Are you the idiot I speak of?

Ever buy something in SL and it doesn’t come? Doesn’t appear in Inventory? What do you do? IM The creator? What is your disposition when you do?

If you are one of the IDIOTS I describe below, this message is for YOU.

Second Life has issues. A lot of them. Linden Lab really needs to get their act together, and I’m not referring to the viewer software that sits and runs on your local machine. Rather it’s the back-end that needs serious work.

Don’t get me wrong, the viewer is usually borked, too. But, that affects people on an individual basis. One hiccup in the back-end (server-side at Linden Lab) can really screw everyone on the grid, whether you’re there, logged-in or not.

So sales are singing along just fine and dandy as usual yesterday. I even make a couple purchases through SL Exchange and OnRez (personally, I prefer the latter).

Suddenly, I get an IM about a purchase made from my store… but the product wasn’t delivered.

Now, here’s the part that burns me: being told my vendors are screwed up when I don’t use vendors in my store (only at satellite locations, like mall spaces and affiliates). In other words, you see a sex bed in my store, it’s set to sell a copy. You click the BUY button, you get a copy of it in your inventory. There is no possible way it can’t ‘deliver’. It’s the original, most basic way to sell anything in SL. It always works. It can’t not work.

Well, unless Linden Lab servers are borked.

Again.

All day yesterday (12-19-07) – LL had major asset server issues. Even to the point that the grid was shutdown completely with only two-minutes notice. If that’s not an emergency, I don’t know what is.

Anyway – before the shutdown, the asset server issues had been going on for a few hours. Here’s the BLOG entry:

http://blog.secondlife.com/2007/12/19/reztransfer-alert-asset-system-sluggishness/

If you don’t know, the Asset Server is the server machine(s) and software that keeps track of all objects in SL. That means your house, television, radio, clothes, car, primdick, everything. Even your bed.

Everyone on the grid had trouble rezzing objects, transferring objects, and objects that were placed (rezzed) disappeared into the great black void of nothingness. It was mayhem.

So, back to the IM I received…

First, I’m told a purchase was made, product not delivered, can a replacement be sent directly? Usually, after some polite vetting of the situation, I would do exactly this.

However, in this case, the IM was rude and obnoxious right off the bat. I was being accused of cheating this idiot. That I took his money and ‘the vendor’ never delivered the product (see above about use of vendors in my store). He demanded the product be transfered to him immediately.

I explained that the asset server was having problems, that if I tried to transfer it to him it might not work, but that I’d give it a go. I did. I asked if he received it. ‘No.’

Now, please keep in mind, I tried to remain calm and professional, but this individual was belligerent and cussing harder than a lifetime sailor. The exchange was becoming heated. I offered to refund his money. He was still cussing up a storm and demanded the product, refusing the money.

So, eventually I just gave him back his money and then I kicked him out of my sim and banned him. I don’t need money from a belligerent idiot. Unfortunately, there are too many of them out there. Are you one of them?

Here’s the most common one we get:

“Hello?” [long wait with nothing else said – please don’t start an IM with someone this way and then just wait for a response] “I bought a [insert scripted product here – such as a sex bed or dynamic throne] and it doesn’t work.”

“What is it doing when you rez it?”

“I don’t know. it doesn’t work”

“What is it doing when you rez it?”

“It’s broken, it’s not working for me.”

“What is it doing when you rez it?”

Get the effin idea? Telling me ‘it’s broken’ or ‘it doesn’t work’ isn’t saying anything. I need to know what it IS doing – even if your answer is ‘it doesn’t do anything’. So just shut-up and answer my effin question, please?

I usually end-up telling them to pick-up the bed [or whatever else it is they bought] and then I teleport them to my workshop, where I have control of the environment (scripts allowed, building objects allowed, etc.).

I tell them to rez the bed. Then I edit it and one of the following scenarios occurs:

The bed is fine. Everything is in there. I touch it and it starts loading up the scripts. After a minute or two (there’s a LOT of animations in our stuff) I click it again and low and behold, the menu appears and everything works fine.

It turns out the knucklehead didn’t read the instruction notecard that automatically is offered to them whenever they rez the product. The need to click on it to turn it on for the first time is clearly mentioned.

Or The bed is fine. They do click on it to start it up and don’t read the private owner-only messages that say the [product] ‘is starting up, please be patient’. They start clicking away and nothing happens (it’s still starting up) – so after 10-seconds of no response from the product, it’s “broken and doesn’t work”.

Or, The bed is fine. Turns out they rez the product on land that has scripts turned off (because they don’t have the right group active when they rez it, etc.)

Then there’s my favorite: remember, I sell copies of my furniture – no vendors. The working floor model is what you get a direct copy of when you buy. They are NOT boxed. When you buy it, then drag it from inventory onto the ground, the actual product appears. Start using it right away.

So when I have a complaining customer rez the product at my workshop and I look inside – it’s empty. It turns out the numb-skull had removed the contents from the product into a folder in their inventory.

YAY! Brilliant, you boob! Lets go buy a real life car and take it home and pull the engine out of it and then bitch and cuss out the manufacturer because it doesn’t work!

Even though as soon as you rez it in world a notecard is immediately and automatically offered to you that specifically says “DO NOT OPEN THIS PRODUCT AND COPY CONTENTS TO INVENTORY! Simply click once on it and wait for the scripts to load.”

This is why we, (and many others,) have a clearly posted (though no one ever seems to notice them, right?) refund/exchange policy that explicitly states there will be no refunds and no exchanges except at our discretion. (Because you might be one of the utterly boneheaded idiots that Darwin forgot to prevent in the evolution process.)

Oh, and all our stuff is on the floor in our showroom. It’s already rezzed, right there for you to look at it and review it and play with it. What more can we do to help you make sure it’s what you want? So if you buy a product – it’s yours. Don’t come asking for an exchange because it isn’t what you thought it was.

However, because we really do want to be customer-friendly, we now offer free demo versions that you can place in your home to check out how well the ‘colors match’ your drapes or whatever. [rolls-eyes].

Now, before you go accusing me of being a rude, crude business person that won’t last long, let me qualify all my rude, crude responses and comments above with this: these are the responses you will get from me when you are rude and crude.

All the world is a mirror.

In other words, you will receive what you dish out. If you are rude and crude with me, I might very likely end the conversation immediately and just kick and ban you and you’ll be stuck with whatever ‘broken’ item you have in your possession. However, if you are respectable and kind, I will be likewise.

I said I had purchased a couple items on SL Exchange during the LL Asset Server SNAFU (before it was known to be a SNAFU yet). They never arrived in inventory. Even though my email from SLX said it was delivered. So, I IM’d the creator. My message was very simple and all in one submission.

I didn’t do what most people seem to do: “Hello?”<enter>(User offline) “I bought something” <enter>(User offline) “I didn’t get it” <enter>(User offline) “Can I have another?” <enter>(User offline)) – all causing IM’s to cap, and spamming this poor guy’s email inbox with separate messages.

My entire message was typed out before I pressed the send (enter) key the first time.

My message was simple: “Hello [merchant name] – just purchased [item 1] and [item 2] from SL Exchange. They didn’t arrive – maybe asset server issues, not sure. I am hoping you could send them to me again when you have the opportunity. I apologize for creating a headache for you. :) Thank you very much! [my name]”

A simple, patient, cordial message that gets to the point of what the IM is about (missing inventory) , what I did (make a couple purchases and from where) and what I am asking for (manual replacement). Plain and simple. Now, these items are no copy. Usually, replacements are NOT given in this case. But, I didn’t accuse him of screwing anything up. I know it’s LL’s fault, not his.

I also offered an explanation and made it clear that I wasn’t sure that was actually the problem. I also apologized for bothering him with this issue. And I used a smiley face – to show that I am not all pissed off and grumpy – and that I understand ‘shit happens’ in SL.

I’m not saying I personally expect incoming IM’s to me of this nature to look and be phrased this way. It’s just how I do it when I am sending an IM to a creator, asking for a replacement delivery of a missing item. But I have also have never been denied a replacement in these situations. Ever.

I find most merchants are understanding. And this one was. This morning in IM (email) I see a message that basically said ‘it shows that it was delivered, but I’ll send you new copies anyway’

SL is still borked, because when I login, all my IMs are usually still there. In this case – they weren’t. (So beware of this, everyone.) Anyway, I thanked the merchant for understanding and asked him to peek at the blog to see what happened and what I thought was the cause, since he was apparently unaware of the circus.

So, if you ever have problems or issues with the delivery of something you purchased – it’s most certainly NOT the merchant’s fault, unless it’s a vendor hiccup (offline, goofed configuration, something to this affect) – in which case, they will get you taken care of.

Except for vendor hiccups, blame Linden Lab. And then communicate politely with the merchant for a replacement. Remember, they are likely getting spammed with angry, rude, crude customers all bitching and cussing them out about the same thing.

Make yourself the one shining star that, at least, gives the impression that you understand the pain he or she is going through and be polite. Use smiley faces and tell them you understand and that there’s no hurry. And then really do try to understand.

You will likely be well taken care of – if for nothing else than being the one polite, understanding person in a sea of stupid, rude, crude, obnoxious idiots. And remember, when something like the asset server gets stupid, you aren’t the only one suffering. It’s not just the people buying things, it’s the people selling, too. And everyone else on the grid.

Oh, and as for the asshole who cussed-up a storm and got just plain stupid with me? 5-minutes after I refunded his money and kicked his sorry ass off my sim and banning him… a Linden grid-wide message came through to every resident saying (paraphrased): “Asset server issues – do NOT buy anything or rez anything especially no-copy objects! Do not perform inventory actions whatsoever.”

About 20-minutes later – emergency shut-down of the grid

I can only hope that asshole feels like… well, an asshole.

So, are YOU a nightmare customer when things aren’t working right for you?
Come, let me kick your ass off my sim and ban you from all my estates.

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