I've been taking a wonderful journey through the world of MysMe. And once you fall in love with something - or even someone, say a spouse character - you've gotta have merch, right? Such is the life of a collector. If you will, my story.
I got into the game late because I couldn't get it to run on my bootleg iPhone, so I waited a few months before I got a tablet to start playing. Around that time I also checked out Cheritz's official site to buy an RFA VIP box, and I saw they HAD official merch, including a 707 pillow... long sold out. Immediately I knew finding this damn thing would be a goose chase but I still went right to eBay. I didn't find it as I expected, but I found all kinds of other pillows, dakimakura covers, sheets, and other apparel-type goods... all bootlegs using stolen art. YIKES.
Plus #1: I was able to track down the source of most of the art used, so I found new artists to follow and real fan merch to invest in!
Plus #2: Cheritz restocked the 707 pillow, so I was able to order a new one!
Minus: There was one daki cover I couldn't find anywhere... the amazing 707/Maid Seven cover.
I want it... I want it so bad!!!
But I wanted the real one, not a bootleg. As I saw later on, the bootlegs are just really poor traces of the original artwork, and they look really bad up close: theyasminshow.c... *sorry, I can't remember where I found the bootleg sample photo.
Shortly after this hunt there was a thread posted on MM merch and NEMSENGELACESASU told me where to find the cover! I ordered it and even promised to do a review on them. And this is where the dragging began.
▷ March 3
I made two orders on this day: one for the Maid Seven cover and some 707 keychains from Monei, which is run by two artists, and another from Eternal-S for a cover and a slew of keychains, prints and charms. I messaged her right after and and asked if she'd restock the 707 acrylic standees, and she said it would restock in April. Yosh!
▷ March 7
I got a message from Monei saying my order would be delayed due to a problem with keychain production, and I could either cancel my order or wait and score an extra goodie. Of course I opted to wait. Extra or not, I want this daki cover! I want it so bad!
▷ March 11
I receive my first daki which I ordered from Noahxica and I am FLOORED by how gorgeous it is.
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The level of detail is better than my official daki covers. The glare on his glasses, the texture on his headphones... Like, I am so in love with this cover you can't imagine. "Maybe I should buy a spare" level of love. This also boosted my excitement for my other covers.
While peeking at Monei's store I noticed there was a new Unknown daki cover up for preorder, and limited to 20 pieces. Oh man! And it's limited so it could sell out... Because their 707/Jumin/Zen cover designs were stolen and bootlegged to hell (apparently the bootlegs are even sold at conventions) they no longer put up high-res samples... but the tiny res version looked decent. I started mulling it over for a few days. But, I just paid $24 for shipping for one cover which cost me only $40... hmm.
▷ March 26
I bit the bullet, sort-of. I asked if I could add Unknown to my order and pay the difference in shipping.
▷ April 2
Almost a week later, a response. If I remember correctly, in that time, Unknown disappeared from their shop and reappeared and I got paranoid (I tend to think that kind of thing is a tactic to make people bite the bullet... I see it from certain figure shops). Anyway, my order was shipped before they got around to checking emails so the combination sale couldn't be done.
Fair enough... but... I never got notice of shipping. Never got a tracking number, and my order still said "Awaiting shipment" on Storenvy. Weird, so I replied and asked for the tracking, if any. I mean, I figure $24 in shipping for a small package should warrant a tracking number...
I tend to weigh things out in my head pretty often.
Hmm... no response. Maybe they're busy?
That's no excuse. Keeping records updated is part of running a business.
Well, all we can do is wait...
How long? We don't even know the date it was sent out, if at all.
Eventually I took to stalking around online. I figured out that the two were flying off to a convention to sell goods until the 11th. Damn! So I decided to wait a few days after that (allowing post-con cooldown time) to message them again. But at the same time, I hoped that maybe they really sent it out and it would just, you know, show up.
▷ April 12
Received a package of stickers and charms from Ukiyo, but one of the charms was missing. I immediately messaged the shop and they got back to me right away: they had an extra charm after all orders were filled so they knew a mistake was made somewhere. They were basically waiting for (my) message, and told me they'd send it out asap. Excellent service... which made me happy and boosted my anxiety simultaneously. If they can answer me in such a timely manner, why not Mon or Ei?
At the same time, that other order I made from Eternal-S had never shipped. I figured it was because the seller was waiting for the acrylic stands to restock to send everything at once (even though that was an assumption on my part, I was cool with waiting for that reason). But anxiety spreads, so I sent a message.
Turns out she was waiting on a restock of charms that I ordered plus stands, so they let me send the difference for the stand via PayPal and mailed all my goodies the following week. More Sevens for the Seveny throne!
Another speedy response, another Anxiety +1.
▷ ~April 15
Not sure of the exact date since I messaged through Storenvy but I asked again for shipping tracking details. And... I still got no answer.
It could be that they're busy...
First of all, key word is they're. Two of them. At least one could be on top of answering messages.
True, but we don't know what they do. They could be students or working or both...
But that doesn't mean you can shirk on a business that you run. It's been weeks!
They're probably busy with other life obligations... It doesn't look like anyone else has had a problem with them, so shouldn't we give the benefit of the doubt?
There shouldn't be a doubt, period. Tracking should update as packages are sent. We do it all the time.
Then as I kept stalking around, I found a picture update on IG. As much as I felt GROSS for lurking around for signs of life from either of them, seeing a photo of all the TR merch just set me off. Admittedly I was feeling pretty sensitive around this point.
Ohhh... got time to update IG but not answer emails?
A person's life doesn't revolve around work alone! They have to have enjoyment too!
Yes... but... how do you expect to maintain your livelihood if you don't handle your business? They just took our money and spent it on swordboys.
Oh come on, their swordboy fanart is superb, let them have it. And... are you suggesting foul play?
Even if it's not foul, it isn't polished either. They got our money and won't answer our messages. We don't know when or even if the goods were shipped.
Don't be so pessimistic, they probably mailed it and forgot to make note. It won't be the first time someone was late in delivering a tracking number.
At this point it was getting close to the end of April. I decided to wait until the end of the month to see if the package turns up. I mean, while this was going on I was ordering tons of merch from all different countries, and everything arrived at different speeds. So to be generous, I decided to give it about 30 days from an assumed ship date - an RSAL package from Japan usually takes that long, which is about the longest I wait for anything, and this was my first time getting a package from Vietnam. If it didn't come in that time, I would start a dispute via Paypal and bruteforce a response that way. In the meantime, I tried hard not to think about it.
But... I WANT THE DAMN DAKI COVER! I WANT IT SO BAD!
I tried hard to just forget about it for the time being, but whenever I typed something into my browser and one of their site/SNS urls flashed by my reaction was literally
Paranoia started kicking in on top of all else. Maybe, IDEALLY, this would end smoothly with me getting my stuff. Maybe it got lost and I'd have to wait on another. Maybe it got lost and there were no more. Maybe it got lost and they would be pissed about all my emailing and lie like there were no more. I was panicky OK? I normally don't obsess over tracking numbers but I just couldn't help but refresh it every day. Nope, I normally don't do that.
This is fucked. They fucked us over. They took our money and boned us.
You think so? Someone else would have reported the same by now.
How do you know? They hardly use SNS outside of FB. If someone disputed via PP and didn't leave a warning anywhere, how will anyone else know?
That's ridiculous. We can't be this pessimistic. They just didn't answer the emails.
THEY. DIDN'T. ANSWER. THE. EMAILS. THEY AS IN NEITHER OF THEM. EMAILS AS IN NEITHER OF THEM. That's unacceptable. Slow shipping is one thing because it's out of anyone's hands. This is a problem they can control and they aren't.
Well being negative isn't helping either!
And what the hell are you doing???
SHUT UP! YOU DON'T TALK TO ME THAT WAY!
I DO AS I PLEASE WHEN I PLEASE, JUST LIKE THEM EH?
GO AWAY! I... I DON'T EVEN KNOW YOU ANYMORE!
Just like you don't know what happened to that package amirite?
WIN LIAO LOR
My circuits started to feel crispy but I was determined to see this through...
...but then I realized something. Doujin Market, a Singaporean convention, was on the way. I wasn't sure if they would be attending, but if they were planning to go there to sell goods (since they already flew out for another con) I might end up waiting even longer for a response. Shit. Can't wait anymore.
▷ April 27
I made the dispute, citing all the dates and everything that happened, very politely and calmly.
Then I peeked on FB again and saw a few... interesting things:
- A message from a buyer in a similar situation as me, and
- A note from 4/18 saying their PP account/Storenvy account were hacked.
No, you gotta lemme have this one. If the store was hacked then shouldn't there be notices on Twitter and such as well?
But they hardly use twitter...
But they have people contacting them for merch on there so don't they also deserve to be in the loop? Not everyone uses Facebook.
But nothing. This is fishy.
No no, it's just irresponsible. They aren't up to anything with this. The dates don't even match up to call this foul play.
Are you sure about that?
...I do feel strongly about it, yes. I think there is room for doubt. This could all be chalked up to irresponsibility.
Hmph... blind faith sure is something.
This is faith in God Seven, thank you.
▷ April 29
Suddenly, I got emails from Storenvy and Paypal. The tracking number was added with no messages attached... no defense, no apology (hmph). The package was sent out on 3/25, a day before I emailed about Unknown. Dispatched from VN on 3/27. And with that, the tracking was at 35 days and counting.
I tried googling and asking around as to how long it takes packages to arrive in the US from Vietnam, but there were no answers to be found despite several search sessions.
▷ May 5
My Eternal-S order arrived. 14 days from Singapore. Enter daki cover #2:
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So much love in one package. Anxiety +1
▷ May 8
I went to the post office to pick up some MM merch with a pink slip. Adorable charms, but when will I get my adorable maid? I purposely left the dispute open in case the package didn't arrive, and now I was really fearing that to be the case. Anxiety +1
▷ May 9
I bit. I asked how long it takes on average. They responded rather quickly: Roughly 21 days.
I responded that we were on day 45.
The post office staff usually gives me everything they have on deck for me when I visit, and my last visit was the day prior. So I sent a text to my postal carrier.
A note about my postal carrier: An absolute angel. She worked with my mom at a different job when I was but a wee commercial, so she has my number and calls me whenever she's got something for me. If anything ever goes MIA she can find it for me, and I can skip the USPS redelivery page just by dropping her a line. As long as she's working, I get my stuff. If it's her day off or vacation week, that's when things have a chance of getting sticky and I end up having to pick things up from the PO if I don't feel like bugging her.
A note about my local post office: brimming with incompetence, as she often tells me. But, the supervisor and the staff (that hasn't been rotated out) know me. If the supervisor is present I don't even need ID. I don't have to show up nearly as much thanks to my Angel carrier taking over, but on the rare occasion I do stop in, either to mail things or pick up what her colleagues failed to deliver (again, if I don't feel like bugging her to bring it for me, she does so much for me as is).
This is key...
Monei responded that they would contact their post office, and I responded that I would make another contact as well and also put in a missing item search, which I did that night.
▷ May 10
Woke up at 7am, sent a text with the tracking number to my Angel Carrier, answered some emails, paid some bills, and went back to sleep since I was supposed to meet a friend for lunch. My phone went off but I was too tired to get up. "Probably bill pay confirmation or a lunch meeting confirmation... zzz..."
When I finally got out of bed I checked my phone.
I called her up, IDGAF if she was on her route
"Yeah, I found it, it was right in the basket."
"But wait, I was there on Monday, why didn't they give it to me??"
"No see, the registered international stuff is in one bin, the stuff like Amazon and all that--"
"No but I did pick up a registered international package!"
"What, yeah? How big though? Was it a big one or a small one?"
"It was small! Small like the one you have for me now!"
"Oh I dunno then... but you know you're supposed to call me if you need to find something!" <-- see? Angel.
"I didn't because the tracking never updated! It never even came into customs so I didn't think it was here yet!"
Hold on a sec...
"Wait. When they hold a package they write a date when it arrived so they know when to send it back. Did they write a date?"
"Lemme look, I think they did...
April 5th... and whoever was delivering in her place that day, never left a slip...
April 5th... right after Monei responded about me trying to mod my order...
April 5th... before I even started this saga for a tracking number...
I managed to keep from FRUSTRATION YELLING in her ear...
"But that's over a month it's been there!"
"Yeah haha! You're lucky they didn't send it back."
"I know, but how did they have it sitting there for over a month?!"
"I dunno, but you're lucky!"
"I know I know... but... [ERROR! ERROR!]"
The sprinkling of irony, if you're a MM player, is that the package took all of 11 days to arrive.
How? How did EVERYONE (except my Angel Carrier) fail me on this one thing?!
Well you know... Seven loves to tease to see how you'd react...
...and I can't remember the last time you were so excited over a piece of merchandise.
This weird final thought wasn't very comforting and yet it kept me from flying off the deep end.
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Worth the struggle? Yes. The material isn't 2-way tricot like the others, but it's something thicker and heavier but still nice to touch... I like it.
- After Ending -
▷ May 11
A note was added to the Monei FB:
"First of all, I want to apologize for making you wait so long. In the last few weeks, from the time when I lost my email and paypal account to the hacker, and maybe I wont be able to take my account back - in the worst scenario. And that matter is the reason for the delay of the shipment."
Hacking - mid April
My shipment/delay - mid March
So either this is LFF* or there was another round of shipment delays AFTER mine. I wouldn't say avoid their store altogether as their merch is beautiful and I prefer to support the artist over the bootleggers, but I would highly recommend proceeding with caution, and I sincerely hope they get it together in the future.
*Lies, fairytales and fallacies
There was a seller on tumblr selling dakimakura covers with a few left to spare... I emailed her in vain thinking I was too late, and I never got a response, so I just bookmarked her page. Months later she came back posting about a restock... I was a little bit late again but I emailed anyway and this time she responded. I have yet ANOTHER 707 cover en route, along with an Unknown one. Last I checked, it has officially scanned into US customs, albeit in San Fran. So far, so good, and I will be the owner of an Unknown daki cover after all.
*glances at package in San Fran*
Or am I speaking too soon?
Part 1 of theyasminshow vs. MysMe, end