Thursday, November 16, 2006

When it Rains it Pours

Have you ever had one of those... well, weeks I guess? So far November has been quite the month. As far as overall sales and new customers, we're doing great. But, everyone who ever made anything seems to want to ship it THIS WEEK - well, part of last week too. I've gotten 3 DIFFERENT Yu-Gi-Oh items in (tins, structure decks and booster packs) in a week, 2 different Wizkids Pirates items in (new packs and tins), Marvel Heroclix, I think 6 different board games and expansions, the new series of Stikfas plus a restock on Stikfas we'd sold out of already, several statues, 2 different DC Direct action figure sets... Plus, we've got vendors coming in trying to get us to carry their junk (Key chains, night lights, bendies, potato guns...) and we've been stocking up on graphic novels for the holiday season. Not to mention all of the people calling and emailing or just stopping in wanting us to buy their cards (which we DO NOT buy) and comics. Every day it seems that either Fed Ex or UPS brings us another box of merchandise. Now don't get me wrong, I like having lots of good stuff to sell, but lately it comes in faster than we can sell it. But, by the 27th it should slow way down and we can catch our breath - hopefully.

We can sell it if it's not too damaged, anyway. This week's hot books were Civil War and New Avengers - go figure. And 1/4 of our Civil War and almost 1/2 of our New Avengers that we received on Wednesday were seriously damaged, plus some other Marvel comics too - but these were the big deal. So, we called Diamond and insisted that they rush ship us our damage replacements this week. They did so... kind of. We got all of our replacements EXCEPT for Civil War. How do you like that? The one we REALLY wanted more than the others is the one we don't get. So, we had to call back and have them re-ship those. Probably won't see them until MONDAY so hopefully we've got enough to last until then. And, to ad insult to injury, we also had another box of re-orders come today, mostly graphic novels we needed to restock, and half of them were all banged up. So, those have to be replaced too - and we had them rush-ordered so we'd have them to sell over the weekend, which is when we tend to sell a lot of graphic novels. And, there's no guarantee now that they'll replace these damages before Black Friday, which we hope to be a big day for the cash register in our store.

Not only did we have problems with not getting items and getting damaged items, but we've received some expensive items. Then, the people who said they wanted these items decide they don't want or can't afford these items. I'm not talking $50 here, or even $100 - more like $200++. Most average customers here don't buy these kinds of expensive items--and when they do it might be once a year at most. Of course there are others who buy lots of high-end stuff and are good for it. But this week has been riddled with people refusing to pay for things they wanted, for one reason or another. Did I mention that about 95%, maybe even more, of everything we buy is non-returnable?? It got me so mad that I told Craig that from now on we HAVE to get pre-payments on special-order items over $100. We are just too small of a store to be able to afford having to sit on these high-end items. People, if you can't afford it, or aren't sure that you REALLY want it, PLEASE don't pre-order it. Because my little store can't afford it either. Oh, and if you move or have something come up, and you're having your comics pulled, be polite and let your store know about it. Send them an email; give them a call, whatever. I doubt they'll yell at you - they'll probably be glad you let them know so that they don't continue to hold items for you that you're never going to come and get.

My hands are still like ice - wanna know why? Because our heater seems to be on the fritz. So, if anyone knows a good heating/cooling guy in the area, let me know. We had a guy come out on Tuesday, and $266 later it seemed like it was working - but the next day it took 7 hours to get it to warm up from 60 degrees to 70 degrees. We were too busy to call - since it was New Book Day and Heroclix day and Yu-Gi-Oh day. But we called him today to have him come back out and take a look. Well, now he's just too busy and wants us to call someone else. I guess since he didn't completely fix it, he doesn't want to come back out for free to look at it again. We are thinking it might be our gas gauge, so we called We Energies -- they can't get anyone out until Tuesday next week. We don't want to spend a service call for a heating guy to come tell us that it's just the gauge and they can't do anything, but we're worried that if it isn't the gauge we'll be stuck without heat until at LEAST the 27th. Luckily it hasn't been super cold, and our track lighting throws off a lot of heat, so it helps to eventually warm up the store. But, if it gets to a point where we're only seeing 30 degrees during the day and no sun, it's going to be rather brisk in here. On the plus side, we've really cut down on our energy costs!

So yeah, it's been a stressful week. But that's all part of owning your own business. When it rains, it pours, but eventually the sun has to come out.


Michael Rawdon said...

Oww, that smarts!

I think my local store either requires a hefty down-payment on expensive items (mainly statues, I think), or a credit card number on file.

I made one pricy ordering mistake at my local store once, but they were nice enough not to make me buy it (and I think they sold it before too long to someone else anyway, so everyone won). I'm still not sure what happened there. But no doubt it helps that I've got a lengthy track record of reliability buying stuff from them.

The other "fun" thing for a store, I understand, are people who go for months between picking up their savers. Unless I go on a lengthy vacation or get hit by a bus, I'll never pull that on them! I need my fix! :-)

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa- it has been your week this time, huh? I am so sorry to hear that. Half the battle is getting the goods; the other half is getting them in good shape.

As for ordering spendy items, we have the same issue with customers ordering and not taking the high dollar items. My local retailer doesn't even want to order them anymore, and I don't blame them.

I hope your next week is better!

Lisa said...

Thankfully we were able to sell the most expensive of the items on eBay over the weekend - and we didn't even loose money doing so, which is often the case. So, things are looking up there. Although our heat is out AGAIN and we've already spent over $450 on it.