Causing My Own Mayhem

I adore hunting for vintage things for my store.  Always. Yard sales, rummage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, online auctions…they’re all good and all fun. 

But I realize some other parts of the biz aren’t so delightful. And sometimes I cause my own mayhem. My own pointless drama. Like in these cases. May my mistakes not be yours!

The Case of the Missing Item

Here’s the story: I track my inventory by bin number or location (and yes, “Cupboard Above Microwave” is a real location), and when an item sells I check the list to see where I’ll find it. But an item that just sold was not on the list. Rats! But wait, I was pretty sure I’d put it in a closet drawer. I checked the drawer. Nope, not there. I checked the other drawer. Nope. Then I started checking other likely areas, finally heading out to my storage bins in the garage and tediously opening up most of them and rooting around.

Now I knew I had this item. It was here somewhere, but why, oh why, hadn’t I added it to my inventory tracking doc?!

Part of my two-column inventory list.

Finally I decided to check (for the third time) the drawer where I had originally thought it was in the beginning. I pulled out all the items and there is was, hiding underneath some sheet music.

I had an “Oh, thank goodness” moment and then I quietly remonstrated myself for not having tracked it to begin with. The truth is I spent wasted over an hour looking for it!

Now you may be thinking, “Well, it was your fault.” And you’d be right. It was. Sigh.

Note to self: Make sure every item gets put on my tracking list. Every one, every time, without exception.

The Case of the Hard-to-Ship Item

Every once in a while I buy something that I know is going to be challenging to ship and yet I still buy it! And then I grumble later when it sells and I have to pack and ship it.

Here’s the story: A while back I sold a cool 12″ vintage globe.

I had bought it for $5 at an estate sale and sold it for $30, so I had a profit of $23 profit or so after fees and COGs. But this bad boy took me 25 minutes of careful packaging and a lot of packing materials to ensure it arrived safely. I was annoyed with myself. It was just not worth it for $23 IMHO. 

Note to self: Stop buying hard-to-ship items unless you plan to sell them locally or they are really (really) profitable.

The Case of the Post Office Woes

Here’s the story: On Saturday morning I made a special trip to drop off five small First Class packages in my post office’s secure interior mail slot. On Monday morning I dropped off eight packages on the drop-off counter. By late afternoon on Monday the eight I dropped off had already been scanned and the tracking info displayed them as “In Transit.” The five I dropped off on Saturday had not been scanned yet and the post office showed no record of having received them. What???

I started worrying because in the past stuff I’d dropped off on a Saturday  got scanned and moved along quickly. At 4:00 p.m. I decided to drive back to the post office to speak with someone. I got the manager. When I explained the situation, she said,  “Well, we don’t have staff working on Saturdays.”

 “Yes, but wouldn’t the packages have been scanned today? The ones I brought in this morning were.”

“I’m sure they just haven’t shown up yet. But if not, they’ll be scanned in San Francisco. Don’t worry,” she said with a smile. “They’ll show up.”

Well, I was worried and when I got to my car I am embarrassed to say I burst into tears. Who cries over stupid stuff like this?!! Apparently I do. I was just so darn frustrated. My buyers will think I haven’t mailed their items and fast shipping is always appreciated and, these days, expected. And what if in the worst-case scenario they were stolen at the post office. Does that even happen? I envisioned having five unhappy customers and me having to refund them all. Aaack!

(Postscript: I checked their status this morning and the six packages were scanned at 9:50 last night! and are now on their way. Phew! My apologies little post office for having doubted your integrity.)

Note to self: Don’t overreact (for Pete’s sake!) and stop dropping stuff off on Saturday. And take the time to get a receipt for items..at least the more valuable ones.


Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about some of my goofiness. Do let me know if you have any of your own!

As always, happy hunting,

Karen

10 Comments

  1. Hard-to-ship item: done that. I have quite a few nice crockery sets that will be a huge pain to ship should they sell. Bought quite a few paintings that won’t be easy to ship, too. Once I shipped a small suitcase at a total loss, considering the packing time etc.
    Did the shipping and fees for the globe only cost you about $2? that’s a bargain! I just got charged £6+ in fees for a pair of gloves.. plus the postage… ouch.

    PO: I always get a proof of posting for the items shipped – else I’d be at a loss, as well as worried/stressed, should it go missing. For the valuable ones I have to ship signed-for.

    Missing-item: I don’t keep a list (yet) as I don’t have many places I can store stuff, so mostly I try to remember or write the content on the container.

    On the other hand, I do get those items that seemed like a good buy at the moment and turn out not to be 😛 …hopefully I’ll learn from the past mistakes 🙂

    Thanks for sharing & happy selling!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Gabriella. No, the shipping on the globe wasn’t $2, but I had charged the shipping separately on this ($22!, but I actually paid $22.64). The $2 was for the fees and extra shipping I paid.

    I agree, paintings can be a hassle to ship. Lately I’ve been buying just small ones.

    You’re wise to always get proof of posting. 🙂 I really should every time too. I’ve had three items delivered with signature confirmation. At what value do you typically add this?

    All the best, Karen

    Like

  3. Laura Werley

    We all have times when we can’t find stuff. I have a garbage bag of cookie cutters that are in my storage shed but we have put many thing in front of them, even though I just used the bag a couple of weeks ago. They are good sellers, but not a huge profit so I’m just saying ‘oh well’ and moving on! I’ll find them once I start updating the furniture in front of them. And missing packages are not unusual. I ordered some drawer handles from an Etsy shop about a month ago and never got a tracking confirmation. The owner of the shop finally contacted me to see if I had received them, guess she didn’t check her tracking when she dropped her package off?! Don’t be hard on yourself, this is a crazy time of the year, busy and stressful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laura! This is encouraging. And you’re right I do tend to be hard on myself at times. All the best, Karen

      Like

  4. pamela j

    I store my inventory in beer cases (A friend works at a bar) with a piece of paper on the end listing the contents-ugh. Many times I have played find the sold item game-not fun.

    I also sold a globe very similar to the one pictured. After packing and shipping costs (I underestimated the weight) it brought me very little revenue.

    The drop off counter at the post office, I left 2 packages. I checked and checked, no scan. I went back to the post office and spoke to the manager. My packages were not located. Yes someone took them. I did cry in my car.

    So, you see, you are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pamela. It’s always nice to know we are not alone in our experiences. Tears and all!

      So sorry to hear about your stolen packages. That’s painful! I know at our drop-off counter it would be easy enough for folks dropping off packages to lift a few of somebody else’s. :\

      Thanks for sharing with me.

      All the best, Karen

      Like

  5. Linda Neumann

    Hi Karen…. yes, I have done all of the above….except I haven’t cried yet. Screamed, yes. Today I have been searching and searching …. tomorrow I may have to cancel and refund an order. sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaack! I had to cancel an order a year or so ago. Not fun! Hope all is going well in your store otherwise. 🙂 Karen

      Like

  6. I love how much I can relate! I started reselling 2 years ago as a side gig and oooo tracking stuff got overwhelming, my boyfriend took over and now he stays away from items that he’s not passionate about shipping, and last the USPS … I am so wary of dropping off at the counter, but as long as you can ask them to scan it I never worry about it anymore

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Quick Hatch! Yah, some aspects of this biz just drive me crazy. Nice you got your boyfriend helping out! I brought it some packages the other day to the post office and realized I HAD to get them scanned. I couldn’t just set them on the drop-off counter. Still feeling a bit vulnerable. All the best in your biz, Karen

      Like

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