Thursday, November 8, 2018

Little Quick Updates

So, this will, for once, be a quick post with little updates.

Remember those three custom cages that I built and was stuck with when the buyer flaked out?  The last one sold a few days ago! Who-hoo!  Now I have room to set up, clean, and offer for sale some of our other used cages (that were previous blocked in by those custom cages).

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You know how I'm always talking about how volunteers are great... when they show up?  Tis the season!  I had someone email about volunteering (need to get back to them), and also, two people call.  The one called and wanted to come as soon as possible, as she has 40 hours to do and wants to get them done sooner rather than later.  We agreed that she could come the following morning (she called in the evening) and I would have preferred a little later in the day, but she said, she'd be here at 10.  10 goes by, 10:15 goes by... about 10:30 she calls and says something went wrong with her phone, and she needs her phone charged while she's here (cause apparently I have no plugs? you all can charge your phones while you're here, in case that needs clarification), and so she's gonna finish charging it and then walk here, and it's about a 30 minute walk.  Assuming she was charging it from dead, I'll be generous and say ok, maybe that takes 30 mins, plus the 30 minute walk, so she shoulda been here before 12 noon.  As I write this, it is 5:45 pm and she never called or showed up again.

I did get another call though from someone else who has court ordered community service they need to do.  I told them they would have to start next week, as I have stuff going on this weekend, and they said they will call me back next week and we'll work something out. They were thrilled that they could come potentially in the evening, so hopefully this one will pan out.

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Two of our long-term residents at the rescue were adopted.  And even, TOGETHER!  Chili Mac (who has been fostered in Island Lake for awhile now) and Layla went to their new home together, a few days ago.  Their new mom, Katelyn, had intended to adopt Chili Mac back in April (both have been here 1.5+ years), but then found some other needy chins to adopt, and knew that ours would stay in good hands, while those chins, eh maybe not.  So, she took home the other chins... but then was an awesome person and contacted us when she wanted to open her home to even more chins!  Yay!  So she contacted us and asked about Chili Mac and also asked about other potentially difficult to adopt out chins, and that's where Layla came up (if you're not familiar, she was the 10 year old hetero beige culled breeder with the watery eye), and she ended up taking the two home!  She's hoping to bond them, with very slow intros, but if not, not the end of the world.  Yay for those two girls finding homes!

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Another success story is ChiChi, now known as Buddy.  ChiChi was an 8.5 year old standard grey fur chewer.  Very sweet chin, but the young standard greys aren't super desirable, much less a senior one.  Well, one of my previous fosters (turned foster failure... twice... so they don't foster any more haha) occasionally would ask me about if I had a chin that I thought would pair with their Benny (one of the foster failure chins).  This time when they asked, ChiChi came to mind.  They brought Benny over, we did a quick intro to see that the two wouldn't absolutely hate each other (they didn't) and then the family continued the intros at home, and now a few days later, the chins are sleeping cuddled up all together.  Let's hear it: awwwwwwwwww.

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And lastly... that same foster failure family, Claire & Paul, asked me if I had an air purifier, when we were talking about rescue needs.  I specified, I have an air scrubber  (basically, a commercial unit... cost ~$1800 a few years ago.. for a refurbished one... so a very nice unit), but the sterilizing bulbs burnt out and my last filter finally went out... right in April after all the money was stolen.  So, it's been sitting like a big paperweight, about $300ish short of parts, since then.  Well, Claire and Paul are awesome, and wanted to contribute, so they donated $300 towards us getting the parts!  I have since reached out to the company, and they got me a new estimate today (see below), and we will be getting the parts and the air scrubber back up and running soon!  YAYYYY!!


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

If you lie to me, don't think I don't know.

Remember that chin that was surrendered to the vet's office due to abuse, and the vet called me to make sure I didn't adopt the family any more chins?  This post -- https://nightsatthechinchillarescue.blogspot.com/2018/10/those-poor-chinchillas.html

They texted me today, asking if I wanted to buy the cage.  At first, I was nice.  I asked, what happened to the chin.  I figured you know, they didn't respond in a few days after I got that call from the vet, when I asked how the chin was, and then when I emailed the adoption paperwork to the mom, and asked her how things were going, so I thought (stupidly, but you know) they'd be straight up and tell me the chin died, or whatever.  NOPE!!!!!

Be honest, people.  I often know more than I let on.  And I was not having a good night.  So, here was the convo:





I suppose this is probably needless to say, but I never got a response... which tends to be an admission of guilt.  So, there's that.

I also never did hear back from the vet, so I imagine the chin did pass.  RIP those two poor chinnies... and the third is still here, looking for a home.

That is all I can handle for tonight...

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Dust at PetStores vs. Here

So, the other day I was at Petsmart getting dog food and I happened to walk down the small animal aisle and I saw the dust and it made me think to post this...

Now, I get people all the time who get a chin here, but then when I ask if they need any other supplies, they say, "no, they'll go to the pet store on the way home."  Of course, that is their choice, but I usually mention that supplies are cheaper here, and that's why I offer.  Some get supplies here, some go to the pet store.  Of course, the pet store has set hours and I can understand that it is convenient (potentially considerably more convenient at times), but I wanted to share an example I found with you from Petsmart, of why I even mention the cost.

This is the dust the Petsmart in Schererville carries.


In case you can't read that, the large one contains 3 pounds and is $13.49, and the small one contains 13 ounces (16 ounces is a pound... so less than a pound) and is $7.69.

Compare this to here, where we charge $1.25 per pound for dust.  Often, we even have those same jars, as a lot of people drop them off here and we wash and refill with our dust.

So, for our prices... the 3 pound jar would cost $3.75 and the 13 ounce jar would be $1.00.

While I understand convenience making a difference... to me, my perspective... $3.75 versus $13.49... and $1.00 versus $7.69... I'd make an effort to go the cheaper route.  But, that's just me.

And this price difference is why I offer... I hear people often comment that chinchillas are so expensive... my reply is always -- it depends where you shop (and often these are the same people that I know I sell supplies, yet choose to go to the pet store instead, lol).

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Questions About Orders

This happens rarely, but now and then...

In the current batch of orders that went out this morning, I had one order that included a cuddlebuddy.  I didn't even realize there was one still listed on the site, as all the ones listed had already sold.  You got it... that one up there wasn't available.

I emailed the person with the order immediately after the order was placed, informing them of this, and asking if they'd like to see the cuddlebuddies that I currently have.  I explained what the base colors / designs were, and I also explained that if she didn't like those, I'd be happy to refund that part of the order, or even the whole order.

I never heard back.

That was about a week ago now, and I feel enough time has passed, so I packed up the other item in the order and mailed it out.  I will now be sending another email (as I always do when orders ship) with info on tracking, refunded shipping, etc etc... and in this one, I will also mention, I sent an email on this day, because I didn't hear back, I will be refunding that item....

It frustrates me that I can't get in touch with this person.  Did they want a cuddlebuddy of a different color?  Maybe, I don't know.  Maybe they'd want a refund of the whole order... I don't know.  But without a response, I have to pick (99% of the time, a refund for that item).  For me, I find it super important that whatever email is associated with a paypal account... actually has someone occasionally looking at it.  Because my not-knowing-what-to-do-without-input would be alleviated, if this person would check their email and respond./

Again, this doesn't happen often... but now and then...

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Soaps! (for people)

Did you see we have soaps available?  If you didn't, guess what, we do!  Soaps for people are now available on the webstore.

We currently have both loofah soaps and regular soaps.  Some Halloween designs and some everyday designs.  Let me share some pics...







We had these soaps at the last expo and had a few people looking at them.  Like any new product, it'll take a little time to take off!..... but unfortunately, it takes no time for someone to decide to steal a soap out of a four-pack :(  


I'm sure I have an extra to throw in there, but this just boils my blood.  But anyway, we now have soaps available!  $6 each or 2 for $10!


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Custom Cages Fiasco

Let me start by saying that this post will likely be LONG, and that the only reason I didn't do screenshots is because again, there'd be a million and a half of them.  So, here goes...

So, now that I've had time to calm down and count to like 10,000, I can write about what happened with those custom cages.  In case you missed it, this whole thing blew up on the NWI facebook page, when I eventually posted the cages for sale, and the people tried to "defend" themselves.  Ok, but from the beginning:

2/1/18 -- I get an email from this person.  It reads:

I was wondering if I bought the 3 cages from you could you transform the cages for me like you have for your chins where it's all wood inside. We are waiting to get our tax return back so that's when I would be able to pay for them. I was wondering if you could make one of the cages a little more handicap friendly for peanut since she only has three legs, one of them will be shared by 2 females Mia & Eve and then I have Daisy. I'm hoping if you can't that's fine I can buy them from eBay I would like all three cages to have a swing, some kind of rectangular boxes or square boxes at the top of the cages but honestly however you have free creative range over this. I also needed fleece liners for the bottom of the cages. I'm just trying to stick to a budget of 1300.00. I looked everything up on eBay and Amazon and with cages I'm going to spend 1600-2900.00 and I really can't afford that. So I was hoping you could me and the girls. Talk to you later. 

We talk on 2/11 on facebook messenger, where I ask her about some specifics for the cages.  She says what I'm talking about is fine, and asks how much we're looking at.  My response:

I don't know, and honestly, I won't until I start putting them together. It is almost impossible to like plan out a cage on paper. When I try, most times all the stuff doesn't even come close to fitting into the actual cage. Less than $1300 for sure, but I mean, the three cages you sent pics of were so different, that was another thing I wanted to ask... one has larger shelves, one has more of the houses hanging up in the air, one has more like stepping stone shelves... I mean, I'm happy to mix it up and I figured you probably didn't want all three cages identical, but you gave me enough ideas to do about 20 cages

Her response included this:

Before you start working on them I can text you when we get our taxes back then that way I can pay you right away for them.

...and that was the last time she ever talked about paying that didn't involve some sort of delay (remember this, this is important later).

We continue talking about cage specifics, and that same day, I send this message:

Ok. Are you able to let me know when you like officially want me to start on these, like say two weeks-ish from when you want them picked up? The reason I ask is cause I don't keep three in stock like ever (too much money tied up in cages), so I'll have to order three and have them off to the side for you, and I don't want to do that too much in advance. Does that make sense/

So, this should not be a surprise later, when I complain about the cages tying up too much money and stock, because they've sat around forever...

Her response 2/18:

I just looked it up. We are supposed to have our taxes back by the 22nd so I can text you as soon as I get the email that they are there. It's up to you but I can get a money order for however much you would like and send it to you or if you send me a PayPal I can send the money to you that way. We are having our son in law follow us up to your house when they are ready to come get them

My response 2/18:

Ok. Once I have the cages together, I can let you know the cost, you don't have to pay ahead of time or anything. I'm a bit backed up on orders at the moment, so it may have to be a bit more time before I can start on them, because otherwise the orders stay backed up, I'm sure you understand...

Her response 2/18:

I understand. Just let me know of about a time frame and i will make sure to have money put back for you. So i have an idea are we thinking under a 1,000.00 for the job. And yes i completely understand you do have a lot going on and making 3 cages is time consuming. Thank you for giving me heads up

So, somewhere in there, we must have texted (because I don't have it on messenger), but I remember talking back and forth, and asking about if it was a good time to make the cages.  This was in late May / early June... and the reason I texted asking if it was a good time, was because although she had said that she would let me know when she was ready... she never had.  She said yes, good time. 

Fast forward to June 7th.  I get a message from her asking if I'm working on the cages.  My reply:

Yes! I actually built the third one (just the cage frame so far) yesterday so I’m hoping in the next week or two I’ll have the cages done. I’m out of town mon- wed I don’t anticipate this upcoming week but soon!

Her reply:

Ok I can pay you at the beginning of July or August. Which ever one. I will have to rent a truck to come up there and get them.
Thank you for doing this for us my girls will be so happy in their new homes

My reply:

No problem. I will let you know as soon as I have them done for you 🙂 and whenever you can get up here is fine

Her reply:

That's fine thank you

Fast forward to June 9th.  I send a message:

I’m about done and didn’t end up putting wheels on cause i figured I wasn’t sure how exactly they were going to be in the truck on the ride home and if they’re standing up on wheels the bouncing Could possibly break the wheels. I have the wheels for you, I think it’d make more sense to stick them on when you get them home. Few more days for sure and they’ll be done. Just waiting for some stuff to dry

Her reply:

Ok thank you. How much do I owe you. I can come get them Saturday September 1st. I just can't do it in August because I have to get all three kids school clothes and supplies.

Notice, we went from where she would pay at the beginning of July or August, whichever I preferred, to the beginning of September... almost 2 months from July 9th, when the cages were about done.

My reply:

I would not have gotten them ready anywhere near this early, if I thought you didn't want them for a month and a half
I have no idea what my schedule is that far away
I'll send you a message when I know my schedule better closer to then

Her reply:

Ok that will work

I then send pics of the three cages.  Her reply:

They are awesome I can't wait to get them. I super sorry I can't come until September 1st. Its truly because Andy's wages are being garnished and I have ssi but the 3 kids start school August 2nd and I have to use all of Augusts ssi to pay for clothes and shoes for the kids plus book fees. How much so I owe for the cages

My reply:

there's always some expenses, I get it! I'd have to look for the exact amount (I have it on a sheet downstairs) but it was around $700. Under $700, but around there

So, then we continue to talk a bit about the cages and whatnot.  Fast forward to middle of August, and I try to message her.  When I hit "send" on the message, it shows up "this person is not accepting messages at this time."  Well, I thought that was odd, because that's what shows up when someone blocks you.  Ok, whatever, so I have this person's phone number, so I call and text her.  A few days go by, no response.  I'm thinking this is highly weird, but I keep thinking to myself, no, I know these people, they wouldn't do this crap, and so I also have the daughter as a fb friend, so I message her and I tell her, I can't get a hold of the mom.  Long story short, turns out, the mom says she accidentally blocked me when trying to block another Ashley G.  Possible, but, eh... not sure I believe it.

So, the immediate order of business, why I was messaging her in the first place, was to set up the pickup date for the cages, September 1st like she said.  August 20th, message from her:

Um please dont be mad I have it figured out it's just going to take me a couple weeks longer. On August 31st I have to get my back breaks and my lower sway bar replaced and it's about $900.00 to fix so what I was going to do is on September 9th we make a pretty good amount of money on parking cara for brickyard so I was going to use that money to pay you for the cages. So any weekend after September 9th let me know what works best for you and I will rent a uhaul for that weekend and we will come up there on a Saturday mid morning early afternoon. I'm sorry for the delay I didn't know when I took my car in for an oil change they were going to find things wrong

*sigh*  We end up settling on the 15th, at 5 pm.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, they never show.  And what's the kicker of all of this, my entire night was filled with appointments, AND I had someone call and want to come by at 5 pm. I told them, sorry, no can do, too busy with appointments (and with three cages to haul up the stairs and into a u-haul, it would take all the time I allotted).  They've never called back.  So, I potentially missed out on an adoption that I potentially could have had... had I known these people weren't going to show.

So I reach out.  September 16th:

Hey there. Looks like you missed your appointment yesterday. I wanted to first make sure everything was ok? Secondly, I want to honestly ask if you still intend to purchase these cages that I've completed for you. We had an agreement about a certain timeline, which has already been pushed back several times. I would very much like to gain the valuable space back in my work area that they have been occupying for quite some time, as well as the financial resources tied up within them. I did not expect them to be here this long, so I would appreciate some honesty. If you still want them, we need to arrange a pickup as soon as possible.

I also texted her.  Called her.  No response. 

September 17th, in the morning, I send the daughter a message on messenger.  Also no response.  Later September 17th, I send both mom and daughter messages that ask, are you getting my messages?  No response.

Fine, time for the big guns.  Later that day, I post on the mom's fb page and tag her in it, how we need to reschedule the appointment that she was a no-call no-show for, for the custom cages that were ordered but not yet paid for.  In so many words (now I'm officially blocked and can't see it... and I'm sure she deleted it).

OH ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY KNOW ME!!

Within two freaking minutes, the kid messages me:

Hey Ashley, my mom is currently in Michigan because my sister is in a serious situation so I called and talked to her and she wanted to know if we could set up a payment plan for $58 a week for 12 weeks. We got financially hit with several bills because my grandma switched them into our name without our knowing.

Um... no, she's not.  And I don't say that to be an ass, but let me explain how I know that.  In the days prior to the 9/15 pickup appointment, the mom had posted NUMEROUS times about the one kid having dental work at a place where they live (central Indiana, not Michigan).  The place was tagged in the posts, and when I saw those posts, my initial thought was, "I wonder if they're going to have the money for the cages."  But... I didn't want to be nosy and whatnot, so I let it go, figuring, they would let me know if they weren't going to make the pickup appointment (ha ha, I know, hindsight is 20/20).  So, unless the mom dropped everything and went to Michigan that morning (2 days after missing my appointment and seemingly intentionally ignoring me...), no, she wasn't in Michigan.

Now, the grandma switching bills into their name.  You can't just do that willy nilly.  So, that sounds like another excuse to me.  By the way, if there is a way to switch bills into someone else's name without their consent (which there isn't, but for discussion sake...), someone needs to let me know, so I can get someone else to pay MY bills.  I mean, I'm not THAT stupid.

And finally... the payment plan.  If you read this whole post... you probably can gather why that didn't sound like a great idea to me.  Every time they needed to pay or money was mentioned, more excuses came up.  Every time pickup was mentioned, excuses came up, and they needed to pick up later.  So, in my opinion... how was I to know they'd pay the payments?  How was I to know they'd pick up the cages?  From September 17th, 12 weeks is the middle / end of December.  You're going to tell me that when there's very possibly snow on the ground, that wouldn't be a potential excuse for why they couldn't come get the cages? 

My response:

Sorry, no. Your mom told me back in February she wanted the cages. I thought that meant that you all had the money, and I even checked with her before I started on them in June. In July, when I was done, she said sorry, wait until September 1st. Then, September 1st didn't work, but for sure she said she'd have the money after September 9th. I understand things happen but I have already held onto these cages, and consequently, am $700 in the hole and struggling paying MY bills because those cages should have been picked up months ago. I can’t wait another 3 months for pickup, and honestly, I’m not sure that I believe they would be picked up, because then who knows what the weather will be like, and if it’s snowing, I’m not sure whether the effort would be made to come get them, paid for or not. I do not have the room to endlessly store these things. You guys have been here, you know that. I am going to list them for sale. Should they happen to be here in December when you have money for them, you are welcome to buy them, but I am no longer holding them for you, as it has been one excuse after another why they cannot be paid for and picked up.

Her response:

Then sell them. I’m sorry that our financial issues have been such a burden for you. I guess we will be finding business elsewhere. Have a good rest of your day.

...and so I posted them for sale.  I really wanted to reply and mention how it didn't seem to matter to them, that I had all the money tied up in cages for them, and MY financial situation was of no concern to them...but I refrained. 

I nicely let it be and posted them for sale.  Someone asked what happened, and I posted about how someone had ordered custom cages, kept delaying payment and pickup, and now offered a payment plan that I wasn't happy with, so they were available.  I never named names or anything.

Well, they apparently couldn't hold back, and the previously so silent people posted on my post about how horrible I was for not accepting their payment plan.  How dare I not work with them!  Wtf?  I'd worked with them since the beginning and held these cages since middle of July with no payment, and I was supposed to wait until almost Christmas?  No.  Sorry, not sorry.  NOT HAPPENING.

Then, and this was an absolute hoot, they literally posted (and this is still in the fb post, you're welcome to read it if you'd like, it's funny), that they offered to give me $800 and I wouldn't take it.  I can prove, with screenshots, that NEVER HAPPENED.  They asked twice what the cost would be, twice I said I'm not sure.  When I officially had a price for them, they never had money from that point on (even though, it was SIGNIFICANTLY less than their budget of $1300).  The best part was that they posted saying, "oh, if it had been under that amount, we would have just donated the rest."  Someone on fb went on that comment and called bs on that, saying yeah right, they're gonna have all these money troubles, yet donate all the spare money?  Not likely. 

Anyway, they had a huge hissy fit, and made it sound like I'm the bad guy.  Of course, you can make your own opinions from this, but to me... I ordered these cages only after confirmation that it was a good time to begin.  A month later, they were done, and payment was supposed to be that month or the next.  Then when I tried to contact, magically, I was blocked.  Then when I did get through, oh they had to wait until the following month.  Then when I reached out about a time, oh, later that month, sorry sorry.  Then they missed that appointment, and only contacted me back after I went to extensive lengths to reach them (oh, I should also add... they were active on facebook and messenger, and POSTING on fb for the entire two days they ignored me).  Excuses excuses, so to me, it makes sense to not mess with payment plan, which I feel would have been JUST as iffy as all of this, as far as whether it would have been actually paid, or what.  Or maybe they would have paid, and then delayed pickup forever.  But personally, I feel like I was plenty understanding of their situation, and at the point that I'd decided I was done, was a reasonable point.  At least in my opinion.  So, that's that. 

Two of the cages sold pretty quickly.  I still have one custom cage left, and I'm sure it will sell eventually.  Now, I have written up a custom item contract which requires half down of the estimated cost at the beginning, and approximate pickup dates and all, and even what happens if they don't pick up.  So, in the end, this was a useful learning situation.  Still a maddening one, but I did learn from it.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Waiting List Moving Quickly

So, I know I post about how it's impossible to know how quickly the waiting list will move, but I tell people, sometimes, even without a lot of adoptions, it moves quickly.  Let me share how that can happen with the current example.

As of 9/8, I had seven people on the waiting list.  I had room, so I called the first one.  That was someone who got chinchillas for the kids for Christmas, and the kids lost interest.  They brought their chins into the rescue.  These chins are Buddy and Princess.

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Another larger cage opened up towards the end of the month, so on 9/30, I called the next person on the waiting list.  They were on the waiting list due to getting divorced and being unable to keep their chins.  I didn't get them on the phone call, so I left a voicemail.

You see, when I don't immediately have someone answer the phone, I leave a message saying who I am, why I'm calling, and basically explain that there is now room and I'd appreciate that they call me back, whether or not they need to bring the chins in.  That way, if they do need to bring them in, we can set an appointment for that, and if not, I will know and can move onto the next person.  So, for that person, I left a voicemail.  Also in the voicemail, I give them a time frame, for example, "if I don't hear from you by X day, I will assume you don't need to bring the chinchillas in, and I will move along to the next person on the waiting list.  However, I'd much rather hear from you..."

With this specific person, she had until the end of the day on 10/3, and I never did hear back from her.

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On 10/4, I called the next person the list.  She was on the list due to her son having a chinchilla that he couldn't keep, and she was trying to help him find it a home.  Reached her, she said she found somewhere else to take them.

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Called the next person.  She found a pet store that would take in the chinchilla and rehome it to a family that would make sure it got lots of time outside the cage, so she was super happy with that.  Moving along.

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Called the next person.  He had taken in chins from a student who had moved back to China, but now he couldn't keep them.  Turns out, he found someone to buy the chins off him.  Moving along.

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The next person I only had an email for (rather than a phone number), so I sent her an email on 10/4.

10/5 in the morning, received an email back, said she had already re-homed the chin.

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Shortly after receiving the other email, I emailed the last person on the list.  She was on the list due to moving and not being able to take the chinchilla with her.  Turns out, something worked out and she WAS able to take the chinchilla with her!  Yay for her!  She wanted to make a donation though, and she ended up donating $25!  Who-hoo, thanks to Jennifer R!

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So, in the course of a short period of time, we went from 7 people on the waiting list at the beginning of September... with only ONE person bringing in chinchillas, to having no waiting list at all.  So, sometimes it really does move quickly.  It just depends.

And before you wonder, maybe these people all found places elsewhere because they were on the list forever, know that the earliest person on the list was from the late middle of August (so about a month and a half), but that over half the list was from September, so very short waits for me to get back to them.