Buying Rocky Costumes

Previously I've written posts about Selling Rocky Costumes and Making Rocky Costumes for Friends.  So it seems I should complete that theme with Buying Rocky Costumes.

I've seen costume transactions go poorly, and I've been involved in costume transactions that went poorly. Sometimes the blame lies with the seller, and sometimes the blame lies with the consumer - and I've dealt with a lot of poor consumers.  So what can you do to increase the odds ever in your favor of receiving the product you're expecting?

1.  I'm going to lead with this because it's one of the biggest issues:  measurements.  It's imperative that you submit good measurements.  If you feel unsure or uncomfortable with this process be sure to ask the seller for explicit directions.  Typically they'll want your measurements taken over the undergarments you'll be wearing with the costume. Do not substitute bra sizes for measurements.  Do not measure your clothes instead of your body.  And in some cases, you will absolutely need a second person because the very process of reaching some measurements will result in distortions.  There is nothing a seller can do if you provide poor measurements.

2.  Do your research.  Read reviews..  Ask people in the community.  Ask all your questions up front.  How long should it take?  What if it takes longer?  What are their return policies?  Do they keep the materials on hand, or procure them after the order is placed?  What if they can't get them?

And if there are bad reviews take the time to read the specifics of the complaints - are they reasonable? Were they resolved fairly?

3. What to do if you're not satisfied with the product?  This relates very much to #2 - educating yourself about their return policy - because it's a very real possibility you may not receive something up to your standards.  I've seen custom work span the gammut of amateur to professional.

Communication is key.  I understand the frustration of disappointment, but a nasty attitude is not going to resolve things any easier for you.  Attacking the seller is never okay, and once that tactic is in play I support the sellers right to extinguish all communication with you, and perhaps move forward with a third party arbitrator.

4. What to do if you love the work, but it simply doesn't fit?  The best place is to revisit the measurements given.  Does it match the measurements, but not fit?  Does it match neither?  If you're goal is to have the costume corrected you'll need to be as specific as possible.  When dealing with online transactions you need to realize that these problems are a very real outcome that can happen.  If you're not prepared to resolve this you probably shouldn't order anything custom online.  How the seller resolves these issues is crucial to their online reputation.

5.  What if it doesn't arrive on time?  Remember, this isn't coming off the rack.  It takes as long as it takes, and most sellers have other day job commitments before their costuming commitments.  If you need a custom piece rushed to you by a certain date be prepared to pay big, but also be prepared to be disappointed.  Despite any sellers best intentions, the odds are ever stacked against you in these situations.  Personally, my advice is to say just don't do it.  Receiving a rushed costume allows no time for any problem resolution, which is unfair to both the buyer and seller.

In summary, be reasonable about your expectations.  You're probably not dealing with a seasoned professional. Accept that things may not be perfect and you may need to communicate extensively with the seller to resolve things. Understand that there is a human at the other end of the transaction with feelings.

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