Tuesday, 18 January 2011

What if Etsy was a grocery store...

Many of us type "LOL" fairly regularly, but every now and then I truly *do* Laugh Out Loud. When I recovered, I asked Jen of ArtmakersWorlds for permission to reprint her story - she said YES - and what follows is in her words. I've used her amazing polymer clay cane pics to add some colour!

Jen wrote this little story from the perspective of a potential customer. "No, that's the wrong word. "Shopper." We are all etsy customers. We pay their bills every time we list something. But somehow the shopper here is being forgotten. Hoping the right person finds this. Jen tried to make this a bit humorous too (Nifty says: You succeeded!)


Grocery store Etsyfied.

Grocery stores across the country are all basically the same. Their layout may vary but the idea is always the same. They all have their meat section, produce section, bread isle, cereal, paper, pet supplies dairy etc....
They all usually have displays in prominent areas. Let's call these

“featured items.”

Usually these are seasonal specials. Halloween will feature candy, trick or treat supplies, and so on. Things you don’t always buy.

Thanksgiving will have your pumpkin pies, cranberry sauce, stuffing mix and like that. You will never see staple items in the featured section. No milk, eggs, butter. People will buy those regardless so no need to “feature” them. In fact, stores put staple items in the most out of the way place possible so you have to walk past everything else to get to them.

But seasonal stuff? OH yea. That gets featured. Deep discount sales? Need to move something that hasn’t been selling? Featured.

So... Lets say corn flakes is on my shopping list. I find the cereal isle, some stores will have all brands of corn flakes together. Others may split them up by brand name, but they are all in basically the same spot right?

Now.... lets take our good old normal super market and Etsyfie it.

So I need corn flakes. I go down what was the cereal isle, what is still called the cereal isle, but.... instead of finding corn flakes, I find a pile of corn. Next to that, some corn taco shells. They have corn in them don’t ya know. Then the corn bread, corn muffin mix, corn dogs. Under that is a small box of corn flakes. YEA but I need a large one. Gotta keep looking.

Next to the small box I see some milk. We all know you have to have milk on corn flakes so they put the milk next to them. And next to that is a nice box of mac and cheese. WHY? Well that blue box looks so good next to the yellow corn flake one so they put them side by side.

Bananas are close, so are assorted berries. And also found very close to where my corn flakes should be, is a bottle of dandruff shampoo. Hmmm. Really? No “corn” in that. But.... although it isn’t part of the product name, the word “flakes” is in the description. I have to wonder if the person who comes in looking for the dandruff shampoo will ever find it?

If this isn’t bad enough, other shoppers with their own carts full start asking me if I’d like to look at the stuff they like.
Things they have

"Favorited." Or "Hearted."

Still others have cart loads that seem to have some kind of theme going. We’ll call these little gems,

“treasury carts.”

One has all things that contain pink. Frosting, cake mix, shampoo, dish liquid, lobsters, hamburger, donuts.

One is full of all things that foam. Egg whites, soda pop, rug shampoo, hair shampoo, whipping cream.

These cart people are eager to share with me their wonderful collection. And IF I stop to look, they will take me by the hand and walk me away from my corn flake quest. Every time I try to return, another one takes me by the hand and walks me somewhere other than where I want to be. Do I want the stuff in their carts? Um, noooo, thanks, interesting collection, but no. Not what I came here to buy.

Next, there will be


Groups of experts. I find a team talking all about corn. Everything I might want to know about corn. Sounds interesting. Maybe they can tell me where my corn flakes are. But no. They whisk me away off to the outdoors section and start prattling on about how to grow corn. Um, interesting, not what I want though, thanks anyway.

Back to the “cereal” isle I go.

But wait. Six years ago, I bought a box of fruit roll ups. Didn’t like them. I’d rather eat an apple than some apple flavored corn syrup goo with the consistency of tar. So I never bought them again. There are lots of products I’ve tried and never bought again. I’m sure you have all done that.

But.... the store knows what I bought in the past. And along comes a store rep holding samples of all the junk I tried once and never bought again. And other stuff, like milk, I buy all the time. When I need it I'll buy it. She gets between me and my corn flake quest to show me

“things you might also like.”

She is blocking my view of what I do want. How do I get this collection of "other stuff" out of my way???

Finally I find a box of corn something or other. Looks like flakes, not sure, could be good so I start to read the box. Or... the product


But I can’t read what’s in it because the thing is covered with stickers. Pictures of those treasury carts, other things I might like, (Those things I know I don’t like.) Oh wait. I see it, gotta life up some flap to read what’s in this box. Very unappealing, so I put it back.

Returning to my quest, seems this is taking all day. Suddenly whole groups of shoppers start circling. They want me to join their
"circle." Look at MEEEE No look at MEEEEE, come join MEEEEE
Go look at the circle this person also circles with. Circles one persons circled person circles with. They start to pull me away from the cereal isle again! I'm getting dizzy!

Will any of these circles take me to my corn flakes?
Know what? This has been a carnival ride, but I think I’ll find a store that is better organized.

Sound familiar?"

Nifty is still laughing. I asked permission to quote a couple of posts from the comments...

WickedMessenger's shop is on holiday right now, but you can find more of her wicked wit on her blog.

She continued the story, telling me that it has given her weird fanatasies when she goes grocery shopping now. Particularly when attempting to find Greek yogurt.

"That customer and a slew of others who have shown up here in the fora, in this thread and others, remarking on the bad search, the distracting circles, the endless loop built into the profile pages, the way clicking on avatars takes you to the endless loop built into the profile pages, AND the rather unweildly shopping cart.

Whole buncha them. All they want is some crackers from the snack aisle, and they end up with Jeff Foxworthy, Wheat Thins, Pringles, Cheetos, the Isle of Capri, Capri cigarettes, slim-fitting pants, short pants, shortness of breath, breath mints, Thin Mints (tm), Girl Scouts, scout's honor, yer honor, no honor among theives, Theives' Hollow, hollow trees, and, since this is Etsy, of course, owls. Oh, and cowls. And cupcakes."

Another quote from the comments:

"Oh, you forgot this part of the grocery store. You pick up some oranges and realize their fake plastic oranges! Yuck! You take them to the store manager to report them and he says to you either "oh, um, well, we asked the maker of these and they say their real oranges." You: "But they're made from plastic, look!" You have them give it a squeeze. Store manager: "Well sorry, they said they were real, so they must be."

"We'll look into it, check back in a few months. If they're still here, then we either haven't gotten around to it or we think they're real."

Read the whole 34 pages (at last count!) of the original thread here, big thanks for permission to reprint this cautionary tale!

Back to Nifty's words: Only one way to end this: the Zibbet Difference!


Jenny said...

Oh wow this is the best blog I ever read!!!

(And no, not because your quoting me.)

I've been cracking up at all the follow up posts. Especially that plastic fruit one!

Thank you so much Nifty for putting in so much time to share my little humor. I'm truly honored!


Barbra said...

Absolutely brilliant and so true...sadly.

Raige Creations said...

that is something! I was reading this the whole time saying to myself, "Oh my gosh, that is so true"and "oh yeah, I hate that" knowing I have searched with ghostly similar results!

At the end - all I could think of was Bing commercials - and SEARCH OVERLOAD. Their commercials are like this!

Great job Jenny, and Nifty for sharing!

sassypackrat said...

Too, too funny! And yet so sadly true!

Lisa said...


Portable Graffiti said...

I'm glad I do NOT sell on Etsy.
Find me on Zibbet.

PaperOnParade said...

So true and it seems I spend more time on the computer trying to shop than in a store. mmmmm, how can we make the handmade shopping experience enjoyable for every buyer?

rose of Walk in the Woods, LLC said...

Ahhhh … the best humor come from (for lack of better phrasing) real life. Funny stuff!

BHB Kidstyle said...

It´s hilarious! - ... and so, so, sadly true!

Anonymous said...

Okay, not only was the original great, but highlighted so classily in your blog with her work? The best grocery store EVER.

Thanks for the shout-out too!


Christina Nabity said...

Too funny! Sadly this reminds me of exactly how I feel as I browse etsy looking for interesting stuff to bookmark for when I have money. Or when I'm trying to do product research.

And speaking of grocery stores, mine drives me nuts, they're constantly re-arranging the shelves in each aisle making things I like harder to find. And other such madness, need more consistency than that.

Christina said...

Haha that actually cracked me up! I can't imagine shopping that way... It kind of reminds me of those search overload bing commercials which feel like a giant game of word association, haha.

Oh! I just realized Raige said the same thing! Great minds think alike!