6.20.2012

you know what sucks?

i've titled this one "poooo


she does.  (i've decided to remove her actual photo and include this artist rendering of her getting shat out by a space worm instead.)  i really didn't want to resort to this, but i've absolutely had it bad people and maybe someone can learn from my experience.  this is the third time this has happened to me.  what is the matter with you people?  this is the third time a small independent boutique has skipped out on their bill.  you're a small business, i'm a small business, we have a consignment agreement, why would you take advantage of me and knowingly choose to rip me off after i made your store a good amount of money over many years.  why not skip out on your electricity bill instead?  oh because they have lawyers, and they'll surely come after you.  i work really really hard to provide you with quality handmade merchandise, this is my livelihood, this is how i make my living.  my business is really really small, it's run by ONE person, me, and i work out of my home.  

the photo above is of cherry, the owner of collage gallery in calgary in the art central building.  we have a signed consignment agreement, i would scan it and post it in this post as well, but i'm too angry right now.  i started working with collage gallery in 2009.  cherry was very professional, and paid regularly for whatever merchandise sold each month.  she would request leather wallets for the gallery, especially when it was busy stampede season in calgary.  i happily obliged, i grew up in calgary, i loved the idea of having my wares for sale in my old hometown.  

i would sew her custom leather wallets & i provided her with jewelry on request as well.  the first year was great, 2010 was a bit slower, she told me her daughter was seriously ill and that's the reason why the cheques were really late.  i'm an understanding person, and obvioulsly that's a horrible situation.  and now i'm left wondering if she even has a daughter.  sheesh.  i have to be honest, 2011 i was really busy, and wasn't on top of the paperwork for this account.  that's my fault really, but i really didn't think i would get ripped off, you trust that people are good, and based on my previous experiences with cherry i trusted her with my merchandise, but i also didn't realize how much merchandise she had.  each little shipment really adds up.  it's kind of my fault because i wasn't on top of this account 24/7, and i'm embarrassed that i let it happen, but you know what?  people are also not supposed to steal.  it's not slander because it's true.




january 2012, i asked her to return my merchandise and pay for whatever had sold.  she sent me the above email.  and then nothing.  once again, i was really busy and it was already may when i realized, holy hell, i haven't heard from her.  turns out the store closed in february.  wtf.  she made no effort to get in contact with me or return any of my merchandise, or pay me and i'm sure she KNEW she was closing the gallery in less than two weeks.  


i have impeccable paperwork with this account, i have photocopies of every single cheque, i have updated inventory lists , emails, and signed contracts.  i emailed cherry many times since then, no reply.  i have the right email address, how do i know?  because it's the address listed on her public and up to date linkedin account.  i also tried to contact her through linkedin.  she's now the manager at the glenbow museum shop (i also cc'd that email address).  gosh, i hope they checked her references before hiring her.    
  
so it's come to this, i'm going to either get a lawyer or a collection agency.  small claims court.  get her audited.  not sure.  if anyone has any advice that would be great.  in the meantime, if you're out getting some "culture" in calgary and you find yourself at the glenbow museum, take a gander into the gift shop and if cherry is working, tell her she's a real jerk and she owes me $3300.  (okay, i was kind of kidding when i wrote this part, please don't harass her, but a stink eye never hurt anyone. oh right, and please read the update at the bottom of this post.)

other people who really suck: 
these things didn't sew themselves.  
chicho (arturo bedoya) of boutique revolver & boutique haus
haus was one of the first stores i sold at when i moved to montreal.  i sold there and at boutique revolver between 2003-2007 and between both stores, he sold close to $20,000 (retail) of my merchandise.  i lived across the street from haus, and one block away from revolver.  i would stop in at least once a week to chat with chicho, and check up on sales.   it was really good, i would try out new designs at the store, and he would give me the customer feedback, we had a good thing going.  

he wrote me a final cheque for what he owed me before revolver closed, (haus had closed earlier that year) and returned my merchandise and we chatted about what he would do after closing the store, but then he knowingly closed his bank account before the cheque could be cashed because he's a sneaky bastard.  he also disconnected his personal mobile number, so i wasn't able to track him down.  chicho, you suck.  and you owe me $1005.61.   

marie-eve & carine of boutique scarlett
i worked with scarlett between end of 2004-2008.  scarlett was a fun rockabilly/emily strange themed store.  they sold over $13,000 (retail) of my merchandise between the end of 2004-2008, all on consignment.  that's not bad for a teeny tiny little store in just over 3 years.  do you know how much sewing that is?  hundreds of leather applique bags and wallets.  i designed a lot of bags exclusively for that scarlett, and sewed each and every one of them myself.  

and how did they thank me you ask?  by splitting up my final consignment payment into a handful of rubber cheques.  what a bunch of jerks.  they disappeared after that, and i wasn't able to collect.  i mean these are people i dealt with on a regular basis for years, always really friendly, i even made even marie-eve a custom baby bag with skulls on it when she was pregnant.  marie-eve, you suck, and i bet your baby's ugly.  and you owe me $1210.59.  do you know how hard i had to work to NOT make that?  oh, you also owe me $25 for the bank's returned check fee.  that was the final insult.  

well, there is a happy ending because those montreal stores really helped me get my start, (minus the stealing my hard earned money from me part of course), and introduced my work to some great loyal local customers.  and not everyone sucks, i've had other stores close down, but they went out of their way to make sure my merchandise was returned & i was paid.  i now work closely with a bunch of fantastic and amazing stores, and you know what?  i'm still in business and these morons aren't.  so suck it assholes.

JUNE 27th UPDATE:  i just heard from cherry, she says she's in the process of selling her condo to avoid declaring bankruptcy,  and will return whatever's left of my merch & work out some sort of monthly payment plan until the condo sells.  and if i could maybe stop emailing her at work, and use her personal email instead.  fair enough.  guess all it took was a good public slandering & a call to her personal line at work.   i'll believe it when i see the $$$.   aiyahhh. 

5 comments:

  1. Oh Elaine. As a reader of your blog I have to comment now. That really sucks and I am sorry to hear about those sneaky f*ckers. I don't have any experience with this, but I support your decision to escalate it to a lawyer/collection agency. What they did to you is completely unfair. I'll be waiting to see how it all pans out. Good luck and keep on being that strong woman that you are! Go get'em.

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    1. thank you! i know outing these people publicly wasn't exactly taking the high road, but i'm just tired of being taken advantage of, and i'm going to fight back. x

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  2. ** sigh ** Why do people have to be such ^%sholes? Good luck with it Elaine.. and p.s. This is EXACTLY why I refuse to do any consignment. Shit happens.. yup - I just don't want it to happen to me. xo

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  3. omg... Thanks for calling out Scarlett.They did the same god damn thing to me. God knows how much they owe me AND they still have all my stuff. Fuck them! I too was making special designs just for that store. + I once sold at another store in Montreal that would sell everything of mine they had , would ask for more but did not want to pay me, I had to run after my money...which is so not my style to nag and + it was the first store I ever sold to, I was young and all brand new, ready to be taken advantage of. The worst part is that they have tons of money, they are still open to this day, have 2 stores (they use to have 3) and sell really expensive clothes (diesel, miss sixty, g-star etc.) What is a measly 600$ to them?!

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  4. Hmm... I'm on the fence about calling out people who do not pull through with payment/bartering agreements for goods and services. I'm not sure of the legalities around it, and it happens to the best of us. I've stopped chasing for stylist services and published articles for magazines (which literally take DAYS of research, writing, and editing) after one year of non-response. It becomes both time-consuming and embarrassing to continue to chase payment and so I eventually give up. In my case however, it's always only happened with businesses that ARE successful which, adds more insult to injury, I think. They should be ashamed to not pay for work they've obtained.

    Well, courage, Elaine!

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