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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pros and Cons of Vendors

About once a year I do a summary of the companies and retailers I have dealt with throughout the year and give my opinions. This year customer service really became an issue for me. With all the chatboards it is pretty easy to see those companies that get the most complaints for consistent problems and those who rarely get a ding from anyone. I had some wonderful experiences this year and some really awful ones.

SUPERIOR experiences this year were:

Merriartist.com--This is where I buy my Copics. Not only the best price I have found, but she ships almost instantly after you order and I always get them within 48 hours. Customer service is fabulous and she wraps things well.

2nd Childhood--Cherylynn is just tops in my book for trying to please her customers. Her prices are more than reasonable to begin with and she has frequent sales that FORCE you to buy, LOL! She ships immediately and is a total sweetie to work with. I cannot say enough about what good service she provides. She answers emails immediately too.

Cornish Heritage Farms--Superb service, fast shipping, free shipping at $35 and cute, cute stamps. A good source for EZ Mount too. Nice people to deal with.

Stampingcottage.com--This is where I bought my Just Rite stamps (most of them) and while I stumbled on this place due to their especially good prices and wide range of selection, I have to say their customer service, fast shipping, etc. have put them in this category.

Impress--While you will only get the occasional sale, Impress has the freshest ideas. Everything on their site is inspiring. I have shopped regularly at their Seattle stores and am ALWAYS met with helpful clerks. I had to return an item and they took it no questions asked with the sweetest attitude. They have ribbon to die for and shopping in their stores is heaven. Additionally, they ship immediately if you order online. IMO, this is the way a brick and mortar store should be run. The clerks KNOW the products, are happy to demonstrate, and want you to leave happy---which I always do.

Just Rite--a big thumbs up for this company. I had a font set with a missing letter. I emailed, got an answer within an hour, a ship notice an hour later, and my letter was here in under 48 hours. The email I received was clearly a "we will make you happy and fast" kind of email and I really appreciated it since I was making Christmas cards and needed it soon.

VERY GOOD experiences:

All That Scraps: I continue to enjoy the selection online. Shipping is reasonable although it went up this year. I used to get orders in 2-3 days and now it usually takes a week or a bit more. Not sure if that is the shipping option the company uses or the slowing in postal service. Again, this company takes care of issues immediately and to customer satisfaction. This is my second choice of a retailer to buy Copics from. She is more expensive than Merriartist, but sometimes has colors I cannot get elsewhere. She is often backordered on things though.

Papertrey: Their second year was better for avoiding mistakes and handling them more professionally. They continue to produce excellent product and I LOVE their cardstock and matching ribbon. I am getting more picky about sets and am finding that either I am jaded or the sets this year just did not float my boat quite as much. I think it is probably me. I did not come close to an Anniversary Set this year (free if you buy 12 sets in a year). Price of shipping went up and again, I used to get my orders in 2-3 days and now it takes a week. Sometimes slow in answering email.

Jacksonbelle Embellishments: Good service and fast shipping, but a rather limited selection which is why I don't order often. I tend to order from places where I get the most bang for my shipping buck.

SO SO experiences:

My Favorite Things: While I raved about this company last year, I don't find as much this year that is appealing. They came out with some "sexual innuendo" stamps and I have seen some cards that are downright vulgar made with them. Not the company's fault, but I sure do miss their really fun stamps from before. Prices also went up.

NOT GOOD experiences:

Hanna Stamps: If you were the recipient of Kristi's "mistakenly sent" email you probably know what I mean. This retailer showed her true colors a couple of times this year. I don't think she counted on people making her nasty emails public and it has made me leery. Additionally, some are calling her latest stamp sets "Barbie Meets Anna Nicole Smith" and I do miss the Hanna stamps that represented her daughter not such bimbo-ish looking sets as of late. I am not saying I won't order again, but I will be very hesitant to do so. I loved her teacher set and that is the style I am looking for.

TERRIBLE experiences:

High Hopes: Ordered over a month ago and still no stamps. I contacted the owner and got a not so nice email telling me she took the month of Dec.off for a holiday and is running a month behind. She went on to tell me she is a young company of only 3-4 years (young?) and has only 2 employees. She further said her facility is too small. Honestly, I just want my stamps!!! Her excuses made it sound like her customers should just accomodate for her. I was not impressed and will NOT order from them again. Between the poor service and the whiny attitude, I am done with this company.

So there you have it--from best to worst. In this economy I think we will see many companies failing shortly. I believe that those with the poorest customer service and with bad attitudes will fall first. These companies are discussed all over the internet and it is not hard to see which ones have pleased customers and which ones are always dealing with disgruntled customers.

I have had my eye on trying Sugar Nellies, Paper Pretties, WhipperSnapper, but postage is very high on single stamps and so those will wait until I can pick some up on ebay.

WOW!! Readers immediately noticed that I had not mentioned SU so I am adding this note now. Here is why: I still love their colors and their ribbon and some of their designs, but I find them high priced, even for wood mounts. Additionally, since I am completely UM now, I immediately tear them off the wood anyway. Since SU has chosen not to offer UM or clear, they have pretty much lost my business when it comes to the stamps themselves. I am not the only one as many customers feel this way.
I am not "boycotting" them, they just no longer meet my needs or my budget. I cut back on stamp spending this year and ended up with more new stamps than ever because I only bought a total of 7 wood mounted stamps on sale this year when I found really good deals. I am not saying that if they had a "to die for" stamp that I would not indulge, but for the most part I am not looking to SU anymore.

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