I’ve been on Twitter for a couple of years now. Back when you’d see that silly whale all the time…I was there. My dad, when he found out I used the social network, would always ask me…”What’s the point?” I told him there really wasn’t a ‘point’….that people just did it for something to do….there wasn’t really any money or prestige to be had from doing it. I’m sure he will be glad to hear that I have, indeed, found a ‘point’ to Twittering.
Twitter got me customer satisfaction. Seriously…it did.
Now, for some backstory. A little over three years ago, I had just bought a two bedroom house and I wanted to make one of the bedrooms my comic/computer room. To that end, I started buying comic art from reasonably priced artists and decorating the room with my favorite heroes. Well, I contacted a certain artist whose work I liked and made arrangements to get a sketch from him. He was very nice, but told me that I had to prepay $40 for the sketch and $5 for shipping. I wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of prepaying, but figured he was a nice enough guy so what the heck. I paypal’ed him the funds and waited. And waited. And waited. After a couple of months I dropped him an email and politely asked him if he had started on the sketch yet. No response. Another couple of months went by…no sketch. Another email sent, another non response. I finally started to give up but, about a year later, sent another email just on the off chance of a response. This time I did get one, telling me of ‘the crazy year’ he had had with a new baby and all. Fine, fair enough, life happens. He was still willing to do the sketch (as opposed to refunding my money, I suppose) so he said he’d work it up. I kid you not, another YEAR went by and I hadn’t gotten my sketch, a refund, or any explanation. This time I sent a not so nice email demanding my money back via Paypal. You guessed it. No response. At this point I tried to dispute via Paypal, but was told my situation didn’t qualify for it, for some reason. I was resigned to kiss my $45 goodbye. This all started in Sept. of 2007 mind you.
Over those years, I followed his work, saw his Facebook and Twitter, and thought about broaching the subject again, but figured I’d let it go…..but it kept nagging at me. Then, a little while ago, I saw where he’d done a metric ton of commissions for SDCC (for decent money, I’m wagering) and that was it. I was officially incensed. Still not sure what to do, I saw where someone I follow had re-Tweeted his opinions on the Scott Pilgrim movie and how it was so ‘good for comics’. I replied to his Tweet by reminding him that owning up to his commission obligations was also ‘good for comics’. No sooner than TEN MINUTES later, I got a reply to my email (which he still had, by the way, but never felt the need to respond to) from two years ago! He was very apologetic and willing to make good on our bargain from three years ago. You see, I had called him out, in public, on Twitter and it made him take notice. He responded to my Twit by saying how he had been in the hospital lately, blah, blah, blah. I’m assuming that was only to save face for my previous Tweet. I didn’t answer that night, deciding to sleep on it and whether I was still going to demand my money back or take the sketch. Well, later on that night, I got another email where he had already worked the sketch up and how he was going to send some prints as an apology. Today (08/23/10) I did, indeed, receive the sketch and two prints which, while I’m not exactly sure were worth the wait, did give me a measure of satisfaction.
Two lessons can be learned from this. 1). A potential hit to someone’s business can work wonders and 2). Never…..ever…. prepay for comic art.
As for who the artist is, I’m not going to drag his name out there as I don’t really want to hurt his commission business…I just wanted what I had paid for.