13 June 2011

social commentary Sunday . . . 'honesty'

Greetings all,
This is not a shop lifting post or clepto confessional, but . . . in my handmade world, i've experienced ladies coming back to my stall to say "oh my goodness, i just walked off with this accidentally, so sorry" to which i've said "thank you so much, i really appreciate your honesty" & i've had this reply more than once . . . "it's handmade, you're small business, if you were a big retailer i wouldn't have cared".   
On Saturday at Handmade Market, i had two experiences . . . one lady poured her coffee into my beautiful new French linen lined basket of Liberty of London hair clips.  Gulp.  But . . . i didn't see it happen, she had to catch my attention to say "i'm SO sorry, i just spilt coffee on your hair clips, what can i do to help or fix this".  I calmly said "i'm sure it will be fine, would you be able to grab some napkins for me".  Add to this, i had about 30 ladies at my stall, bad timing, nightmare experience!!  Anyway, she came around & we carefully wiped each product card & amazingly not one drip of coffee touched a single piece of precious Liberty fabric (thank goodness).  She stopped & looked me in the eye after we laid out all the dry clips & removed the lining from the basket . . . "why are you so calm about this??"  I said "if this is the worse thing that happens to either of us today, we're pretty lucky, i have 4 children, my husband is a soldier & goes to war, this is just a basket of hair clips".  Her response "oh, no wonder you're so normal, i have 5 children, it's a bigger picture thing".  Her mother was also with her saying "do i need to pay for the whole basket of hair clips, i will, i have plenty of granddaughters".  I said it was fine & off they went, still embarrassed.  I was so grateful that she told me as many people would have thought "oh no, will i have to pay for this mistake, did anyone see" & walked off, i would have been none the wiser & no doubt the coffee would have soaked through & ruined the fabric.
Now i've had an ENTIRE basket of pencil rolls taken off my stall, yep, the whole basket with about 20 x $35 pencil rolls, basket, price tag, the lot, stolen from a Mathilda's Market.  That totally sucked & really upset me that someone would even think to do that.  They also stole all the shopping i had done that day, softies & fabric, i lost $1K worth.  Furious.  Deflated.  I've also done a market with arbitry parking conditions & scored a parking fine when all the other cars around me haven't.  Sometimes life just sucks!!
I remember at the end of a long, busy & successful market around Christmas time last year, i undercharged a lady $10.  I was so drained, i just lost my ability to count to $28 & didn't 'carry the one' in my head & said "that's $18 please".  I remember her face, smug & smirked, she had $30 in her hands & passed me the $20 note, i gave her change & she rushed off.  For the next 5 minutes, i recalculated in my dizzy head & thought, hang on, that was $28, no wonder she had that expression on her face . . . "what a liar".  Sometimes people just suck!! 
The other situation at the Handmade Market on Saturday . . . one of the last customers of the day "that's $15 thank you", she handed me a $20 note & i handed her $15 change.  Her daughter piped up "wasn't that $15, you just gave my mother an extra $10 in her change" & in her mother's defence, she wasn't watching & hadn't the chance to say i was wrong.  I said "thank you so much for your honesty, i really appreciate it, it has been a very long day but every $10 counts".  They thought nothing of it, but i was thrilled.  Faith in people, restored!!
Look at the faces on these handmade softies i've bought along the way, i could not look at them if i knew i'd pinched one or been undercharged, i'd feel like my children had evil in their bedrooms.  I know i've been undercharged at large department stores before (i add things up in my head to ensure i'm not overcharged) , i have not piped up & corrected them, telling myself there must have been some 'discount in the system'.  With the retail situation at the moment, there are sales left, right & centre, who knows what you are paying when you get to the cash register after a further 25% off already discounted ticket prices??

When it comes to small business or handmade . . . one off, unique, hand crafted original products, do you think it brings out extra effort, honesty & faith in people?? 

Enjoy your long weekend & hoping it's an honest one if you're shopping, love Posie


Anonymous said...

'What goes around...comes around', or so the saying says!! That @#$%&@ person who stole that whole basket of pencil rolls will have to account eventually!
I hope the rest of this long weekend improves for you!
Cheers Lois

Anonymous said...

Hey - I am certainly glad to find this. great job!

Aunt Spicy said...

So makes me sad to read a post like that...I always want to believe the best in people, and am grateful for those that were honest to you! Hopefully the market as a whole was a success!

polkadotpeticoat said...

I feel it's all come down to a ME society, I know when someone has stolen something from my stores in years past they had to smile chit chat and walk out the door.

I think we need to tune in our conscious especially in our kids so we can maybe counter this bad behavior as time goes on......I'm so sorry stealing comes in so many disguises, I'm so glad you also ran into wonderful examples ....I do have faith that there are good people still out there It's just the Bad ones are so bold!

CHD said...

Sorry about your experience. People can be so selfish. I bought a bundle (8) of children's clothes at a department store sale and realised when I checked the reciept when I got home that I hadn't been charged for one item. So, bundled the kids in the car and went back (somewhat reluctantly, but wanted to teach the kids a lesson in honesty and knew if I didn't go straight away I would let it slip)- when I explained the situation, they looked at me blankly and ended up asking me what I wanted them to do about it! I said, of course I would like the item for free, but I've come back to pay for it. But it was up to them. I ended up paying for it (and more parking) and went home. The kids remember it, so hopefully they will be honest shoppers. Cx

Tammy said...

I think there are a couple of points of difference. The person selling to you at markets is happy, friendly and really the person behind the product in most cases unlike the person behind the counter in a shop who frankly could not care less a lot of the time. so people are more likely to and want to do the right thing by likeable people. The other factor is that ( and I'm assuming here ) people shopping at a hand made market are people who hand make them selves are really appreciate that quality so empathy comes into play to a bigger degree that what is happening in the Malls and Plazas.
As I think I told you before we had an incident in Shop handmade and the guilt of that, although it was all out in the open still plagues me I really feel terrible that some ones work was damaged.
Thats a lot of deep thought from me on a Monday morning and I think I have probably posted more words here than all the comments I have ever left on your blog added together. Happy Monday! :)

Trash said...

Good grief! $1K worth at Christmas? I hope the rotten bugger had Santa leave a mahoosive amount of coal in her stocking.

Whilst not claiming sainthood I try and ensure I pay and get back in change the right amount.

Mookah said...

I salute your big picture attitude to the coffee in the basket of hairclips! I'm sure I wouldn't have been quite so calm. Apparently you got all the honest customers on Sat. We know of 2 customers we undercharged, one by $20 and one by $10, and neither said a thing. Oh well, maybe they needed the $10 or $20 more than we did?

Tania McCartney said...

So totally agree - handmade goods NEVER achieve the price they should for creation, so every cent counts.

On the retail thing... I have to say I do care if I'm undercharged or given too much change. It's a Karma thing for me - I've spent a lifetime watching Karma's hefty price (and stunning reward) so I always speak up - handmde or retail, makes no difference to me.

So glad you had your faith in humankind restored - it's so easy to get crushed by people's actions; it's so lovely when we can feel that faith again b/c there are some mighty wonderful peeps in the world.

littlebetty said...

Yikes - bad stories, but that good old perspective helps at these times. So glad the other lady helped rescue the liberty hair clips. Rest up Miss.

Posie Patchwork said...

Wow, such amazing points of view. I do like Tania's karma but still like to think in large retail i'm getting some invisible discount if i'm undercharged!! Love Posie

Anonymous said...

There will always be a fee bad eggs.
After a hard day grocery shopping (yes I said day) one o my three always accidentally takes something, even though it's from Woolies I still take it back, three in tow.
I'm glad your faith in people is restored!
Love ya Miss Posie!

plushka said...

Great post Jennie! I believe the stolen goods will never bring the happiness to someone's home and that person who stole your goodies will never get that lovely feeling of owning a handmade item!

I had a few similar wrong- change-given to the customer moments at the market and rarely people came back when I gave too much. I guess when you are overwhelmed with all those beautiful things around at the market, you don't count how much you spend and the change until you get home. Then it's too late:(

Thank you for sharing! X

circle retreat quilter said...

Well it totally sucks that this has happened. But calma is a certainty, smile and hug the ones you love.

MultipleMum said...

You sure got lucky with the basket of hairclips! I hope you sold the lot by the end of the day? Honesty is always the best policy. It is all about karma but it is also about being a decent human being. I hope you see more of the good side of people because you give a lot with the gorgeous wares you make. You deserve good in return :-)

Anonymous said...

I totally believe in Karma...what comes around goes around :)

I always point out if I have been give too much change or have been under charged..it's only right and so easy to put yourself in the other person's position and how they would feel knowing I hadn't been upfront and honest.

Vic said...

Ugh. It's so crap that you had so much stolen from a lovely handmade market, and it's also crap that people willing & knowingly rip you off, but you're right, it's so nice when people's good nature & honesty shines through.

However... having been a retail pleb for my whole working life, I cannot easily say "screw the department stores; I'll take what I can get" - it is a person that has made the mistake, an underpaid employee no less, & it will be a person that will be made accountable when the till is under at the end of the day. Sure, in the grand scheme of things that retail chain isn't going to miss that $10, but in the smaller store environment, people can be taken to task.

Just as you recall the woman who smirked & handed over less than she was supposed to, so will the person that serves you when he or she realises that they gave you too much change & you took it. So, because I know what it's like to be on the other side, I would be honest then, too... plus honesty is honesty. In my opinion you can't pick & choose when to be a good person. You either have ethics & morals that you live by, or you don't.

On another note, who made that green softie at the back? It's freaking cute!

Anonymous said...

Lately I seem to be asking if they are sure the totals are correct - I seem to be oblivious to sale signs and so am surprised to get discounts - happened to me buying some cushions on Sunday - the sales person thought I was saying it was too much when I was concerned it was too low.

And then as I am normally trying to control badly behaved children when I shop half the time I don't notice the change and if I have been given too much.

My philosphy on this depends on the service I receive. If the service is good, and the person is chatting away to me and so due to distraction does the wrong thing I will always tell them. If the salesperson is rude, chatting to their mate at the next checkout & just has the whole can't be bothered don't want to be here attitude, I don't bother to correct their errors if I notice, and they are in my favour. Generally these sort of employees are in the very large stores where customer service is not valued.

Glad the hairclips were saved and you had an honest customer there too.

Little Craft said...

What a horrible low thing for someone to do. To take something that you had handmade to sell at the market and also take your purchases. And then to get a parking ticket at the end of the day. But so nice to meet someone who admitted to spilling the coffee and then helping you to clean up. I hope that your week-end improved. Hugs from me.

Posie Patchwork said...

Such a mix of responses, thanks everyone. Yes, i guess when you do a lot of markets you get a lot of different experiences, thank goodness the theft, parking ticket, spilt coffee & smug people getting too much change were all very different markets - not all at the same time, i might have cracked otherwise!! Love Posie

Exquisite Accessories said...

Oh I am so sorry Posie I was just smiling at your lovely post about Canberra on Felicity's blog & it was such a lovely post, you did you made me smile, now I am feeling sad that you encounted some yucky people.
I am a believer in fate so what goes around comes around.
I have been lucky so far with my markets only a few little insidents, It did rain the once & I forgot my sides for the gazebo well half of my stock got ruined now I did cry that day lucky for me it was raining so hard they thought it was just the rain on my face thank goodness, I felt such a fool.
I make sure I just do in door markets now :)) x

NessaKnits said...

I had them price checking things in Target at Queanbeyan on Saturday and I just wanted it noted that when the price came in considerably lower than I expected, I did ask "are you sure?". Next Handmade Markets, I find my way to the correct "Centre". Read my blog!

Miss Prudence said...

Oh you poor thing - just chalk it up hon and you are right, if this is as bad as it gets then it is all good. I am always honest about these things, imagine if karma concept is right and you come back as a cockroach because of small time theft!!! UGH!

Cheer up, there are heaps and heaps and heaps of fabulous good wonder happening and will keep on happening because of your positive outlet - a few dishonest villans can't challenge that in just one day!

Also, is that babushka sporting similar eyewear to one certain posie patchwork ? LOL xxxxx