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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pv.Body/Ellie Bait n' Switch? Pft, I raise you nonexistent Tactical Corset and Blinding Glittersniffers

So remember back in December when I placed my first order from Pv.Body and talked about their switchover to the Ellie brand with a different business setup? Yeah, took a bit of time to receive the shipment but it was never a huge issue. I knew what I was risking when I decided to pay a new small business to send me things over the internet but this was small fish compared to what I dealt with before with an unknown company.

Way back a few years ago I had seen this hype blow up about Tactical Corsets. Yeah, that's right. And I was in love and salivating with all the other people wanting to get their orders in. However, when they did finally accept orders on their website they were swamped. Apparently their promoting of awesomeness was too much for them to handle with the limited staff they had. But instead of closing orders and communicating with the people that had already ordered about delays, they remained quiet.

Now before I had ordered I had emailed, asking if they could make a deadline that was a month away (I wanted to wear my spiffy corset to a convention) and they said "Yes!" so I immediately placed my order the next day. The month came and went with no word. I ended up emailing again after and his response was to wait two weeks then it will be done.

Two MONTHS went by without word. So, I email again, this time less pleasant but not to the point of being rude. Basically saying that while I understood that this was a new business, there's the expectation of at least providing communication of what is going on with people's orders. I also stated that if he couldn't confirm a ship date for my order that I would require a full refund. He said he was traveling and that he would get to that soon.

ALMOST ANOTHER MONTH LATER I email him again, this time angry because of the continued and seemingly intentional lack of communication. Also, the fact when someone complained on the Tactical Corset Facebook they magically got 50% off their order. I waited over a week then emailed again with a curt "Respond or I start calling you." He immediately responded with a "sorry about the delays, you can have 50% off too." and something about working on training new seamsters/seamstresses.


I email him again threatening to bring legal action into this if he doesn't give me a full refund. I was tired of this crap. After a bit of hounding, including emailing his other business venture's email and his own personal email, I suddenly got a refund to my PayPal for the full amount of the nonexistent corset. From what I understand many were not so lucky since the guy quickly ditched the TC website and Facebook and there were complaints for months after about not receiving their order.

So! With that all said. I've been hearing about how people have considered Pv.Body/Ellie to be a huge scam. To put it simply, I do not think it's a scam. They tried out one business setup and it was too much for them to handle with all these unknown factors. I completely understood their problems since they were getting various shipments from various suppliers. Since they were doing fitness wear, the fit from company to company varies. Quality varies. And when you're doing random shipments a month, you can accidentally ship the same exact item to customers that they receive the month before. It happens. Also, suppliers can run out which they did often with the unexpected popularity of Pv.Body. Plus since their selling point was that they could get designer brands for cheapy-cheap (like the drool-worthy Lululemon brand), people were constantly expecting Lululemon every month which wasn't possible from a business standpoint. When you pay $50 a month you can't expect $100+ clothes every time. That just doesn't work out that way.

So they switched to a different business model, doing more of a JustFab where every month you can pick out items from what's available for a certain set price or you can skip the month and instead of providing other labels' clothing, they made their own in-house brand (Ellie). I have three pieces from them so far and I love them. The fit is great (very true to size) and more importantly, they're comfy and the quality is great. I do my interval training and I've had no problems with tearing or pinching or sliding.

I know some were having exchange problems with their Pv.Body shipments. And really, while it sucks and the company should get back to those customers, those customers should be contacting the company as soon as a reasonable time has passed. Pv.Body/Ellie has a Facebook and a Twitter and a website. All these things can be utilized. What I did to get an update on my first Pv.Body shipment was to tweet their customer service twitter account. I got a response right away and a representative called me right away to sort things out. I see a lot of customers whining on Facebook within a separate thread demanding a response but how the heck are the Facebook mods supposed to see that if you don't make it easier on them? And as to exchanges, I exchanged my last Pv.Body shipment since it didn't fit at all and they emailed me when they received it asking if I wanted a refund or Ellie credit.

What I'm basically saying is, don't jump up and shout wolf when there isn't one. Sure, there's seemingly a "shady" past with the owners but that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't honestly trying to make a successful business. People make LLCs all the time and then have to close up if its not working out. Putting a business name on the line keeps the individual from going bankrupt. It keeps the risk as minimal as it can be for an up and coming owner. That's how people start small businesses usually.

Now, if you wish to buy from Ellie, I do recommend their current business model. I know exactly what I'm getting a month which is more suitable to my tastes. People are upset that they changed but really the company has done all it can, making the first month of Ellie with no charge for not skipping when the website was down from massive traffic and was inaccessible. Offering plenty of communication during the transition and returns/exchanges for previous Pv.Body shipments close to the date of transition.

I think what it comes down to is that people in general are never satisfied. This is a small company that I think is legitimately trying to work out and customers assume they have to work perfectly. If you feel down about not getting cheap Lululemon, or if your exchange is taking more than a week to process, think of this: at least you didn't spend almost a year battling for over $500 that might have disappeared completely like with Tactical Corsets. And you didn't pay money for eye pigments from Glittersniffer Cosmetics that was later found out blinded some customers (AND THEIR KIDS) when the owner wasn't using sanitary methods and intentionally used non-FDA approved components LIKE SOAP DYES for her cosmetics and it was injuring her customers. And I must note that GS is still around and still peddling her wares to the unwary. You've been warned.

So yeah, take that and count your lucky stars. Your venture into small online businesses could have been a whole mess worse.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Inequality For All

First, a bit of backstory:

The other night in The Secret World, my boyfriend and I were working on some quests we had missed previously while going through storyline. Two players with female avatars were working on the same Egypt mission so we picked them up to get credit together; shortly it became clear it was a mistake. Let's...let's just say they were doing so many newb things that should have been corrected by the time they got to Egypt. Anyways. After quite a bit of frustration, we completed the mission and I immediately left the group. Over voice chat, my boyfriend heard me grumble about those two which also included the statement, "I really hope those two were actually female."

I hope you understand my problem now. The problem being that females are seemingly always the ones victimized. "Fake Geek Girls" come to mind specifically with all the backlash that came from Harris' infamous Facebook post. Yeah, if it comes to labels, I am indeed female who likes geeky things. I do think many ladies get a bad rap for being pretty and maybe having a mild or starting interest in geek culture.

I do agree with albinwonderland that there are various levels of geekdom and that people (regardless of race/gender/etc.) shouldn't be excluded because they haven't passed some sort of snobbish test of credibility or because they look different than the standard. Hell, geeks/nerds weren't the standard to start with. That's why we were social outcasts most of the time. Now it's this highly-sought after "cool club" and the old blood wants the membership to be exclusive or haze the bright-eyed youths that only seek camaraderie and fun. I still believe there is the occasional person who goes with what's popular because it is popular. If you want to label them fake, I suppose that's your right to have an opinion. But my opinion is that unless they are actually doing something to you personally, you can have enough maturity to ignore them.

Fake Geek Girl - by Jemma Salume (click here)

With that said, back to the beginning of the post. I've covered the female side but what about the male side of geek culture? Let's take gaming for the example. Girls have this automatic label that they suck at gaming. Sure, they might be okay at RPGs but give them an FPS and they'll start whining that no one is letting them win. Blah blah. But males have this automatic label that they should be a natural at gaming. It's been a month and you're still in your teens in WoW? Holy shit, what the hell? You have a penis, don't you??

Yup, that's the other side of it. Guys have expectations put upon them as well. And just like female geeks get all hostile on those they consider "fake", guys do the same thing. It's geek on geek violence. And when it came to that instance in TSW, I fell into the same discrimination. While it wasn't on a fellow vagina-wielder, I made the assumption that a person cannot suck at a game because of their gender.

Yes, I said it late at night and I was being a bit of a grouchy dragoness who just wanted to get her missions done and go to sleep, but after making that statement I felt ashamed and it bothered me enough that a week later I had to make this post. I always see so much girl power like we have something to prove but can't we all just be geeks together? Can't we lament how short Firefly is together? Can't we move onto other problems like P2W micro-transactions in games that already cost $60? Can't we share cosplay tips and be able to compliment each other on how awesome their costume is without sweatily groping Black Cat cleavage or Conan loincloths then whining that they're being fake, uppity, or they "can't take a joke"?

Stay classy, Geekdom.