The Pitfalls of Surprise Etsy Packages

I think everyone will agree, there is just nothing better than a good old-fashioned snail mail parcel. Wrapped up in that manilla envelope or cardboard box is more than just the object of your anticipation, especially if the goody is a gift from someone who knows you well. Contained in those amazing little parcels are thought, love, care, – the things we crave as human beings from the day we take our first breath. They say, “I’m thinking of you” in the very best way. As joyous as it is to receive a parcel from somebody you love, it is even more thrilling to get a surprise parcel, one that shows up in your mailbox to brighten your day and you had no clue that is was coming.

I am an Etsy seller and several members of my family are Etsy sellers. There is a little activity on Etsy that has become fairly popular, the “Buy and stay” and “Buy and Replace” sales. These neat little promotional tools work thusly: A curator collects an item from several different shops to feature in a “treasury list”. She then invites her Etsy friends and associates as well as the featured shops to come look at the items, chat in the comment section, and see if there is anything they are interested in buying. The featured shops do the same with their friends and contacts and those friends and contacts can even invite their friends, etc. The incentive to buy for an Etsyan is you get to replace the shop you buy from with an item from your own shop, plus you support small business, PLUS there is some really neat stuff on Etsy that you just can’t find at Wally World.

This turns a lot of eyes onto the featured shops from people who might not normally come into contact with them, it helps a buyer sort through the mass of unknown Etsy shops to find a seller who they can chat with and ask questions in real-time, and it is just plain fun. It is much like the modern version of a Tupperware party.


So, now that my readers are more familiar with how these sales work, let me resume the purpose of this post: Avoiding the pitfalls of surprise Etsy packages.

French vanilla coffee soap by smells absolutely heavenly, like a softly cinnamon coffee latte with undertones of vanilla. Yum!

Anyone even vaguely familiar with the world of hand-made knows that homemade soap is about as delectable as it gets. On Etsy you can find droves of soap makers, each with their own specialty, style, etc. There are vegan soaps, natural soaps, highly scented soaps, non scented soaps, colorful swirled soaps, soaps with names like cinnamon bun and chocolate toffee. There are soaps that look, smell, and sound good enough to eat. There are even soaps made to look exactly like different edibles.

Also by SweetTurqoise, cupcake soaps.

I was chatting with an Etsy friend the other day, during one of these BNS sales, who talked about getting a surprise goody in one of the packages she had ordered, a lovely hand towel from Mouse0403.

I love this coffee themed towel by

This seller and Mouse are pretty good Etsy friends and run in each others’ BNR/BNS circles a lot. They have ordered from each other multiple times and so when there was a little yummy surprise in with the towel Mouse sent, my friend did not think much other than, “Awww, so sweet!” It was labeled Chocolate Patchouli and looked to be a small sample of hand-made chocolate bar, wrapped up nice and cute with a hand written note from Mouse, “Enjoy this surprise sample!”

Now again, if you are at all familiar with Etsy, you know there are all kinds of creative chocolatiers and candy makers and bakeries on Etsy vending their wares, and it is not at all uncommon to see Chocolate Lavender truffles or Peppermint caramel, or other weird flavor combinations you would not have thought would taste good. So my friend thought nothing as she took a bite of her Chocolate Patchouli and was horrified to find out it was actually soap.

“Gosh! How silly she must be! ” I know that’s what you are thinking, but that isn’t all. As I laughed with her and everyone else, I knew I was going to have to share something that had happened to me that very morning.

I had gone to check my mailbox that morning. I had been participating in the BNS world all week and had several packages I was expecting. As I said before, I have some family members that are heavily involved with those type sales too and I had already received a wonderful box with hand crocheted face scrubbies, beautiful jewelry, some little boonie hats for Faith, and some other little goodies earlier that month. So, I was surprised when I found a little manilla envelope from CakeOrDeath5 that I wasn’t expecting. In retrospect I am vaguely recalling my Aunt Shannon of JunqueyardRoyalty ( ) messaging me for my mailing address, but I spaced that out on this particular morning.

I didn’t even wait till I got in the house, I started ripping it open excitedly as I walked up my drive way. Out tumbled a small package of clearish, brownish, coffee cup-shaped unidentifiable little objects that seemed bite sized. They were obviously coffee flavored from the smell, and I am an absolute fool for anything coffee (as you will see).

I was intrigued, yet wary. After all, I knew that Etsy has all kinds of treasures and just because it looks, smells, and seems edible does not mean that it is. I wondered if this delectable little bit was a candle tart, soap, gummy candy, hard candy, or just something else altogether. I was somewhat thrown off by the shop name, CakeOrDeath5, and I just couldn’t recall what it was that Cake sold. I looked for a note, but all she had in the package was a business card and a little hand written “Enjoy!” written on a little tag. I’m sure she assumed that Shannon had told me about my coming  package.

Well, those little coffee flavored something-or-others were so good-looking and smelling, and they most resembled a candy, what with being bite sized and clearish, and my mind flashed to a conversation not long ago about a fellow Etsyan’s coffee flavored taffy, so rather than wait to inquire or search Cake’s Etsy shop for what the item was, I decided to lick one of the little buggers.

Tell me these don't at least resemble candy.

Yes, I licked it, not knowing what it was. It was, in fact, kind of sweet, but I easily and quickly determined that is was not edible. It was soap, little individual soaps. This did not disappoint me, I love soap, and I loved that they were coffee flavored and shaped into little coffee cups. I just wish I had not been sucked in by their wonderful aroma and appearance to actually lick one.

So, the lesson of the day is: If you order from Etsy and send a surprise gift to someone, be sure to tell them not to taste the soap even if it looks edible. 😀

Individual coffee soaps by perfect for guest soaps. 🙂

Here are some other awesome and unique Etsy finds:

"A Break In The Lining" necklace by

Chocolate sea shells by , do they not look totally real??
Fairy portal by

And I could post so many more! The best thing is for you to browse and discover Etsy for yourself.