valis2: Stone lion face (Harvardlion2)
Three things you need to know for this story. 1) EBay is always watching for outside-eBay transactions, especially through the in-house messaging system. 2) Because my items are so low-cost, and my margins smallish, I try not to sink too much time into any transaction. Anywhere I can save a little bit of time is welcome. So I generally classify most sales as having a certain number of "actions." For example, emailing them to let them know the order has shipped. Shipping the order. Answering a question. Most transactions consist of a) sending an invoice; b) gathering the items; c) getting the payment; d) shipping; e) notification; f) feedback. 5 actions total. 3) S&H costs are watched now as well. People who abuse the S&H charge can get into trouble. For example, charging $2 for a baseball card and $20 shipping.

There is a customer who buys from me oh, about every six months. She is not bright. It's always vexing to deal with her.

1. She bids (and wins) an auction item. I send her an invoice. (1 action)

2. She wants more of the same item. I keep auction items completely separate from eBay store items, so this constitutes an outside-eBay transaction, and I do not want to message her through eBay, so I send her a Paypal invoice with the auction and the add-on, as well as a message on the invoice. I gather the merchandise. (2 action; 3 actions total)

3. Nothing happens.

Read more... )
valis2: Stone lion face (Harvardlion2)
What a crappy day.

So, my business concept for shows? First, I was selling my own supplies that I had too much of. Then I started selling supplies that I bought on closeout. I am not incredibly successful, but I have done okay in the past. Well, one of my friends who is in the same business was very intrigued by what I was doing, and then started selling her own supplies that she had too much of. Then she started selling supplies that she bought on closeout.

I used to do twice as much as her. Now I am doing half as much as her.

Today was not a loss, but it wasn't good. I am completely unhappy about it at this moment. Points to note:

The whole point of doing closeout stuff was so that I wouldn't have to make a cutesy display. I wanted people to think "closeout" when they looked at my table.

I had one customer who put together a $20 order, and then did not come back to pick it up. I really need that $20, yo. Another customer wanted to buy something in a color I didn't have with me; she wanted to pay the $2.50 tag price, and she wanted me to mail it to her. She acted like it was a great favor for her to pay that $2.50 now. I explained that I would charge $1 for shipping it (my usual price is $2, I was being nice) and she reexplained to me, as if I were a very dense child, that she was paying now and therefore I should give her free shipping. I told her I'm not in the habit of actually paying the customer to take my merchandise. She shut up.

My neck and shoulder is very tender and hurts. My lower back and hip are sending shooting shocks of pain whenever I get up, walk, stand still, etc. I sat for most of the show, but still, not fun.

I feel very weepy and doomy in general.

I need to rethink my entire business and it SUCKS.


ETA: THANK YOU [ profile] greenpear!!!!!!!!!!! NOM VIRTUAL CHOCOLATE!


Mar. 10th, 2010 07:41 pm
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
Sometimes I hate eBay so much. Sometimes I hate being held hostage by people who cannot tell the difference between glass and plastic. I hate it so much I could scream.

The customer in question did leave positive fb, with a lovely passive-aggressive note saying that the item was plastic. Even though it really was glass. grah.

valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
I am so sick of it. Not only have I had to go through hell for two days changing links and resizing pics and going nuts to try to get everything to work, but I had this email from a person who bid on one of my store items. (For those of you who don't use eBay, a bid on a store item means that you are promising to buy the item and you agree to all terms, etc.)

First she bids. Then she sends me an email asking if she can combine a bunch of items from my store. Sure, I can do this. I send her a quick reply back, with my general terms, which state that my shipping starts at just over $2, and is around $4 for multiple items.

The next email from her was just as impersonal and basically explained to me how Priority Mail flat-rate boxes work! Well, yes, I do understand how they work. However, she was mentioning the new Priority Mail flat rate box, which is smaller and costs $4.95. Okay, fine, that's nice--but I haven't seen it yet, and figuring out the size on a ruler, I realized that it is only 1 5/8" deep (just bigger than a videotape). This is not enough room for the bubble wrap that I use, much less the items.

cut for ranting )
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
5:00 Get up and take shower at friends' house in WI.
5:30 Go upstairs and eat breakfast. Friends' kids are already up--wow.
6:00 Leave. Wave to friends' kids through the window. Super cute.
6-7:50 Drive. Detours involved.
7:50 Arrive at show location. Set up booth.
8:38 Finish setting up booth and sit down. I am in the hallway in front of the main room, and there are doors to the outside at the end of the hallway, and I begin to get cold, which ends up lasting all day because people keep opening the doors.
9:30 Vendor comes in and starts talking (loudly) about how he's moved out of the "ghetto" and to an area "where the beautiful girls hug each other."
Read more... )
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
Being gone for a week usually means I skip an auction. However, with events progressing as they are, I didn't feel we could afford to, so I enlisted Husband to help me with shipping while I was gone.

I am now trying to sort through all of the eBay woe, and package the shipments, and all I can say is, woe.

The customer who made me crazy two weeks ago has done it again, in the same exact manner. She's paid for some stuff and then turned around and bid on new stuff the very next day. Ethically, I don't feel right charging her for two separate packages, and I want to combine them. However, I don't want this to be taken advantage of! On the last shipment, I paid $4 out of my own pocket because it hit the magical Parcel Post weight instead of First Class. (If she had waited, I could have used the Shipping Calculator, which would have given a combined shipping price. Instead, as I usually do, I sent her a second invoice with no shipping, not realizing that the weight was so high.)

So she's done it again, only with much heavier stuff. Damnit! I'm trying to figure out how best to address this with her without sounding nasty, because she's buying a lot and clearly is rather new. But I hate having to rely on my very faulty memory cells to catch these double orders...

Also, the eBay Shipping Calculator, while adequate for most transactions, still cannot seem to charge the correct rate when someone buys things from my eBay store and my auctions. Case in point? Recently it calculated that a shipment would cost $17.36 for First Class. Uh, no. $2.50. And Parcel Post was calculated at $42. *headdesk*

But today's debacle takes the cake. An international buyer (and, yes, I do not say ANYWHERE that I accept international buyers, so this makes me fume) bid on something and won. I apparently didn't notice as I was sending out invoices. So I sent an invoice for the customer--who is in NORWAY, damnit--for $2.17 First Class. Now, normally, when one has an international customer, the invoice prep screen will show a completely blank field and you have to type in an amount. Let me just mention that $2.17 is my default shipping for First Class--if I type something in myself, I always round up to the nearest ten cents. So yes. EBay has just totally screwed me over. The item cost was barely $3. I only just broke even on it. And now I will have to send to a higher-expense country on top of it. I mean, if it were Great Britain it might not be so bad, but this will cost me oodles, I can already tell. So I'm going to get the cost from the PO and send the customer a note, but honestly, they've already paid, and it was my invoice they paid from, so I do not have much of a choice here. *gnashes teeth*
valis2: Stone lion face (Harvardlion2)
Most of the time, eBay runs smoothly, and I have a process set up that means I can move things along in an assembly-line manner.

Twice this week people have paid for a single item that they ordered from my eBay store, but had bids outstanding on auction items. I cannot tell you how frustrating this is. Sure, I'm flattered that they want to buy more than one thing from me, but I explain in every auction and store description that if you are planning on buying more than one item, then I'll combine shipping, and that customers should ignore any invoices they receive until they are ready to purchase.

The thing is, I have an awful memory--I only just barely figured this out both times. And you know what happens if I miss it? Whining. Possibility of negative feedback. As it is, I've emailed both customers about a decision--mail separately, or package together?--and OF COURSE neither of them has replied. AS ALWAYS. So then I have to make the decision for them, which is to hold things. WTF?! One day this is going to bite me on the ass. I hate it when things move outside of the process. Because I'm a control freak, lol.

Yeah, I know, I know, not everyone lives online like I do. But still, it's totally frustrating.

And also, someone messaged me about an auction on eBay to complain, "How many items in this? You do not say!" So I quoted the FIRST LINE of the damn auction, which clearly lists the number of items in the lot. Grr. I mean, I understand overlooking stuff, but it was in the first line! I think I'm doubly irritated because of the exclamation point, which is pretty stupid and hilarious on my part. Still.

ETA: Thank goodness--one of them has responded. Yeah, I realize that I'm being super cranky, but I'm leaving tomorrow and I'm just feeling grumpy about life in general.
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
I don't even want to talk about it, honestly. But I'm going to. Of course. I sat there for no good reason, watching oodles of people walk past and buy nothing. I don't know what turned them off; some people had a bad show, but a few did okay, and I think there was something off about my display. Or me.

I snapped at another vendor during setup, which is something I don't think I've ever done before. In my defense, he did bang on my car window like a caveman. When I rolled down my window he said, "I was thinking about backing into that spot," which was, coincidentally, the spot I had just backed into (and was told by the promoter to take), which was right behind my booth. One thing you should know about me: I don't generally understand the meaning behind words very quickly. Being specific is quite necessary. And his statement, which was not a request, nor a question, infuriated me (quite clearly I am hormonal today). I don't like having to translate passive-aggressive.

"Fine, I'll moooove," I said, rolling my eyes, and I did move, and I moved nicely, because I could have just taken the spot in front of that spot, which would have still screwed him over because he had a trailer.

So I ended up having to handtruck everything in over horrible broken parking lot concrete, and then watch as he drove away. I could have told him it wasn't going to work; there was not enough room, even with my considerate parking job. And then he ended up taking the entire aisle in between the rows of booths with his truck and trailer, and I watched in horror as he unrolled racks of Crocs and crappy handbags from China.

I'm soooo glad I spend hours of time, effort, and eyesight to handcraft my items. Especially after watching customer after customer buy from him all day long. *rolls eyes*

I should just buy a rack of Crocs.
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
Earlier this year I sent in my paperwork for the bottom feeder show, and signed up for three of them (they're held on Thursday evenings in order to coincide with a live band in a park next to it). I did not go to two of them because the weather was bad (as those who read this journal may remember).

Today was beautiful and sunny, so I went to the show.

Let's just say that I paid for the privilege of driving 91 miles so that I could work on my costume. Because nothing else really happened except I got to listen to a cover band perform a bunch of oldies and then accuse Kid Rock of being a "rip-off" artist because he took a bit of "Sweet Home Alabama" for his latest hit. Um, I'm certain he paid for it. a cover band, shouldn't you not be throwing this particular stone?

At least I got to hear this scintillating conversation:

Woman: Can I help you?
Man: I'm getting picked up.
Woman: Oh, you are?
Man: In a truck!
Woman: Oh, that's great, I'll help you look for them. What color is the truck?
Man: It's a Ford!
valis2: Stone lion face (chicken foot)
The show went well. I very much enjoyed spending time with my family, and I worked on my costume for Terminus and the Snape's Mary Sues presentation as well. [ profile] gmonkey42 and I are really going to have a fun time with this, and I hope that we have an audience--it's at Sunday at 3 pm so I'm not certain we'll get many fen.

Am so happy to be home, though this week is pretty full, and then next week is the convention, and then after I get back I'm immediately off on the honeymoon. eeep! This is my busiest summer ever, I think.

Best conversation I overheard at the show:

Woman: How much is a hot dog here?
Man: Two dollars.
Woman: Why would I pay two dollars when I can get a cheesy dog from my freezer for free?!
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
I drove an hour and a half to the little clearance show with car packed to the gills and best friend's kid in tow.

The forecast was Partly Sunny. I drove within five miles of the show when the rain started. It took eighteen miles of driving back the direction I came to get out of the rain. (I did not want to sit around in the rain--that show isn't great, and to sit in the damp for four hours is not my idea of fun, which is why I just turned around and drove back.)

Yes, three hours of useless (and expensive) driving, and nothing to show for it. I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. And all of that loading and preparing snackies (kid's gotta eat, of course) for nothing.

So now we're going to eat spaghetti and watch Harry Potter. I might let him stay up a wee bit past his bedtime for that. hee!


Jun. 26th, 2008 12:20 am
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
Message from clueless eBayer to me:

It has been a month now since I purchased the velvet beret style hat and the legwarmers. I am curious as to whether you have shipped them or not. If I haven't heard from you within a week from today, I will be forced to open a dispute. I don't like to do these things but It has been a month. Your ebay ad states to allow 2-3 weeks for custom make and delivery, however, you didn't even contact me back when I asked you a question. Please message me back with a tracking number or an explaination as to where my purchases stand in the process.
Thank You.

Dear Clueless eBayer:

I do not sell clothing from this account, I sell [craft], hence my eBay nom de plume valis[craft]. (Yes, I'm aware that is a very small point to make, because there are many cross-specialty eBay sellers.) Be that as it may, even if I were to do so, I would not be making anything from velvet. Especially not berets and legwarmers.

You may have forgotten but you actually purchased [craft] from me last week. Not a beret made to order. Not legwarmers made to order.

You have already received your purchase from me, as I am speedy beyond belief, and if you give me a negative because you can't tell me apart from a crazy custom velvet garment maker, I will be very put out.

You haven't responded to my patient but witty email explaining that I am not the droid you're looking for, and I find myself growing more and more certain that the dread Negative Feedback finger is pointing my way.

No love,

valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
The show was a mixed bag. It was a tremendous amount of work, and some of it paid off, and some of it wasn't what we all expected, or was, and I can't be more specific than that, sorry to say.

I'm beginning to suspect that the PCOS is messing with my thinking ability. Cut for your reading pleasure... )

I'm more than glad to be home. I want to hug the curtains. I want to bury myself under the pillows. Unfortunately, as soon as I woke up this morning, I realized that my period had started, and now I'm not really hugging or burying but rather lumping about. I have so many things on my plate that I can't even seem to wrap my head around them--I'm just wandering from thing to thing like a shell-shocked, lumpish wombat.

Okay, so on to the fun stuff.

This is not my show. This is a show where I help my WI friends (who are husband & wife). There are two shows involved, a little pre-show booth, and then a big show booth. So the pre-show booth was really crazy and quite a good little show, so we would come out occasionally to help break down at the end of each night. Yeah, it was one of those shows where you have to take everything down at night and reassemble it in the morning. Extra work, but sometimes it's just unavoidable.

So the husband and I were standing behind the booth, waiting for the end of the show, and we both noticed this guy walking around with two little boys who were probably about six or seven years old. The boys had the exaggerated body language of boys their age who are clearly not happy. They were dragging their feet and dangling their arms and, in general, acting as if they were actually being tortured with red-hot pokers.

So the guy was looking at our stuff, wandering around with his long-suffering retinue in tow, and eventually they all ended up in front of the table that we were standing behind.

The boys looked at us, and one of them declared loudly, "We hate this show! We want to go back to the hotel!"

My friend laughed and said, "Nice to know."

At that point, I must admit that I agreed with him.

A little bit more rambling, cut for sanity's sake )
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
I decided to try broadening my show horizons this year. While perusing a community flier a few months ago, I noticed that they held a community sale in a community park, and I thought, it couldn't hurt. I signed up and paid $16 for two days ($8 per day).

Today was day one. My total take? $13.

Needless to say, I am 95% convinced that I should not bother with day two. I have a ton of eBay stuff to do--stuff that actually makes me money--and I have a ton of RL stuff to take care of before I leave. Plus, they had the air conditioning on full blast, even though it was only 45 when I got there, so I nearly froze to death. And now my throat is a bit sore.

Still, even though it may have cost me money to do the show, I must grudgingly admit that I did receive hilarity in return.

My booth was next to a bottom feeder, someone who is selling products from catalogs (honestly, it has that MLM feel). It was her first show ever, and she had two other people to help her with a single table. (As far as I could tell, neither she nor the other two helpers took in a single dollar. And it was clear that she's purchased quite a lot of inventory.)

Across the room was someone with fleece blankets, made from commercially available patterned fleece.

Just to save a little space... )

Anyway, the woman next to me saw them, and was drawn like a moth to a flame. She bought six of them, including the disembodied leopard heads horror. She came back to her booth to find her checkbook. While she was digging in her purse, I looked up to see a giant 70's tiger head slowly floating across the floor toward her.

Just after the rather frightening reaction in my primitive hindbrain, I figured out that it was the blanket woman, slowly walking across the floor, holding the blanket fully outstretched in front of her.

I then composed an extemporaneous song in my head in its honor:

Oh, on your knees
Oh seeeeeeeee the tiger blaaaaaaanket
Oh tiiiiiiiiiiger, diviiiiiiiiiiiiine
Oh buy, the tiger blankieeeeeeeeeee

Alas, you are all being deprived of my rendition of the Tiger Carol because, even after four years of attempting, I cannot get LJ's voicepost feature to work.


May. 7th, 2008 09:12 pm
valis2: Stone lion face (Circus wagon lion)
The n00b eBay customer who left me neutral feedback has now written me an email begging me to leave her positive feedback ASAP because she is being "persecuted" by another seller, who has left her negative feedback and now apparently has a vendetta against her.

Turns out that she left negative fb for that seller--and others. Some of them, in turn, negged and neutralled her. For example, she left neutral fb for seller on the basis that apparently she felt his shipping was too expensive when compared to others' charges. I've been neutralled for the same reason, and all I can say is, YOU BID ON IT, HONEY. She knew what the charges were when she hit that little button.

I think the seller who persecuted her is pissed (I'm piecing this together from experience--she did something similar to me) because she got all of her purchases screwed up, and paid for items and THEN bid on more stuff, which wrecks the ease-of-combined-shipping thing for sellers, let me tell you. She's claiming that he never sent the extra items.

Thank goodness her invoice this week is big, and she's already paid, and I can ship it off to her, hoping that my carefully worded advice will actually do some good. (1: Don't leave neg or neutral fb without contacting the seller first. 2: Be careful what you bid upon.)

You all can imagine the response I wanted to send to her.

(You know, a lot of people have faded from the HP fandom, and entered SGA, Bleach, Twilight...I seem to have entered the eBay fandom. heh.)

ETA: Wow. I was lucky. She negged/neutralled even more people than I thought. Worst was a neg for an item which she decried because it was "ordinary" and poorly described--she claimed that it was stupid to describe it by weight instead of size.

The description was actually perfect--it described weight AND size. Sure, it wasn't a great item, which I could tell from the pic, but the vendor did absolutely NOTHING wrong--there was NO misinformation whatsoever--and it is not the vendor's fault at all.

One of the other negs she gave was to an 8000+ fb vendor, who replied, calling her a "filthy mongrel," which made me laugh like an idjit.
valis2: Stone lion face (Stamp lion)
I mean, it was really busy--but I didn't have a lot of customers, myself. I only broke even. I think it was a combination of things; my inventory is low, so it's all overpicked, my location sucked, and I didn't have the hot merch that everyone wants.

I'm happy that I managed to do a bit of turnover--I sold some things that I've had for awhile and was worried about selling.

Anyway, I did have a weird moment where my private life and my show life converged--a group of fen approached my table, bought things, and started talking about yaoi and hentai. Seriously. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say those words at a show before--though I have seen someone with a yaoi backpack before.

I outed myself, and we had a really fun conversation, and I tried to steal a really cool shirt one of the girls was wearing, only it didn't work.

I wrote haikus, as the previous entry shows.

Thank goodness I drove there the morning of (even though it's 4 1/2 hrs). I'm so glad I didn't have a second night at a hotel, because then the show would have been a loss.

And I did get to stop at Jungle Jim's, and they had Tim Tams this time, and yes, they are fantastic. Yum.
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
The show sucked.

It wasn't epic suckitude, just mediocre suckitude. I did take in some money, after all. Not enough to make anywhere near a profit, or even break even, but at least I went home with something in my pocket.

Just when I think I have this industry figured out, it laughs in my face yet again. The sad thing is, I'm signed up for three more shows with this promoter. Two of them are in different areas of the country, but one of them is in the exact same location, and I'm already despairing about the failage.

Best interaction of the show:

Crazy woman, wearing three layers of rather incongruous clothing, including a rather soiled Cubs jacket: HELLO! (said very loudly and enthusiastically)
Me: Hi.
Crazy woman (even more loudly): JUST LOOKING!
Me: *hasn't asked if she was interested in anything--this happens to be one of my biggest pet peeves* Great.
Crazy woman: I need something for my daughter's wedding!
Me: Okay.
Crazy woman: JUST LOOKING!
Me: Er...okay.
Crazy woman: I really need something for my daughter's wedding.
Me: Well, I have plenty of stuff to choose from.
Crazy woman: I need something pink.
Me: I have pink things. *notices that she has about 24395862398 bags on each arm*
Crazy woman: blah blah blah wedding blah blah *finally picks out things*
Me: That will be $2.17.
Crazy woman: *pays*
Me: *hands bag to her*
Crazy woman: *pulls out disposable camera* I'M TAKING PITCHURS OF THE BOOTHS!!!
Me: *normally would not give permission, but, as it's clear that none of this pictures will be identifiable as anything but giant blurs, says nothing*
Crazy woman: *takes picture of one side of my booth--with a customer standing there, blocking most of the view* I LIKE TO TAKE PITCHURS OF THE [X]!
Me: But I don't have any [X] at my booth. At all.
Crazy woman: *takes picture of the other side of my booth* OH NOES I RUN OUT OF FILUM!
Me: That's too bad.
Crazy woman: *tries to put the disposable camera in one of the bags, ends up looking like a cat being sprayed with Silly String as she flails about, getting tangled in the bags*
Me: *facepalm*
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
Every time I get a message from an eBay member I break out in hives, I tell you.

(This does make me feel doomy about making eBay so important in my life...)

Long story short--this person feels that I didn't include the "book" with the game. I immediately replied, "Did you check the packaging?" and I also asked them which was missing--the book or the map or both.

Listen, I've learned that a lot of people do not completely inspect the box. I know that sounds patronizing and evil to ask that question, but it's true.

I didn't hear anything back for a day and a half, so I emailed again, asking if they had found the book or map.

I received a reply finally (this morning) that the book was missing (but they did not clarify whether the map was missing (I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS (though I recognize the irony in that statement))) and a bit of not-quite-strong language wanting a refund or at the very least a refund for the book part. (Why does it matter if the map was missing? Well, they were together. So if only one is missing, that's strange. If both were missing, well, then, I might have shipped them to somebody else, though I doubt it highly.)

So I responded by refunding the entire purchase price (but not the shipping) and I said:

Normally I would wait for one more email just to be certain that the book or map is not there before I send out a refund; I've had people overlook things before only to find them later (multiple times, actually).

However, you are clearly upset about this issue, so I've just processed the refund (but not the shipping charges).

Thanks and have a nice day!

What's your opinion, flist? Was I too nasty? patronizing?
valis2: Stone lion face (Default)
The drive out was nice.

The show was hellish. Not only did I not make money--I lost money doing this show. I wish I hadn't splurged for a second night at the helltel--er, hotel--I would have at least broken even, I think.

Hotel adventures, short, I promise )

Favorite customer? Kitty. Really, that was her name.

Multiple-choice question: Who can guess what was on her sweater?
a) Kitties.
b) Hearts.
c) Butterflies.
d) Flowers.
e) Pink glittery threads.
f) All of the above. <--the correct choice, of course.

Actual conversation with Kitty (condensed, to preserve your sanity):

Kitty: I was at another booth, and the man had the flier, you know, the one they send to us to let us know that y'all are here, that piece of paper, and he was showing it to a woman, and what was that for?
Me: Uh...what?
Kitty: There was a flier, they sent it to all of us, because we need to know when y'all are going to be here, and he had the flier, and he was at a booth, and he showed it to a woman, why?
Me: I don't think I understand the question.
Kitty: This flier that they send out to the customers, I went to a booth, the man had the flier, and he was showing it to another woman, what was that for?
Me: I'm not certain that I know what you're talking about.
Kitty's friend: *I* don't even know what you're talking about.
Kitty: I think I need to go sit down.

I am so pathetically glad to be home. Glad glad glad. I think I need to go to the doctor tomorrow and throw money at him so he can make the evil throat-swelling nasty go away.

As usual

Sep. 16th, 2007 08:38 pm
valis2: Stone lion face (Wheel lion)
Two eBay questions today. One about international shipping...very common.

Second one was, "How many pieces?"

I double-checked the listing. Sometimes I do forget to type that information in the description.

Sure enough, not only does the picture show exactly how many, but the listing also contains the number of items involved.


valis2: Stone lion face (Default)

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