04 May 2008

It's The Thought That Counts


This is a tale about how my plans for Mother's Day socks went awry, with a cautionary note about a yarn shop I won't be patronizing any more.

At the beginning of April I decided to do a little online yarn shopping. Socks are quickly becoming a regular gift from me, and Mother's Day was far enough away that it was absolutely doable. Earlier this year I had purchased some yarn from kpixie.com, and they give out a coupon code when you register a new account that you get to use on your second purchase, so, that's where I decided to shop. They have a pretty well-designed website, and what appears at first glance to be a great selection of less standard sock yarns. But appearances can be deceiving.

I picked out a great yarn. It was called Mama Llama, which I've never used or even seen in person before, but it was for my mama, she loves llamas, so.. yeah. Plus it was washable and came in a really neat colorway. So I added the Panama Purple to my shopping cart. Then, well, if I'm going to pay for shipping I might as well order yarn for a few projects, right? So I picked out some nice manly yarn - Madeline Tosh Somewhat Solid (which I have used before and LOVE) in Graphite - and some TOFUtsies for a friend. I also added to the cart some size 2 dpns, because I recently broke one of my bamboo ones, and kpixie had the Swallow casein ones and I think I'd be much less likely to break one of those. I entered my coupon code and placed my order. It was April 8th.

The next day I got an email saying that they did not have 2 skeins left of the Madeline Tosh Graphite, just one. One skein of this yarn is enough for a pair of socks, but I know more than one man and I had been intending to make two pairs of socks. But I could still get a whole project out of the one skein, so I said fine, refund me for the other and send the order.

Then I waited. And waited. And checked my order status on their webpage obsessively. On April 21 it still said "Processing," so I found the email I had gotten from the girl at kpixie, and sent a query to that address trying to figure out what was going on. Another week went by with no response, so I went to their homepage and filled out a "Contact Us" form. The tone was slightly more heated, I confess, than the email had been. May 1st I got a response. It said:

"We dropped the ball with your order."

They had not shipped it yet. AND, they did not have ANY of the Mama Llama in stock. (I feel that there was probably plenty on April 8th.) They said they would refund me for that yarn as well as my shipping charge and would send the rest of the order that day, and they gave me another coupon code for my next order.

So, no Mama Llama for Mother's Day. And sure, everybody makes mistakes, sometimes orders get overlooked, and I know yarn shops are often run by creatively disorganized people. But only one of the three yarns I ordered were they able to provide in the full quantity. Plus, I mentioned I had shopped with them earlier this year - well, half of that order wound up being backordered, and I only found that out after the money had come out of my account.

I wrote them an email expressing my dissatisfaction with their shop. I felt it was not an overreaction. I was not terribly heated in my verbiage, but did suggest that they make a stronger attempt to keep their stock updated on their website, etc. I also mentioned that my gift intentions had been spoiled by their mistake. The response I got back was a brief apology and:

"We ship almost all orders in less than 24 hours. It is very rare for us to have a customer who is not pleased."

WHO CARES? *I* was not pleased.

I'm not saying that no one should shop at this store. You may do as you like. But do so with this word of caution - try not to have deadlines dependent on their timeliness.

Oh, and my order came yesterday. At least, what was left of it. And casein needles smell funny.

As for Mother's Day, my mom is actually going to be in town this weekend. I'll figure something out.