My Point of Heu
So... I am slightly mildly maybe embarrassed, which is why I was hesitant to blog about this... but I feel that those who take the time to read this may be saved or helped by my experience. I will ruin the ending for you right now and let you know I ordered products and did in fact receive them, but I have extremely high suspicions that this would not be the case for 90% of the other people who make the same mistake that I did.
Last month, I saw one of those ads online advertising apparel and "Looking for Brand Ambassadors," I had seen it so many times that it was just like white noise to me. Then something caught my eye, 'that is a cute shirt'. So I went to their page and it seemed very authentic, actual regular women posting empowering photos, quotes, empassionned posts, inspiration and etc. I thought 'this is pretty cool'. Then I browsed their website and saw that it looked legit. So I messaged them. I immediately got a reply... here's how it went:
May 22: Hello, I am messaging to learn more about your ambassador program.
2 min later: Hey! I am Megan, thanks for the message how are you?
Olena: I am great, doing well. I am an entrepreneur who started a digital marketing firm 6 years ago.
Megan: Awesome, so happy you reached out. Have you heard of us before?
Megan: I started the company last year, Our mission is spread empowerment to women and 25% of our profits go to organizations globally to empower women globally.
Olena: That's amazing and awesome, I fully support that.
Megan: Take a look at our website let me know what your favorite piece is.You can check the link in our bio for our collection on the site.
Olena: Ok awesome.
Megan: We would love to collaborate with you as an ambassador and share a discount with you for everything on the site. Once you receive your order, posts photos and we will share on our website and instagram and would be happy to tag your account or any other account that you have.
Olena: Awesome, I believe in your mission. Props you are very responsive.
Megan: I just made you a discount code for you, your family, friends and followers. When it arrives feel free to tag us or send it here an you can share in your story too if you want.
Olena: Ok, sounds good. Thank you. I will go shopping now and get some gifts for my friends as well.
Megan: If you let me know your order number I will be sure to throw in an extra secret gift for being an ambassador.
Olena: I think my order number is xyz
Megan: Perfect, so excited.
Olena: Thank you so much, I am looking forward to sharing.
So here's where it gets interesting... I placed my order. They sent a confirmation that it was ready for USPS pickup on May 26. When you go to the USPS link and input your tracking number -- it says the item was never shipped. They also have a disclaimer that even though someone says they are shipping a box, that doesn't mean it actually is making it's way to them as USPS is waiting for it to be dropped off.
June 1st, I wait one week and the item still hasn't shipped. I send a message to the insanely responsive Megan who claims to have started this company in Boston.
Olena: Hi, just checking in. USPS says the item was called for shipment but wasn't shipped yet.
I start cyber stalking their social media pages and notice amongst their hundreds of comments there are a handful that say "I am waiting for my order" "never got my order" "you wont ever get your order" "they delete all the negative comments and you won't get your order."
Ugh, I never saw this before... so I message one of the girls that said she ordered a month ago and it never came. She replies that yes, she never got it and never heard from them again. She also posted the same email confirmation that I got saying the order was shipped with the USPS tracking info, but just like me the order was never shipped.
I immediately call my credit card to contest the charge. I reported that I ordered the item, they never shipped it and have been unresponsive. Then magically 10 days later, they pop up in my DMs.
"Hey babe, we apologize for the wait, as current events in the world are significantly impacting us, and we are finding new ways to do our part. The good news is I see your order is in transit and should be at your front door soon. We thank you for your support and continue to spread kindness."
In the midst of all this... I was concerned that my credit card information was potentially compromised, so I canceled it and had a replacement card with a new number sent to me.
Yes, the package eventually came on June 12, 21 days after my order was placed. Was there a special additional gift inside, no. Was it everything I ordered, yes. Did it come from Boston, no. Was I happy with it, meh...it was just ok. Would I order again, no way!
So, I recently saw the ads popping up again and went to scroll through... I noticed a bunch of gals saying they ordered and couldn't wait for their shirts. There were a handful of replies under their posts that were deleted, I am guessing the ones that said "you won't ever get it." I personally do think it is some sort of scam to get your money, but since I had contested the charge once they were contacted by my credit card company they realized they better send it. I won't be sharing the discount code with anyone as I don't want others to fall victim to the thieves because I endorsed it and gave them a shopping code. I thought I was thorough, I even researched their website, other sites, pages and watched a few YouTube videos about these kind of scams, but this one was different and very convincing in a very personal way. I have seen ones where you have to pay for shipping or pay for the costs and they claim to send you all this stuff, or it is a pyramid scheme of sorts. But this one seemed like a great cause, they offered a swell discount and were very responsive until I placed the order.
Word to the wise, make purchases from a trusted source, do your research and be sure to use a method of payment that is insured or has your back. Avoid debit cards or anything that is connected to your bank accounts. I also used my P.O. Box as my address because I was hesitant to give them my home address and as it turns out your subconscious is usually right. So in the end I quite possibly almost maybe could've potentially gotten scammed.
I have no doubt this era that we are living in is a double edged sword. While I try to maintain a positive attitude and share inspiration, hope and joy... We are human and it does take a toll on your mental health to encounter all of these challenges, changes and the new normal of life.
On The Bright Side
1. I've enjoyed all of this quality time at home with my husband. I feel our relationship has only grown stronger and better with each passing day. We have and will always compliment each other and balance one another -- and that is perhaps the most gratifying experience I can share so far since March. As a life partner who has loved unconditionally this only intensifies these feelings of deep love, appreciation and support.
2. Tele-Work - I've been working remotely and from home for 6 years now... so nothing is new for me, but many others have discovered how great it can be to be just a productive from the comforts of home. It can still be rewarding, productive and efficient if you do it correctly. At home projects all got done and all this downtime was a great way to reconnect on all levels. I am also extremely grateful to still have work!
3. Takeout and Delivery - at it's peak when we all feared going out in public and were ordered to stay in our homes, the joy of home delivery and restaurant food for takeout was a pleasant experience. perhaps it was seeing other humans, encountering other people, seeing something new and trying something new that helped bring a spark to your day. From that we discovered a few gems and also learned to really appreciate our small businesses who are working so hard to stay afloat, always adapting and pivoting to stay alive.
4. Communication is Key - with the advent of FaceTime, Zoom, video conferencing, text messaging, direct messaging, group chats and etc... keeping in touch, sharing a message and just engaging with others really helped to uplift and inspire. I tried to keep in touch with close friends regularly and hoped that my messages and frequent check-ins also kept their spirits up.
5. Mother Nature Reset - the water is clearer, the oceans are cleaner, life is rejuvenated and wildlife found some restoration. I first heard about it when dolphins were swimming in Venice, the fish returned to parts of Waikiki and coral started to grow again. Our reduced impact on the environment really helped mother nature experience a rebirth or sorts.
On The Down Side
1. After one month in isolation, the lack of social encounters and in-person engagements led me to a somber place. I felt frustrated, defeated and emotionally lost. I believe the unknown and fear created these feelings of angst and fright. There were so many questions about this new virus, sickness, death, hospitalization and more. Obviously, there are still a series of unknowns but Hawaii has emerged as one of the lowest regions of infection and has done very well keeping the health and safety of our residents in tact. Being cooped up at home isn't the best and most ideal choice but I am grateful to be safe, healthy and virus free.
2. Too much social media - while I manage social media for others as it is part of my business, also for Da Best Hawaii and my own personal pages this, as you can imagine, is somewhat cumbersome. Posting for my clients is fun, exciting and inspires me... but keeping up with Da Best Hawaii and maintaining posts for myself leaves me weary. I worked tirelessly to help my clients as best I could, doing 5Xs the amount of expected work and often fielding, calls, meetings, texts, emails and etc from 5am-12am daily. When the work started to taper off I found myself frustrated by others on social media who opted to unfollow, block or disengage with me personally. I think when you are living your daily life you wouldn't notice these things, but since all we had was time at home and on the internet, being social, it lead to some common frustrations. For me, I feel social media is a place to entertain, educate and inspire others. For others I think social media is a game... It's a place where they can create a facade, find false affirmations of themselves and investigate what others are doing and how they are living without them noticing. To put it in it's simplest terms much of what we see is fake, fake altered posts, fake followers, fake likes and fake friends. Now don't get me wrong this is just speaking from a personal perspective, this isn't related to marketing or business reach at all. This is mainly an observation regarding the cognitive behaviors of humans on social media. For some they are seeking validation through "likes" and "followers" and thus begins this cycle of inauthentic relationships, engagements and unvalued worth. So what does this all mean? We will never know because each person is unique in their motivations and desires through social and it depends on how authentic and true they actually are.
3. I think I definitely gained weight - I don't have a scale and I am uncertain how much I weighed in February but I am pretty sure my waistline has seen better days LOL. A combination of inactivity, gym closures and lots of snacking has led to my realization. My husband did a great job of cooking for me and we ate everything that made us happy and content. I find a great sense of happiness and joy because of good food and I don't regret it, but it may take some extra time making my fitness goals again.
In the end
You can see the benefits outweighed the negatives. I do believe we will make it through and the world may in fact become a better place, I hope. Moving forward it'll be a world that is more cognizant of the way we interact, the way we treat each other and the decisions we make. I can only hope that we can always consider what is best for the soul, for others and for the planet.