Friday, August 24, 2012

93; A PSA on Small Businesses

Dress: The Dead Zone, Hyannis ☯ Belt: Tunnel Vision ☯ Boots: Aldo Shoes ☯ Seashell choker: Moon Dragon Designs Chain and bead bib: Target Earrings: DIY Elephant necklace: Etsy vintage

Someone asked me on my post before last if the seashell choker was of my is not, but the lady who made it lives in town and I linked to her website up there. She makes great stuff, and does custom orders, so I urge you to check her shop out! I'm actually wearing a large sized anklet that I added a tiny bit of extra chain to.

90% of this ensemble has been outfitted by small business products! This is why I love to support small businesses -- they offer unique products, amazing customer service, and you know your money is going to deserving, hard-working people. But you know what I have discovered? That some small businesses are just as money-hungry and two-faced as big retail corporations, especially in tourist/vacation areas. I urge you to read the daunting text wall below, only so that you can better understand what I have recently been through.

I am typically very excited to visit Hyannis at the Cape on the summers that I am able to go, and what I am eager to do most of all is shop. There are some wonderful stores where hippie/bohemian clothes can be found, India Clothing being one of my key favourites. For two summers we drove by one shop, The Dead Zone, but we never managed to actually stop by. Last month I was very happy when I was out with Kathryn and her sister and we finally made a point to check it out on our last day on the coast. Lookin at all of their clothes, jewelry, and wall tapestries, I was already enchanted into taking some stuff home, and when they told me how they do rewards cards -- every ten dollars spent deserves a stamp, and after ten stamps, you get a discount -- I was all over that.

The Dead Zone is where I purchased this dress. Well, I meant to purchase it, and a few other items, but it turned out that my debit card was declined. It was a few days before pay day and I hadn't kept the keenest eye on my balance. Kathryn was buying some stuff for her and her sister, and was kind enough to put my stuff on her card and told me I could pay her back on payday. Awesome.

So the lady rang the order up, which came out to over a hundred dollars. Kathryn and I looked at each other expectantly. This meant we could get a fully stamped discount card to bring back later in the summer, or perhaps next summer, to get a discount on our next purchase! Everything worked out for the best!

Until the lady pulled out two separate cards, and stamped six stamps on one, and five on the other, and handed them to each of us. Since, you know, sixty dollars of the order was my stuff that Kathryn had just paid for.

We were furious. It didn't matter that sixty dollars worth of the order was what I would have bought -- Kathryn was the one that shelled out over a hundred dollars to cover my declined card and the fact that her sister didn't have any money for the dress she wanted. That's a single order made by one customer. They didn't hand her sister a card with two stamps on it because Kathryn was paying for her dress! And honestly, the dress I bought and am wearing here was bought with the idea of sharing it with Kathryn -- I also bought a wall tapestry for our shared room, so neither product was 100% for me alone.

So they made a big deal about this discount card only to split it up between the customer paying, and a person that wasn't paying, preventing us from actually aquiring this discount which would have ensured our return. I understand the idea, that the manager probably wants us to come back and spend more money before we are able to get some freebies out of them, but honestly? I'm not going back there on my next trip, because that's a skeezy practice. It doesn't matter how many girls walked into the store and picked stuff out. If one of them is covering the cost, it's that one person's bill.

I have become rather irked by the business practices in some of the places in Hyannis... The evening before this mishap, one restaurant had an alarmingly aggressive reaction when we three shared a couple of orders of food, instead of ordering three main (and highly expensive) entrées, and the waiter (who we were 90% sure was also the owner) gave us cold glares and would barely tell us the time of day. Last summer I found a booth selling Native American jewelry, and upon inquiring over the price of a broken choker, the man said he would sell it to me discounted and "would throw on a charm to it as well." When he was finished and I handed him the fifteen dollars I had been told the necklace would be, he told me it would be an extra nine dollars for the charm he had attached onto it, and was taken aback when I had told him how he lead me to believe it would be free. I begrudgingly hashed out the extra near ten dollars for the small bone-carved feather pendant, only because I had just bought a pair of earrings from him an hour prior and they matched this specific charm.

The saddest part is, there is no real way of knowing if you'll be caught in these expensive, headache-inducing traps by small business owners until you've already been lured in by the quaint charm and friendly smiles. It's not even entirely a question of "you live and learn," there are no real cues you can pick up early on in the exchange that are red-light indicators that this person is just waiting to wring some extra cash out of you. You just have go to in blindly, and see what the experience in that one situation ends up being. When you find a place that is reliable, wonderful; become a repeat customer and support their cause. When you find places like these, that twist the rules and deceive you, or treat you terribly because you're working with a frugal allowance and choose the more money conscious route for dinner and somehow offend them because they're a small business so obviously they need the money so how dare you not abide by that, however...the best you can do is walk out of that building more aware, and I suppose all you can do is make sure that other future patrons aren't manipulated the same way you had just been.

Business owners would not survive without their customers, and when they treat their customers poorly, they aren't deserving of their time or support.

Ugh, I have so many other notes about this how I wore this for a very special holiday -- Naag Panchami (which explains the bindi business) -- or how I was wearing this when, for the first time ever, I caught someone in public pointing and laughing behind their hand at what I was wearing. I feel as though this post is long enough as it is, so if you have questions, as always, hit me up on Formspring.


  1. That is mad mad mad sketch re: the reward cards program; thankfully, I've never had an issue with stamp cards before, and no one's ever bat an eye when my sister covers me at a local eatery. But I'm fairly certain that if I was ever in a position like yours I'd've made a point to complain and to promise to tell all of my would-be-customer friends about their skeezy practices. Idk if you made it a point to tell these people that or not--but you might do good to raise a little hell next time after you pay, or if you're not terribly attached to the stuff. You could be saving the next poor schmuck.

    && I can't even get over how disgusting and underhanded that trick re: the indigenous jewelry salesperson was. (I would even go the extra mile and ask if the proprieter was indigenous himself, or if he was just profiting from local indigenous art--in which case there's a whole other level of grossness of scamming tourists with appropriated art).

    ;w; Your outfit's lovely--the family of elephants you've coordinated is especially charming.

    1. I suuuck at raising a fuss in public, but there is a place where I can leave a review online for this store specifically. I meant to do so when I returned home but I've been so caught up in stuff that I forgot to!

      The guy who was selling the Native American jewelry was native from India. I know because he made a point to tell me half of his life story. He claimed to live in New Mexico, and was travelling with this jewelry that he obtained from Native Americans in that state. At the time I was like okay well how can I really judge that y'know? especially since we have Native Americans in this state that sell jewelry; if he lied and simply got it local here, that's not that big of a deal. It was after his skeezy tactic to get almost ten more bucks out of me that I began to wonder about that.

      I really just need to move back to California. At least I've never run into dishonesty with Native American wares there, because I've only ever found them being sold by the people making them. This is why I love Arizona -- if one of the few reasons!

      And thank you, darling~

  2. I'm sorry about your bad experiences with small businesses. I hate that feeling afterward, where you know you got kinda screwed. At least you got a beautiful dress out of it! and seriously, this whole outfit makes me happy. and WHAAAA that necklace is from target?! shiiit.

  3. I love your makeup!

  4. Aaah, I hate it when business people suck you in like that, knowing that most people will feel too awkward and uncomfortable to resist. I can't believe someone stood there and laughed at you in public. Some people make me sick.

  5. Dude some people totally suck. I'm sorry you had to deal with all those shenanigans! But for real at least this outfit is soo damn perfect!

  6. Woah. Dude. Not okay (the stores aren't okay, not you. You're awesome). I always prefer buying from small businesses over larger ones, and I've never had that stuff happen to me, but UGH I would hate that.
    Otherwise, you look way cool. Your dress is SO. AWESOME. Aaagh.