7 for the most part. So I don’t always buy local- but I am making a huge effort to buy from the source. Service and quality are that much better.

Anyways- enough of my rant… I’ve got to go put away our MangoMania accoutrements.

And I have work to do (I’m working on 2 new pieces…I’ll share really soon! I promise!).

By the way- for those of you that know me and know how much I miss the Northeast these days (except I do love these little corny small town festivals) I am happy to report that the nice couple from Boston were back today (I met them at Oktoberfest) selling their ices and the guy shared with me some new secrets: there is a pizza place I had not uncovered on my own and the owners are from New Jersey and there is also an Italian market…So I shared my top secret good bagels location (those folks are from NY)… He said the pizza is not perfect but it’s the closest you can get to NY this far south…We’ll have to try it…They are going to do a Taste of the Northeast thing in the autumn with all local establishments that have their personal roots up north. I can’t wait. I’m going to turn into a pizza. Probably with pastrami and mustard on it.

Hugs all around,


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