Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Be Careful Who You Pay To Poke Holes In Your Face

My teenage daughter, Patience, has been wanting "snakebites" (two piercings below the bottom lip) for some time.  It stands to reason; I had a lip ring when I was a teenager, so she has to out-rebel me by getting two.  Cool Mom that I am, I said she could get some but that she would have to a) wait until after my wedding, which she was a bridesmaid in, and b) pay for them on her own.  So when she came into some money for turning fifteen (best job ever: not hard work, and pays well), we went straight down to This Holes For You to get her snakebites.

We chose THFY, because she had gotten her nose pierced there a number of months ago and it was good.  The nose stud it was pierced with was nice, the price was fair, her nose didn't balloon up to the size of a plum and then fall off or anything, so we felt that this was a good and trustworthy place to go.

When we got to the shop Patience asked what they did lip piercings with, and the girl behind the counter said, "We use a longer barbell, just so that it has room for the initial swelling, and then after a week you can come back and buy whatever you want to switch it out with."

My initial thought was, "Money grab."  They charge you for the piercing with the original jewelry, and then a week later you have to buy new jewelry that doesn't look stupid.

I had a helluva time trying to find a photo to demonstrate the too-long barbells.
I think it's because frankly nobody wants to be photographed like this.

I know that it is not necessary to pierce the lip with a barbell if you want a ring, because when I had my lip pierced at Rising Sun with a captive ring back in 1994, there was plenty of room for my big fat lip and it healed just fine.  But Patience had been wanting her snakebites for long enough and she was willing to pay for them.  There would be no talking her into finding another place to do it where she would spend less money.  

So she got her snakebites, and at first she was happy.  It didn't take long for her to get impatient for the new jewelry.  She hated the way the temporary jewelry looked (Can ya blame her? She looked like she had kissed Pinhead and got some his shyt stuck in her face), and she was irritated that every time she tried to eat she was biting the back of the posts.  I never had such problems with my ring; just sayin'.  

At the end of her seven day wait we rushed back down to the shop and she picked out her new pair of jewelry.  She found a pair of rainbow spiral spikes that she liked the look of, so she bought them and had the piercer switch them out for her.  The girl behind the counter said, "Those are cool.  You'll play with them a lot."  We thanked them and left, Patience's little baggie of useless barbells in her hand and a smile on her face.  

She definitely out-rebelled me with these.

About twenty minutes later, we were pulling into our parking spot at home when Patience said, "Oh crap!  One of my spikes just came off!"  Okay, my daughter talks a mile a minute, but spikes that were put on by a professional piercer should be able to withstand some mouth flapping for more than twenty minutes.  Luckily the spike fell right onto her shirt and I was able to screw it back onto the spiral right away.  I tightened it and hoped for the best.  Over the course of the next 24 hours, one spike or another fell off three more times.  

Patience knew that if she lost one of the spikes it would only be a short matter of time before she lost the ring altogether.  She went onto THFY's Facebook page, where a lot of customers post questions about their piercings and jewelry, and she told them of her conundrum and she asked if there was a way to tighten the screws so that she wouldn't lose them.  They responded rather rudely, "If you had read the instructions you got with the jewelry, you'd see that you have to tighten them daily, even more often if you play with them.  You can come into any THFY location and they will tighten them for you."   Okay so first, rude to your customers much?  Second, what are these instructions that they speak of?  We were given no such thing.  Third, seriously?  Twenty minutes after we leave the shop and one of them is already falling off; how often do these little buggers have to be tightened?  Fourth, the girl behind the counter who said that Patience would always be playing with them said NOTHING about having to tighten them constantly.  Fifth (last one, I promise), if a piece of jewelry has to be tightened on a regular basis, should the customer not be informed of this before spending her hard-earned-by-turning-fifteen money on it, so that she can decide whether she wants that pain in the ass or not?  I was pretty peeved by their response and Mama Bear was ready to respond, but I didn't right away.  Luckily, within an hour someone at THFY realized how rude the comment was and edited it to simply say, "You can come into any THFY location and they will tighten them for you."  

Patience ended up losing one of the spikes before we could make it back down to the shop, and she decided that she didn't want the hassle with jewelry that she continually had to tighten, so she decided to spend a little bit more money and buy a pair of captive rings, like the one I had when I was a teenager.  I had mine for years and never had any problems with it -- even though I played with that bad mama jama constantly -- so we figured it would be a good choice for her.  We went back to the shop, and Patience picked out a pair of black captive rings with little purple gems in the beads.  Before we paid for them I told the girl behind the counter the problems Patience had with the previous jewelry, and how I'd never had any kind of problems with my captive ring.  She said, "Yeah, these ones won't come loose on you, because they are held together with pressure."  Good enough.  We bought them, and because she had already had her originals switched out for the current ones, we were told there would be a $5 charge for the piercer to switch it out.  I wasn't going to argue that they shouldn't charge us since we had so many problems with the previous jewelry, but whatevs; we just didn't want to deal with it anymore.  However, when the piercer switched it out, she didn't charge us because "one of the pieces of jewelry was the original" (which Patience had put in there so that her hole wouldn't close up on her before we could make it down to THFY).  I wasn't going to argue with that, either, because honestly I didn't want to give their asses any more money.  

These ones were kinda cute.

Within a couple of hours of being home, I heard from down the hall, click-click-clickity-clack, "Oh crap!"  It was the sound of a bead falling out of a captive ring, followed by a peeved teenage girl.  And I had had enough.  I am fairly patient, but there comes a time when it's just not cool anymore.  I'm one of those people who is just really nice, but when enough is enough my head might start spinning around.  So, while Adam (my husband) tried to get the bead back into the ring, I went to the THFY Facebook page and I posted the following:  

Okay, I understand inflation and whatnot, but c'mon, the whole using ugly jewelry to pierce it with is just a money grab.  

Now, I realize that I could have sent THFY a private message or called them or something other than complaining on their public Facebook page.  However, it was a calculated move.  I decided to post it publicly in hopes of them offering to make it right to save face in front of their customers.  I mean, $170 +tax later, we want something in return.  

Adam was able to get the bead in and then painted it with clear nail polish in hopes of it holding the bead in place.  But the following day, Patience came home from school at lunch and said, "I was not playing with it," as she showed me that the bead had fallen out of her lip ring again.  

Sigh.  Grrrr.  

I went back to Facebook and commented on my own post, which they had not yet responded to.  

Okay, was that rude?  I think all things considered, both of my messages were pretty damn freaking nice.  We put $170 +tax into their shyt; we want something to show for it.  Cool?  

So, they finally responded -- by calling us liars:  

No "sorry you are having problems with our product"?  No "we can understand your frustrations"?  Just blame the customers?  Oh, okay.  
"They are going to loosen eventually."
So "eventually" is 20 minutes after having them put in, another three times in the next 24 hours, and a bunch more times over the next couple of days?  Got'cha.
"Unless they are crossthreaded, the jewelry is cheap, or has been damaged by skin acidity, there is no reason it should need to be snipped off, it should just unscrew without much effort"
Ah, okay, I get it.  So the fact that my captive ring stayed in for a couple of years until I decided I wanted to take it out, and didn't unscrew without my wanting it to means that it was either cheap or damaged.  Your stuff that falls apart when you breathe on it the wrong way is the good quality stuff.  Seems ass backwards to me.  But, okay.

This is what my lip ring looked like in 1994.
My lip was pierced while you were tugging on your mom's shirt, asking,
"Mommy, why does that girl have that thing in her lip?"

Everyone in Regina knows that Rising Sun was the best quality body piercing and tattooing in the province.  That's why there was always a long waiting list to get in the door there.  So to even suggest that there was something wrong with my lip ring -- because it stayed in place, nonetheless -- what, are you silly or something?  The only reason that Rising Sun closed was because the owner lost the business to his greedy ex-wife in their divorce.  She had no interest in tattooing, so she closed it down.  It's just mean to take a great business from an entire city just because you're pissed at your husband.  Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand...
"It's unfortunate that neither of you noticed that part of her instruction sheet."  
Well, golly gee goshes, it sure is unfortunate, isn't it?  It's also unfortunate that you didn't notice the part in my message when I said that we didn't get an instruction sheet.  See?  I can be condescending, too!
"We sell thousands of dollars worth of" ... bla bla bla ... "misuse and abuse" ... yadda yadda yadda ... "arrived defective from the factory which we would have noticed" ... yammer yammer yammer ... "so unless it's being chewed on the it shouldn't be coming apart."
 So, it's 100% the customer's fault and couldn't possibly be defective?  Good to know.  Now, I know I told them that Patience was not playing with it when the bead fell out, so basically they called us liars, which we do not appreciate.  But honestly, even if she had been chewing on it (which she wasn't), it's on her lip for crying out loud!  Should a piercing on the lip not be able to withstand a little chewing here and there?  I chewed on my lip ring all the effing time!  That mother trucker was in there for the long haul.
"If you remember yesterday when she had her jewelry changed we did not charge you the $5 change charge even though she wasn't having original jewelry changed out since she was having issues with her jewelry."
Indeed, I remember.  And obviously I remember it much clearer than they do, because the $5 fee being waived had nothing to do with her issues with the jewelry.
"But be assured that there is no reason the balls would come out unless they are being misused because that's just not how the (CBR) hoop jewelry works, there are no threads to be loosened for the balls to fall out, they are held in with pressure, and the pressure remains consistent unless the jewelry is bent out of shape quite forcefully."
Is it just me, or is this statement in direct contrast to what she said earlier?  Let's rewind a moment here...
 "Unless they are crossthreaded, the jewelry is cheap, or has been damaged by skin acidity, there is no reason it should need to be snipped off, it should just unscrew without much effort"
So, earlier she says of the captive ring, "it should just unscrew without much effort," and now she says of the captive ring, "the pressure remains consistent unless the jewelry is bent out of shape quite forcefully."  Mmm-kay.

And I can assure you, Patience did not bend the rings out of shape.  It is ludicrous to even suggest that she would have even been able to bend them out of shape in a matter of hours.
"because of your aggravation if you would like to come into the store we will give you another set of hoops of your daughters choosing and put them in for her."
Oh, how bloody thoughtful of them to offer a free pair of rings after blaming us for all of the problems with the jewelry and calling us liars!  A simple, "We're sorry for your issues with our product and the aggravation this has caused you.  If you come in we'll give you... bla bla bla" would have sufficed.  But their horrible customer service just really sent me in the other direction.   Do we even want more jewelry from them if it's just going to come apart like that?  (I have since seen other bad reviews on the place.)  It is moot, anyway, because we didn't have time to get down there before Patience went to Calgary to visit her dad for the weekend.  She ended up losing the other ball and both rings.  It appears that the holes may have already closed up on her.  It would be nice to get some kind of cash refund, but I don't see that happening.  I've looked at different wholesale sellers on the internet and the same jewelry that THFY sells for $35 a pair costs them less than 50 cents each!

So .. oh no, here it comes ... is it just that nobody makes anything of quality anymore?  Holy crap, I just felt myself get old.

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