For some reason, I receive an email each evening from something called Pinterest. Generally, the emails are concerned with Clarice Cliff pottery. I know nothing about Clarice Cliff pottery, other than the fact that my mother has a Clarice Cliff jar.
At some point, I must have done an online search for Clarice Cliff jars. How else would Pinterest have come to be sending me details of Clarice Cliff pottery?
I don’t even understand what Pinterest is about. It seems to be people sharing their favourite photographs of favourite things. At some point, I must have registered with it in order for them to have my email address.
Anyway, the latest email included photographs of brown leather shoes and boots on a website called mofylook. I was instantly attracted because, midway through teaching a lesson on Thursday, I noticed the upper of my brown leather shoe had detached itself from the sole for a length of four or five inches.
“These shoes are not even twenty years old,” I complained to the class, “ I only bought them in 2003.”
“Sir,” responded one student, “that’s before any of us were born.”
Mofylook seemed to offer an attractive range of footwear, fine leather boots and shoes at prices far lower than anything that would be available in shops. One pair of boots looked particularly tempting, reduced from $78 to $49 with $7.99 postage from the United States to the United Kingdom.
Googling the company, I discovered from a website called TrustPilot that the company was very efficient at deducting payments from customers’ accounts and less efficient at actually dispatching the items for which people had paid.
It was a disappointment to discover that the fine brown boots would not be mine, that some pair of footwear from a high street store, something much less attractive, would have to suffice.
Why did Pinterest have a posting from a company with such a poor customer rating? Didn’t the appearance on Pinterest suggest to users that the company was one with whom one could deal with confidence?
That is the problem with the world we inhabit, it’s bewildering. Anyone in a high street shop who thought it appropriate to give poor service would quickly find the shop’s reputation would be diminished by word of mouth. People know before they go through the door what they can expect.
The virtual world does not have a comparable level of quality control. Pinterest leaves me to my own choices – and mistakes.