How Not To Run An Etsy Shop (Or Your Life) | Part One of Many, Probably

Embarrassing story time, people. Almost too embarrassing for the Internet, actually, but I don’t have anything else as remotely entertaining to talk about, so make a cup of tea and bask in my idiocy…

A bit of back story: I’ve been working on my Etsy every day for the last few weeks, including evenings and weekends, because I’ve had some headaches with bugs on the site and I’ve been ordering stock in for people and planning for an Etsy Made Local Christmas market in Chelmsford in a couple of weeks. Oh, and I’m planning for that Black Friday-Cyber Monday migraine-inducing online shopping behemoth. I also went down to Brighton last week to see my brother and I knew I had to place an order for a variety of Christmas cards (a totally new item for me, from a new supplier) before I went, so I ended up placing the order on the Saturday before I travelled down. I got the invoice while I was in Brighton and paid straight away – very entrepreneurial, ten points to Francesca for remembering her iPad and bank info – and voila they arrived today!

Today’s quality was already hanging in the balance because I was taking endless Christmas product photos, on not a lot of sleep, and had one of those to-do list that doesn’t end, like one of those snakes that eats its own tail. I had also had absolutely no contact from the supplier, except for a delivery time, since I placed the order – despite phoning them up and leaving a message like it’s 2003 – so there was an element of ‘did I pay this invoice or have I wired my money into thin air?’ Anyway. The cards arrived. The delivery man was nice.

Back story to the back story: I’ve had really bad luck with suppliers in the past. Items have arrived damaged or not at all, usually when I’ve needed them for an event. So before I opened the parcel I ran through the worst case scenario: that my designs had come out badly and the cards themselves were damaged.

I opened the parcel.

The cards were fine. Correct quality, correct quantity. Except the Saturnalia design was wrong. I’d ordered the design in landscape, not portrait. My sample was in landscape. I photographed and listed it as landscape. These cards were… definitely portrait.

Saturnalia/Roman mythology-inspired Christmas card, green and grey on white card. Landscape.
The sample
Saturnalia/Roman mythology-inspired Christmas card, green and grey on white card. Portrait design.
The reality

That phrase ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’ should really be ‘the minor inconvenience that gave the sole trader a nervous breakdown’ because I was bitterly disappointed. There’s no time to return them before Etsy Made Local! People are waiting on these cards! Okay technically no one had pre-ordered them, but what if they had? Am I doomed to select awkward suppliers until I bankrupt myself? Luckily I am obstinate determined so I took new photos and updated my listings, had a hot chocolate and waited until I’d calmed down to compose an email to the supplier expressing my disappointment in their service. Before I wrote it I did a quick check to confirm I hadn’t sent the design in portrait by accident.

I could not find the landscape version of the design on my computer.

I decided the pre-Black Friday stress was getting to me. I definitely designed a landscape version of the card. I had the identical design as a postcard last year. The sample I ordered was landscape. I designed it landscape.

Didn’t I?

It turns out, dear reader, that I did make a landscape version for the card company. It’s tucked away in my Etsy folder, no where near my other mythology design files. I also made a portrait version, ages ago, when I first played around with folded card designs.

I sent the wrong file. I spent at least fifteen minutes of my life mentally writing a strongly-worded complaint to a company that, lack of communication notwithstanding, has done its job. I was so exhausted and fed up that I ran through the scenario of retiring stationery lines entirely, and wondered what would happen if I didn’t do anything for Black Friday at all. I contemplated taking a holiday that weekend to somewhere with no computers.

Oops.

I’ve recovered from the ignominy of it all enough to tell you guys, because clearly I have potential to run a side blog called How Not To Run An Etsy Shop (Or Your Life), and I’m going to have a bath and chill out with my dogs and assume that the entire world will keep turning regardless of the orientation of some atheist Christmas cards. Oh and I’m going to remind you all to go to the Mythology Mayhem and Grumpy Greetings sections of my shop, where you will find several listings for quality, 100%-recycled-cardstock Christmas cards at very reasonable prices. UK postage is free, by the way, and orders over £10 internationally will ship free until 30th November.

And yeah, I’ve left the original landscape photos on the listing thumbnails for now. I like the added use of stamps and it was too dark to play around with the portrait ones this afternoon. I updated the listing info and called the mishap a ‘printing error’. ‘Human error’ is more accurate, but I’m going to cut myself some slack and stop working Saturdays as soon as Christmas is over. Only 41 sleeps til Santa you guys!

Pour me a gin and tonic.

But Which One is the Parody, Actually?

I’m not sure what the electoral college in the US is doing today (or what it does generally) but I am aware that there is a some sort of Trump verification button that needs to be pressed before he can move his gold chandeliers into the White House. As it is 2016, we can assume that the verification people will probably verify him regardless of, well, 2016. But I’m glad this has come of it.

Oh and here’s the original in case you don’t have time to watch Love, Actually. Probably none of us will watch it again because we’ll be running from nuclear war or something.

Happy nearly-Christmas!

Moving Image Appreciation Post #10

I hate the name of this series but I can’t think what to rename it, so here we go. (Yes I am on holiday right now. I did some magic. I am on a beach and probably asleep.)

Why isn’t my youth like that. Where are the denim jackets? The masses of people? The bowling alley that isn’t scummy? My local bowling alley is a shithole with way less gays – or it was in 2009, which was the last time I bothered going. I don’t much like denim jackets. Also, is it just me or are half the people in that video too young for tape recorders.

This video summed up my psyche before my psyche was my psyche. I love the word psyche.

I remembered this when I was doing the Indifferent Ignorance Retrospective and I think I should watch it more often. It should be required viewing.

5 Things You Didn’t Know the British Museum Would Make a Video About

Sometimes – often – my day job isn’t the most mentally stimulating or lighthearted. It frequently involves spreadsheets, social media scheduling apps and twelve tabs, one of which is my bank account. On these occasions I find my own entertainment in the form of podcasts, YouTube playlists and throwing pencils.

Sometimes the entertainment finds me.

I came across this while researching the British Museum for a blog.

And now we’ve all learnt something. You’re welcome.

Saturday Papers: It’s Not Completely Shite Edition

I will be at work when you guys read this, so leave me a comment for me to read on my phone on my lunch break. It’s been a shit week, generally speaking – and specifically speaking now I come to think about it – so I thought I’d collate some of the good things I’ve seen recently in the hope it reminds us all that we aren’t all just heading into a justified apocalypse.

Straight guy worries he’s being homophobic to gay roommate, realises he’s fallen in love with him

Please somebody write a sitcom or film about this. I might write a sitcom or short film about this.

OITNB is back

And I’m only one episode in but holy shit.

Somebody collated ’31 Jokes That Are Way Too Real For Anyone Who’s Had A Period’

And y’all need to read all the way to 31 I’m almost looking forward to making a couple of these.

This exists:

I hope you all have safe and happy Saturdays in your favourite clubs.

Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2015

Here we go again…

Record of the Year

My stereo has been home to two CDs more than any others this year: Chantal Claret’s Battles of a Heavy Heart, which if God existed would be available in all good music shops with a world tour. As it is you can buy it directly from Chantal’s site and follow her on social media to pretend she’s on a world tour.

The second CD actually came out last year, but I am always late to the music party, so I would like to highly recommend this Hozier chap. I think he may go on to big things. Remember when I lost my shit over the Take Me to Church video? Make a sequel.

I’ve also recently fallen back in love with Fall Out Boy (thank you to whoever made a Tumblr edit to The Kids Aren’t Alright and The Raven Cycle). FOB are a band I forget I love until I’m listening to them, then I can’t remember why I don’t listen more often. I got American Beauty/American Psycho a few weeks ago and my ears are so happy they want to set something on fire.

Video of the Year

I forgive you for Call Me Maybe, Carly Rae Jepsen. I’ve also come to really love Call Me Maybe.

Book of the Year

This is hard. There’s The Raven Cycle, which has stolen my heart (and will break my heart when it concludes in April), When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit… but because I didn’t do book reviews when I read them, and because I went to a talk with the authors who were lovely:

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

I wish this had existed five or ten years ago. Basic summary: there is a kid who is transgender. I can’t tell you any more than that because there are twists (don’t worry, she doesn’t ‘go back to normal’), but I finished it in an afternoon and it’s amazing.

Trouble by Non Pratt

A girl called Hannah gets in trouble. Some random guy offers to help her out. ‘In trouble’ means pregnant, by the way.

The ‘I Saw This Shit Live’ News Story

Once upon a time there was a Liberal Democrat named Paddy Ashdown. As it became apparent that his party lost a general election more severely than Sepp Blatter lost his morals, he refused to believe the exit poll and threatened to eat his hat if the poll turned out to be correct.

Then, like all good politicians, he did a U turn. The end.

The ‘My Twitter Timeline United Like It Never Has Before’ News Story: Equal Marriage

I’ve never seen so many people so happy as when Ireland held its referendum and when the US Supreme Court sorted their shit. I do have quite a selective timeline, apart from that one day I accidentally followed the Westboro Baptists, but it’s not usually entirely focussed on one thing. So I think everyone should be allowed to get married, all the time, because it makes everyone stupidly happy.

Equal Marriage Celebration.png
Even lawyers win when love wins

The Homophobic Dick Award: Kim Davis

So it turns out not everyone was stupidly happy about letting the queers get married. Some were stupidly stupid. I will devote no more of my time to her than this paragraph.

The Indifferent Ignorance Ignorance Fuck Award: Donald Trump and Daesh

I am upset that this year, like most others, one winner of this particular category is American. Come on, rest of the world, raise your game. Although reluctant to pay either of them any more attention, I felt that both Trump and Daesh deserve the award for similar reasons: they are both ignorant of human empathy, dangerous when armed and an embarrassment to their respective cultural and racial groups. I actually chose Trump before Muslim Visa Gate, but that clinched it. America, if you’re reading, kindly do not allow this gentleman to run your country. Sincerely, everyone. I was going to ignore Daesh as one does an attention-seeking child and Katie Hopkins, but if they are reading this then they’ve sat through Tom Hanks lipsyncing, a video of two men kissing and Paddy Ashdown, so they’ve got a good idea of what hell will look like when they get there.


 

All right, that’s it for 2015. I think next year I will keep track of people who are doing their bit to eradicate ignorance of the likes of Trump and co. Doctors, artists, civil rights activists, etc. Balance the decent person:motherfucker ratio. My instinct tells me we’ll need them when the US election heats up if not before.

Happy new year to everyone!

Portable Parlour Game of the Week: Tattoo Watch

Stories no one wants to hear: Why Francesca Can Write a Blog Post But Can’t Publish Her Blood of Olympus Review, Why Flip Flop Blisters Won’t Heal and When Another Frappe Is Too Many Frappes: A Saga.

What larks eh. You know what I like about being in a warm country? The popular parlour game Tattoo Watch. It’s free, it’s funny and the only issue is when you find a piece cute but someone you’re with thinks it makes the wearer a pillock. I’m sitting on my own, so I’m free to play covert ops behind my phone.

There’s a bloke a couple of tables away who got either a Pegasus, an eagle or a very angry sparrow on his forearm about twenty years ago. I can also see a person with what could be part of a crucifix or an upside-down sword on their shoulder blades. A few years ago my dad and I actually got binoculars out to establish whether a bloke had the Grim Reaper or the Batman logo on his back.

I can’t remember which it was.

If I ever get inked, I want something like the Fair Trade logo, which looks like tadpoles from a distance and turns out to be a little dude waving. I’ll get a cute spiral on the small of my back which up close says ‘STOP STARING, CREEP’.

Maybe not. So, who likes playing Tattoo Watch? Has anyone been an object in the game? Or have you made any really loud comments about a pice that turned out to be a skin complaint? Share your stories, snowflakes, we could make a collection of anecdotes.

The Six O’Clock News: the Queen Does Smile!

To be totally honest, I wanted to do the News about the Commonwealth Games so I could include this:

 from @_JaydeTaylor
from @_JaydeTaylor on Twitter

I heard that the Queen isn’t ‘allowed’ to smile in official photos or at big occasions, which is definitely a tradition that needs to go because elderly ladies smiling is always brilliant, especially when they posses a) excellent hats, b) the keys to the kingdom or c) both.

I feel like we should also discuss dancing Tunnock’s Teacakes, which I spent my childhood getting caught in my hair. I had no idea they were Scottish… I also forgot that John Barrowman is Scottish and that he likes to kiss people, so thanks for the reminder, opening ceremony!

From somethingiincredible.tumblr.com
From somethingiincredible.tumblr.com

Speaking of kissing and all that, Huff Post did a nice piece condensing the whole Commonwealth-countries-being-homophobic issue complete with a Vine of said kiss. I don’t tend to follow people’s relationships online (with the exception of mine – hi Facebook!) but part of me really hopes that Tom Daley’s boyfriend will be hanging out at the diving. If he’s the guy I think he is, he’s made films about LGBT stuff – so it’ll be fun to see what the international broadcasters make of it all… Bet you regret re-outlawing homosexuality now, huh India?!

Or not.

The funny thing is, we looked at the Commonwealth in Politics and its most contentious issue revolves around its foundation as a group of countries that the UK used to own… plus some others who thought it looked good. By its very nature, the Commonwealth represents loads of historical shit to do with the British Empire and colonialism.

From @TheTweetOfGod
From @TheTweetOfGod

Somebody on Twitter pointed out that it’s England when stealing but Britain when giving them back, which is kind of like how Andy Murray is British until he loses, in which case he’s Scottish – or how I’ll say I’m British most days, but when the EDL do something stupid I think “thank God I’m only half English”. (I should probably point out that I’m only totally sure of about two thirds of my ethnic heritage, if that’s what it’s called. I did some maths once and “half English” sounded way more interesting than “totally British until we get to great-grandparents and does that  even count well yes because I’m dark enough that some people have been a bit racist but the joke’s on them because they got my race wrong HA HA HA”. I digress. I think my family’s entirely Commonwealth though.)

That Tweet pretty much sums up the Commonwealth actually – when things are good, the countries involved are very proud to be a part of it – like during cool sport stuff when we are united in admiring athletic prowess/athletic muscley people. When things are bad, we distance ourselves. I wouldn’t be surprised that, if the human rights lark gets heavily promoted at these games, some of the worst abusers will distance themselves a little from the organisation politically… I can’t see them all inviting John Barrowman over for teacakes anyway!

The same is true of Scotland and the referendum thing. When Team GB did well at the Olympics, there were probably people who thought “hey this UK thing is all right” but when Westminster’s fucked up again, they lean toward independence… I know the English do anyway. Could we do that? Could the UK get independence from the UK government?!

Right, I’m off to do some writing and my holiday ironing. I might get distracted by looking up Commonwealth Scotties… Never thought I’d go for a pedigree but they have beards.