Friday, January 7, 2011

99% isn't so bad

As most of you all know, I have an etsy shop, well two of them actually.  My one that keeps me the most busy though is "The Peacock Shop" which is filled with mostly painted teacups and mugs.  I have had this shop since  June of 2008 and have made 254 sales.  254 sales means at least 254 people that I get to correspond with and create somewhat of a relationship.  They trust me to make them a good product and I do my very best to meet all of their expectations...sometimes it is harder than others to please a few of these customers and then sometimes I meet customers that I wish lived in my neighborhood so we could be friends. So many different kinds of people and personalities that I have had the opportunity to come in contact with, and I thank God for each one of them.  
December was my busiest month so far.  Thankfully, Seth had an easy work schedule and he was able to help me get everything done...barely, but we made it! During that time, I had one customer request a "Movember 2010" Mustache Mug.  I had no idea what "Movember" meant but I had a request for one last year as well, so I made it and mailed it.  On the bottom of all of my mugs, I sign my name and I also sign the Bible verse reference "John 3:16".  I have been doing this for a while and never had anyone complain about it.

When we got back home from Texas for Christmas, I received a message from one of my customers.  She was upset because I had signed "John 3:16" on the bottom of my mug (as my signature) and the person whom she was giving it to would be offended. She told me I needed to send her a new mug, without the verse reference and without taking any further liberties.  

I was so upset!  Now I had a customer who didn't like her mug because I signed my name with a Bible verse.  What was I going to do?  She didn't ask me to send her a new one without the verse, she told me to.  Granted, I have had to re-make more than my fair share of mugs due to breakage or mistakes on my behalf (misspelled names, wrong dates, etc.) and all of my customers have been so nice about asking what I can do for them and I have sent them a replacement, for free since it was my mistake.  Now, I have a lady who is demanding me to send her a new mug (for free, without offering to send the first one back) and she wants me to remove "John 3:16".  I will have to say I went into a small panic.  I talked with Seth about it and we talked with some family about the situation and I decided I needed to take some time to pray about what to do.  Sometimes God doesn't give us an answer for a while, but that evening God gave me the answer almost immediately.  I will have to admit that my initial, human nature reaction wanted to write her a rude note back, but then I was quickly reminded by my husband, "Kathlyn, what is the point in putting 'John 3:16' on the mug if you are going to react the way Satan would want you to?".  Good point, Seth, good point. 
 Back to my answer from God.  I knew the only answer to this problem would be to give her a full refund and let her know that I could not send her a new one minus the verse, and God gave me a complete peace about that, she got to keep the first one. I explained that to her that due to my own beliefs, I could not send her a new mug without feeling as though I was letting down God.  I thought for sure that she would understand, considering that the same reason I couldn't send her a new mug without the verse was the same reason she didn't want to give her friend the mug with the verse. I also made a new note on the front page of my shop that I sign all of my mugs with my name and "John 3:16".  I felt this was the best answer without me compromising what I strongly believe in.

Much to my disappointment, a few days later, after having a 100% rating for 3 1/2 years, my rating went down to 99%.  Here is what my bad rating says:

Seller should mention on her site that her items have Bible references printed on them. Bought a "Movember" commemorative mustache mug as a Christmas gift for my boyfriend who raised a lot of money for a family member with cancer this year. I could not give it to him because the mug arrived with Christian references painted on the bottom and he is Jewish. Not sure what religion has to do with mugs, but it was a liberty taken by the seller that cost me a meaningful gift :(

My feelings were so hurt.  I was upset, angry, sad.  Seth reassured me that it was unrealistic to have a 100% rating forever, but I still could not get over what all was said in the feedback.  The craziest thing is that until I read the review she left, I had no idea it was for her boyfriend, that he was Jewish and that he had raised money for cancer this year...all of which she decided to put in the review for some reason.

One line of the review stuck with me though and I couldn't get it out of my head: "...I could not give it to him because the mug arrived with Christian references painted on the bottom....not sure what religion has to do with mugs, but it was a liberty taken by the seller...."

I have thought about that line a lot.  So, why couldn't I have just sent her a replacement without the verse on the bottom?  After all, a verse doesn't have anything to do with a mug, right? 
Actually, my shop, my products and the manner in which I run my shop has EVERYTHING to do with my "religion".  I look at my shop as an incredible way to reach hundreds of people in all parts of the world.  In fact, this very lady lives in Canada.  I write "John 3:16" on the bottom in hopes of opening their eyes to the love of Christ.  God calls us, as believers, to be a witness for Him.  That doesn't mean that I have to go on a missions trip to do it.  He wants us to take our talents, our every day situations and jobs and use them for Him. 
 In Colossians 3:23 it says,  "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men," Which is exactly the reason that I have that verse on the bottom and the same reason that I will continue to write that verse on the bottom, no matter how many bad reviews I get because of it.
  God says in Matthew 5:10:

 "You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom."

If my rating is the only way I am being persecuted for Christ right now, then I am blessed. So many others throughout time have given much more than a customer rating for Christ, so that is the very least I could give for Him.  

I am sharing this with you today to encourage you in your walk with Christ.  Don't me intimidated by this world to take a backseat when it comes to your belief in HIM.  The world will not reward you for taking a stand, but Christ will never forget.  Whether it be in the little, everyday things, or the big bold for Christ!  If you are reading this today and aren't sure where you stand with your relationship with Christ, or maybe you don't have a relationship at all, I encourage you to visit this website. Or email me: 

Here is John 3:16 as well, "16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."


Angela said...

Good for you! I agree also, not sure why your customer had to go and include all the details that she did for her feedback as well as DEMAND a new mug...seemed a little low to me. Either way, I think that you handled it well. Though I would have loved to give her a piece of my mind too ;o)

Amanda said...

That sucks about your feedback. I'm sure that of she had communicated better that her situation would have went better for her. Maybe you should sign all of your listings that way too since it is important to you.

Just remember too that some people will always look for some reason to complain no matter how much you try to help. Stand for what you believe for because at the end of the day you have to be happy with the decisions you made. Remember also that you have a lil one who watches you and learns by your example.

Anonymous said...

In your shoes, I don't know if I would have responded as nicely. Sometimes it is so hard to show the love of Christ when someone is being rude to you.

Also, in many college circles, November is known for "No Shave November." Many a guy grows a beard during the month... I imagine Movember or "Mustache November" is pretty similar, just it's for people who don't want to grow full on beards.

One Creative Momma said...

I can't tell you how proud I am of you, my sister in Christ, for taking a stand! This just makes me want to buy more from you. Oddly, you didn't write on the bottom of our Nator Gator mug. No worries tho-it went to someone who loves Jesus with all her heart!


StephieD said...

I still feel bad about your rting. I know we talked about it a little on twitter, and I'm glad that you prayed before responding. :) Her feedback seemed a little more personal then it needed to be, and I think, seeing as it's your shop, you should be able to take any "liberties" you feel inclined to take... And I'm sorry, but the verse is on the bottom of the mug right? Who looks at the bottom that much anyway, when the sides are so stinking cute?!

Kristen & Cliff said...

You are still the same Kathlyn I know and love! You handled it exactly the way I would have expected you to. With prayer, love and grace. I am sorry you had to go through this, but am proud of the way you handled it and your reaction at the end about persecution. Thanks for the reminder.

The New Mrs. H said...

This made me cry. What an inspiring message you turned this into....I'm so proud of you for standing up for Christ. You go girl!

You are right, 99% isn't so bad :)

JG said...

You absolutely did the right thing. You handled the situation with grace and integrity. And I'm sure it was obvious that the reference was a part of your signature. This lady obviously had an extreme reaction for reasons outside of and apart from you. And after all, better to get a "down" rating for proclaiming Christ than for being accused of making a bad product (which she obviously couldn't complain about).

Christina said...

I have sincere doubts that her boyfriend would actually be insulted by the appearance of a Bible verse next to the artist's name. My husband and I have purchased works of art in other countries, and the signatures sometimes contain references to religions or beliefs other than Christianity. We're Christian, but we've never been "offended" or "insulted" by the artist's decision or reference his or her faith. Why would a Jewish man be insulted that the artist who created his mug is a Christian? Seems a little dramatic to me. Keep doing what you're doing, girl!

Wife, Mama, Teacher said...

Kathlyn, I am SO very proud of you for taking a stand for your beliefs. It is so disappointing that in the world we live in today, Christians are the only one whose views seem "radical" and don't have to be tolerated. The people of our country go out of their way to accommodate and support every belief and lifestyle under the sun, but when it comes to a Christian living their life and making a statement in the way that they see fit, people absolutely will not tolerate it. You did the right thing, and I am so honored to know you and know that even when it gets tough, you do what brings glory to God, not what the world is hoping you would do to keep a 100% rating. Your actions remind me that when it gets tough, I need to take a look at the bigger picture and realize that even though their will be trials and persecution on this earth, that those things do not matter because the only thing that matters in the end, my salvation, has been given to me by a God that loves me and blesses me beyond my wildest dreams, and that I need to spend all of my time praising Him instead of wasting it worrying about nonsense! Thank you so much for sharing!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I think you handled the situation very well. There are lots of companies who have Christian symbols or branding as part of their product line and people don't ask them to recreate an entire brand for one order. Ridiculous. If that's the way you sign your mugs, then that's the way you sign your mugs.

Sarah said...

I'm so glad you stood your ground and did what God wanted you to do. It would have been so easy to send her a new mug without the Bible reference - to give in. I don't understand why she would put all of that information in her feedback and NOT in her request for a new mug!

The Ballou's said...

I, too, teared up as I read this. What an example to so many who look up to you ~ and if we could give ratings based on actions such as the one taken here - your percentage would be well over 100!! Thank you for being a strong example of a woman of our Lord. He is proud of you and so are we!!

Mr. Superman & Mrs. S. said...

I applaud you. Really.

erin said...

You're right, 99% isn't that bad and they way you handled it was pretty awesome! I was so gracious and strong at the same time. Thanks for sharing this and your struggle.