June 09, 2010


So this person contacts me through Etsy about a Made to Order Sushi Set for 4 that she is interested in.

"Do you offer military discounts? How can this be "personalized"? It's beautiful :)

Listing: http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=30349368

I reply:
"I've never been asked about the military discount.
Not sure how that could be worked out.
I really just make everything by hand, so...
It could be personalized on the bottom...
Thank you!

She responds:
"In the past, sellers have either made a separate listing at a discounted price or refunded money once I paid. There's just no way I can afford them at your current price."

So I continue:
"I understand...
I can make smaller sets too if you are still interested... no large platter, no sy bottle, just for 2 people..etc..."

At which point her response is:
"Nope, this is exactly the set that I want. If you don't offer a military discount, I will just go elsewhere. A set straight from Japan with designs is about the same price, if not cheaper :) "

And so...
Here was my long winded response:
"I have to be honest with you. I am a little offended by this whole interaction.

#1 I have no idea who you are and what you do for the military.
#2 I do not know where you are having me send this too.
#3 This is a MADE to order set, Handmade by ME.
I would be wedging the clay, creating the items piece by piece for you, firing them in my kiln, hand glazing them(with glazes I make from chemicals and raw materials) and firing them again and then piece by piece wrapping and shipping the set to you.

#4 I sell on Etsy especially because it was established for this type of work by creative makers and artists. I happen to be in America but I could live any number of places(as other artists do on Etsy)and it would still be the same process.

#5 This is my art.

I designed this set because it came from somewhere inside of ME.
I did not see it somewhere else and copy it. If you DO find the same set elsewhere("cheaper" or not), I would be very interested because that means that another artist had the same idea as mine and I would love to know such a kindred soul and if that was not the case, they must be copying MY work.

#6 I do not make molds of my work and mass produce it in factories or use other production potters. My craft is my art and I have to stand behind this notion if only for the principal is based upon.

#7 Many customers buy my work as they understand this. They may prioritize this purchase financially over something else, I do not know. I do know that sushi is expensive.

Perhaps I have lost a sale but I have saved my soul.

Good day and I only wish you positive energy.
Thank you,
Judi Tavill "

This was her response:
"And I am offended by how little respect you have for the people that defend your freedom to make your art safely in your own home. I'm hope someday the death of my brothers and sisters will weigh on that soul you just saved, but I fear it will not.

Happy belated Memorial Day."

and another one:
"PS. Just in case you were confused, your unwillingness to even offer free shipping means you're greedy, not principled.

Good day and I only wish you positive energy. "

And so I am debating as to whether to even respond.

Ok...I responded:
"I debated as to whether to respond to this but I just think you need to open your own mind and I believe you missed my attempt to educate you on the creative process.
I wasn't unwilling to do anything.
I still have NO idea what you do for the military, what the connection is, etc.
ANYONE could send me a convo and ask for a military discount.
I completely respect the people that defend this country and I feel priveledged to live here.
Not to mention, you have NO idea as to what MY OWN connections are with the military.
That said, GREED does not even play into my thought process.
I am not confused at all. I am completely clear. Perhaps you should re-read the approach that you took in asking me for a discount.There was NO MENTION of free shipping. I have worked out many arrangements with others on Etsy, Sellers and Buyers as needed and I have NEVER received any sort of ATTACK like this."

Here's the latest:
"I asked for a military discount, and you avoided the question like the plague. To me, that seems like you were unwilling. I'm sorry if I misread it. I don't see how knowing what I do in the military would make you offer a discount, but I'm a(I will not include this part as it may be considered in appropriate including where the person lives) I can send you a copy of my ID (with everything but my name blurred).

But, you never took the time to ask and attacked me first. I said if you wouldnt give a discount, I would go elsewhere. You took that time to attack me. I was just defending myself because I was genuinely offended that you thought I was trying to swindle you, and you didn't ask any of those questions until you started the attack. I do appreciate your process, but it's just out of what I am willing to spend. I make my own sushi so it's quite cheap (because I don't do anything fancy). Was looking to buy this for my husband as he graduates an Army school.

I really do wish you the best of luck. You have a great talent."

My final(I promise) response:
"I am so sorry you viewed my response as "avoid(ing) the the question like the plague".
I believe that you DID "misread it" and the response i gave was not an "attack", it was responding to: "A set straight from Japan with designs is about the same price, if not cheaper :) ". I could not help but find that uninformed, if not a bit of an "attack" itself because if that was your thinking, why were you approaching me in the first place? The whole interaction was rather strange to me.

I appreciate your interest and I truly mean it when I wish you and your husband the best but at this point, I think we should just agree to move on.

Thank you again."

So... I ask you...Was I rude?
She still hasn't explained ANYTHING about what she does for the military!
Shouldn't that matter. Is it her? Is it her spouse? Anyone could randomly say... hey, I work for the military.
I intended to be clear and educate her on the process so that she could learn something from the experience.
I also could not help but feel like I was having my arm twisted over a handmade sushi set.(That would need to actually be made in the future!!!).

Honestly, I don't have time for this back and forth but, it got me going.