I don’t know what I ever did to you Pottery Barn, but today I am not a happy camper.
It all started innocently enough a few days ago when I decided to list my Songbird Bedding quilt and shams on eBay. I’m sorry if you were offended by this. When I first bought the set, I was living in one room with a green accent wall. The quilt made sense. But now I’ve moved into two rooms and the green wall is gone. A different palette makes more sense in my bedroom and quite frankly I don’t have room to store an extra bedding set. So I decided to sell the Songbird set to someone who could use it.
As many people do, I decided to use one of your catalog photos in my auction to show how pretty the set is! (I also used a photo of my own.) I priced the set way below retail and clicked begin auction. Apparently this grandly offended you in some way, because today I received a nasty note from eBay that you’d killed my auction because I used your photo. Even though this auction uses your photos. And this one. And this one and this one and this one and…well, you get the picture. They all use your photos. But they are OK? While my auction gets killed? I’m hurt.
Look, I get that seeing someone use your photo without permission is annoying. In fact when people use my review photos from this blog without asking I get annoyed. But here’s the thing: I write to them first. “Hey so and so, please remove my photo or I’ll have to report this auction. hugs, roxy.” Not so hard! Let’s say I wanted to ask Pottery Barn permission to use the photo. How exactly would I contact your company to do that?
eBay is complicit in this too — I love that it takes me 5 days and 3 clueless customer service people to get my photo removed from someone else’s auction yet eBay has no problem killing my auction without even asking me to remove the photos just because Williams-Sonoma says so.
So I’m angry. Not like DEFCON 5 angry, but angry. In the grand scheme of things I know this lands somewhere between having that one annoying flyaway hair and realizing I left my lunch in my kitchen when I’m halfway to the subway. There are much worse things going on in the world then my eBay auction getting killed. But you picked a bad day to be mean to me, because I’ve been stuck inside sick since last Saturday and I’ve got cabin fever. I’ve been watching HGTV pretty much non-stop and dammit if I wasn’t about to buy a bunch of stuff from West Elm (same parent company, etc) because nothing at Pottery Barn tempts me right now. Like say 2 of West Elm’s Tulip Chairs, a couple of those Mongollian Lamb Pillow Covers and a set of your Petal Print Sheets and oh maybe the Bubbles Quilt too. But no. Not now. I’m annoyed enough to go find similar items somewhere else.
I notice that you had no issue with me using your Subway Sign in a photo which helped you get free publicity and lots of eyeballs before. And you probably liked it when I painted my wall in my last place Stem Green from your color collection. I called that whole area of my apartment the Pottery Barn corner for cripes sake. Now I’m forced to look angrily at my Logan Media Set with the coordinating baskets and curse you out silently. Damn your attractive furniture but overly aggressive and entirely unneccessary brand ownership policing! Because let me tell you that when it comes to brand loyalty I am easy to please but hard to win over after you’ve wronged me. Especially after ludicrous moves like this. You do understand how social media works, right? Do you really go around biting the hand that feeds you? I guess so.
I wasn’t selling a knock-off. It was just an item I no longer needed. Would you rather see it end up in a landfill? What would that say about your brand???
Let this be a lesson to both of us. Me? Avoiding your catalog images in the future. Like altogether. Unsubscribe and such. You? Maybe not being so overly protective about your images? Hmmm? Grudges? I hold them. Priorities? Dangerously imbalanced due to fever. Angry? You betcha. ARGH!