Thursday, September 15, 2011

Speaking Up and Over-Shopping

In yesterday's "Make Sure You are Protected with Online Tranasctions {thanks Roxy!}" post, I talked about the importance of making sure JCAs are protected during any online transaction. Today's post is going to go one step further...

There is a developing story that has rocked our cousin-Anthro-blogosphere. (I won't go into all the details, just check out Roxy's post as a starting point to get filled in. Jezebel even has a post about it. The whole story is neatly laid out in the Stuff Jewish Girls Like's "Anthrofans: Where do we go from here?" post. And the Mascarade talks about how it has happened before here.) I created yesterday's post as a reminder that JCAs should always take it upon themselves to pursue the necessary precautions during any independent transaction. I have gotten a few emails of concern during this time and decided that there are two more important topics to cover: (1) speaking up and (2) over-shopping.

Point One: Speak up! From what I gather, there are a number of customers who paid upfront for services & merchandise never rendered or received by Kim Baker of the popular Anthroholic blog. Apparently, this went on for a long time (more than a year) before being discovered. Each one thought they were the only ones stuck in a bad situation. Many expressed not wanting to speak out against the well-regarded Blogger, while others just gave up on pursuing a claim. Many bloggers are honest and try their best to foster a sense of community and trust– it's really wonderful. So to see that taken advantage of is disheartening. But the main point is you should always feel comfortable taking measures to protect yourself and speaking out if something is not right.

Moreover, your issue may not be isolated. By publicly sharing the experience, you may find others going through the same thing. At the very least, it could help others to avoid a similar misfortune. If you find yourself in this situation, take the appropriate steps to ensure you are protected and get your money back.

Bottom-Line: If a transaction has gone wrong, please take the proper steps to protect yourself! That includes speaking up by sharing with others, opening a dispute/claim, and even contacting third parties like the local authorities. Also post a comment on the Great Weekly Exchange to let others know about it too.

Point Two: Over-shopping. There is a lot of speculation that the Blogger in question may have a shopping addiction (to clarify, no one knows if this is true or not), which led into a general discussion around over-shopping. In the "Shopping over at Gigi's" post, I featured links to GigiOfCa's "Let's Talk - overshopping" and "Let's Talk - shopping bans" posts. (She did a great job and they are must reads.) It is another serious topic that I don't discuss but honestly should. It's easy to over-shop. Shopping can be a great way to relieve stress or have fun. (How many times do we incorporate shopping and lunch with friends? I know I do.) Which is why some call it "retail therapy". But it can have a negative impact if it's not checked. For an example, I often find myself under a "fashion-blog-influence". I will see another blogger wearing a piece of clothing or owning an accessory that I instantly fall in love with and believe I must own myself. But the real questions I should be asking myself is, "do I need it?" and "is there something else that money would be better spent?"

The truth is talking about money is difficult. (It was hard for me just to find the words to write this post, and I am not even disclosing any personal financial information!) It's also hard to open up and say I make this much and should really only spend that much. Especially since we fear the personal criticism and judgement that may arise. But having the conversation, even if it is with ourselves (or with our partners) is important. Being honest about what the budget is and sticking to it can save a lot of grief down the road.

Bottom-Line: I want to borrow a great quote from GigiOfCa's over-shopping post: "I think it's presumptuous to tell someone what s/he should be doing with his or her money." This post is not meant to tell readers how to spend their money. Moreover, none of us truly know anyone else's financial situation. This is just a little reminder that we should always be aware of our finances.

Okay, I think I have said all I wanted to say for now. Thanks for reading! :)

Related Note #1: Please check out Roxy's new "Thoughts on finances and how I keep my spending in check" post.

Related Note #2: If you are a victim of Anthroholic's shopping services, please file a complaint. The following is taken directly from Roxy's "The weekend in-store community post" post:
If you have been affected by the Anthroholic Personal Shopping services issue (meaning if you either waited several months before getting your item/refund, did not get a full refund because Anthroholic kept the finder fees, or are still waiting for items/refund) you should contact the Illinois Attorney General – Consumer Protection Division and FILE a complaint. Doing so will allow the IL AG to aggressively pursue legal action against her, the outcome of which could include not just restitution to her victims but her permanent ban from online solicitations and profitability. The link to the IL AG’s downloadable complaint form is:


  1. Thank you, Alexis for bringing up this discussion. I think it is a very important topic to talk about.
    Personally, I wanted to thank all the wonderful JCAs I have had transactions with and , fingers crossed, I haven't had a bad experience yet. PayPal is really wonderful in providing a safe environment to exchange the goods for both parties involved. In terms of overshopping- to each its own. I used to shop a lot, maybe I overshopped in a past, but that made me happy at that time. Now I am with project33 and that was a natural movement for me as well. I am happy where I am with spending less and utilizing what I own more. So , yes, caution is advised, but Gigi is absolutely right. We are adults here and responsiible for our own conscious actions ( or lack of theherof). :)

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  3. And btw, that's terrible that someone would chose to be dishonest. You know, karma is fill the word.:) I only remmeber too well what happened to a Jcrewaholic blog when the blogger was caught being dishonest.

  4. Slastena: Thanks for speaking up too! :) The JCA Exchange is a great place and I love how we all help contribute with its success.

    I think the message of Project 33 with utilizing what you have is great!

    Lastly I agree it is terrible being dishonest at the expense of others. (I also remember when the JCrewaholics blogger used her readers to find a coveted bracelet for "her and her sister", only to turn around and sell it on eBay with an inflated markup. Why? Because I indirectly helped her! One of her readers came to this blog asking about the bracelet and I responded where to find one at my local J.Crew. I later found out I helped her indirectly.) :(

  5. Awesome post Alexis. I was also shocked to read how many people were afraid to speak up about a popular blogger because they feared repercussions. I agree with you that it's important to stand up for yourself! And the rest of your tips are wonderful. Thank you for compiling this, I will link to it over on EA tomorrow because I think as many people as possible should see this.

  6. Alexis, I remember that !!! Oh my, I cannot belive how fast time flew .You just started this blog, we were so excited to finally have a place to come and discuss JCrew in open. It surely has grown over the years and became a wonderful community. I acquired so many lovely IRL friends tthrough your blog. Thanks again!

  7. Roxy: You are UH-MA-ZING! You are carrying yourself with such class during this entire unfolding situation. The way you have approached and discussed this issue with your readers is admirable. :)

  8. Slastena: You are so sweet and the best! This community really has grown over the years. I am also thrilled with how many real friendships have developed amongst the readers. It is so incredible. :)

  9. I remember the Jcrewaholic fiasco as well. Not just the bracelet but also her post about wearing the boucle Penny jacket and then selling it as NWT.

    I saw the Anthroholic issue on GOMI on Tuesday and the saga continues there today as well as on Jezebel. It's very reminiscent of the other aholic story, except it seems more people lost quite a bit of money. I wonder, was she scamming to feed her clothing addiction?

  10. Alexis, thank you for this post.

    I'd like to add that I have had only great experiences here with posters like Slastena, Conster and Connie on your JC exchange.

  11. Rose -- hugs
    I have had SO many trans -- selling and buying and all have been great. thanks for such a great forum, Alexis

  12. What is with blogs with "-aholic" in the title being so dishonest? What a strange coincidence.

    Thanks for the post. This whole fiasco is so disheartening. I hope the Anthro community is able to move past it :)

  13. What great thoughts you have put into this post, and kudos to Roxy for being a class act about everything. What a trouper/trooper--truly both words apply! This has been an insane couple of days for a few of the ladies over there in the Anthro blog world.

    In regards to online transactions, I have never had a transaction go sour. Even an ebay incident I had a few weeks back with a seller resolved itself quickly and easily. It bothers me when such a vast set of folks have been "duped," so to speak (although maybe duped isn't harsh enough of a word).

    There is a tiny little thread of humanity that many social scientists believe is one bit of humanity that cannot be messed with and that is the very essence of communication. If communication turns false, there is little recourse because in most instances, the party that was lied to will. always. remember. that they were lied to by the offender and their communication will always suffer. I find myself unable to forget a lie that has been said to me LONG after I have forgiven the person for lying to me. Ugh. It is human nature, and try as I might (and others will try in this case), I cannot seem to let go the fact that someone chose to not tell me a truth.

    I don't even like white lies. If you must deliver an unwelcome sentiment, best to do it in a nice way, or you can choose to say nothing at all, but to outright lie is definitely unfair.

    I truly hope that all the people involved in this big huge mess will go to the correct authorities and let them know of their specifics. Even those who received their money back need to come forward so that the extent of this fraud can be known.

    There will be forgiveness, sure, and there should be, but sadly for the offending party, the mind holds onto memories for a long, long time.

    Re: overspending, I have a simple plan. I have a budget. I stick to it. I don't get everything I want, and that's okay. I get the things I love, and every once in a while, I get things I love at a really great price, which is always welcome. :)

    I choose not to discuss my finances over at my blog (but I do hope that I have let the ladies who are my readers know that I am a budgeting fiend), but a good portion of my money does come from consigning clothing, selling at the exchange, or selling on ebay. It all works out, and in the end, it works perfectly for our family, which is all that really matters!

    I look forward to seeing others tips, I always am looking to tweak how I approach my own budgeting. :)

  14. Alexis, thank you so much for alerting this community to the issue, and with such grace and class. I dont visit the Anthro blogs, so I was unaware.

    I have had nothing but good experiences buying and selling on the JCA Exchange since it began. And personally, I think it is a tremendously positive influence to allow a forum for resale and reuse of the items in our closets. The Exchange "recycles" items that become "new" for someone else and generates funds for participants; in that way, it can actually serve as an antidote to "addictive" retail overshopping.

    I also remember the "jcrewaholic days." And I believe your kharma eventually catches up with you.

  15. wow. thanks for the posts - I've missed a lot traveling for the last couple days! Feel like I dodged a bullet because I sent Kim at anthroholic an email back in 2009 asking for a favor to mail me something from F21 in chicago since they don't do charge-sends, but they sold out and we never completed the transaction.

    At the time she had said "I don't have credit cards and will have to pay from my cash so hopefully you can paypal me right away" -- I remember thinking that was a little odd - not out of the question odd, but glad I never had to find out what others have the hard way.

    and thanks for reposting gigi's Let's Talk links, those are good ones :)

  16. Thanks for the great post! It's a very timely topic, as we're all gearing up for Fall and the shops/catalogs/online sites are all singing their siren songs. I got quite drunk on the crewlade the last couple of years and overbought a bunch of poor quality goods. I have enough pieces to last me a month without doing laundry. Seriously. Having waken up to my over-shopping, I've drastically curbed my shopping, and sticking to my "one in, one out" method...and not one dress in, one tank top out either...has to be within the same category, and item also has to be something I don't already own 3 of... so no more shirts and cardis unless they call apart.

    I had admired Kim's blog, and while I would never have considered using her shopping service, I'm quite saddened to hear the ordeals others have gone through. Let this be a lesson to all of you say, speak up, look after our own best interests (and who better to do that? no one else will, right?), and know your rights!

  17. Chiming in to say I'm so happy to have had all but one good transaction here on this blog! I feel very sorry for those who were taken for a ride, here or elsewhere. :(

    Re: over-shopping -- ahh, guilty as charged! Once I drank the Crewlade here with y'all, my bills went up indeed. I'm very lucky to have a great job, but I'm also of the mid that everyone has their 'thing.' For some people it's cars. For some it's electronics. Or travel, or attending concerts or major-league sporting events. Clothes just happen to be my thing, and I've been that way for almost 20 years now. I guess I figure I have to get dressed every day, and every little bit helps, especially as I age (sigh).

    One thing I don't do, though, is see something on someone else and decide I must have it. In fact, blogger pics usually do the opposite for me. I'm so incredibly particular about colors and fit, and I have no doppelganger in this community. ... I think if I were teeny-tiny like some of you, I'd really be in trouble, as pretty much everything would look great on me like it does on you, LOL!

    One thing I'm trying to cut down on is buying in multiples. Normally when I find something I love, I decide I must have it in every color, or just about. But without fail, all the follow-ons usually aren't worn nearly as much as the original.

    I've sold so much on eBay this year that I've finally reached PowerSeller status after THIRTEEN YEARS. lol!

    It has helped tremendously that other than the double-serge skirts, nothing from the past few rollouts has wowed me. I usually just trail behind, pecking at the past season's leftovers and thrilling at the needles in the haystacks that sometimes turn up.

  18. Alexis I too want to thank you for providing a forum for this discussion. Like others I was unaware of what was going on in the anthro community... and I am saddened by the behavior of that blogger. I do think it is important that those who have had a problem speak up and let others know and also to take appropriate action legal or otherwise.

    I am thankful that I have had only good experiences on the JCA exchange. Thank you for making the exchange possible. I also know that you are not personally responsible for any transactions made on the exchange, and that I need to be cautious with any 'exchange' I am involved in.

    Like Slastena I am also using Project 333 to organize my closet and help me to focus on what I have, what I wear (and don't wear) and what I'd like to add to my "collection". I won't get to just 33 items for each season but it has made me really think about what I buy now. I do make a list of items I want for the new season whether it is a new item or a JC item of old that I missed out on originally and I stick to my list.

    I do consign at my local consignment shops, sell (and buy) on the JCA exchange and polyvore. And that money I make is used for my shopping budget, my hubby has agreed to this from the very beginning ;).

  19. Thank you both Roxy and Alexis for your posts! All of the time and effort you each spend on your blogs is very much appreciated! :)

    I am also happy to say that I have only had positive transactions on the weekly exchange and appreciate the option of another buying/selling format other than those that charge fees.

  20. Wow I didn't know about any of this. I'm shocked I have to say. I occasionally read Kim's blog and I remember thinking I should use her service. I rarely buy things from Anthro so I never did.
    I have only had positive exchanges here as well. Love my JCA friends!

  21. What a day, what a day! First of all, thanks for posting the Let's Talk links, Alexis. I wanted to write a quick post on my blog and refer to those links, but it's not really realistic. I know babies eat a lot, but wow, time consuming. At any rate, the posts on the unfolding drama helped pass a lot of time. I've been flabbergasted.

    Earlier this year I had an issue w/Kim holding money and I didn't speak up. I never threatened to out her, but I was persistent in getting my money back. I was and still am 100% convinced I got a refund because I have a blog. I chose to not to out her because I knew that she worked. I made excuses for her in my mind that she was just busy, she couldn't hit the mall till the weekend, and so on. I also didn't want to call the mob over $30 or whatever it was for a F21 skirt. Not literally call the mob, of course. I guess I also just feared potential backlash if I were to take it public on my blog. After the incident I lost a lot of respect & trust for her. What's amazing to me is how many of us gave her the benefit of the doubt and how many ppl still are doing so. I agree w/comments that she's an emotional manipulator and it has worked to her advantage. It must work, otherwise she wouldn't keep doing it. Furthermore, I think readers got caught up in what they wanted Kim to be, based on photos they saw and whatever happy/sweet tone they projected on her. I recall a post where she said ppl think she's sweet, but she curses, or something to that effect. Going off faint recollect. It was a small comment, but one that I remembered. I recall thinking that she was showing another side of herself thru that comment and it would likely be glossed over by the fans. Fans who, imo, hoped the pretty, popular girl would like them in return.

    I realize the fraud issue is one thing, but part of this topic definitely branches into personal responsibility. That's the only thing we potentially have control over. We can mind our thinking when we're reading blogs. Imo, the imagination gets carried away...big time. I think a HUGE amount of projection was made on Kim. People viewed her in a certain light and some still don't want to let go of who they believed her to be. As a blogger, assumptions have been made about me and been wrong. I have tried to set the record straight at certain times, i.e. my husband, G Money, is not my ATM, despite the nickname I gave him for fun. I never realized the handle could or would be skewed. But I wasn't the one that skewed it. It's people who assume that I buy everything I try on & share pictures of, despite reminders that I don't. I've put disclaimers on the blog above the comments and still, ppl will believe what they want. There is quite a bit of projection and tons of assumption involved in reading/skimming blogs. Therefore, I think personal responsibility factors into this matter. I think fashion blogs should be what they are. Fun and entertaining. Trying to fill in the blanks about what people are like or how they "really" live can lead to trouble, esp if you'll probably never meet them to form an opinion irl. Also thinking you can shop like you think others are doing can lead to trouble. So many of my fashion fails are from giving into the hype about something I repeatedly see on blogs. I've gotten sooooo much better in admiring things on others and not nesc having to have them.

    In closing...I will always remember a woman I met who came in for an interview and said she lived off of a trust. She didn't need to work. She wasn't bragging; it was just a way of life. I sometimes think of that woman when I see certain blog posts. You never know what someone's situation is. Also, an apt quote is from Betty Draper/Mad Men -- Don't count other people's money. Plus, we all know how impeccable Betty's life looks to most of the other characters on the show in contrast to what's really goin' on.

  22. xoxo: That question you asked about why she did is on everyone's mind. Including mine. I just don't understand either.

    Rose & Conster: Thanks for sharing. I am thrilled to hear that you have had great experiences on the GWE (Great Weekly Exchange)!

    AppGal: I agree, the whole story is so sad. I feel so bad for the victims, especially those who feared to speak up. I can't imagine what they are going through now.

    DinaGideon: The thread of humanity/lies research is really interesting. I also find myself unable to forget when someone has outright lied, even if it is just once. I also really hope that anyone who is still owed money will file a claim and report it to the local authorities.

    Ruffles: That is a great way to think about recycling and the GWE! :)

    JCBelleMarie: For most of us (including myself), when we hear that voice that says, "wait a minute, something is not right" we start to doubt ourselves and rationalize the situation out. I am happy to hear that you listened to your instincts on this one!

    Closet Crisis: I know I have been drunk on the Crewlade myself. The one in one out method is smart! Lastly, I too admired Kim and her blog. That is why I am so sad about all this, because I feel fooled by her (and I was not even a paying customer of hers either).

    Elaine: I think that is a great reminder about other people's blog: just because it looks great on them, doesn't mean it will look great on me! Also, I think it is great that you are selling clothes that you no longer wear on eBay- it allows you to pocket some change, while giving that piece to a new home. :)

    LisaBFashion: I think Project333 is a great idea! It really helps focus in on what is important in one's closet. Also, I fully agree about being cautious and speaking up. We all need to make sure we protect ourselves, no matter who we are trying to protect from. :)

    FFM: Thanks! I think it is great that GWE has worked out for so many JCAs. :)

    GigiOfCa: Your post really got to me. I did not know that Kim had scammed you too (although she later did refund you). It made me angry!
    Your part about Kim being an "emotional manipulator" also struck me. Even though I had read all those testimonials from victims (who may be as many as 100+), who were outright scammed by Kim (talking about thousands of dollars), I was still hesitant to write her name and the name of her blog in this post. After reading your comment, I changed the post and included both pieces of information. Looking back, I think I didn't include her name and name of her blog, because I was still giving her the benefit of the doubt. I really enjoyed reading her dog and even remember reading all those blog entries about her really sick dog, Simon, and how she nursed him back to health. As a pet owner myself, I sympathized with her ordeal. But I should have separated what I thought of her (fashion blogger, pet owner) with the reality- which is that she did something criminal for too long. Her apology post a few days ago only mentioned a few people affected by the incident which she claimed she was going to make right. But the reality is there are more than a few people (back to double if not triple digits) who still have not been made whole. This whole thing is sad. Sorry for the long post. I just want to say thank you Gigi for speaking out. It was brave of you too!

  23. Wow, I was wondering what all was going on when reference was made to it yesterday. I do want to say that I've had only positive experiences w/the JCA exchange - both selling and buying - and want to thank all the people here whom I've had these transactions with. I do believe Paypal is the only way to do these transactions.

    On the issue of spending/buying, I freely admit that I've gotten drunk on the Crewlade since discovering JCA a year and a half ago! I actually mentioned this yesterday before this whole thing came to light. i live one life, but have been shopping for another life I don't live! And I feel guilty for having spent money on it. i'm trying to be way more mindful of what I'm buying. I've been transitioning my life to being a sahm full time and just don't need the beautiful work clothes in mass that JC does so well. I've got to really edit down my wardrobe. Anyway, thanks Alexis for starting this interesting discussion and as always, thanks for such a fabulous blog!!

  24. And forgot to add that I think one of the biggest motivators for many of my purchases is seeing how absolutely FABULOUS the clothes look on you wonderful bloggers and in your Polyvore sets. But by the same token, I've been put off from making purchases for the same reason. I've been able to see how it looks and decide for myself if I think it wouldn't really look right on me, etc....

  25. I agree with a lot of things everyone else has said, especially Elaine and Gigi. People choose to spend their money how they want, and we shouldn't judge them or "count their money." Yes, my thing is clothing and handbags, and my husband loves electronics and cars. The bottom line is I have my own budget for spending how I see fit, and it works for us. We are happy.

    Yes, somtimes I am guilty of drinking the crewlade, buying in multiples, but I always try to ask myself if I love it and would I buy without any hype around it (like all the Target Missoni items). Sometimes I have made wrong choices, but when they does happen, I am a big fan of consigning, selling on the JCA exchange, donating, or giving to my sisters, friends or nieces.

    I'm tired of people judging what I have, bought, etc. No one knows your whole picture or history, and maybe you didn't have much growing up, or maybe you worked hard to get where you are and afford what you have, or maybe you donate or help out a parent, child, or family member in need with your other funds. I always feel that if what I buy/spend on doesn't hurt someone else, including my family stability, then who cares? Life is too short.

    I think you should try to be happy and responsible at the same time, but never at the cost of being dishonest or scamming someone else.

    To that end, I have had only wonderful experiences with the JCA exchange. Not one complaint from me on that one ;) In fact, I try to always be up front with buyers with any items I sell if I cannot ship out that day or the next, and I always use PayPal and delivery confirmation. I also think it's important to protect yourself as a seller too. I don't think that should be overlooked either. I don't want to find a buyer trying to scam me for saying I never sent something. Again, this has never happened to me, and everyone on the JCA exchange has been great, but I try to protect myself as a buyer and a seller.

    Thanks Alexis for the great post!

  26. Great post, and very timely too, considering that so many of us do quite a bit of shopping via blogs, and online communities. I don't read the Anthro blogs that often so I totally missed out on this drama unfolding. I have always had a great experience with buying and selling with other JCAs. It's good that this blogger has been revealed as a scammer. I think if I had been in the same situation, I would have been very hesitant to "out" her because of her apparent popularity. Hopefully that attitude will change because of this!

  27. Interesting...I have actually found that following this blog has helped me sober up from all the Crewlade I used to drink (I mean that in the best possible way!) My J. Crew obsession was already spiraling out of control before I discovered this blog, in 2008-2009. I was even working a second job as an SA at a flagship location to feed it, and spending more than I was earning!

    The final straw came when I spent over $500 at the J. Crew sample sale - the most I had ever dropped in one day (in my defense, it was the first one ever and there was a LOT of great stuff, like a Campo de Fiori dress in my size...who could resist?) I called my mom in tears and told her I thought I had a problem. So I quit the job and have spent very modest amounts at the Crew since.

    So why do I say this blog has helped? Every time I get tempted by J. Crew's offerings (which has admittedly been less frequently than in past years), I come on here and look for the most recent "Looking to VENT" post. Reading all the complaints about shoddy quality, poor customer service and outrageous pricing is like a splash of cold water in the face. I think it's telling that there are always WAY more posts on that sticky than "Looking to LOVE".

    Also, reading about people who love J. Crew is sort of like AA (or CA - Crewholics Anonymous?) for me, because I get to live vicariously through all the JCA's experiences while my own funds are not pillaged. And as many people frequently say, it's rare to see such a friendly, warm community on the big, bad internets! I don't post very often because I think getting TOO involved could be dangerous for me, but thank you Alexis and all the other users who make reading this blog so enjoyable.

  28. I feel so bad for all the people who lost their hard earned money. I am an attorney who routinely works with law enforcement. She is a scammer who should absolutely be reported to the police! If she took just $50 from lots of people that adds up to lots of money stolen. I am glad that you posted her name and the name of the blog. I had a very bad email transcation with her with profanity, etc. and thought I am never reading this blog again and I have not. I love this jcrew blog and hope everyone does what they can to receive their money back! Make a police report, that is the first step. She lives in Chicago and use her zip code to find the precinct to file your report if you have lost funds.

  29. Great post and I'm glad people are speaking out regarding this issue. I occasionally visited Anthroholic's site, and I'm shocked at what has unfolded as with many of you in the blogsphere.

    I've tried to fill in the gaps in my closet that had been void since I had my two kids and now that I'm back in the work force. I always try to stick to my list of items and will not buy anything at full price since they are just clothes and something fancy will always pop up on eBay some day.
    Whenever I buy a new/pre-owned clothing, I purge my closet of something I haven't worn for a long time or no longer fits.
    I think project33 and polyvore sets are great ideas to create new outfits with what you have. Just my 2 cents.

  30. Jruby18: Happy to hear your transactions on the GWE went well! :) And I think what you wrote about shopping for one life while living another one is such an important topic/statement. I think we do that at one point or another with our purchases.

    Love2Shop4Bags: I agree with you in that people's finances are their own. We should not judge anyone based on a comment made here or there. What we see of people's lives on their blog or through their comments is just a tiny glimpse of their overall lives. For example, I really love the FX show "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" and quote it all the time. But you would never guess that through any of my comments (well up until now!) ;)

    I also think your point about Sellers being just as protected as Buyers is great! :) It's one of the reasons why including tracking when mailing packages is so important. It not only lets the Buyer know when to receive the item, but it protects the Seller from claiming they never got the item when they actually did.

    Louise @ cosmetic bee: I know what you mean about missing the drama! When I first read Kim's last post about apologizing (which has since been blocked), I had no idea what she was referencing. I felt bad for her and thought, "well this will go away quickly now". I don't think anyone knew the extent of what went on until everyone impacted came forward and spoke up.

    jaza88: I am happy to hear how the JCA blog's Vent posts are helpful. It's a great idea to read those vents when drinking the crewlade. I always find them to be helpful too! :)

    jcrewchic1970: I hope you weren't scammed by her too! :( I agree with you, in that I feel really bad for her victims. It must have been hard for them to simultaneous feel bad for her (& not wanting to ruin her reputation) while being angry for losing out on their hard earn money. They were in a tough spot and I sympathize with that. I think your point about contacting the authorities, even if the amount was low, is extremely important. Let's say she took just $50 from 100 customers (which could be more customers, and some customers said they sent her as much as $800 and not a penny was refunded), then that adds up to $5000. (If any of us caught someone stealing that much merchandise out of one of J.Crew's stores, we would have called the police a long time ago.)

    jcrewphd: Smart advice by shopping with a list and sticking to it. :) It is something I do with groceries, but should apply to my closet as well.

  31. It saddens me to read about what has been going on. I think I usually deal with such nice people that it hurts me when things like this happen. I have experienced this twice over ebay, once as a buyer and once as a seller. In those occasions I was surprising at what this people is capable of doing when they are uncovered, researching personal information and sending threats to personal adresses, accounts, etc. Unfortunately, some times ebay policies do not prevent this from happening.

  32. Unfortunately the GWE has not always worked well for me. I bought a pair of pink Lulus and never received them. The seller was adamant that they were shipped. She was a regular commenter but no longer comments here now so I am wondering... Should I include her name in a comment so others are not burned? How do I know for sure that she didn't really ship them and they truly got lost in the mail? It's a balancing act for sure.

    nobelle, I can totally relate to your ebay experience. I sold a pair of J.Crew boots on ebay and the buyer said they were damaged in shipping. They would not provide photos of the damage so I could determine what happened and they refused to return them to me for a refund. They gave me my only negative feedback ever. I stayed away from ebay for a long time after that.

  33. Nobelle: That is terrible about eBay. And really scary too! :(

    xoxo: It really is a balancing act. You don't want to accuse anyone, because you don't want to hurt anyone's reputuation (yours or the other parties). But at the same time, you don't want to lose out on your money or item sold.

    Did you get a refund? If not, I actually think you should share the Sellers name with just the facts: you paid for a pair of LuLus and you never received them. That is not slander, just the truth. It may turn out that the package really did get lost in the mail -OR- there could be other JCAs who heard the same exact excuse. Just my two cents anyways.

  34. xoxo: As I commented before, I think it's important that sellers use delivery confirmation or some form of tracking if at all possible. I always do, and as a buyer, I would ask the seller if they can tack it on. If it's USPS in the US, it's usually only a $1. If the seller doesn't want to, then there's something fishy going on. I know I've shipped a package internationally once, and I forget the exact situation, but tracking was not an option. I kept up to date communication with the buyer, asked if no tracking was okay, and kept receipts, dates, etc of when I shipped the package. Although, a receipt etc, can prove that the item was in the box shipped or that it was actually shipped, it is some evidence if something does happen and more than just word against word. HTH!

  35. Sorry, I meant to say that a receipt CANNOT prove that it was the item in the box.

  36. love2shop4bags: I totally agree. The cost to add tracking is very little and it provides a lot security for both the Buyer and the Seller. :)

  37. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I removed this comment by request of the person it was addressing. No worries, all good. :)

  38. xoxo: Thanks for speaking up and sharing your personal experience with all the facts.

    I am also surprised to hear that PayPal did not allow you to file a claim. Did you send payment as a gift or merchandise? Sometimes, a Seller will send an invoice but it doesn't show its for merchandise.

    If it is with merchandise, I know eBay usually sides with the Buyer when merchandise is never delivered and there is no tracking number to show that it ever was.

  39. xoxo, did the seller have a tracking number? I never ship anything w/o a tracking number. Although, I had a scare w/a jacket I sold here. The tracking number showed it at various locations, but it never arrived. Luckily, it ended up back on my doorstep, the packaging damaged, but merchandise fine, thankfully. I resent it and it was received w/no probs. But the tracking number was helpful showing that the item had originally shipped.

  40. This makes me so sad -- I've been unbelievably thankful for the JCA community and to think that someone took advantage of members of a similar community is disheartening. All of my experiences as a seller and buyer thru the GWE have been great. The Anthro-fiasco reminds me just how grateful I am for all of your hard work, Alexis. Thanks again, my fellow "It's Always Sunny" fan.

  41. I'm terribly sorry to hear about the bad transactions that some of you have had! I've never done one, but would be beside myself if things went awry.

    As for overshopping . . .yes, guilty as charged! I discovered this blog and Effortless Anthropologie about a year ago, and my spending at both stores has dramatically increased! They have always been my favorite stores, but with the posts on the new arrivals, the reviews, and sale updates, I find myself purchasing more and more. Recently, I needed to remind myself to buy it because you love it and need it in your wardrobe, not just because it is on sale.

    With all that said, I'm certainly not in a bad financial situation. As Elaine and others noted, clothes, shoes, jewelry and handbags are "my thing." Always have been, and probably always will be! :) But given the turmoil in our financial markets and my desire to put more in savings (you just never know!), I will be trying to refrain from visiting the blogs as often. It isn't that I don't love them. . .because I do! It's probably my favorite thing to read over lunch, but it just isn't help the cause.

    Thank you Alexis for providing such a stand-up community of ladies! It is truly awesome and I will certainly be checking in, albeit more sporadically. :)

  42. Wow, like a lot of others I had no idea what this was all about! I don't read Kim's blog and the other Anthro blogs only occasionally so had a lot of catching up to do. I'm so sorry for those affected.

    I also found myself so mad for all the victims - this is not a mistake, it's fraud and PLEASE report it! One or two times is a mistake. A handful could be a "rough time." 100+ is intentional. I find it bewildering why so many people are trying to make excuses for her. I am totally willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt and could see myself doing so if I were in the same position as many of the victims. But once the info was made public with this many victims, a clear -criminal- pattern emerges.

    Also, a (sort of) quick note about USPS tracking and protecting yourself. Unless you send something priority OVERNIGHT, USPS cannot tell you where the package is. The tracking number is meaningless. Delivery confirmation only tells you it was delivered. USPS will not pay out on an insurance clamin until something like 60 or 90 days have passed after the sent date if they have sufficient proof the item was not received. They give themselves 60 or 90 or whatever days hoping, so to speak, the package will turn up somewhere because they do not have tracking capability (except Overnight). Unfortunately, I know this from a eBay transaction gone wrong. So now if I'm willing to cover the loss to a buyer out of my pocket, I'll still use USPS. But if I'm sending anything of value, I use insured FedEx. It does cost more, but they can actually track where a package is and they will pay insurance. Personally, I haven't had good experiences with UPS. Their tracking is inaccurate and IME at pickup, the drivers are not careful to scan everything. Sorry for the novel, but hope that helps someone!

    I've had nothing but good experiences on the Exchange. But I will continue to be cautious... Thank you, Alexis, for providing us such a great resource!

  43. I was saddened and shocked over what happened in the Anthro community. Like many of you, I thought of Kim as one of the big Anthro bloggers and visited her site on occasion.

    I hope that the women and men affected by the situation get their money back. However, there should be a consequence for taking advantage of so many innocent people.

    I teach five and six-year-olds everyday. Sometimes a student will purposely hurt another student and tell me, "It was an accident." I speak to the student and remind him/her of positive behavior. But two "accidents" in a row is rarely a coincidence. It is a choice.

    I would like to say that I have had positive experiences with JCAs on this blog, through my own blog sale this past winter, and through eBay and Smashion. I believe that most people are good at heart. What I've taken away from these events is to be honest, be responsible, and if something smells fishy, be proactive!

  44. I've had 100% positive feedback on eBay and Smashion as a seller. This has taken time, care, and meticulous bookkeeping. My advice to other sellers is to ALWAYS keep your mailing receipts from USPS, UPS, Fed Ex, etc. and tracking slips. I file them until a buyer has received an item and posted feedback.

    To buyers: be wary of sellers who regularly tell you, "I lost the receipt" or "I can't find the tracking number" or "The package must be lost." A RESPONSIBLE seller does not misplace this information. If a seller ships via USPS, most post office receipts will include the item weight, destination zipcode, tracking information, and shipping cost. Some post offices will print a postage receipt and give you a separate tracking receipt. I keep both as proof of shipment. Also beware if a seller sends you a copy of the receipt and the weight doesn't match the weight of your items (i.e. a 5 ounce package for a pair of boots). Like a previous commenter said, an item shipped via USPS may not have tracking status updated right away. But once it nears its destination, you should see updates as it is sorted through the local facility or delivered.

    I hope these tips help you!

  45. The blog "Stuffjewishgirlslike" gives a very well written history of the Anthroholic scam.

    One thing I wanted to add is it's important for those scammed by Kim to report it to the authorities. She has been exposed for scamming folks over the Internet but what else could she be doing in her real life? I'm not making any accusations or trying to add to the mess she's already created for herself,but this could just be one of many dishonest actions, and by exposing her, you could be helping others.

    Years ago a friend's girlfriend had been stealing from customers at a popular clothing retailer by crediting their returns to her credit card. When finally caught, it was revealed that she had been stealing money from family and friends too.

  46. just want to add that this kind of scam occured on another board that I read as well. so it wasnt confined to clothing.

    someone talked up a product, everyone rushed to order,

    the fallout was that the OP was the
    owner of the "website" and never shipped

    it is unfortunate

  47. Given the issue it looks as though jcrew is smart to keep bloggers at arms length, or further. Athro actually partnered with the blogger for some promos. Not good.

  48. I'm late in the game in reading all this, in finding out about the Anthroholic fiasco -- because I've been trying to stay away from all things shopping-related! Hahahahaaa... and it's been pretty good, the folks at J Crew must be wondering where I am, hahahha. Anyway, it's just as fun to just TALK about clothes than to actually buy them.

  49. xoxo,

    I have bought from jmccrensky a while ago (back in Oct 2010) and it was an overall good and easy experience. The cardigans I bought only totaled $25 and they were shipped promptly. Back then, being a not-so-cautious buyer, I even offered to send money as a gift instead of business transaction to save us both money. Luckily for me, no problems arose and I got the items I wanted in good time.

    I'm sorry to hear that your shoes are missing. I would be willing to believe that she is speaking the truth, unless there are more accounts against her. Sometimes mail might be lost due to bad packaging or other factors. It happened to me once when I sold a heavy textbook, but the torn paper packaging was returned to me without the book and I ended up refunding the buyer at my loss.

    This discussion does show how important it is to keep the receipt until the package is confirmed to be delivered, and best to add tracking and insurance for more expensive items.

  50. This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. xoxo: I notice your Lulu seller is on the GWE today, under the name Nell's Vintage House but the email you provided is the same.
    I think if tracking wasn't provided by the seller and the item was lost you should be refunded. Clearly this seller is still active in the community so it might be a good idea to contact her today.

    I sold a dress and a jacket to a fellow JCA earlier this year, she never received the items but I had gone cheapie with shipping and not gone the tracking route. Of course I refunded her completely. Never again will I send something without tracking, even though it costs a fortune from Canada.

  52. JRuby18: Good thing the package showed up back at your home! :)

    kelley23: I agree, it is really sad to hear what happened. I feel bad for all the clients who had to go through all that they did.

    ccs: I think your line is the best: "I needed to remind myself to buy it because you love it and need it in your wardrobe, not just because it is on sale." So true! I completely understand about checking the blogs more sporadically too! :)

    Mommydearest: I think that is a great point about using insurance for sending anything of value.

    Linda (Little Tin Soldier): Great advice! Especially about keeping receipts- it definitely has valuable information that can help you.

    IRL: That story about your friend's friend is upsetting too! I also urge the victims to come forward. By doing so, they can prevent future victims from being scammed.

    isabella: I am not sure about which board you are referring to- but that is completely awful too. :(

    Dinster: I agree! It's like all those fashion magazines- I love looking through them even though I don't purchase 99% of the items on their pages.

    Tammy: You gave spot on advice that deserves to be highlighted: "This discussion does show how important it is to keep the receipt until the package is confirmed to be delivered, and best to add tracking and insurance for more expensive items."

    DaniBP: I also think xoxo should be refunded as she did not receive the item. I know that both PayPal and eBay will side with the Buyer if the Seller can't prove delivery. I want to add that PayPal and eBay both side with the Seller if there is a tracking number that shows the item as delivered.


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