A Holiday Shopping Review
Over the past few days I’ve been looking, in vain, for some sort of shopping guide when it comes to brand names in Second Life. At first, I thought it would be a good idea to check out TheBOSL.com Shopping guide but found that a majority of their “shopping guide” is defunct.
One would think that with a name like Best of Second Life, that the brand would automatically institute a level of excellence over its endeavors, and expecting that is what led me to the interesting and confusing scenario by which clicking SLURL after SLURL on the site led nowhere or to discontinued locations.
Maybe Frolic Mills is stretching himself a little thin these days, and the pressure of keeping his empire running is taking its toll? We can say for certain that Frolic is a very busy man, and has recently co-sponsored the SLAnthem.com Contest for SecondLife, and runs his BOSL Magazine (not to mention BOSL Radio… does that still exist? I dunno)
Faced with this situation, I would normally turn to something like the Second Life Destination Guide, but I’m a bit leery about trusting those recommendations. It’s not to say that the Destination Guide doesn’t provide interesting or outstanding locations to check out, but something seems a bit too cozy with the relationship between regular destination guide locations and Linden Lab to take it entirely at face value. Essentially it’s all filtered through Linden Lab employees who ultimately control whether or not they personally think the location has enough merit to bother listing it.
Of course, that’s also assuming you ever get the Destination Guide Submission Form to actually work. This alone makes me raise an eyebrow as to how, exactly, destinations are actually submitted or chosen for the guide to begin with.
I won’t even bother using the classifieds in Second Life as an indication of quality or popularity, as it’s essentially just buying your way to the top.
Considering these two obvious options are taken off the table, in my case one involuntarily and one by choice, I decided to look around and even ask friends what they thought would serve as a brand worthy of noting in SecondLife. Part of this conversation led to an in-depth discussion with Jewlie Deisel in-world of Kitten’s Studio about what locations were on her list when she takes avatars shopping.
Surprisingly, (or maybe not so much), there were a lot of locations that we both had, while others were new to each other. Maybe not new, but more like we had never considered.
Among those was a landmark Jewlie provided simply named Bax Coen Boots.
The New Prestige Boots from Bax Coen: Priced Affordably at 875L
I’ve been to places like Stiletto Moody for shoes and boots before, because unsurprisingly they are “the brand” to own. However, upon stopping into Stiletto’s last night with my partner, Lindsay Heslop, I could only sit and wonder about how a place can realistically charge 2795L for a single pair of boots or shoes. At first I tried to justify it because of the brand and quality, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that Stiletto Moody shoes and boots aren’t actually worth the price.
Obviously Stiletto Moody has the brand recognition, but I suspect that the owner is just taking advantage of that recognition by hyper-inflating the prices, knowing full well that the brand will compel people to still purchase. Stiletto Moody is a fine shoe and boot, but other than the brand name there is nothing I can see that makes them worth the retail price.
Which brings me back to Bax Coen Boots.
Previously I had not known about Bax Coen, so I was a little skeptical when Jewlie told me about the location. Clearly I had not heard any marketing or classifieds, nothing on the Destination Guide radar, and no mentions in the mainstream media for SL. Of course, this brings me back to why I don’t entirely trust the Destination Guide from Second Life to clue me in to quality locations for shopping. Sure there is often something interesting in the guide, but I have yet to see Bax Coen. Of course I did happen to see Stiletto Moody listed in Destination Guide… go figure.
Let’s say for the time being that Bax Coen is exactly the reason I put the Destination Guide to the side and looked for personal recommendations.
Most places you go in Second Life, you will find to be barren and self-serve. Let’s face it, shopping in Second Life is a “fend for yourself” affair, with countless walls and displays on automatic. There is obviously the marketplace online, but that takes it to the level of catalog shopping.
Not so with Bax Coen Boots. Shortly after arriving with my partner, while we were looking over the new line of boots, we read the notice stating that all boots will be gladly fitted free of charge in the store upon request. “Well,” I thought, “that would be some amazing customer service…”; at least customer service compared to most stores in Second Life.
Sure enough, soon after a customer showed up and bought some boots, Bax Coen herself showed up to gladly help the customer fit her new boots.
Ok, this right here is what floored me. Could it be? Actual customer service in Second Life?
Well, hells bells. Not just customer service but the owner and proprietor of the store actually glad to help her customers with their purchase in the actual store location.
I think this broke my brain for an undetermined amount of time, because after waking up from the blackout I recall hearing Bax Coen actually offering to help my partner (Lindsay Heslop) to fit her new boots for her.
Let’s put this into perspective.
Prior to stopping into Bax Coen, Lindsay and I had wandered through Stiletto Moody looking at boots and shoes that were roughly 2795L for a single pair, and nowhere to be found at the store location was any semblance of customer service or employee. Upon visiting Bax Coen Boots, it was a polar opposite experience.
Boots at Bax Coen (the ones Lindsay and I were looking at) were priced reasonable at 875L per pair, they had a remote HUD, the texture and sculpt quality were impressive (and I’d personally say on par with Stiletto Moody). For a fraction of the price of Stiletto Moody.
Out of curiosity I began to wonder what the Stiletto Moody price range would purchase at Bax Coen, and my question was quickly answered by a sign next to the same boots proclaiming 2699L for a Bax Coen Fatpack.
So what does the Fatpack get you for 2699L?
4 Styles of Boots with 13 color choices, and an L$801 savings.
I’m no rocket scientist, but the math is easy to add up. Not to mention the prior offer of having a live representative come to the store to fit your new boots for you.
I know I’m using a lot of large type and bold in this post, but surely you understand why this is exciting news. How many times have you gone shopping in Second Life and have had live representatives eager to help you with your purchases? It doesn’t happen very often, but I’m fairly sure Earthstones has the occasional representative available.
I was curious about whether this was just a fluke in timing coincidence, so I came back to the location later on only to find there was a customer service representative eagerly helping more customers as they wandered through the store. Even eight hours later, there was a customer service representative at the store within minutes of my arrival.
Peace Edenflower (right) helping a customer at Bax Coen Boots.
One of the reasons Lindsay dislikes Stiletto Moody (I know, shocking that anyone could somehow dislike Stiletto Moody’s) is because other than the obscene prices, the shoes don’t actually look right on her feet. Yes, you can adjust the shoes and move them around, but that doesn’t stop the invisible prims from making part of her ankles invisible regardless of where she places the shoes.
It could be an unfair assessment, but for nearly 3000L I don’t expect a pair of shoes to have anything wrong with them. At the very least, you would think for the money they are charging for those shoes they could hire some customer service reps to actually be at the store to help out.
Which brings us once again back to Bax Coen.
If you look at the picture in the beginning of this post, you’ll notice a sign behind Bax inquiring about whether the customer has Viewer 2.x. Seems she’s offering an Alpha Layer for her boots to mask the feet. Great idea (and I’m sure other shoe makers are following suit).
If only Bax Coen would make shoes as well, then I would call that store a one stop shop for all things shoes. She’d sure as hell give Stiletto Moody a run for their money. In the area of boots, I’d say she already has Stiletto Moody beat. Bax Coen may not have the endless aisles of shoes and boots that Stiletto Moody has, but what she does have is of high quality and reasonably priced, with outstanding customer service to boot (pun intended).
That’s why I raised my personal rating for this location from 3 stars to 5 overall. The only thing that’s lacking at this location is more selection, but barring that, I couldn’t recommend Bax Coen enough for your holiday shopping this year.
Every woman in Second Life should have at least a single pair of Bax Coen boots in their inventory, and unlike Stiletto Moody, you can afford to have a full collection. Everybody loves great prices and helpful staff :)
Could use a bit more of a selection, maybe some shoes. But what she offers is still excellent.
Prompt, courteous, and cheerful. Upon arriving at three different times, a representative was eager to help within minutes.
It’s not Stiletto Moody, but the quality is impressive for the price range.
875L for a pair of quality women's boots. How could you go wrong?
Do you have any shopping locations you’d like to share? Drop a note in the comments! I’d love to check them out. I’m looking for high quality, affordable prices, and locations that aren’t part of the mainstream Destination Guide or press coverage.