HK MAC Fakes

Subtitled  A Fake By Any Other Name Is Still A Fake

I normally don’t like posts like this- the ones that have to tell people that they’re being duped. But as much as I don’t meddle into other people’s affairs, it really bothers me when online sellers pass off their merchandise as real when they are, in fact, not. We’ve all seen this happen in a lot of products over the years, and Hello Kitty is not an exception. The proliferation of fake, low quality products have created a real underground economy that thrives on cheap prices and people desperate for bargains in a time of recession.

I don’t want to go into the morals of patronizing fakes, replicas, and pirated stuff. We get too much of that already from the Optical Media Board, haha. To each his own, I always say, as long as there’s always full disclosure and informed consent. After all, one really gets what one pays for.

Sometimes, however, you have to draw the line when the products in question may endanger the health of individuals. Case in point: Hello Kitty MAC.

They’re all over eBay, that’s for sure. What I didn’t expect was to find them making their way into Multiply as well. I thought that people in my Hello Kitty network were savvier and more vigilant but I obviously thought wrong. Already, last night, I found people leaving messages on a seller’s site ordering full sets of the fake HK MAC make-up which were being sold at original MAC prices. (Shame on you, seller!) Most disturbing was the fact that I did not see any disclosure on the seller’s part that what he/she was selling was fake.

Make-up is a woman’s vanity but it may also prove to be her undoing. Fake make-up can cause skin irritation and allergies, may induce pimples and skin rashes, and may discolor skin permanently. Worse, they may also contain toxic chemicals that can be absorbed through the skin. Some of these substances have been shown to cause cancers in animals in laboratory tests; others have been identified as the culprits in disrupting immunity and/or causing neurological, physical, and reproductive damage. The fact that make-up can get into the bloodstream in so many ways (absorbed by the skin or sensitive mucous membranes of the eyes and the mouth, inadvertently inhaled as powder dust or aerosol particles, licked off the lips and swallowed) makes these fake, synthetic products from unreliable manufacturers a real threat to a woman’s wellbeing.

I left messages on the seller’s site last night, informing the seller that the products are fake. I hope the people who visit her site read my comments and make informed choices based on research. I also took that seller out of my contacts list. No longer will I let that person misinform and mislead my friends.

Knowledge is power, the late Ernie Baron used to always say. I couldn’t agree with him more.

To view pictures of the official Hello Kitty MAC line, visit this site.


Kittymama’s Guide to Good Manners and Online Businesses (Part Two)

*I am NOT a seller so I am making this guide from a buyer’s perspective.

Kittymama’s Guide to Good Manners and Online Businesses for Sellers*

1. Post clear pictures and describe your products honestly. Describe even the condition of boxes. Don’t say an item is brand new when it is not. Show tags as much as possible to provide buyers with date of manufacture.

2. Provide measurements or comparisons as much as possible. An item seen through macro lenses may appear gigantic, when in fact, it is only a few inches tall.

3. Indicate clearly which items are included if the buyer is interested in a set.

4. Please post your prices. It’s difficult to have to keep asking “how much?” (or in my friend Cynthia’s case the very unique “how muchie?- cute!) especially when multiple items are involved. Unless you are open to haggling, indicate if your prices are fixed and non-negotiable.

5. Don’t change your prices midway through a transaction. A short example: I was looking at some cellphone cases a while back. I took a screenshot of the item to show my husband but didn’t bother to peruse the posting closely (my fault, see number two of previous post; I learned from this mistake). I then left a message for the seller, asking her  for the price.  The seller quoted a number and in turn, I passed on the price quotation to my husband. He quickly pointed out that the picture I sent him had indicated a much lower price. I chose not to pursue the transaction anymore.

6. Once an item is posted for sale, it is fair game for anyone. Unless you mark it as reserved or taken, the first person who reserves an unmarked item should have the right of first sale. Better yet, if you have promised it to someone else, remove it from the album.

7. Don’t say it is on sale when it is not. Some sellers use the word “SALE” loosely to entice buyers. For most of us, the definition of a sale is the opportunity to purchase at reduced prices.  

8. Money isn’t everything. We all know that sellers sell to make money, but for patrons of a seller, it does not feel good to be duped or misled. The most common reason for buying online is to cut on costs by shaving off big retailers’ mark-ups. So to find the same items you are selling in the malls at a much lower price than the sellers’ is a big, big letdown. Of course, if you are selling unique or handmade items, a significant premium based on these qualities is understandable, but even then, know how much profit your market can  take.

9. Reply to inquiries promptly. Don’t put off your correspondence. Buyers hate waiting and by not acting promptly, you may lose their business. One seller I met promised to text back with details and didn’t; I did not pursue the transaction as I felt ignored and my business unimportant.

10. Provide clear instructions on payment modes. Give your buyers all your options, be it bank payments, money transfers, COD, or electronic money (for example, Gcash). If the last  is one of your chosen options, indicate if you are passing on the 1% charge (cash-out fee) to your clients, and only then, charge only the amount which is being transferred via this mode.

11. When products have been paid for, acknowledge payment with your thanks. An acknowledgement of payment assures the buyer that their business is real, solid, and based on mutual trust.

12. Package your items carefully, especially breakables and fragile items. Also, special touches mean much. Just this morning, I received a package in the mail from someone who I did business with just two days ago. I didn’t spend much, just PhP270, but the seller’s packaging made me feel like a VIP. It really made my day.

13. Send your buyers’ tracking numbers or air bill numbers right away. This should be a seller’s responsibility. Tracking numbers also assure buyers that the contract has been consummated. Trust me, unless you are a good friend, buyers hate running after waybill numbers.

14. If you opt for a meet-up, indicate upfront if the buyer must shell out part of your gas expense.  Meet-ups are usually done at the seller’s convenience, not the other way around. The rationale behind  this is to save on shipping costs. As such, meet-ups do not usually require charges. Don’t say you can meet her somewhere then later ask for extra money for a service you volunteered because this action shows bad faith. 

15. Freebies are very nice and heartwarming, but they not absolutely necessary. Good service, honesty, and a real concern for your buyers count more than whatever it is you can throw in for free.

16. Lastly, keep an accurate database of your buyers’ contact details. Remember their names and match it with their online handles. It’s frustrating to have to keep giving your contact details to someone you’ve done business with repeatedly. Besides, when you start treating your customers as your real friends, they are less likely to defraud you.


What can I say about my experience as an online buyer in Multiply? I have been immensely blessed by the people I have met in the forum that the successes still far outweigh the occasional disappointments. I have tried my best to be an honest, reputable buyer and this is a reputation that I would like to maintain and keep. 

In the end, we–buyers and sellers alike–must remember that an online business, like any other business, relies on good faith and a reciprocity of service, goods and trust. That we are able to develop friendships beyond the confines of the material world is a blessing that makes this world a much smaller, less colder place to live in.

Kittymama’s Guide to Good Manners and Online Businesses (Part One)

We join social networking sites for various reasons. Some want to meet new people, others want to look for old friends. Still, some want to join interest groups; others,  discussion fora. Whatever the reasons may be, social networking sites provide a new venue where people may interact regardless  of geographical distance and limitations.

My first foray into social networking sites was in Friendster. Joining was actually a no-choice as I did it simply to monitor my then thirteen-year-old son’s activities on the Internet. Later on, as I got more net savvy, I joined Facebook whose appeal lies on its interactivity and its games. At around the same time, I also opened a Multiply account, and on this, I have to be honest and say I joined to be able to buy Hello Kitty stuff online.

With Multiply finally legitimizing businesses in their new terms of use, online entrepreneurship is expected to hit an all-time high. With this development, however, we expect that the rules and etiquette of business will undergo continuous modifications to accommodate the changing needs of a new virtual frontier.

I have, in the last two years, been a frequent Multiply buyer. In the course of doing business with others, I have been witness in my circles to breaches in social rules that result in joy reservers, bogus buyers, and bogus sellers. How, then, do we attempt to avoid all these headaches?

Here are some suggestions for buyers (part one) and sellers (part two) alike. If I miss anything, please feel free to add them in the comments section and I will update the list and give you credit for the suggestion.

 Kittymama’s Guide to Good Manners and Online Businesses for Buyers

1. Read. Read seller’s descriptions very well and repeatedly to avoid misunderstanding or false expectations.

2. Check first if the item price has been posted before asking “how much?” This saves the seller from unnecessary inquiries and saves her time and effort.

3. If you have questions on the item, do not hesitate to ask via text or email but always introduce yourself and indicate your purpose clearly.

4. Be polite. Send polite and clear inquiries whether it be via email or text.  

5. When using private messages, do not use text language. Do not assume that your seller is well-versed in text language. Phrase your questions clearly and in complete words to avoid having to repeat the same inquiries.

6. Once you make a reservation, make sure that you are serious in buying and have the money on hand to pay for it. Don’t reserve today if you are looking to pay for it with next week’s salary. By locking out an item you cannot pay for, you are depriving the seller the chance to make an honest profit from a sure buyer.

7. Provide up-to-date and clear contact details. Indicate your handle and provide your real name, address, cellphone and landline, and even your zip code. If your home address will likely cause confusion for the courier, elaborate by giving landmarks.

8. Know your seller. Don’t be afraid to ask for a name and contact number; after all, you have given them yours.

9. If an invoice is due any day, set time to check your inbox for messages and updates. You cannot excuse late payment by saying that you were offline. If you can go online to reserve an item, you can go online to finalize the transaction. 

10. For preorders requiring down payment, pay your deposit promptly. Two years ago, deposits were virtually unheard of and trust was the rule of the day but because of bogus buyers, sellers have been forced to ask for deposits to ensure future payment. We do not want to wait for the day when sellers will require full payment upfront even for preorders.

11. Mark the estimated time of arrival on your calendar for preorders so you will know when to contact your seller for updates. With their growing list of clients, sometimes, they are hard pressed to provide each and every one with update. In an ideal world, such a responsibility would hardly merit a second thought- it would be a given. But since you have paid your deposit, you must share the burden of following-up on your orders.

12. Pay promptly, preferably on same day as the invoice. Sellers generally give their clients a short leeway and time allowance for payment (usually three days). Don’t abuse their kindness and don’t give the seller cause to have to run after you.

13. Don’t use your seller’s pictures to show off your purchases. Unless you are granted permission to repost them with credit, take your own pictures.

14. Be gracious and say thank you for a business transaction done smoothly. If you can, leave recommendations on their feedback page.

15. For complaints, go straight to the seller if you wish for action to be taken. If you are ignored and your complaints are dismissed, then you may wish to take further action by reporting it to the network. You are free to express your disappointment in your blog, but remember to do so with discretion and with respect for a person’s reputation.

Coming right up: Part Two of Kittymama’s Guide to Good Manners and Online Businesses for Sellers

Autism and Kitty Love

My son Alphonse will turn 14 in a few months (in three months, to be exact) and were he your ordinary, every day, typical kind of boy, he would not have a thing to do with Hello Kitty. His older brother, Alex, does not even set foot inside a Sanrio store, except when absolutely necessary, like when he has to buy a gift for me. (When Gift Gate used to carry Legos, Alex would ask that the Legos be brought to him by the door. The sales persons, thinking he was darned cute, would oblige. They would stand near the doorway, hold a couple of Lego boxes, and Alex would make his choice by pointing from afar. I think this will change in the near future, when he has to buy gifts for girls other than me.)

But Alphonse, well, he grew up with Hello Kitty beside him- on his bed, on his clothes, on his things- and to him, it was as natural as anything else in his little world. While A was concerned that I encouraged it a little too much, he didn’t exactly forbid it. I think as long as Alphonse was happy, he was happy too, never mind that Hello Kitty does not rank anywhere near A’s favorite things in the world.

This week, a package I ordered some months back arrived. It came from Esi, one of my friends in the Multiply social network. I knew as early as then when I asked for measurements that this would not fit me, but I had someone else in mind: Alphonse. And I was right. When he donned this on, he gave me the sweetest smile, rubbed his hands gently on the fleece surface, and hugged me tightly. Even more, when I started taking pictures of him, he posed like a world-class supermodel.

Wearing his fleece vest (from Tita Esi), with his Kitty timer (from Tita Vivi) on him and his favorite Kitty vibrating pillow (from Mama) in unprompted poses

Ah, the innocence and simple happiness of a child, one of autism’s unexpected gifts.

Multiply My Tree Of Blessings

Over the last week, I’ve had great surprises come that it almost feels like my birthday is upon me (and it’s still a few days yet)! Hello Kitty, as the news tells us, has become an Ambassador of Goodwill and Tourism between Japan and China, but this is simply a very superficial or shallow overview of Hello Kitty’s impact on people’s lives. I for one am blessed with new friendships that come from the people I meet who buy, sell, or love Kittychan as much as I do.

I got my first package on the weekend, when I met up with Ms. Shirley A. The other packages all came on the same day, one personally delivered by the lovely Ms. Dee and two others by mail (from Aj of ♥Min8♥ and Esi of twozeroforever). Boy, was I excited!

Hello Kitty for cooking and bakingHello Kitty vanity mirror, basket and wow freebies
I love my visor so much I wear it indoors and even at night!

Skinning A Laptop

This is a laptop skin I got from Ms. Shirley a while back. I put it in to illustrate what it looks like. I actually made a mistake in cutting so I had to contend with a plain top but had I planned ahead, I would have known better how to cut it to fit. For all those who keep asking Ms. Shirley if it’ll fit your laptops, it will. The skin comes in one size- 15 x 10-1/2 inches and you need to cut it to the size you prefer. I have a 12-inch laptop so I needed to trim more of mine.

The skin is vinyl, thicker than a G-mask (I just peeled my G-mask off because I got bored with the flowers), and is repositionable. It doesn’t leave any residue. I got two skins, the pink one and one of the Eva-Air designs. I’m thinking of putting the other skin on my Guitar Hero guitar.


I Didn’t Know Buying Online Would Yield A Friend

Package from ViviI’m new to the local online buying scene and before this, I’ve only had one dealing with a very good seller, Ms. Shirley A, who I now consider a friend. But because I meet up with her, I was still a little wary about online sellers. Having done my very first official business with Ms. Vivi, I am very happy that not only was I satisfied with my purchase, I got to meet such a lovely person along the way. Alphonse loves this Hello Kitty timer!Package with freebiesVivi\'s yummy cinnamon sugar cookies (last one left!)

Thanks, Vivi!