Saturday, April 13, 2019

A Review of Mead Derwent Pastel Pencils

By: Kevin Drummond

Are you an artist? Have you ever been seduced by the online perchance offering to exclude you from the uncomfortable shuffle through your local high end art store; since Michael's is for normies and Hobby Lobby is worse?

Let me give you a time saving, and money saving hint: do not buy anything from Derwent Mead. If your order has the word, ACCO on the bottom, cancel it, immediately.

That's a shame, too. But, manufacturing a great product is only half the battle. Getting it into your customers' hands is the better part of the war, and the area where Mead/Derwent just cannot get their shit together.

I buy individual pencils per requiem. And, since 1999, I have always driven 60 miles into a bad neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama, and, to a street bearing a number that only insiders can locate, and spend around $3 per pencil, when all the paperwork is done.

Recently, I decided that, although the order time could be a problem, maybe I should look into the digital markeplace, and behold: Derwent UK. With them I have no problem. In fact, Derwent UK is better than Blicks...

But, one day, while looking at pastel pencils, because I'm an artist, not a kid or a housewife: I don't use colored pencils... And was placing the order for pastel pencils into the cart, and wham: WI-FI/POWER OUTAGE.

It all came back on, and thought I was on the same website, so, I finished the order. It took them two days to send the confirmation email, it was not from Derwent but Mead/Derwent. And, the invoice accompanying it said that I paid $93 for 12 colored pencils. I didn't order any colored pencils. I actually am an artist. Buying six colored pencils to do what it takes two pastel pencils to do just makes no sense, to me.

Cool. I will just call customer service...

On the phone, I was told to return the items, obtain the new tracking number, and when I got that to them, that they'd not wait, but they'd go ahead and send me what I actually ordered, but there was a $7-$10 (I can't recall) difference I'd have to make up, but that as soon as I have him a tracking number, he'd go ahead and ship the correct product.

So, I waited. It took eight days for the wrong item to arrive. 

And within 12 hours of receiving it, it was on the way back to New York, back to Mead. Ok. So far, so good....
So I came home to call customer service, only to find out that they cannot do what the first guy said they would do, until the tracking information returns confirming they are the addressee. 
Wait..... What? So, keeping up, I'm now $93 +12.50 into this..... 

So, I take the advice, wait two hours, (to talk to someone averages 15-40 minutes), and nope. No address confirmation. As if THEY would be scammed by me! Right?

Finally, I call the USPS, and their tracking information will not tell them that they are the addressee, the mere fact they have a tracking number implied that they are the addressee. So, 40 more minutes, this time: I let them know that we are 11 days into this, and I still will have to tell my customer (these are for the portrait of her recently deceased 15 year old dog) that I have not started, yet. And apologize....again .

The lady at Mead (Derwent) apologizes, in the robot "get what you want" subliminal fakery, and promises me that she will send 24 pastel pencils out, with no further cost to me. Great. What I paid for. Day 14. 

Only today, three days later, it is 12 pencils and 12 bricks: what I didn't pay for.....again. Again. $115 for 12 pencils and 12 pastel bricks which I don't need? But, it is almost guaranteed that one black and one white is not going to be enough...... 

$127.50. Returning. Demanding total refund for $93. Lesson learned. 

So, save yourself the time. Save yourself the hassle. Save yourself the rage. Save yourself the grief: boycott Mead Derwent.

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