Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I accidentally stuck my SD card into the DVD slot on my iMAC

Yea it finally happened. I love my MAC, Ive been using them since the first tiny apple came out many moons ago.  Love my MAC.

Well I have this iMac and the spot for the SD is right next to the DVD slot. A big design flaw right. I have in the past placed the SD card in there but pulled it out quickly today I pushed it in and it was now lost in the slot! I was freaking out, how do I get this thing out?

Well I did a search on the internet and found a post from techdc dot com. It said they created an arm to pull the card out. Moving the iMac to its side wont help, the card wont fall out because of whats in there.

So I make this thing as noted from the other post.

I made it out of a piece of thin card board, I gently put it inside the DVD slot from the top and move slowly down.  The thing gets caught on something inside! Now the cardboard is stuck! Talk about freaking out right?

I shut down and again pull the Mac towards me and wiggle the cardboard some more. I got another piece of cardboard and wiggle it inside and finally I can see the SD card. So I calm down and move the pieces around and finally Im able to get the card out. But that first card board piece is still stuck.  Gently push it up and whoo hoo it comes out but its all bent outta whack! 

Afraid I messed up something? No... the SD card works fine and I put in a DVD into the player and that works fine too.

Wow just saved my butt!  Did I mention I love my MAC? 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Greater Organic Food Delivery Program Review

So sometime in 2011 I was at a local expo and signed up to win a months worth of organic food.  Well we didn't win but they called us anyway to see if we were interested in the service they offered.

We said ok come over and lets see what its about.

A gentleman came to our house and told us about the program. Basically they would deliver 6 months of food to you. All the food was either 'natural' or 'certified organic' in some way.  I never doubted the certifications that they used.  After about an hour we were convinced to try it out.  We had to purchase a freezer which they would guarantee. The products were also under 'warranty'  so had we lost power they would replace all the food that was in the freezer.  Which was neat, however,  when we went to the local stores we found out that the prices of freezers of the same size and capacity were about half the price they charged us.  So we figured it was part of the 'warranty'.  The meat were packaged individually for easy cooking or so we thought.

Our first delivery came in May 2011 - we received chicken, pork, beef, burgers, etc. The freezer was very full and we were excited.  Our first delivery was financed monthly - our payments were almost $350 a month. For 6 months thats - $2100 or  about $82 a week. At first we didn't think about it, we were already spending about $100 a week on groceries.  We shopped weekly and it was a trip we liked only cause we got to spend sometime together fooling around.   We figured our trips to the store would diminish with this program but it didn't.  We still had to make trips to purchase staples such as milk, bread, eggs, basically everything other than meat.  Our trips to the grocery store had dropped from weekly to every 2 or sometimes 3 weeks.

Our biggest disappointment was in month 4 when we were out of meat which meant we had to go shopping again for meat.  So here we go back to the weekly trips to the market and we are still paying that monthly bill. We are not happy really. In November our rep came to visit once again to place our semi annual order.  We were going to drop the program then as we tell him about running out of food so quickly and what does he do, he increases the quantity of the products and says try it again and we will see.  This time the payments were $380 a month. For 6 months thats $2280 or about $89 a week.

We got a variety of things including groceries this time. Still we are going shopping every other week for the 'other' things.  As the months go by we again ran out of meat by month 5.  We ended up spending a whole lot more to get meat in the house. We could go meatless but thats not really an option for my house. Any who... We were due in May to order again. We decided then that we were not going participate in the program any more. So when the rep called and got us on the phone he was not happy with what we told him but convinced us to place an order and he was going to give us a larger discount for our order.

The next day he calls us, we altered the order to just meats.  He crunches his numbers and tells us the 6 months amount is $1800! Ok we dropped the amount but not by much - we were never given a monthly amount because we had to pay it in full.  Like we had $1800 to drop like that! Some people are just crazy!  Did I mention we never knew how much we were paying per pound or anything like that. No Clue.

The other wammy is that its CASH ONLY!  Well I told him to call me the next day so I can see if its worth it to me and how much money I had.  In checking our computer I ran reports.   The reports told me that before we started this program we were spending about  $400 a month on groceries.  After we signed up for this program we were still spending that $400 plus an additional $350 a month for a total of $750 a month on groceries. We thought we were saving money and we really were not.  I know I can get us back to $400 a month and yea prices may have go up but not by that much.

Our rep calls back that night and I tell him that we decided to NOT go forward with this program.  He asks why of course and I tell him we are spending more now then ever. He goes into a tangent about organic food this and blah blah blah... I stood firm and said if I want organic I can get it at the local farmers market or at any of the local farms and he says - oh your gonna pay $20 a pound! I said 'so' and he says ok bye.

My experience with this company is not a bad one. The meat was OK, honestly we couldnt tell the difference between conventional meat and organic.  Visually you can see the organic pieces are significantly smaller.  The fact that the pieces were individually wrapped was great and awful at the same time.  It was great when I just wanted a single piece but when I was cooking for the family it was a pain.  One has to cut out every piece and there is a lot of plastic left over to throw away. How is that eco friendly?

Would I try it again? Doubtful.

My dealing with an obnoxious sales person.

Im sure we have all dealt with a sales person in one way or another but there are some that are just down right wrong.

The other day a sales rep from a newspaper came in.  Im not rude so I let her give me her 'speech' - so goes on about how shes been doing this for 12 years, the paper has been around for over 20 years, our clients are very happy, yada yada yada!  Then she goes into the 'sale'  6 ads for $59 each time its printed. The newspaper came out once a month and everyone in the area got it - again with more 'how great the paper is' comments.

So Im looking at the paper and I know this paper, its the one I toss in the trash when it arrives. Do I read it? No. Its one of those papers filled with ads and no real articles to read. So I politely say no Im not interested. She asks why. So I said its not my kind of paper and its a little pricy. Not to mention Ive kinda had a bad taste in my mouth with the area newspapers and had no desire to deal with them.  Then she gets hostile - she tells me how everyone is spending to place ads in her paper,  shes not worried cause she can get someone else to put an ad, people line up to get into her paper, her customers rave about the paper and how Im making a horrible decision.  And on and on and on....

Can you believe this?

Dumbfounded I just looked at her and said sorry Im not interested. She finally left and said thank you for your time. I should have kicked her out of my store!  Whats wrong with people?

She managed me make me feel so small, like I wronged her in some way.  Man stand your ground and dont let people get to you.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why do we use the USPS to deliver packages.

Many people always question the use of USPS for delivery.  I dont understand why they are thought of as such a horrible service.  I use the USPS for a number of reasons.

1. They are the least expensive - where can you send a package for under $3?  Most of my packages are under a pound. UPS rounds up to the nearest pound they dont care about ounces so if I used them all my packages would be rated at a pound.  Why would I pay over $4 to ship something that weighs an ounce? Why would a customer spend over $4 to receive a package that was small and lightweight? Its excessive. UPS also charges a weekly fee to use their service even if you do not ship packages at all that week.

2. The USPS is run by the government - ok that doesn't say much but its not a privately owned company.  This should mean something right?

3. They already deliver mail to you home, the carrier knows where you are. Not some UPS driver that cant find your home. The package arrives in your mailbox!  Not in your grass, or your neighbors house, or your backdoor giving it an opportunity to be taken.  If the package does not fit into your mailbox they leave you a note to pick it up at the post office or make other arraignments.  They dont charge you for this service.

4. Ok yes I have seen the shows on TV and UPS has a very intricate way of tracking. The USPS does not have tracking but delivery confirmation service. I constantly tell buyers delivery confirmation is not tracking.  Things have come a long way where the USPS is now scanning DC numbers frequently. This acts like tracking but its not.  With multiple scans you can see when your package is taken to the post office because they are required to scan packages, they also scan along the way now so you can see when its in the next major hub, when it arrives at your hub and when its out for delivery.

5. ETA delivery times suck.  Let me first say nothing is perfect. All carriers lose packages!  Ive shipped thousands of packages and while I cant say anything about international packages, I know in the US approximately how long it will take to receive a package.  But even that is a guess. Ive shipped packages to Hawaii from NY in 4 days and Ive seen packages headed upstate take over a week!  Due to our location all our Priority Mail packages must go to NJ first adding an additional day to delivery.

6. Im so confident with the USPS I took a chance. I had a customer order an item on Thursday and pay for overnight delivery. They were just about an hour away from my location.  UPS would have charged me over $60 for UPS RED label - which guarantees next day delivery. They buyer didnt pay me that much. I could have sent it Express Mail via the USPS but that would have cost about $18. Still kind of guaranteed.  I told the buyer I was sending this out first class mail and I know they would get it on Friday, Saturday at the latest.  You know that package arrived on Friday! I refund the overpayment from the buyer and she was happy.

Lets hear it for the USPS!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why are you still selling on eBay?

Someone just asked that today.  With all the potential problems why are you selling on eBay when you can do so much better on your own website.  Im not so sure.

The other day I about this buyer breaking an item, want return money and claiming cancer. It annoys me to no end when I get these complaints, because of the 'cancer' but you can be on any platform and get these complaints.  Im sure you can relate, someone in your family has dealt with cancer and we manage to move on.  If I went around telling people I have a nerve issue in my elbows and I can not carry your item to the post office I would have been kicked off eBay a long time ago for not delivering!   I still manage and I dont go using it as an excuse, how do I know this person is telling the truth?  We had a gal in the area claim cancer and she received tons of donations for a dream wedding a few years ago. She was just convicted of fraud and has to pay back over 13K cause she lied!

As for still selling on eBay, Ive been an eBay member since 1999 and selling since 2002 selling anything that wasn't bolted to the floor.  I only recently started doing it seriously as a business, I am power seller, I have the top seller badge and all that jazz, Im at 99.7% feedback, and I know EVERY negative Ive gotten, while they do fall off after a year.   I sell on eBay cause - when you tell someone you sell online they automatically think eBay. Every time I need something I look on eBay first and then Amazon, I rarely purchase from a personal website.  With all the potential scams out there its scary to me, yes you can be scammed by someone on eBay but I believe the chances are lower then from some random website.  Not only that the number of websites selling the same product is enormous, with no reviews sometimes how can you be sure? How do you choose one website over the other? 

I sell on eBay, on Amazon, on my website AND I have a physical brick and mortar store.  I also recently opened an etsy store and I am looking for more places to sell. Ive also sold on craigslist a number of time. You have to really put yourself out there in a number of locations to get the business you really want. Imagine how much you sales could increase by adding eBay as one of your selling locations.  I sell NEW retail items at retail and stick to my prices. My sales have increased over time which is great!  I know from years of selling there are different kinds of buyers on eBay and very different kind of buyers on Amazon.  I had an Amazon buyer actually call me saying she purchased this stamp that the ink spilled all over her and she wanted me to pay her dry cleaning!  I refunded her money for the item, sent her replacement stamp AND gave her money for dry cleaning! Maybe it was a little overboard but I was a nervous wreck and just did it, thinking about it now I wonder how the heck did she get ink on her shirt? Beside the ink would never have come out anyway, but she may have tried to get me to buy her a new shirt! 

They all have their positives and negatives and we have had various experiences.  But I wouldn't stop selling on eBay or Amazon because of threats, whiny buyers and complainers, I actually blog about them! LOL. I had my sister help me write a letter to this person that I wrote about, I have also reported that buyer to eBay and he has since left positive feedback for me, so I thought that was a little strange.  I have had eBay remove feedback when a buyer makes threats and Ive heard a few. I stand my ground every time.  I have not had many cases open against me but Ive stood my ground on those too.  Sometimes eBay and Amazon have refunded a buyer to appease them but never charged me for them. I think its a shame they do that but a credit card company would do that for you if you complained about a charge. 

A few weeks ago I had this buyer come into my store and ask me for a discount of this item cause she wanted 6 and the prices varied, she also wanted them put into gift boxes.  So I gave them all to her for the same price.  She calls me about a week later to accuse me of removing some parts of the item to 'devalue' them! I was shocked to say the least.  Lucky for me I had images of the items before she purchased them since they were listed in my eBay store and I could prove she was mistaken, these 'parts' did not exist and I never did that. She backed off but it still catches you off guard. You can have all kinds of notes, return policies posted, you break it you buy it message, and people still will accuse you of all kinds of things!  I have signs that say 'smile your on camera' and things have still been stolen from me in my store.

Its retail life.