Ok picture this scene...I'm in my office under the store lounging in my favorite chair, listening to Radio Nigel and working on a new dress. It's been a day since I sent out a FashCon or Group notice and it's slowed down but business is good and steady. I have live models on both stands spinning, wearing the newest Sn@tch hotness and greeting customers...all is right with the world and all of a sudden I get an IM from one of the models "Ivey, you better get up here" and I look at the map and in the back of my store I see 20...30...40 green dots all at the spot where my hidden freebies are located. I teleport up and hear this..."ok everybody, this is where the freebies are! One is the Backseat Prom Date Dress in Purple in front of you and the other is the Cry Baby set on the wall under the shapes behind you!" I was aghast. So much for my freebie hunt promotion. I let them all get what they wanted. Grumbling the whole time. One of the models said I must be making a lot of money cause of all the people. LOL not one sale. No one cam shopped, no one even left the area where the freebies were. They took their loot and left. I felt raped. Is that all I'm good for...a quick freebie wham bam thank you ma'am? Oh wait,. I didnt get any thank yous.
This has become pretty common the past few weeks and honestly I've considered stopping doing freebies at all which makes me really upset to be truthful. I'm a huge proponent of the "Freebie" I lived off freebies and givaways my first few months in SL. I purposely put together a large freebie and discount section in my store and every branch location has a freebie bag or traffic cone in it. I do them for a few reasons. One cause I know what it was like to be new and not have any money to buy decent things. Two because it brings in good steady traffic. Three because this weeks freebie could be next weeks actual sale item. Its just good business. It never hurt a designer to give something away...that has been my motto until now and you may say what are you complaining about...this is a ton of traffic for your store..but is it worth it? When is it is actually hurting me to give things for free?
These freebie "Groups" are sprouting up all over. Some started by ligitimate SL Freebie bloggers and some independent, but what happens is someone in open chat announces that a freebie is available and lists the location of it and the SLurl and hundreds of people in that group swarm the store at once, sometimes crashing whole sims. Some people are very considerate and some not so much. If they can't find a freebie they are looking for (it's been moved, or the sale has been OVER FOR TWO DAYS, or they are just too lazy to look for it) they start to argue with the people that work there. My models have been threatened, I have gotten many nasty IMs because a freebie that I took down at the end of an announced sale is gone. I've had people shout over my whole sim that my store was a "rip off" I've heard stories of other store owners that have yanked up their group freebie when the mob rolls in and advised the freebie was for group or customers only and they have been verbally attacked and threatened.
This is getting completely out of hand, hence why I wanted to do this post. I don't want to stop giving freebies. I love doing them and for some people they really help. But to the ones that only take advantage of freebies and never support a designer by purchasing anything or passing a landmark to friends or even bother to say a thank you once in awhile after collecting multiple freebies from a store. To the ones that neglect to read an entire announcement on a sale or freebie and report it incorrectly to 2000 people in group chat....this is for you.
The new policy regarding freebies at Sn@tch, The Hunger and Retox stores.
1. A Freebie is not an entitlement, it is a gift
2. All freebies and hunts will be announced in the proper channels with the item, the time it will be out and may or may not include the location. See number 3
3. Some freebies will be listed as "Hunts" which means the location will not be announced and you will have to scan the vendors in the store to find what is on sale.
4. The location and item on sale may and probably "will" change without notice!
5. Ivey Deschanel and Roblem Hogarth reserve the right to REMOVE any freebie at any time we wish. These are OUR items, not YOURS and we say when and where we will give them away, period!
6. All Freebie items are Mod/Copy only!
7. If you argue with employees or the owners, harass and bother other customers or shout on sim because you cannot find a freebie or one has been removed...YOU will be banned from the store and the entire Pulse Sim without warning. If you behave this way at our store, we will not have you harassing other stores or residents on sim either.
8.If you don't like it, don't come, but know if you do come and step over the line, you will be banned permenantly, muted and reported. I want business, but I don't want YOUR business so bad that I will suffer for it or let my employees and customers suffer either.
Cherlindrea posted a list of freebie etiquette on her Blog and it is indeed FABULOUS! Read it, know it, LIVE IT http://fabfree.wordpress.com/freebie-etiquette/
As I said, I don't want to stop making freebies or having sales. The ones who are doing this are ruining it for you all, so there is only so much I can do. Police yourselves as much as you can...when you see a friend being an asshole, call them on it. Give hints about where hunt items are instead of leading someone right to them. ACTUALLY READ THE BLOGS AND NOTICES ALL THE WAY THROUGH. When I say a sale is for 24 hours. It's not for 24 hours from when YOU read the notice. SL time is SL time not YOUR time zone. A thank you once in awhile would be really nice. I don't do it for the thank yous, but I may want to stop because I don't think anyone appreciates what I do and the time it takes to put these "FREE" things together. And please please don't harass or argue with in store employees and other customers. You are ruining business for people who are giving you GIFTS. Does that make any sense at all?
Anyways, thats my rant for today. I'm bushed. Feel free to comment, and I would love to hear your horror stories about things that have happened in your stores from other designers. It's nice to know you're not alone. Maybe if we all put some kind of say in this now, we can curb this mob mentality before it gets too insane and the people that really appreciate our gifts will get them. To you that do...keep coming. We love to see you and we love to make things for you!
I was gonna do a post on the new Hunger items now, but I'm gonna relax a bit in my comfy chair and listen to Radio Nigel. Nite!