Sunday, 25 May 2008

Customer service.... or not

OK, small rant.

I understand the hassle of idiot customers who click on the wrong thing, or click twice. I understand the frustration of SL and the ongoing fun with asset servers.

But I don't understand the attitude of some 'famous' SL designers.

I'm polite. I am not a fashionista (but I am a builder... small plug for my lighthouse which is for sale but not got it boxed yet... but it's low-prim and cute. If anybody wants one, ask and I'll give it to you for a stupid price).

Anyway, back to customer service.
See, the customer is always right. Even if they're not, but a completely blurry prim skirt that looks nothing like the picture is... not a great advertisement.
And y'know, owners and creators who treat you like you're an idiot don't help. "It's tight-fitting" (yeah, right. So?). "It's fine on me" (great, but you aren't me). "I never had complaints about that outfit before" (well, you have now, and it's blurred and a mess). But I stayed polite, honest I did. Just... thought a lot.

I got grudging acceptance when I wore the offending item to show her: 'yes it looks a bit funny'. She gave me another colour (marginally less blurred but still nothing like the poster) but, shall we say, condescendingly. I didn't ask for it. I didn't want that colour. I won't wear it, but I'm also not going to die over - what?- 300L? but she didnt know that.

My idea wasn't a) to ask for a refund or b) to screw the designer and get freebies, but to point it out to her. Several people saw me attempting to wear the outfit, and not one of them saw it anything less than a blurry mess. I have friends who design clothes. Most of them aren't famous but their customer service is respectful.

Also, being given two colours to choose from and being told to 'return the one you don't want immediately' is - again - condescending, if not downright rude.
Shame, because I like the clothes (at least on the posters....)

The point? Treat me like a customer with a brain and I'll go back. Treat me like I'm an idiot, and however much I like the clothes, I won't.

No, the idea isn't to name names of those I won't go back to. But let me just say that designers like Aphrodite Outlander, SLink, LVS and Rett Gentil have all treated issues or questions I've had (usually due to SL but no doubt some to my own clumsiness) with exquisite politeness.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Drama, whistle-blowing, skins and stuff

Lots of it going on in SL (always, everywhere) whether to do with money or love and probably a lot of other things too.

Spotted a particularly large kerfuffle over a skin-maker and a non-SL 3-D artist that has in turn baffled, perplexed, amused and horrified me. Many thronged to comment, often - I suspect - without any knowledge of what they were talking about. Some were polite, some weren't. Some tried to sound authoritative but there I strongly suspect some of them were neither authoritative nor unbiased. Massive quantities of mud appear to have been slung, just from skimming over some blogs and comments.

Some observations, though (and yes I suppose I'm jumping on the bandwagon but this is not just about those skins but about alleged content creation theft / abuse in general).

First, whistle-blowers aren't going to be popular, whatever their motives (greater good, personal vendetta, or both, and there's usually some of both, no?).

IMHO, whistle-blowing is a double-edged sword.

YES it's good, sometimes, to point to dodgy practices (note, I said dodgy - proof is another issue entirely and what some people consider to be proof, others do not) to raise awareness of what can and does go on and perhaps deter others from thinking they can get away with something unacceptable (although again, 'unacceptable' means different things to different people).

But once you've blown that whistle - to some extent depending on where - anything can happen and usually does. Where, however is another double-edged sword. Making it public raises awareness, sure, but once the 'public' are in there... you're going to get a whole spectrum of the public reacting. And sorting out the 'reasonable' from the hysterical, totally biased, or insincere is no easy task.

Washing dirty laundry in public also brings on lots of other personal gripes and yet more mud being slung, so things escalate, get twisted, people get hurt, others dash off a post without thinking... and of course there are those who actually enjoy all this. Train-wreck mentality. Those who have never indulged in this, please throw the first stone. I confess to stopping and staring.

I used to be very active on a writers' forum and plagiarism was naturally one of the hot topics there. Sometimes people most certainly did lift chunks from other people's work, some confessed to being 'inspired' by others. There are strong parallels here.

When challenged, some confessed, period. Some issued apologies, some didn't. Some threw mud elsewhere in doing so, some dramatically 'died' and their grieving survivors (!) posted tearful messages to the forum about writer X just needing to be loved so 'borrowed some material'. Some denied everthing despite what others considered clear proof and ploughed ahead, supported by friends who 'believed in them'.

It frequently got very ugly (understatement). Some innocent people got hurt, particularly if the attacks were unfounded and/or only done for personal reasons. Some writers got more exposure (either the accusers or their targets or both). Some people even learned that plagiarism is perhaps not a good thing ;)

Money, I should add, wasn't involved but a piece of writing has 'consumers' who can identify with the writing, and at times with the writer. An author has crafted it and cares about it enough to share, hopes to get praise. Sure it's different if somebody's income involved, I agree, but the feelings are the same: betrayal, outrage - misplaced or otherwise.

So what is my point? Is this drama useful or not? I'd say no for those people who jump onto bandwagons and take sides without knowing what they're talking about, but yes if eventually some good comes of it and some people learn lessons (or stop abusing and/or cheating).

I don't know who's right or wrong in the present drama... and there are many, MANY shades of grey and side issues involved. And I'm not even convinced that the truth (whatever that might be) will ever, really, be established in full or conclusively. Even if it is, whether it will do any good after all this flood of words is questionable. It's like traffic fines or cigarettes: raise the price and you'll get results... for a while. Then people will start speeding again or simply pay more for their fix. Or maybe, just maybe, a few will reconsider their ways. For that, maybe, would it all be worth it?

On the other hand, maybe others will think 'oh, speeding / smoking might be fun - let's give it a whirl'. No easy answers, huh?

It's just the drama involved in anything like this is just so sad, and I think that's what gets to me. Particularly the added drama that just fans the flames (and in a way I'm contributing to it, I suppose). Drama can be so ugly.

But so is human nature, no?

Thursday, 15 May 2008

New, amazing, etc. etc. etc.

Summer time!

Also, corporate image time (blood, sweat and tears involved but woohooo!). Vent du Sud means 'wind from the south'. I live in Provence, France.
On to the goodies. Saw a great patio set which was a little above my budget in RL but here's a version for SL in pale cream basketweave. The chair (2 prims) has about 10 colours for the cushions (change on touch) plus 4 great built-in animations: 129L. Yes, including two for men that look like, well.... male sitting positions (see earlier rant on the dearth of the things).
The table has 5 prims and incredible detailing and only 99L.Find them at the back of the store, at
Finally (for those who haven't scrolled on yet...) a great seating corner which has five cushions each with several built-in anims and each one with LOTS of textures - plus a superb, cosy couples pose. Great for home, deck, beach, garden and only 199L. Soft, subtle colours and endless combinations
These are at OnRez:, but check out my store as I'm having a SALE of items I'm retiring up on the roof. Lots of great things at a fraction of the original price (yes, yes, running out of prims again).
And if anybody's still here, here's a prize for persistence: buy 200L of goods from my store, send me an IM mentioning 'seen your blog', and I'll send you a wall lamp of your choice free. I'm... um... not famous enough for my IMs to be capped so you're pretty safe ;)
Wandering off to make more stuff now. But I am making an effort at this marketing thing. Really.