Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Questions / Concerns

I feel like I say this (or try to) to everyone who walks in the door, but in case I missed you somehow... I'm always happy to answer questions and/or address concerns.  Even if you've never been here / never adopted / never bought anything.  I get calls from all sorts of people with questions, I'm always happy to help.  The goal of the website with a zillion pages on it is to educate people and help people out... of course, it can't cover everything, or specific-to-the-situation questions, and that's where everyone can always feel free to reach out if they need something.

My contact info:

Email -- amgajda@sbcglobal.net
Phone (call or text) -- 219-789-0026

It doesn't matter how stupid you think the question is, if you don't know, it's not a stupid question, you just don't know!  Feel free to ask...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Testimonials Posts

Not sure if anyone other than me notices this... but I must delete at least 2-3 junk testimonial posts daily from the website.  This page here, in case you're unfamiliar.

There used to be two distinct pages on the website, guestbook and testimonials.  Anyone could post in the guestbook, but the testimonials needed to be approved.  I had some awesome testimonials!  Unfortunately, the web host decided to discontinue that app awhile back, and so most of those were lost, and all that's left now is the guestbook page (which I have re-named testimonials, in effort to hide it from the spammers).

See, if you go on there, you fill out the form at the top, and press submit, and it shows up on the site.  So, at any given day, you may find postings for viagra, computer repair, illegible writing, etc etc.  That drives me insane. 

The sad thing is, very few people actually post reviews / guestbook posts / actual testimonials.  If you look at that, the last one is from April of 2017!  I know I've had happy customers since then, come on people, let's post some happy thoughts / reviews / etc! 

Every time someone completes that form, I get an email that basically says, "you have a new guestbook signature!"  Every time I see that (so, several times a day), I go look at the website, like excited, thinking maybe this time, it's a real post and not another viagra selling ad.  Nope!  Not since April of 2017.  Boo.  Disappointed every time.

We also do have facebook reviews open, if anyone prefers reviewing on that, that's always an option as well.  Not a ton of people do that either, but definitely more of those than the testimonials posts!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Hay

I generally try to be nice.  I generally try to count to 10, or walk away and come back, before I send a nasty response out to anything.  But sometimes people just push my buttons.

Do you remember the hay scandal (or whatever you want to call it) from a few years back?   In case you don't, here's the blog post about it -- here.

If you don't care to read it, quick synopsis is that I understand that it's not worth it to a lot of farmers to sell a handful of bales of hay at a crack, especially if the hay isn't located where they live.  So, Jim and I found a local-ish farmer with timothy hay, who would sell a few bales of hay.  To make it worth his while, we paid $100 to him for 20 bales, and only took 5, with the understanding that we would be returning for the rest.  We talked and agreed that I would just contact this person when I needed hay, and we would arrange a time for me to pick up another 5, and so on, until I'd exhausted the money paid.  You can probably guess from what you've read so far, that I never did get the rest of the hay.  The guy basically fell off the planet.  To this day (and this was November 2016 this happened) this absolutely pisses me off and boils my blood.

For some odd reason, this hay guy is still my facebook friend.  So, the other day I was eating dinner and I saw this meme that he posted:




I wasn't in the greatest mood then, and replied, "what about when someone buys hay, and it's never delivered?"

I basically forgot about it for a day or two, but something reminded me of it today, and I went to go see if maybe he responded.  Nope!  In fact, the dickhead deleted my comment!  So, I commented this:



Needless to say, NOW I have been un-friended and that post deleted.  Amazing what shitheads people are, no?  I often try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I was talking with a friend about this, saying how it's not like I really thought that he'd be like "oh I forgot," but somehow, I still tried to think maybe something came up, or he'd own up, like you know, a good human being, but nope! Complete asshole!

I hope he gets his.  Just like I hope Joel gets his for stealing $8000-9000 from me / the rescue.  I'm trusting, but people will tell you, I'm HARDLY over-trusting, so I find it insanely frustrating that these people do this stuff, and get away with this shit.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Donations / List of Needed Items

In cleaning up (ha, hahahahaha), I found a sheet where I'd written down potential items for donation.  I now have that List of Needed Items page on our website, and actually, some of these items on the list weren't on there, so I added them to the list. 

In case you were curious, the items added were old towels (used to as rags), fleece / JoAnn gift cards, Chlorox Clean-Up, laundry detergent, plain cheerios, old fashioned oats, and used cages / small animal supplies.

I somehow must have glossed over the cheerios, old fashioned oats, and un-frosted shredded wheat squares before, but for example, we use those to make the goodie bags that we sell, and more importantly, that go home with all the adult chins (well, chins 6+ months) that go to their new homes.  Those were on the list I found, but also, someone actually made me think of those more recently, in that I had someone coming by... I was going to chin sit their chins over a weekend, and they said they wanted to donate some items, and asked what I need.  Let me start by saying, that's never a bad idea to ask.... there's usually something on that list that I'm either out of, or will soon be, and that would be a higher priority (and a trip to the grocery store for me) than something I'm still well-stocked on.  For that specific time, I was intending (and still am...) to make some goodie bags.  To do that, of course, we need the items that go inside them.  So, I told her, ziploc baggies, cheerios, oats, etc etc.  Obviously, I told her, that's just what I will need, so she had a variety of things to pick from.  She ended up actually getting about everything I'd listed and then some, so that was super awesome of her.  If you're reading this, thanks Chris!  Anyway, the thing is, never hurts to ask if something specific is needed.

Also... now that I do have a list up there of needed items, I've had people that have asked why we don't have absolute necessities on there, like chin food, bedding, and hay, just for example.  Here's the thing -- if you have open bags of chin food(or other small animal food, or heck, even cat or dog food for the prairie dogs), or bedding, or hay... or it's something you've already purchased for yourself or whatever... we can gladly use it here.  The reason it's not on the list... I just don't want people buying it new for the rescue.  The reason being = cost.  I can get a bale of hay, that I'm thrilled with, for under $10.  I think the current going rate is $7-8 per bale.  That's usually roughly 40 pounds of hay, and maybe lasts about 2 weeks.  Let's compare that to Oxbow hay, here.  Now, those prices listed on that link are even cheaper than what you'd buy at the pet store, but they're fine for making an example.  At even $8 per pound, a 40 pound bale works out to $0.20 per pound, which amounts out to $4 per week (that we spend in hay).  Versus in comparison, the smallest package of hay that Oxbow has is $4.39 for 15 ounces.  To equal 20 pounds of hay used a week, we'd have to use 22 of those bags per week.  At $4.39 per bag, that works out to $93.65 in hay per week.  Compared to $4, yeah.  Even with their largest hay, which is 90 ounces (5.625 pounds) for $18.69 (so, cheaper per ounce), we'd be at $66.45 for hay.  I see no reason why people should buy the expensive store hay, when if someone's going to spend (for example), $4 for less than one pound of hay... I'd see that $4 better spend at the dollar store, where we could get two sharpies, a box of kleenex, and a roll of paper towels.

Same with cages.  If you want to donate used cages, I will never tell you no.  However, going out and buying a cage just isn't all that practical.  Chances are, I'll eventually get the cages I want donated, and the ones that I don't need here end up sold as used cages when there's no longer critters in them.  So, new cages not needed, but of course, we can always take used cages / supplies / etc donated.  Just the money to buy this sort of stuff new would be better spent on other things.  Thanks!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Scrap Wood

Did you know... we rarely throw out any of our wood?  Now, I'm not talking about peed-on shelves or that sort of thing, but the pine boards we buy that get made into houses and toys and all that... possibly little known fact, everything gets used.

When we make the houses, sometimes the boards will snap when we're cutting those circles.  While of course that's not idea, because then we need to re-cut that piece, re-sand it, re-cut the hole, and re-sand all of that... it's not really a problem, because we still use it!

See, the first toy we ever made and sold was the Anything Goes Toy.  It's literally labeled as the toy made with just about anything... as long as it's pine wood pieces!  Sure, some of that is literally cut up to be toy pieces, but a lot of it is simply scrap.  You know, you get a 6' board and start cutting up 11" pieces and 13" pieces and 10" pieces and whatnot, and in the end, maybe you end up with a 2" piece.  I usually have a pile going of scrap wood, and once there's a good amount there, or I've run out of toy pieces to work on, I'll cut that up.

Same goes for wrong cuts.  A few people may remember me talking about when I was making some of the double entry houses... the roofs are 9" x 8".  9" wide and 8" deep.  This needs to be cut down out of larger wood, so I usually take a 10" wide piece of wood and cut it to an 8" length.  Then the 10" side (which is really like 9.5" due to milling) gets cut down to 9".  So, there's multiple cuts on several sides of the same piece of the wood... gotta pay attention to which side you're cutting and which length that side is supposed to be.  So the story of the week, a few weeks back, was when I cut four or so roofs... 8" x 8".  Um... oops?  That's ok though!  I now have a few 8" x 8" shelves available! 

Same with some smaller scrap pieces.  If it's big enough to still be a perch-ish shelf, like where a chin could potentially use it, I may throw some bolts on it and bring it to an expo or use it in one of our used cages.  Too small for that, and it gets further cut down to become a toy part.

If there's a big knot, or something weird about it that I think someone might question whether it's safe or not (it's safe... but understandably, people question everything), I'll keep it here and use it for my chins.  So, either way, it's all getting used.  Just in case you were curious :)

Friday, August 3, 2018

Packages & Refunding Shipping

If you've ever tried to order from our webstore, you may have been surprised by the high shipping amount that the shopping cart tries to charge.  Well... sometimes that amount is correct, sometimes not. 

The way shipping is set in the cart is a bit funky, but the amounts are set per item.  The problem isn't usually if you order one item.  See, if you order one hammock, I believe the amount is set at $3.50 for shipping.  Shipping usually costs around $3 to ship a hammock first class, so that's about right. 

The difficulty is ordering multiple items.  If you order two hammocks, shipping does NOT jump to $7 ($3.50 + $3.50).  Likewise, if you order any two other items, shipping is often less than the sum of their shipping amounts.  Problem is, the shopping cart doesn't know, and has no way, of determining this.  So, sometimes we end up refunding large amounts to the customers.

For example, these packages...


...resulted in a whopping $63.75 in refunded shipping charges.  I acknowledge, that's a lot of money!

I always tell people, I will refund excess shipping.  And that's fine, if that person can afford to pay the high shipping charge at the time.  But, what if they can't?  Well, the other option is to send me an email or a message with the items desired and the address that the items would be shipped to.  Then, I can pack it all up and get back to you with an actual shipping quote.  Then, you'd know that's all you'd be paying, and it wouldn't be overcharged or anything like that.  So, that's also an option, if you ever are trying to order and the shipping amount looks sky high.  Options for everyone! 

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Foster Home Pics!

One of the things our foster homes help with is that they give us more information about the personalities of the chins they are fostering, as well as some pics!

Wanted to share with you some pics that one of our foster homes sent us of some of their fosters....

Here are some pics of Chili Mac:





And here are some pics of Wife & Daughter: