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.
Friday, October 09, 2015
Can Bernie Sanders Beat Trump?
Since I failed this year's "find great new products" objective, I need to sell more of the same old, same old. Metal Earth models are at the top of that list. I dropped $800 this week just to replenish the models that I sold last year and next week I'll spend at least that much more on some small fraction of the 100+ models that I don't carry yet. At the rate that they keep adding new ones, I'll never be able to stock the whole line.
Last week I said that "I can't responsibly start placing Christmas orders until my November statement period begins on Oct. 13," so how the heck did I spend $800? Irresponsibly! Since I need products now, debt is the answer.
I really, really hate going into Q4 with a pile of credit card debt, but what else can I do? The orders need to start flying in earnest next week. After this Columbus Day weekend it will be time to switch the Bing ads back on and start working longer hours. Christmas is here.
Thieves are coming out of the woodwork. This week somebody asked if I would use his freight consolidator to ship to the Fiji Islands. Uh, no. That's Fraud 101. I don't know what brought my little store to the attention of international thieves, but I hope it passes soon.
Incidentally, last week's post brought double the usual number of visitors to my Facebook page. I can see why the media loves Trumping up some clickbait. Just for fun, let's see what happens when Bernie and the Donald duke it out. I'm not even going to touch on the political speculation that would justify my blatant clickbait headline.
To be clear: Clicks don't make me any money by themselves. Google paid me $100 five or six years ago after I finally accumulated enough clicks on the ads that run between my posts. Since then, my unpaid balance has crept back up to $75 ($0 of that from the past 28 days, yo). If you aren't running an ad blocker, be my hero and click one of those ads to send a few pennies my way. At the rate things are going it will take two more years to make the $25 that will trigger another payout.
Monday morning a customer called to change his Unassembled Osprey kite order to an Assembled kite. I can't change the amount of a sale so I needed his credit card number to collect a few additional bucks. After berating my website for his failed reading comprehension, he told me that his daughter controls the credit card. I canceled his order and went through my usual order-cancellation rigamarole. Refunding the payment is the last step in that process.
Due to a reading comprehension failure I didn't notice that my PayPal transaction list was several hours out of date. I refunded the top order, which actually belonged to the previous customer. There aren't any do-overs after you issue a refund. PayPal's list still wasn't updating, so now I couldn't see the transaction that I still needed to refund or the erroneous refund that I might or might not have just issued. Oddly, the account balance seemed to be updating properly, so I could infer the invisible transactions until a third order materialized. Unsure whether the refunded guy would pay me a second time, I told Jackite to hold his order until further notice.
Now things were pretty bollixed. Fortunately the guy who started this whole chain of errors had also mistyped his email address, so he didn't get the deluge of automatic emails that my correction efforts kicked out. It took the rest of the day to straighten out this mess of my own creation, starting with a sheepish phone call to the innocent fellow who got the mistaken refund. He cooperated and I gave Jackite the go-ahead to ship...then realized that I'd written his number down wrong and still couldn't charge his card. (I managed to correct that mistake without calling him back.) Jackite missed my go-ahead message and didn't ship his order until yesterday. But everything's finally straightened out and my customers should be satisfied, if not happy. I hope.