Last week, Christy Burton told me about a website called Retail Beef. This site was purportedly put up by a fashion designer to encourage feed back about store owners and buyers. Before you get really excited and stampede over there, there are a lot of problems with the site, so much so that I really thought long and hard before deciding to post this information. At this time, there are 83 comments reporting on the problems designers have had with specific retailers. Store names, buyers names, addresses and telephone numbers are often included. Many comments are complaints about such and such store bouncing boxes, writing bad checks and returning unsold product. Still, designers are well known to ship late or the wrong styles or whatever and there’s no way to know from the comments whether the person complaining didn’t do something to contribute to the problem.
There are credibility problems with the site too. The first entry of the blog is written in all capital letters. The credibility of many comments is questionable because they’re written in such juvenile language. Or maybe I’m questioning the validity of the comments because in my own experience, designers tend to be more intelligent than average and express themselves well. It is transparent (to me) that most of the damning comments are from the same anonymous poster (nearly all comments are anonymous). Worse, it would appear that these few are multi-posting with complaints about the same stores repeatedly, in order to weight visitors impressions. It wouldn’t surprise me if many of these comments were written by the blog author.
In summary, caveat lector because I think it’d be a tragedy to turn down a buyer who was innocent. There is no way to know if the return is really the designer’s fault. Still, I can only think the comments on RetailBeef could serve as a testament to mind your sales and payments policies. In the comments, you’ll find train wrecks of sales fiascos that never needed to happen.
In the event anyone wants to discuss similar matters here, I’ve started a topic in the forum.