Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Death of Please and Thank You

I am going to have to break the news to my Momma that she raised me wrong, because those free manners she beat into me from the age of two aren't supposed to be practiced on Flickr or at Etsy.  

Yes, I was actually chastised earlier this week by a "well meaning" colleague who thought she needed to instruct me on when to say thank you.  I am from the South, and we're a little slow, you know.  she wanted me to know that I don't have to post a thank you for every nice comment someone leaves under your photos on Flickr.  I kid you not.  

What's worse, I discovered after that enlightening email that she is not the only one who thinks that way.

I check in on the discussions at the forums on Etsy once a week to be sure I'm not missing news about the implementation of the next, great Seller's tool. The powers that be don't often tell you what's coming down the pike before they send it hurtling toward you.  

Well, a question was asked to the effect of whether or not Sellers should leave feedback for their customers.  Huh?  You mean someone actually thinks you shouldn't do that?  Yes, indeed.

Judging by the response to the question, there are many sellers at Etsy who either a) don't care about feedback; b) can't afford to take the time to leave feedback; c) don't think it is necessary in order to maintain good relations with customers; or d) don't think it affects whether said customers come back and buy from them again.  

Criminy, some people are stupid.  

I was amazed at how many sellers actually said they couldn't take the time to leave positive feedback on a transaction.  Many are also of the opinion that feedback should be withheld until the buyer leaves it for the seller first.  Some sellers think the buyer's side of the transaction isn't completed until the buyer receives the item and is satisfied with it. WRONG!   The buyer's side of the transaction is completed as soon as they pay for the item.  

I've come across this before, this holding hostage the buyer's feedback until they give you feedback.  Several people I know have that position.  It is not very professional, in my opinion.  If you are an ethical Seller who puts your best work out there, you should have no reservations at all about leaving positive feedback for the buyer immediately upon completion of payment.  Period.  If you don't, it makes me think you knew the work was not the best before you listed and sent it out, and you're holding your breath waiting to see whether or not the buyer agrees. 

After thinking on this situation for a couple of days, I have come to a conclusion.  Manners must be a generational thing, or perhaps a cultural thing.

In the South, if you are over the age of 40,  you were raised to be respectful, which meant saying "please," "thank you," and "yes, ma'am or sir."

But, even this Southern 20-something generation doesn't have the manners my generation has.  They seem to be a bunch of whiny, inconsiderate, selfish brats.  This generation is all about "me."  Please and thank you are hard to come by in this day and age, and that's a damn shame.   My niece and nephews still say it, thank goodness... within my hearing, that is. 

Since 20-somethings are now running the world, I should not be surprised that a hip, young, internet seller has such a blase attitude about taking 15 seconds to thank a person who spent their hard-earned money for something in the seller's shop.  

One girl (if her photo is any indication, not a day over 25) stated she averages 1500 sales a week, which I could not confirm by looking at her sales; and that she only posts feedback once every six months, if then.  With all those sales, she just doesn't have the time.  She has plenty of time to stalk the forums and post on many different topics at all hours of the day and night, however.  I guess she has her priorities.  Posting... high on the list... thanking the people who pay her bills... bottom of the list.  

Frankly, if a seller waits 6 months to leave me feedback for something I purchased, I don't remember what I brought from her in the first place.   It annoys me to get a feedback 6 months after the fact, and I have been known to email the seller and tell them so, and that I won't be troubling them with any future purchases for which they need to bother leaving feedback.

If you are a customer of mine and you don't receive feedback from me within 24 hours of your purchase, you will know I am dead.  

And, if you leave a nice comment for me at Flickr or anywhere else I post stuff on the internet, you'll get a timely thank you for that, too.

That is just how my Momma raised me, and as she has always said, manners are free and it doesn't cost you a dime to use them.

Jeez, is it really any wonder this world is going to hell in a hand basket?  


Laurel said...

Well, I'm not from the South, but I am of a "certain" generation, and I'm with you all the way. Please and thank you will never go out of style with me!

Jaipur Gemstones said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christine said...

I certainly agree with this.I am from South Wales in the UK and also of a certain generation where Please and Thank You were drummed into me. I also think those three little words go a long way.

I know when I get an order whether it be on my website or on Folksy I get that excited that the first thing I do is email the person direct and thank them for their time and order and then I make sure the item is delivered as quickly as possible.

And vice versa when I purchase some thing I also say thank you to the seller.

John(SC) said...

Hi Lynda,
I guess we are slow because we are trying to figure out why some people are so ignorant about things that are done out of common courtesy. I never had it drummed into me, but respect, courtesy and gratitude are just the way I was raised. It always felt normal and the rewards are never ending. We were taught to do certain things and we do those things without thinking about it.
I'm sure you told that well meaning person where to take her handbasket.
When someone thanks me for a purchase, it makes me feel like they really mean it. Thank you is so easy. It just slips out. I guess it's just the roots of my raisin'. It ALWAYS comes back to you. Maybe not in the way you think it will, but it still does.
Y'all be good now, ya hear?

JuLee said...

I keep coming back to your blog, your flickr pictures, your tuts,etc. because you are so darn NICE. You always say thank you and that is so pleasant in this age of "me, me, me". This is one of the reasons that you are the only artist I have ever bought anything from off of Etsy. That, and I love what you make.

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

So glad to see two "Non Southerners" posting they love manners, too! Thank you, Laurel and Christine! I think you both must have Southern roots somewhere in the family tree. :)

John, I did tell her where to take her hand basket, bless her heart!

Thank you, and I agree wholeheartedly, it always comes back to you. You've got good, SC roots, my friend! :)

JuLee, you are so sweet, and so talented. I'm truly honored you love my work so much.

JuLee said...

Your comment about Southern roots got me thinking. My father's family was orginally from the south (not sure where). They came to America to escape the mess of the French Revolution and settled in the south. It wasn't until the early 1900's that some of them moved to Washington state (my grandfather inclued. My grandmother remembered coming across the plains in a covered wagon when she was a young girl in 1888. I think she was from the south too.

phyllis from texas said...

You are my kind of gal! Always go with your heart-treat others as you would want to be treated. Your character is excellent and your product flawless!

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

Thank you very much, Phyllis. You Texas girls know a thing or two about manners, too, don't you? :)

JuLee, you'll have to email me and let's see if we can chart your family tree back to the South. Did you know I've also been a genealogist for 35 years? I manage 3 DNA Surname Group Projects at, so I think I might be able to help. LOL

Ginger Davis Allman (The Blue Bottle Tree) said...

Okay, I tend to get behind on giving feedback. But at least I know enough to feel guilty about it. Often I know nothing about the buyer until much later when we converse about the tutorial or their results, so it's hard to say anything more than "thank you". But even a simple thank you is better than silence.

Behaving well is its own reward. I don't behave well because someone else was nice first. (Likewise, I don't behave badly because someone else behaved badly first.) This is a huge rule that I raised my kids with. You are your words. Let them reflect the gracious, dignified, beautiful creation that you are.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some Etsy feedback to catch up on.

Anonymous said...

It's the same here in Sweden. Young people don't even know the word Thanks. At least they hardly ever use it. Strange. Anna

MichelesArtJewelry said...

"Thank You" Lynda for your wonderful, heartfelt post on manners. I also think a response or a thank you, or a please goes a long way, especially in our line of work with customer service, satisfaction and common courtesy. It is good to know that there are still some of us out there - even though I am one of the over 40 something too :), my children were raised to say please and thank you and they are raising their children to say please and thank you - let's hope it never completely goes away :)

Lori Cody said...

I say congratulations for practicing good manners! Keep it up. There are still some of us out there that appreciate it.

Pamela Takeshige said...

I always feel special as a buyer if the seller says something nice to me, if they say thank you for my purchase. I feel that the seller is looking out for me, by communicating to me. As a buyer, it seems much more personal to get quick feedback from seller.

Diva Designs Jewelry said...

Thank you again, everyone! It is very gratifying to hear that please and thank you aren't dead yet!

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work, don't let the tacky ones call your shots, and don't EVEN bother to take comments like those personally.

You know how to conduct yourself in a civil manner, so just stick to it!

Linda N.
Duluth, Mn

Brenda Gooch said...

Thank you for your post. I have been shopping on etsy for a long time and I did not know I was supposed to leave feedback. I feel so stupid. I honestly did not know. I've never purchased an etsy item that I wasn't very happy with and I feel awful that I did not leave positive feedback. Thank you, again, for this important post.

BTW--I agree wholeheartedly with you.