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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, December 07, 2007


It’s been an exhausting rollercoaster week. After last month’s stellar end, I promptly fell more than $800 behind LY during the first two days of December. That’s not insurmountable, but it’s discouraging.

And then the phone rang.

A customer who ordered five lighted caps worth $100 received instead five clip-on cap lights worth $30. My inventory numbers are all correct, meaning that I shipped those five caps to somebody – and I think I know whom. I had another order on the same business day for five clip-ons. I probably switched the two orders – they looked very similar on paper (5 caps, 5 cap lights….) – and I did reverse two shipments once last year, too, so I know I'm prone to such things. The suspect customer didn’t reply to email; she no doubt intends to keep her windfall. I decided against phoning her for several reasons: First, the postage on the second shipment should’ve been inadequate for five caps, so there’s a slight doubt in my mind that she really got them, and I can't prove it anyway. Second, I think it’s bad form to harass a customer about an error that I made. Third (and most convincing), the cost of recovering those five caps and replacing them with clip-ons would leave me with a net gain of only $20 after all the postage. Is that worth the hassle and ill-will? The reasonable thing to do is let it go.

I refunded the first customer’s purchase, of course, and let her keep the clip-ons as an apology (and because they really aren’t worth the cost of return postage). So I lost a $100 sale and $100 worth of merchandise. That’s a pretty nasty hit.

The December 2006 numbers that I’m up against are extremely intimidating. Remember, I had a product in two gift guides LY, and I don’t have anything comparable going on this year. I need very strong sales both today and tomorrow just to match LY. And next week is even more challenging.

So I’d better stop writing about it and knuckle down, don’t you think?

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