Sunday, December 27, 2009

Staying Off The Naughty List

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was particularly enjoyable since my back problems seem to be under control for the first time in years. Unfortunately, the enforced inactivity of my recuperation, combined with a family love of good food, has combined to give me a physique that's looking all too Santa-like. I'm a jolly fat man by nature, but I hope being able to get back into a pool and the gym will mean there's a bit less of me jiggling around. Heh.

That aside, there was one other minor Christmas complication- a replica prop I ordered back in late October still hasn't arrived. Delivery dates have come and gone, promised tracking numbers have failed to materialize, and I find myself with nothing to show for the missing money in my wallet. I also have the uncomfortable task of explaining to the recipient why they won't be receiving a Christmas gift until well into January.

Experiences like this are all too common in the replica prop field, and one of the reasons why I'm obsessive about how I manage my own efforts. After participating in dozens of short-run projects I came to the conclusion that the surest sign of potential trouble was any delay between payment and shipping. It's simply amazing how many people, even those with sterling reputations and a history of reliability, suddenly become seriously ill, have a death in the family, or have their computers explode once they have a chunk of your money. Yes, unforeseen events can pop up, but if you have the time to collect my payment you damn well have the time to slap an address label on a box and get my stuff in the mail. If you can't, refund my money.

Really, is this that hard to understand?


James Floyd Kelly (Jim) said...

This doesn't happen to be a seller on, does it? I'm hearing WAY too much about failed deliveries on that site these days.

Hope you get your item... it sounds like you paid cash or check, but if not, call your credit card company and get them involved.

josefk said...

I've had some less than satisfying dealings with a very talented sculptor, whose works I would own more of were it not for the interminable delays in shipping items ordered. For my own salesI like to have a couple of pieces available at all times, but on my site I say that things are made to order and that it might take a a couple of weeks for shipment. A posting in November of a couple of my sculpts on a busy site inspired a number of orders well beyond my usual and I spent every bit of my
free time for several weeks trying to get everything done. I did, and I think everything I shipped arrived before Christmas. It was a stressful experience, though, and has me rethinking my selling practices so as to avoid the unpleasantness you've desribed.

Propnomicon said...

@ James Floyd Kelly

It was indeed an RPF sale. Out of the dozens of projects I've been a customer of about 10% have suffered from unaccountable delays.

@ josefk

I think your experience is indicative of what happens in a majority of cases- artisans simply get overwhelmed. I think genuine fraud is relatively rare, but it's far too easy for creative people to overestimate their production capabilities.

There are three rules I follow to keep my own efforts from suffering from problems.

1. Don't sell what you don't have. Merchandise I offer has to be in my hands and ready to ship before I accept payment for it.

2. Ship within 48 hours. Ideally, I try to have packages in the mail the morning after they're paid for.

3. Communicate. A customer is never going to complain because you kept him too well informed of his order's status.

I also think it's a good idea to give customers more than they bargained for. A little something extra included with their order will always generate a positive response.

Anonymous said...

I for one definitely appreciate your creative efforts and your selling guidelines.

By the way thank you for updating us on your medical status. I have been wondering if you pulled through OK.