Monthly Archives: July 2013

Zazzle Schmazzle

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A while ago I bought some badges from Zazzle. I don’t think I’ll be doing that any longer.

A few months ago I tried to buy some more badges. Some of them were custom made by me – and yes, I admit I did use some images that may have been copyrighted, as they were from shows, films, or internet videos. So the order was inevitably cancelled due to copyright issues. However, I was a bit confused as to which specific badges caused the issues. I had ordered six custom badges, and four of them had not been approved. The images I used were a pokeball, a Tyrell flower, the word ‘friend!’ with two thumbs up, a pegacorn someone drew me in the style of a My Little Pony pony, a Toy Story alien, and the ‘I am a stegosaurus’ dinosaur. Now I had no way to check which badges were accepted or not. My best guess was that the accepted images were the pegacorn and either the thumbs up friend or the Tyrell flower. But of course, I wanted to make sure, so I could place another order without it being cancelled again. So I sent Zazzle an email. Here is a copy of the correspondence:

ME: Hi! I tried to order some badges the other day, and some of them were ones I customised myself. Because I was only getting them for myself, I didn’t realise any copyrights applied, so I apologise for the Toy Story and Pokemon badges. But I’m confused – it said two were accepted, and four were rejected, but I can’t figure out which, as the links aren’t working. It also seems odd, as I’m pretty sure less than four have copyrighted items in their designs. So could you please help me out, and let me know which specific designs were rejected and why? The order number was 131-56846567-9102810. Thanks so much!

ZAZZLE: Thank you for your e-mail.
Information regarding copyrighted material can be found here: http://zazzle.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/87
A detailed description of Zazzle’s content policies is available at: http://zazzle.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/zazzle.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=143
Thanks for using Zazzle. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Now I admit, I gave up on that pretty easy. But they had bounced me around for a while before I got that extremely generic and unhelpful reply, so I just thought “stuff ’em”. But then I got an email for $7 off orders above $7, so I thought “why not buy a few badges and pay only slightly more than shipping?”. So I put some badges in my cart, only to discover that the price of badges had risen over a dollar. Now, to most people, a dollar doesn’t seem like much. And in all honesty, it isn’t much. But for cheap products like badges, a price increase is never small. So I sent another email:

ME: Hi. A few months ago, I bought a bunch of badges, only for the order to be cancelled due to copyright. I sent two emails asking which designs they refused, but because no-one helped me, and only repeated the same thing over again, I gave up on the order. Today I received an email for $7 off an order, so I thought “why not try again?” only to discover that apparently badges are almost twice the price now! What is going on? Why are tiny little badges so expensive? I can buy them for as little as 20 cents elsewhere.

I was supposed to receive an answer within the next business day, but alas, I still have not received a response. However, I sent an unrelated email regarding a voucher not ten minutes later, and I received a reply for that almost immediately. This was almost two weeks ago, by the way. But anyway, I really wanted that damn pegacorn badge! So a couple of days ago, I sent another email. Only this time, it was a bit more heated. Now check this out:

ME: Hi. I was thinking of buying some badges, but after putting some in my cart, I realised something. A while ago, I tried to buy some badges, only to be told that some of the custom ones had not been accepted due to copyright. I emailed you and received a generic answer. I emailed you again and received a generic link. None of these addressed my question at all – I asked WHICH SPECIFIC items were not accepted, and you gave me a stupid unrelated link to Disney copyright. But anyway, after that, I gave up. Now I’m thinking of buying from you again, as you’re the only place I know of where I can design my own buttons. But there’s been an insane price hike. When I filled up my cart this time, I discovered that to buy items with a $5 discount + volume discount would cost me MORE than buying them without a discount last time I attempted to. That’s just ridiculous. I can buy badges for 20 freakin’ cents. So my question is, WHY has there been a price increase?

ZAZZLE: Each product on our site is posted by individual designers who control their own prices. Unfortunately, we can not adjust the prices that they have selected for their item.

ME: I know the difference between a price hike and natural price differences. The custom buttons are more expensive, as are buttons I had in my cart last time I attempted a purchase. I’m asking about the reasons behind the actual price hike, not the reason why some badges are more expensive than others.

ZAZZLE: We did not have a price hike. The only time prices would go up is if the designer changes their royalty.

ME: I’m afraid the website must be glitching then. Back when I made that order that got cancelled, a custom square badge cost $2.95 pre-discount, but now the same square badge would cost me $4.10 pre-discount…

ZAZZLE: When I go into your account and order the buttons from your last cancelled order- the price is the same:

Zazzle Email

ME: I’m going to repeat myself here:
“Back when I made that order that got cancelled, a custom square badge cost $2.95 pre-discount, but now the same square badge would cost me $4.10 pre-discount.”
Square. SQUARE. Not round. That round one that you used as an example? That was $2.20 pre-discount last time. Again, what are the reasons behind the price increase?

ZAZZLE: We did not have a price hike. The only time prices would go up is if the designer changes their royalty.
 I’m sorry but we do not have any other answer regarding the prices. Its a royalty issue outside out our control- designers have the right to change their royalty which changes the overall price.

ME: The badges in question were created by me. You have had a price increase. Please stop trying to avoid the question.

Now, I know you’re probably sitting there right now with your eyebrows floating ten feet above your head. And yes, I know I’m insane. But I have principles! And one of those principles is that no-one messes with my money. And stinging me several dollars for a tiny little badge, when I can get them around town for less than fifty cents, and when I have in fact bought the same badges for less – that, dear sir, is messing with my money. Oh, and by the way, that last email never got a response either.

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Ridiculous Cosplay

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I love cosplay. I love admiring other people’s amazing costumes. I love taking photos of and with people. And I love the idea of looking awesome in one of my own. But unfortunately for me, I am very very NOT crafty. So I’m just stuck feeling envious of other people’s costumes, while I run around claiming to be a Pokemon trainer and pointing to a pokeball clipped onto my belt.

I have considered many different possible cosplay options. I’ve thought about Sora from Kingdom Hearts, but the only thing I’ve got going for me is his keyblade. I’ve considered Misa Misa from Death Note, but the only thing I have of hers is a death note. I’ve thought about Kaylee from Firefly, but I don’t have overalls. I’ve thought about Chiana, but paint. Jynx – more paint. Pyramid Head – lack of pyramid-head-building skills. Bayonetta – her entire bloody outfit. Just for the record, the characters listed previously (sans Chiana and Bayonetta) were from my ‘relatively simple cosplay’ list. I would love to be crafty, or perhaps just have enough money to buy accessories in the first place, but alas, I am/do not. So I’m thinking of other things instead.

I thought about being Aunt Clara – frumpy dress, fur shawl, big hat, bad make-up, bag of doorknobs… But I’ve shot that one down based on the fact that not many people would actually recognise her. And then there’s the fact that Aunt Clara doesn’t really feel like a real cosplay to me. I could always borrow my halloween outfit and be Wednesday Addams. Or abandon the tights and replace the shirt with a collar necklace and be slutty Wednesday Addams instead. But I’d feel weird wearing my halloween costume. That’s not cosplaying. Plus, I get the same ‘not really cosplay’ vibes from Wednesday that I get from Clara.

Now I’m thinking ‘sim’. Bella Goth, to be specific. I’d just make a big plumbob and attach it to a headband, and then wear that with a red dress. Easy. I’ll definitely do that one day. Maybe for Armageddon. If I do end up working there, I’d love to dress up as an NPC (I don’t know if volunteers are allowed to dress up at Armageddon though, I’ll have to check first). But unfortunately, only selected sims have plumbobs, so I wouldn’t be recognisable as a sim. I could always be an NPC from a different game. Something recognisable. Like Moira! Oh, but then I’d be more of a zombie than an NPC. How on earth does one dress up as an NPC?

I’d really just love to dress up as something completely ridiculous. Like a glitch. I could be a sim glitch and wear a black or white morphsuit (or I could if I had a body suited to a morphsuit). Or I could make a box and cosplay as Missingno. I want more ridiculously random cosplay ideas, dammit!

One thing’s for sure, though – I’m definitely going to wear my Spyro onesie to a convention one day.

Non-Sexual Fetishes

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Many a time, I have seen people describe a strong attraction of theirs as a fetish. I’m a bit iffy on that one. Now, I’m not trying to stop people from calling something a fetish if they’re attracted to it. If they feel comfortable with that label, then so be it. But to me, it just seems… deceptive to call something a fetish if it doesn’t actually turn you on (I will, however, accept the use of the term ‘turn-on’. Because that’s logical…).

If I were to be deceptive myself, and label something a fetish when it’s really not, then I would have a hell of a lot of fetishes. But I do not have a fetish for long necks, red hair on women, upturned noses, gay men, dark hair, physical vulnerabilities, androgyny, male ballet dancers, or Egyptian feet. Just a strong attraction. I would feel wrong describing any of those as fetishes.

Now when I write, I don’t write fanservice. Random pairings that don’t have much point? No thank you. Sex scenes? I’d much rather them occur off-screen, if at all. But I do write a fair bit of Caitservice. A fair few of my story attempts have actually started as pure Caitservice. If I have the opportunity to include one of the above things in my fiction, I bloody well will. Sometimes multiple of those things. But I will not refer to them in a sexual way, just as I do not think of them in a sexual way, and no way in hell will I call any of them a fetish.