As you may recall, I’m taking a drawing class this fall through the local community college. Now, although I considered myself not too shabby with pencil and paper before, the class has truly shown me that I can do more than just draw something I’ve seen in a photograph (I’ve always been hesitant about drawing from “real life”). So, along with my new confidence, I figured I deserved some new toys.
During one class, the instructor mentioned a few places to get art supplies and the fun of browsing art supply stores. One of the shops she mentioned was Blick.
See, there used to be a wonderful locally-owned art supply store in Portland called Art Media. I loved this shop even though i had no idea what half the stuff was used for. Well, a few years ago came the devastating news that Art Media was bought out (sold out?) to Blick and that Blick was shutting down several of the stores including the ones nearest me. Blick, to me, was an evil enterprise stealing my art store.
Still, the instructor mentioned it so I thought I’d take a look at their website. And that is when I had a “holy crap” moment.
The Wonders of Blick
At heart, I’m a cheapskate. I want quality, but I also want money left in my pocket once I’ve attained said quality item. Blick appeals to my quality-seeking cheapskate heart. On their website, most items are discounted anywhere from 30 to 60 percent off retail prices. Add to this they have a HUGE selection and I was like a crazy bargain hunter on Black Friday!
By the way, i did compare the prices of the items I was purchasing on several other sites such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy. Although there were a couple items I found for a dollar or two less, for the overall order, Blick’s prices were far better.
What’s Even Better? Encouraging New Things!
Not only did I score some great prices on several different types of paper and a new set of fancy-schmancy artist-grade colored pencils, but the prices are so low they allow curious artists to try out new media without investing a lot of money. In my case, I’ve never really tried pastels, so I picked up a couple sets and a pad of highly recommended pastel paper for less than $15. I’m still not sure if I like pastels, but I do like getting bargains, so I still win.
Customer Service Also Wins
Okay, as I said, I’m a cheapskate. I hate shipping charges and will do what I can to find my way around them. Often, one of these ways is to sign up for a website’s newsletter. In the first letter, you’re bound to find some shipping discount. Blick was no exception. Signed up, got a code for free shipping and started filling my cart.
When I went to use the code though, it didn’t work. Tried again and again and still no luck. After a few bouts of cursing, I emailed customer service and mentioned the issue (I did not mention I am a total cheapskate). In only a few hours, they responded apologizing for the problem and told me just to mention the issue when I checked out and i would get free shipping once the order was processed.
Of course, I was skeptical, but figured the cart was waiting, I might as well check out. The initial order total included the shipping charge, but once I received the final invoice, voila! no shipping charge. Magic!
Shipping Time Also Fantabulous
Once I placed the order, the estimated date of arrival seemed SOOOOO far away (you know, like ten whole days). Blick ships via FedEx Smart Post so part of the order is handled via FedEx who then passes it onto your local post office once the box gets to town. For whatever weird reason, I love to watch package tracking notices and watched my box dawdling along, feeling dismayed that I had to wait, wait, wait. After all, I had art to create and new media to explore!
Well, surprise surprise, the box showed up three days earlier than expected! Everything was there, nothing was broken and I’ve been having fun with my new toys ever since.