All I wanted was a little shop of my own. But I should know by now that I can’t have what I want. Not without pulling a few teeth.
The problem began about a year ago when for some reason the credit card processing company Square switched their online store setup to something called Weebly. I’d been happy with how the store was set up until then. It was easy to update. I didn’t have to think much about it. Weebly changed all that.
Now I was spending extra time wrestling the application over shipping rates and layout. Changes and updates magically reverted to previous versions with no warning or explanation. One day a painting could only be picked up, the next only shipped. Sometimes taxes were added, other times not. No rhyme or reason. On top of that, Weebly somehow convinced me to pay a hundred bucks to upgrade to “professional” level for a year. I’m not a professional on a computer in any way, shape, or form, but dealing with this company made me feel like a rank amateur.
It went on like this for most of the year until I noticed that I could cancel the recurring payment to Weebly for this “professional” scam of theirs. I figured that once they busted me down to “novice” or “peon” or whatever, things in my little store would become a total shambles. So I plotted my escape.
I’m not a tech guy. My brain isn’t wired for the kind of linear logic required for success in the field. Every time something doesn’t work online it sends me into a spiral. It’s deja vu all over again to 2004 when I was left with a new website to run half a year after learning how to turn on a computer. I broke the thing over and over again, staying up days at a time to search for the comma or exclamation point within the code that made the thing not work. I may not know what I’m doing but I’ll keep doing it wrong over and over until I stumble on an answer. Tunnel vision is how I roll.
Cut to last week when Weebly made another simple order difficult and I resolved to make my break. I surfed around for e-commerce software and chose Opencart for reasons which remain a mystery. Over the following days I clumsily attempted to stuff the folders and files into the space I cleared out on my site for the new shop. There were a few victories but many more defeats. I enlisted my good friend, Tracy, who builds websites, to help and bombarded her with questions. I also turned to the company that’s hosted my site since 2008. They were each as helpful as they could be. The whole thing made me feel like an armless man up at bat. Not only don’t I understand the problem but I also lack the tools to even begin to address it.
Somewhere into the the fourth or fifth day of this process I deleted all the files from the server and started over again. My host company offered to help me build my shop and I gladly accepted. I happily cut-and-pasted pictures and text into this new thing for a day or so until it came time to set up a way to accept payments. Square wouldn’t process my credit card info. Was it because I was trying to make a break with Weebly? Who knows.
All I know is this train is in motion and it will either reach its destination or crash and burn trying. Matchbooks with shop.dmitrysamarov.com are being printed in New Jersey as we speak. There’s no going back.
I’ll have my own shop even if it means standing with a sandwich board on the sidewalk and giving everything away for free.
—A chapter from Old Style is included in Neutral Spaces Magazine. Thanks to Giacomo Pope for that and for running a really beautiful site for writers. I bet he wastes no time at all waiting for tech support…
—After all that, the store is gone and the shop is up…