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Etsy Store Owner Goes Viral After Customer Service Exchange

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Elisabeth Manente shared her customer service experience with an Etsy store on
TikTok. @elisabethmanente/TikTok

  • Elisabeth Manente shared her customer service experience with an Etsy store on TikTok.
  • She was met with contempt from the store’s owner when she requested a refund.
  • The owner of the store, Cleaver and Blade, accused her of being drunk or high in a testy exchange.

This story originally appeared on Business Insider.

A woman’s experience getting a refund from an Etsy store went viral after she shared a rude exchange on TikTok.

In the video, which racked up 2.3 million views, Elisabeth Manente is told to “have the day you deserve” by a store selling candles, which accuses her of shopping while drunk or high.

Manente, a model and actor with 11,000 followers, said she was ordering a Harry Styles candle from Cleaver And Blade — a pop art store that sells mugs, t-shirts, and posters of celebrities in ecclesiastical designs. The candle costs $19.

She said she accidentally purchased the wrong one on January 9, realized her mistake the next morning, and requested a refund.

The interaction was hostile straight away with the store approving the refund, but complaining it cost them $5 to refund her. Manente apologized and said it was an accident, starting a testy exchange.

“I refunded you, and I highly doubt that you accidentally ordered, have the day you deserve,” the store said.

Manente sarcastically thanked the store for their customer service and said she would “see them on TikTok,” prompting a new wave of insulting messages.

“Last night while you were smoking your peace pipe, you ACCIDENTALLY went through our store and picked out a candle and purchased,” a message reads. “You woke up this morning, sober, and decided ah, better not get that candle … it was an ACCIDENT, so you asked for your money back.”

“What part doesn’t make sense to you?” the store continued after Manente answered back. “Would you like me to get my dancing shoes and create a TikTok for you to help you understand?”

@elisabethmanente I love @Etsy but WTF?! This is not okay. #greenscreen #fyp #DoritosTriangleTryout #customerserviceproblems #etsy #foryoupage ♬ Elevator Music – Bohoman

Manente told Insider that she assumed the person writing to her was a teenager.

“I’m like, there’s no way an adult is talking to me like this,” she said. “The peace pipe part, where they insinuated I was under the influence, that’s what kind of threw me off a little bit. That is just completely uncalled for.”

Manente posted her TikTok on January 11. Later, the store’s owner Vladimir Costa posted a response captioned “the melodrama of St. Elizabeth, the beholder of Karen tears.”

In it, he accused blamed Manente for a backlash against the store. He also said he would start donating $5 of each sale to a local woman’s shelter in New Orleans. That post has since been deleted.

“You said you couldn’t afford the $5 refund, and now you’re going donate $5 to a woman’s shelter?” Manente said. “That didn’t sit right with people or me, because I’m like, well, I’m a woman, women end up in these shelters because of verbally abusive men.”

The offending Harry Styles candle. CleaverandBlade/Etsy

In a long written statement to Insider, Costa concede that his response to Manente was “piquant and sarcastic,” but also accused her of “social media weaponization.”

“Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, Twitter, FB, and now TikTok are being used as weapons by consumers to get whatever they feel they are entitled to,” he said. “Small businesses walk on eggs losing control of their profit line with fear that they do not end up with bad reviews.”

Costa said he still did not believe the purchase was an accident.

“We are not a large business like Amazon and Wal-Mart,” he said. “We really believe that people like Elisabeth need to know that we do not operate in the same margins or with the immense large budgets they do.”

Costa also sent Insider screenshots of some threatening messages he had received from other people, including one that said “kill yourself.”

Manente said she didn’t post the video to get any kind of response, but to stop other people being treated the same way.

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10 Things Every Working Woman Should Do This Year

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Self-care has become an all-encompassing term that has strayed from the importance of everyday commodities that keep us in good health and spirits. Though pampering and “treat yourself” moments still have value, here are ten ways to invest in yourself to produce long-lasting, positive results.

Related: 8 Self-Care Tips From Wildly Successful Entrepreneurs

1. Put money into a 401(k)

It’s never too early (or too late!) to start saving for the future. Depending on your employment status, there are different retirement savings accounts. 401(k)s are the most common since these are employer-sponsored and often come with an employer match. However, freelancers also have options, such as a SEP-IRA or a high-yield savings account, to put away extra, tax-free dollars for retirement.

2. Schedule a health checkup

Self-care first includes taking care of your physical health. It’s easy to discredit regular checkups when you’re feeling healthy, but make this the year to get your blood work done. It creates a baseline for your health to identify areas needing improvement or extra attention.

Also, choose areas in your life where you can make small changes. Improving your health doesn’t always mean a drastic overhaul; it may be as simple as drinking more water or adding an extra 30 minutes of exercise to your day.

Related: 3 Key Tips for Optimizing Your Physical Health as an Entrepreneur

3. Review health insurance benefits

Many people with health insurance aren’t sure exactly what it does and doesn’t cover. If you’re unsure, talk with your HR representative or your health insurance provider to get an overview of deductibles, co-payments and other supplemental benefits you may not be aware of. Then, decide if the health care plan makes sense for your current lifestyle.

Are you paying for benefits you don’t use, or do you need additional benefits that aren’t covered? Selecting the right plan will help ensure you have what you need without paying the extra expense for anything you don’t.

4. Ignite your curiosity

Maintaining healthy cognitive functions through new pursuits gives a boost to the brain. Get curious and find what speaks to you. This can be anything from exploring local museums, embarking on different hiking trails, learning a new language or reading more books.

There’s no limit to what you can do, and these activities can ignite more creativity and motivation in your work. While it may be helpful to look to others for inspiration, make them enjoyable so you’ll want to make them a regular occurrence.

5. Prioritize mental health

Mental health has been at the forefront of people’s lives over the past few years, as many have experienced burnout. We often equate productivity with a value that drives us to go beyond our means and leads to anxiety, stress and depression. Take note of your everyday stressors and see how to reduce or eliminate them. Then, replace them with relaxing outlets that allow you to recharge.

There are various ways to prioritize mental health, from practicing positive self-talk to meditation to scheduling an electronics-free day. You may have to try different solutions before you find one that fits.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health as an Entrepreneur

6. Implement good sleep habits

Consistent sleep is one of the essential factors of good health but one that is often overlooked. For many, it can be challenging to wind down from the workday. Therefore, you must “train” your body to prepare for sleep by getting into a nighttime routine.

Create a sanctuary for yourself to improve your sleep habits. Enjoy a soothing cup of herbal tea, perform a skincare routine, and snuggle in with a good book rather than scrolling through your phone. Additionally, ensure your bedroom is dark and cool for ideal sleep comfort and turn on soothing sounds if it helps lull you to sleep.

7. Try something new

What have you wanted to try but have always held back? Maybe it’s public speaking or contributing to a blog. Whatever “new” has been on your to-do, make a plan, schedule it on your calendar and go for it. It’s common to hold back from these activities due to fear of the unknown or failure, but trying new things helps create confidence and can be the catalyst you need to push you to the next level.

8. Learn to set boundaries

Boundary setting is crucial to relationships yet can be difficult to master. It doesn’t always involve simply saying no to people’s requests. Instead, it requires protecting your own values when people violate them. Setting boundaries may mean spending less time with certain people, removing yourself from toxic situations, or declining invites to events that don’t improve your life. Explore areas where boundaries will help you grow, and keep in mind growth itself is a work in progress.

Related: How to Set Boundaries to Build Thriving Relationships

9. Spend quality time alone

Learning how to enjoy time spent alone is a valuable gift. We are inundated by a false sense of connection through the internet, which often makes us feel lonelier than ever. Then, we overschedule our calendars to make up for human connections, only to feel drained afterward. Slow it down and plan a few solo dates a month to see how it feels to be truly present with yourself.

For those who aren’t used to spending quality time alone, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable initially, but these stem from your own perceptions. Take in a matinee, sit in a coffee shop and read, or enjoy a concert or event you’ve wanted to attend. Alone time has been linked to improved stress management and greater life satisfaction, so it’s worth trying to give yourself more time.

Related: Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

10. Get active

Getting active can take on several directions. It can be physical, emotional or spiritual. The point is to engage with people and pursuits that feed your soul. Whether volunteering within your community, setting yourself an exercise goal, or learning more about personal development, there are endless ways to get active and invest in yourself this year.

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Are You a Winner? How to Truly Define Winning in Your Business

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Businesses gauge their performance typically with dozens of goals and metrics. But you can’t do everything at once. The challenge is to get people focused on the one thing that’s most important right now. If it moved in the right direction, it would eliminate a weakness (or capitalize on an opportunity) and improve financial outcomes. You improve that, and you win.

However, not every company clearly defines winning. A catalog of goals can pull the organization in multiple directions and stretch finite resources. Numerous goals can inherently be at odds, working against each other and for conflicting purposes. For example, a cost reduction goal might undermine an innovation goal requiring a significant investment.

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Gen Z Is Making Ugg Boots Fashionable Again: Report

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Ugg boots, the furry, sheepskin boots that defined the 2000s are back, apparently, with spiking interest and Gen Z cachet, according to data from shopping website, Lyst.

The site’s annual quarterly report that highlights the “hottest” 20 fashion brands was released on Thursday, and, as Insider noted, Ugg is on it for the first time since the index began in 2017.

“Gen Z shoppers are breathing new life into once dormant brands … with over 1.2 billion mentions on TikTok — Ugg’s influence is undeniable,” the report notes.

The boots were also sold out of stores during the holidays, it added.

Generation Z, or people born between 1997 and 2012, has demonstrated a penchant for bringing back old technology and trends, from flip phones to “vintage” headphones with cords.

But Ugg boots go back much further — the word “ugg” is actually a general term in Australia that means boots made from sheepskin and fleece, according to the BBC.

The company that created the “UGG” boot, Deckers Outdoor Corporation, is based in the U.S. and has tried and failed to trademark the word in Australia (where a court decided it was a generic word and thus could not be trademarked), the outlet added.

The company says the boots began to gain popularity in California in the 1980s. They were first featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2000 (a huge brand-maker back then) and became “cherished commodities” early in the decade, according to Vogue.

The boots later gained prominence again with a fashion movement that prioritized “ugly” clothes, and have since become an unironic Gen Z favorite, per Insider. Kylie Jenner was also spotted wearing them in November.

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