October 9th, 2016

Advice needed: Is a DTD an unreasonalbe request and shipping money issues

SO about three years ago I took a materials-only pokemon head comission for a friend, and it went great. Her younger brother loved it and wanted one of his own, so we began planning a full body pokemon cosplay for material cost only. The project kept getting put on hold for one reason or another, usally me being in school or him not having the $300-$500 needed for materials. Now that I've graduated college I have the time for side projects, and now that he has a regular job he has the funding to get started. He was about to send me money via paypal when I asked when he would be sending a duct tape dummy. Long story short, he can't get anyone to help him with it despite living with two people. The three of them are my friends, and they want my boyfriend and I to visit their city (four hours away) so I can make the duct tape dummy.  My boyfriend would need to come because I don't have a car or insurance, so he'd have to be my unofficial taxi. I don't want to waste a weekend driving four hours one way to help with a one hour project; on top of food and gas (I'm diabetic and they never keep food that I can eat) we'd also have to get a hotel because my boyfriend is extremely allergic to their cat. I think it's sort of rediculous to ask that in the first place. They also offered to come to our apartment, but even though they're our friends, hosting them can be really exhausting. Again, I don't feel like going to such effort over a duct tape dummy NOR do I wish to inconvenience my boyfriend that badly. If my friend's brother really and truely can't find someone to help him, I don't think I should do the project, and I told him as much. I know he was excited about getting the costume and he's upset that I've canceled, but what am I supposed to do? I don't feel comfortable working off measurments alone because this costume involves a lot of shaping, and I don't have a dress form to work with. He is tall and extremely slender, so I don't know anyone locally who could act as a body double. Is a duct tape dummy really that unreasonable to request? I know they're standard in the fursuit community, but I don't know about the cosplay community.

My other question involves the shipping of materials. Back when we first started planning, I sent him a thorough list with all the materials we would need, their prices, and sources to purchase them. His sister works at Joanne's and the fleece we needed went on a really cheap sale, so they purchased $50 of materials and brought them down to me during a visit. It's so much fabric that it takes up an entire moving box, and I've been storing this stuff for over two years. I didn't ask them to buy it and I certainly didn't ask to bring it down, but nevetheless here it is. When I told them I was canceling the project, I said I wanted to mail them back the materials and they could either a) paypal me the shipping costs or b) let me keep some materials and I would pay shipping. They haven't responded, and now I'm not sure if this was inapproriate to ask. My apartment is teeny, so keeping a huge box of stuff really has been an inconvenince for me. I have no use for 90% of the materials and I don't feel I should be responsible for keeping them when I didn't ask to buy it in the first place. I'm fairly sure they're already mad because I won't arrange a trip to make the duct tape dummy, and this is icing on the cake.

If it helps, I'm not terribly concerned about damaging the friendship at this point; it has been declining for months and I just want to move on from this project. I have other cosplays I'd like to work on, and I'm tired of being on hold for this pokemon costume. I did tell him that when he had both the dummy and the money I'd be happy to work with him, but for the time being I had other things to work on. Am I handling this right?