I was thinking tonight about quality. As most people know, I'm not a huge fan of hunts. I think we're a bit over saturated in SL with hunts and they tend to get on my nerves. If I do one, it's either because the girls have raved about it [actually, that's how most of my shopping gets done these days - my hardcore shopping friends tell me something is fabulous and I go out to buy it] or because a designer that I really really like is in it. I'll go through a whole hunt just to find something from Long Awkward Pose, and I'm totally not lying about that.
So when my group started buzzing about that crazy ghost hunt, I figured since I didn't have anything better to do, I'd go ahead and do it. Besides, LAP was in it, and Katat0nik, so what did I have to lose?
The answer is - I lost a lot of time.
Oh, I'm not saying everything was bad. I picked up a lot of very good things, actually. Most of it will be boxed up until next Halloween season, I'm sure, but some of it will become part of my regular rotation. But it did get me thinking about quality.
You see, when you're new to SL, you don't know what's really excellent and what's just good enough. You pick up all kinds of junk that you think is fab just because you don't know any better and you're a bit awed that someone made a skirt and you're still working on not wearing a box on your head. But as you progress, you start to talk to people. You look at people. You find out about blogs and you start to notice changes in products. Those jeans that you picked up that you thought were so hot now look noobie and sad next to a pair of jeans with matching seams and sculpted cuffs. Those prim shoes with bling shooting out of them look crazy next to a delicate pair of heels with pretty little buckles and straps. You learn and you grow. And for a LOT of people, gifts are the way they learn about quality in SL. Anyone can go down to Freebie Island and pick up pants, shirts, and some jacked up shoes. You can be dressed. But you go somewhere that is offering a free gift that is quality work, suddenly you think, "Hey...this looks SO much better! I wonder what else is here..." It would not surprise me one bit that stores that give good quality gifts on a regular basis produce higher sales than a store that doesn't.
But then we have the people who participate in freebie days and gift hunts who are so obviously only wanting the traffic. And really? Who's paying attention to traffic anyway? Does it even matter?
While I was sitting on my posestand tonight looking through all 113 ghost folders [yeah, you know, this hunt was a BIT excessive], I was trying things on to make sure I wanted to keep it. And oh heavens. Mismatched seams, prim skirts that were crazy and huge and couldn't be resized, poorly fitting shoes... Heck, someone even gave an item of clothing she's been giving away since January, and the neck seams were STILL all wonky! The BIGGEST blooper came from a store that put a skin and an outfit in the folder. Now at first glance, it looked like they were being incredibly generous. But if you do a lot of shopping, you know that the RONJAS brand is pretty much a big ol' business in a box mess. So right away I threw all that out, knowing also that Ronjas is not my taste whatsoever. Then I tried on the skin.
It was a ripped skin. Granted, it was a ripped skin from a designer that has had the finger pointed at them for ripping off others, but holy cow. LOL It was a surprise!
But really, what was that about? Putting business in a box mess and a stolen skin in a folder and saying "O hai dere! Come to mah store!" is not a good way to market your crappy stuff. I went out to the store later and almost everything in there is ripped or from a BIAB. Nice.
After that, I was a little more ruthless as I went through the rest of my hunt items. I was looking for quality. The bed from Instinct? Fantastic! The pumpkin from LAP? So cute!! The dress and shoes from Katat0nik? Precious!!
It's all about the quality, folks. Free or not free, it's always about the quality.