Learning 'The Rest of the Story' Can Help Both Buyers and Sellers

November 05, 2015

Not too long ago I purchased a work of art from etsy and when the request for a review landed in my inbox, I complied and gave the seller four out of five stars.

I love the work but I withheld the fifth star, I explained in the review, because of the lack of any communication with the seller. No acknowledgement of my order and no explanation of a delayed arrival until I emailed the seller directly to inquire.

One of the reasons I purchase art from etsy artists is because I know the piece comes from a living, breathing person and not a factory churning out cheap reproductions faster than you can say China. Perhaps selfishly, I like feeling I have a relationship, or at least some sort of connection, with the artist.

Not too long after posting the review, I received a message from the seller. She said she typically does not send messages upon receipt of an order, and then shared details of the recent loss of her two sons and how it now takes all of her energy to complete orders, and therefore not always in timely fashion.

I stopped in my tracks. It’s so easy to be critical of businesses – sole proprietor or mega-corporation – when they don’t act the way we perceive they should. Rarely do I stop to think about “the rest of the story,” as the late Paul Harvey often did.

This is one of those times when both buyer and seller became enriched through the transaction. The upside, she’s doing much better, is getting caught up on work and is now acknowledging orders as they come in. And me? I’ll try to not be so quick to judge until i know “the rest of the story.”

How important is “relationship” to you when you make a purchase?