Welcome to Curious Business

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, September 24, 2010

Dirty Words

Here’s a funny: For the first time ever I used the “Notes” box on the USPS click-n-ship site to explain that I changed a customer’s chosen carrier because UPS won’t ship to his PO box. Click-n-ship returned an error. That usually means that the address is invalid or I forgot to tick the stupid return address checkbox that ought to be ticked by default. Nope, this time the reason was “Profanity detected”.

O RLY? I scoured my short sentence for any combination of letters that could be construed as a cuss word. Nothing. On a hunch I changed “UPS” to “your chosen carrier.” Success! Turns out that “UPS” is a dirty word at the post office.


The Mini-Briefcase Business Card Holder – one of my flagship products with SKU 16 -- came perilously close to selling out when my wholesaler unexpectedly went out of stock. This is the product that I sold to Lord Yabinghoo in last week’s post. Demand really picked up after I exchanged links with The Corporate Gifts Company UK, now my #1 referring site (ahead of Facebook). You’d think the “UK” part would be a deal-breaker, but apparently not. Anyway, they send me a lot of traffic so show them some love.

Speaking of link exchanges, I’m always happy to swap with anyone who has a legitimate site (not a link farm) that doesn’t compete with mine. Such swaps are more about raising your search engine ranking than getting referrals, but any traffic they generate is always a welcome surprise. Email me if you’d like to promote your site here, and tell me where you’ll list Curio City in return. Google loves links.


My wireless HP Officejet printer suffered a terminal paper jam last Saturday. After removing the accursed paper – in pieces – the printer would not come back. Hours of troubleshooting and more than a few dirty words eventually squared things away except for one detail: It won’t print in black. I think the print head was damaged in the jam.

The printer was exactly four days past one year old, and technically off warranty. I tried anyway. Hunting down HP’s online/email customer service contact was a trial in itself, but I eventually filed my claim.

On Monday a customer service representative named Garret phoned (why do they always phone when the initial contact is online?). After some back-and-forth he promised to FedEx me a replacement print head. On Wednesday FedEx delivered an envelope containing an empty box, packing material, a return label, instructions for returning the defective part, and a packing list enumerating an empty box, packing material, a label, and an instruction letter. You’ll notice that there is no print head in that list.

I emailed Garret again to see if I should expect the print head under separate cover. On Thursday he phoned to offer me a whole new printer, with no need to return the old one. It arrived today. Setting up a new wireless printer is not trivial; it took 90 minutes. But hey: New $90 printer! Kudos to HP. You really can offer excellent customer service when you have deep enough pockets.

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