February 13, 2020

Intellectual property trolls, abusive customers, and more from Boredwalk's horrible, no good, very bad week.

Well howdy! It's been a minute since we published a long form blog post here about the goings-on at Boredwalk. Mostly this is down to us being able to cover most of our weekly happenings in our emails and/or on our podcast, but every once in a while we run through such an overwhelming gauntlet of bullshit that it just won't all fit in a quick, quippy email. So what's been going on? Lots!

First, Meredith and I went to Texas last week for work. I won't bore you with the scintillating details — it was a lot of talks about organizational structure, email deliverability, and all the other boring minutiae that ultimately results in you buying stuff from strangers on the internet — but here are the main takeaways:

• For all its talk of being a bastion of libertarianism, Texas gets mighty puritanical about booze on Sundays. Apparently Jesus — you know, He who (allegedly) turned water into wine — frowns upon Bloody Marys being served without food to go with it, even though the whole point of the Bloody Mary is that it's essentially a salad in a glass with just enough vodka in it to give it some tangy zip.

Look, Texas, don't be throwing shade at the People's Nanny State of California if we're allowed to buy booze 20 hours a day, seven days a week, and weed 24/7. It's...unseemly. Stay in your dusty lane.

• Turns out that attending an alcohol-fueled 200+ person professional conference bookended by two cross-country flights is a recipe for a weakened immune system showing metaphorical flashing neon signs screaming "Hey, Influenza! Over here!" Meredith and I were so ill upon our return to California that we had to stay home from the office on Monday and Tuesday so as not to risk getting the rest of the team sick, too.

Even in this fevered state, we still had to deal with an entirely new form of attack from art thieves! Some waste of carbon decided to steal approximately two dozen designs from our store, used them for their own site, and had the chutzpah to contact our web host and claim that we were infringing upon their intellectual property (which was in reality our intellectual property.)

The web host couldn't be bothered to look into this any more than to say "Oh hai, this rando from another country with a fake name, a dummy email address, and zero legal claim to your artwork in the form of registered copyrights says all that art we've been hosting on your site for years is actually theirs because they said so. If they make any more complaints we'll be forced to shut down your store." Have you ever been gaslighted by Big Tech? It's a trip, I can tell you that much.

How did we resolve it? How does anyone in the United States of American resolve their problems? By throwing a stupid amount of money at some lawyers. Seriously! We paid the firm that does intellectual property (IP) work for us a few thousand bucks to make a call and deal with Shopify. I mean, they did do a lot more than that, but that is also an accurate synopsis of events. Take that paragraph and stretch it out over FIVE. DAYS. It was absolutely nerve-wracking to think Boredwalk could be blinked out of existence over a tech giant's sloppy, shoulder-shrugging attitude toward criminal behavior at the expense of a legitimate small business that operates completely above board.

Meredith and I were so wrapped up in defending ourselves from this garbage monster that the next thing we knew it was Thursday afternoon, I hadn't worked on a single design all week, and we were too wiped out to even record a new podcast episode. Which is the real tragedy in all of this, because let me tell you — we had a plethora of first-rate material! Oh, well. I suppose there's always next week. Our voices are still pretty rough from the flu, anyway — no one wants to listen to Tom Waits and Marianne Faithfull try to crack one another up with dad jokes.*

*Haha, joke's on you — EVERYONE wants to listen to that. And by "everyone" I mean "me."

• Not to be outdone, we had one for the record books in the "abusive customer" department. Here's the play-by-play:

1. Customer orders shirt.

2. We ship shirt two days later.

3. USPS mis-delivers shirt to wrong address; customer informs us of this on Saturday — two days after it was scanned as delivered — after their post office has already closed until Monday.

4. I explain that we will call their local post office first thing after they open on Monday morning. Customer acts like I personally arrived at their house unannounced and ate their firstborn in front of them. They go Biblical on me over Facebook Messenger. At least I assume they were being biblical, because their messages were so riddled with typos and spelling errors it looked a bit like they were speaking in tongues.

5. We ship replacement shirt just in case original can’t be found. Customer is happy to now have two shirts for the price of one.

6. We ask them to mark the duplicate package “return to sender” so it comes back to us.

7. Customer's eyes roll back, they resume speaking in tongues and cursing my firstborn, and I ask myself “why am I doing this to myself again? Oh, right — the art. The art.”





So that's everything that prevented us from creating any new art for this week! I'll tell you what, though — we have THE most amazing, supportive, and caring fans in the world. We were seriously freaking out earlier this week about the IP thing, worried this little online store full of our weird cynical art would get shut down and put us all out of jobs, and like avenging angels of encouragement you all swept in and lifted us up, and for that we are incredibly grateful.

Now, just because I didn't have time to work on any new designs this week doesn't mean we don't have new-ish art to share, so if you haven't popped by in a minute, just take a gander below!

Boredwalk It Will All Work Out In The End Shirt

Boredwalk Choose Darkness Baby Baphomet Shirt

Boredwalk The Good Thing About Science Messenger Bag

Boredwalk Transylvania Athletics Hoodie

Boredwalk Fine Thanks Black Cat Racerback Tank Top


So much good stuff, right? With any luck things will have settled down enough that I'll have something brand spanking new to show you next week. Until then, take care, try to be kind to yourself and the people around you (if they deserve it; screw those other jabronies), and live life to the fullest.

Peace, love, and tacos,