Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Amazon Customer Service?

So I was extremely excited to have made my first sale on 1000Markets, and needed to log in to my Amazon seller's account. I blithely logged on using the email account I have used for years, only to be told that that email and password weren't recognized. Humm, I thought, so I entered my email to be sent my password.

That's when things got interesting. The system told me that it had no record of my email address! Being a good academic, I checked all email correspondence I had with Amazon and verified that yes indeedy, I was using the correct email address. (It's the only one I have ever used with Amazon, but checking is always good.)

So I emailed Amazon's customer support, and got this reply (emphasis mine):

I am very sorry that you have experienced difficulty accessing your account.....You can reset your password online through the Your Account area of our Web site, or by clicking this link:

(link deleted)

Enter your e-mail address in the space provided and click "Continue." We will then send you an e-mail containing a personalized link. Use the link, enter your new password twice (to confirm it), and click "Submit your password." Once you have taken these steps, your new password will be effective immediately.

Please note that this does not address the problem--it assumes that the system recognizes my email, when in fact it appears to be the email, and not the password, that is the problem. (Well, if the system has lost my email, then likely it has lost the password, too!) I emailed back pointing this out, and also noting that it has been less than a month since they upgraded my seller account to Tier II status (using that selfsame email that now the system does not recognize, after they initially told me I *had* no account--then a human being found it), and got the following email in return:

Did we successfully answer your question?

Below were two options, a link for yes and one for no. Obviously, I clicked NO, and restated the problem, this time with a query as to whether initial emails were actually read or whether customer service just answered the most common question rather than the one actually asked.

I am awaiting their response.

Up until now I've never had trouble with Amazon, but I have to say that in this case Amazon service is made of fail. Clearly there is some problem on their end--they couldn't find my seller account the first time I tried to upgrade, but then they did when I was persistent; now the system as a whole does not accept my email, even as a buyer. Sigh. All I want is for them to fix it, but they can't fix it until they actually *address the problem*.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sometimes it IS the tools

We've all heard the saying that it's a poor workman who blames his tools. In general, that's right. The best tools in the world won't turn a shoddy craftsperson into a good one, and someone with superb skills can often turn out the most amazing work despite poor or makeshift tools.

But sometimes you reach the limit of the tool you have. That's happened to two friends of mine this month. Tinroof couldn't get the lighting on her photos right, though she tried different lighting, white balance squares, and the like. A better light tent solved the problem. Art of the Firebird was having trouble with photography. No matter what she did, her pictures didn't improve. She spent a lot of time looking at camera angles, white balance, staging, focus, and the like. Finally, she got a camera with a better macro lens, and all that practice paid off in instantaneously better photos.

Does the better tool pay off because of the investment in skill that preceded its acquisition? I think so, when that's the case. I can usually get excellent color out of Iris Orange glass, aka raku. But I spent months trying to coax colour out of raku on a Hot Head torch, and I think all that effort paid off when I got a torch that could actually have an oxidizing flame.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Yes, I have committed the ultimate blog sin: not updating for nearly a month. Mea maxima culpa. It was that whole Real Life thing--you know, having a full-time job that has seasonal busy spots--combined with not planning ahead appropriately for those busy spots. I'm sorry!

What I am doing: spending Christmas at my sister's house and spending more time in her studio than she is--the poor kid is barking like a seal with a cough and sleeping every second she isn't at work.

Here are some of the experiments: I was playing around with Frogsong's wonderful tutorial. Frogsong does some lovely beads, and created a technique-based tutorial. Since I like to do structured organics, I was all over that one! So I have been playing with placement and color, as you can see. I like the layered look!

Here are some more.
Over the next couple of weeks I will be listing these on Etsy (as focals) or on 1000Markets (as pendants). Stop by either place and check them out!