Friday, September 16, 2011

In My Humble Opinion

It seems that everything that can possibly be said in regards to the whole Anthroholic situation has already been said by other bloggers. There's not much that I can add here. In case you've had your head stock in the sand for the past couple of days, here's a breakdown from bloggers who elaborated on the issue.

Anthrofans: Where do we go from here?

Breaking The Silence

My only two cents that I can throw in are, (and I don't mean to sound insensitive to those who lost money and encountered a lot of frustration in dealing with Kim's personal shopping services,) why has the pursuit of desired Anthropologie items has taken so many to giving money to a complete stranger, even if she had a blog? Did her personal shopping services come with any reviews? Did she run a registered business? I understand that the heart wants what it wants, but at which point do we say "it's just clothes"? If we don't buy this today, we'll buy something else tomorrow. Yes, it's pretty, but it's not a one-of-a-kind work of art that needs to be pursued at all cost. It will enhance your life for a little while until Anthropologie or some other brand will come out with the next coveted item and then the whole scenario starts all over again.

I know first hand what it means to be scammed, since it happened to me with an e-Bay seller many years ago when purchasing some photography equipment. I was young and naive. He did have 100% positive rating. The reason I'm telling you this is because I want you to know that I know what it means to be a victim of a scam and I'm extremely sympathetic. However, I'm still under the impression that with Kim (and I don't know anything about her, this is just a hunch), it's simply a case of lack of responsibility and not actual fraud. Of course this doesn't make anyone who lost money feel any better.

Maybe the lesson with which we should come out of this situation, is to take clothes a little less seriously. We should enjoy what is accessible to us through normal means and efforts and not chase after what is not easily accessible. Life it too short to spend it hunting for that one unattainable item. I bet what an average Anthropologie customer spends on clothes per month can feed a village in Somalia for a year. Think about that.


Anonymous said...

Love the last sentence! Straight to the point.

*jcg said...

your post is perfectly timed for the missoni for target episode, as well as this anthroholic mess.

Anonymous said...

I would have to disagree with your assessment of the the situation. The sheer number of women affected, the amount of time it happened over, and her initial responses to the unfolding drama have led me to believe that she did not make a mistake or act carelessly. If she was in fact overwhelmed, she should not have taken on the work until her situation resolved itself. I am sad that so many people were affected by all of this and that they felt unable to raise flags about her. I do agree wholeheartedly that we need to take a step back and remember it's just stuff.

JewishGirlBlog said...

Thanks for the link. You provide excellent food for thought! I think a lot of us will probably reevaluate the importance we place on finding that one beautiful item now.

None said...

Thank you for sharing your take on this situation. Fun is fun, and reality is harsh, and for me this is a case of reality intruding on fun. But that's the problem with reality. It's always there.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree.
I wasn't scammed but have read all the information that I could.
Kim is a con artist. Period.
She has scammed previously, did it on a bigger scale this time, and her excuse of being overwhelmed doesn't fit. She had plenty of time to write lies, make fake shipping labels, and blog daily.

It makes me sad that you are continuing to enable her by perpetuating her fake excuse.
Let's call a spade a spade so she can be reported to authorities. Then, and only then, will other innocent and trusting people be safe from her scams.

Lauren S. said...

I think you make a great point about consumer frenzy to continually buy, buy, buy, but like others, I respectfully disagree that this was more a case of irresponsibility than fraud. Irresponsibility is losing information, not being able to tell whose money is whose, and not having time to locate items. Fraud is when you take someone's money after promising a service you know you won't deliver, spending said money, and then lying like crazy to prevent the person from filing a refund claim within 45 days.

I truly believe it's abundantly clear that Kim did the latter, which means she did commit fraud and needs to be reported to the authorities. I feel that in the past when she did this, people wrote it off as irresponsibility when it was also fraud, and then she just turned around and did it again. We as a community cannot allow that to happen this time around and one way to do that is to call a spade a spade and characterize what she did as fraud for which there is no excuse.

She may have an addiction. Many people do. And like many of us, she may have lost the perspective that you write about where we realize it's just clothing and not something we truly have to have. But in the end, it doesn't matter. She took it a step further and stole from innocent people and that's simply not the same thing as being personally irresponsible with finances.

Kavita said...

I also respectfully disagree. With all the people coming forward and information coming to light, it's clear she was intentionally scamming people and using the same excuse of being "overwhelmed" over and over again. This is fraud and not a simple case of lack of responsibility. She has done it before on a smaller scale on another forum, and if she doesn't see consequences from this current case, she will do it again if we let her get away with the excuse of "lack of responsibility."
Also, a large part of her victims were people who live abroad and who enlisted her services to help cut down on the exorbitant shipping costs Anthro charges to ship to these countries (for example, Anthro charges $40 to ship to Canada). I agree with you that we should be careful not to become so obsessed with a certain item that we will do anything at any cost to obtain it, but I truly believe that was not the case with the majority of the people who used her services. Yes, she did put up glowing reviews which were written by those customers who used the service when it first started up, and apparently she did deliver as promised to those first customers, but started to scam hundreds of people after that.
I hope you do not take this as rude, but I just wanted to say I think you are not assessing the situation correctly.

Sophie said...

Dear Anonymous, Lauren S, and Kavita,

I am not at all offended with any of you disagreeing with my opinion, because my opinion is not that strong in this case. You might be completely right and I may be completely wrong. I was not following the situation from it's onset and like I mentioned in my post, don't know much about Kim except from what other bloggers write and what I saw of her blog when it was still up.
The only basis for forming my opinion is that she was too much of a public figure to get away with mass fraud. If she planned on scamming people all along, why would she let out her real name and location, so she can be tracked down easily? Something doesn't add up. Unless Kim Baker is not her real name after all.
I do wonder how all this will end.

Kavita said...

Scammers give away information about themselves all the time and some of them are public figures (look at Bernie Madoff). In fact, Kim was using her popularity to her advantage to scam all these people because they thought she was trustworthy person based on the initial reviews and her immense popularity among the anthro blogosphere. Even if her initial intent was not malicious, she was still being fraudulent in her cover-up.

Michelle said...

I finally got my refund from Kim (hallelujah). I think in the beginning she may have wanted to run a legit personal shopping business. I think it quickly turned into something darker. Yes, she was putting her reputation on the line by not following through -- but I really think her addiction to clothes was fueling the fire (almost like how a drug addiction alters an addict's thinking). I think she was taking $ and using it for personal use. I truly think she wasn't even attempting to find the items in most cases. So many people have yet to receive a refund. She was probably taking on more and more clients so she could give partial refunds to a few clients here and there and continue to support her shopping habit.
One thing that is clear to me: she was not offering refunds to many of her clients, or sometimes not offering refunds in full. This is fraud. Period. If she was just busy or overwhelmed, she would have clicked the "refund" button on PayPal and moved on. She wouldn't have continued to take on more clients. I have a whole email chain from her with excuses (the same ones others wrote about on Roxy's blog).
I hope everyone gets their refund and that Kim won't be able to FRAUD anyone else!


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