Monday, November 18, 2013

Guinea pig cage

Ok, so going to end the day on a happy note.  Finally moved the female piggies over to their portion of the FN.   I will be selling my Midwest guinea pig habitat once it's cleaned.

Old gp cage:

New gp cage:

Really, I like the first cage better, and its 2' x 4' (versus the FN being 2' x 3') but I just won't have the room once I move for a ton of cages that aren't stackable.  And this will take less time to clean...

So far, I only put the wood pan extenders on three sides (not the front), but we'll see how much bedding makes its way out of the cage.  They may end up with a front one too. 

Things breaking in the mail

Now... I'd like to think I package things well.  And I understand when things break, people want a new one.  But sometimes I think people think this is Walmart and if it breaks, they want a whole new one.... heaven forbid they pull out a little glue.

I ship out over 100 hidey houses, motorhomes, and mobiles combined over a year's time, and maybe 10 break.  7 of those people will email, say it broke, and sometimes send a picture and will ask what they can use to re-glue.  And I'll tell them and they will re-glue themselves, no problem.  Maybe 1 of the remaining three sends a picture and it's broken so badly that it can't be fixed, I'll send another or issue a refund, whichever they prefer.  But the remaining two.... I'm sure I'm going to sound like an absolute bitch here, but.... they won't glue the damn things back together and want a full refund when the fix is minor.  A roof came off a hidey house.  Super difficult to glue back on, I know.  *rolls eyes*  I can see if the whole thing came apart, as I collapse houses trying to glue them together and get rubberbands on them to let them set... I collapse them myself all the time.  That's not easy.  But a roof?  Come on.  I currently sent out a motorhome, and the roof and the front panel (with headlights) came off.  Easiest pieces to glue back on as they don't support anything and there's no trying to line them up perfectly.  The roof goes on top, the panel goes in the front.  I tell them, they can just glue those on, use elmer's glue.  Nope, they want a full refund.  Really?  

Don't get me wrong, I will give a refund if wanted.  I don't argue about it, someone says something happened, I will give a refund (though I do appreciate pictures, in the event you're asking for a lot of money refunded).  And I've had some things sent out that are damaged so badly they definitely warrant a refund.  But when two pieces come off your item and you don't care to glue it?  That just irks me.  Because you would have the exact item you ordered if you'd glue the thing.  But no.

Also should note -- these are handmade wood items.  They are made with glue.  You know why they're made with glue?  Because the animal community frowns deeply upon the use of screws or nails.  Which I can understand, you all don't want your animals munching on metal, but then I feel like people have to understand, it's not superglue used to hold these things together.  It's simple white elmer's glue, and that stuff isn't super glue.  It's strong, but it's not strong enough to withstand the mailmen playing basketball with the box.  

And the other thing -- I'm fine with paying return shipping... but it seems no matter how much I stress to people to ship things out the slowest, cheapest way, I tend to get ALL refunds sent back either priority mail or even once, overnighted!  It is NOT worth paying $40 for me to get something back the next day.  Heck, the motorhome itself is only $32!!  I don't know if some of these people are sitting back laughing because I told em ship it cheap and they just cost me $40 to get a broken motorhome back, but people really do this to me, and I'm getting tired of it.  Keep in mind, if you order something and it breaks, and you want to ship it back to me, now, in addition to whatever it cost me to make the item, now I've just downed another $15-20 into it (for a motorhome, for example, which are expensive to ship, as they're large and heavy.... not to mention, a lot of times, people pack them crappily, and they arrive at my place broken even further than when the person received them).  It's only selling for $32, and if I spend $20 to get it back, and then have to fix it... well, it takes forever to build one anyway, which is why its $32.... now I'm only making $12 (and, it took me additional time to fix it, if I even can...).  I understand even standard post is expensive, but I don't need it priority or overnighted.  Cheapest possible, please.  I'm not in a rush and super excited to receive broken pieces of wood in the mail.  It can wait a few days.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tag-along to the last post

So, this goes along with my last blog post, so read that one first so this one will make sense.

The person who wanted me to throw in a cage and food emailed me back, saying "How much for a cage and food? What is the bottom price for them? I truly want them but can't afford them a cage and food."

My response:

We sell food at $1.25 per pound, and our cages start at $75.  Both are cheaper than getting the stuff at the pet store.  The chins are currently on sale -- the price you saw of $113 is their sale price, they're normally $150.  $113 is cheap for two chins, especially with one being white, considering the pet stores charge $150 just for one chin.  

If you can't afford them, a cage, and food (and that's not all you'd need to keep them healthy and happy), you wouldn't be able to afford vet care if they needed it -- if they needed to go to the vet for some reason, vet bills are typically $150+.  I would suggest looking into a cheaper pet.  

Cause here's the thing.  Just a cage, food, and two chins is not going to cut it.  And a $75 cage probably isn't going to be one big enough for two chins.  But let's not forget, they also need hay, chew toys, water bottle, food dish.... none of these are huge expenses, but they do add up, especially for people who are barely scrounging by as it is.

Don't get me wrong, people can have the best intentions.  But I won't adopt out chins to someone who said they can't afford the chins and the cage, cause if they can't do that, that's the least of it.  I mean, our chins are adopted out healthy, but who's to say one won't develop a respiratory infection next month?  If it does, well, let me put it this way -- I've never left the vet for under $150.  Need meds?  That's extra.  Extra syringes?  That's extra.  Need to handfeed for some reason?  Critical care is EXPENSIVE.  If $113 is going to break the bank, you can definitely not afford two chins.  

...and really, "what is the bottom price for them?"  Really?  It's not about the money, I'm not concerned with making a certain amount per chin, but I am concerned when people think that $113 is too much, because then I wonder what they'd say if something happened to the chin and they had to face a several hundred dollar vet bill.  Cause here's the thing -- a lot of people that think $100 is too much for a pet also don't think that pet is worth vet care.  Those people are often the ones who call me and say that the chin has a broken leg and has had it for a week, but they don't want to pay to take it to the vet.  Want to know the reason?  Cause they only paid $30 for the chin and don't want to spend hundreds at the vet, when they could get another chin for another $30.  People are really like this, I deal with them all the time.  

Now, don't get me wrong, there are some people who aren't well off who take their pets to the vet if needed and care for them well.  But they're not the majority.

And, going back to the broken leg example -- you might be surprised how many of these people want me to take it to the vet, pay for the vet care, hang onto the animal until it's healed up, and then when it's better and I've spent time and bouceau bucks to fix their animal, they want me to return the animal to them.  Oooooh no.  The only way I'm paying for vet care for an animal is if the animal is surrendered to the rescue.  

Few things

So, it's been busy lately.

For all who didn't catch on, the house fell through.  The bills were 3x higher than what I'd budgeted for, and unless my boss gives me a pay raise, which isn't likely, I couldn't afford to live there.  So, the house hunt starts again.

... some people caught on due to the fact that, on the website, the "moving sale" changed to simply a "sale."

I can't say I'm happy about that, but it is what it is.  Unless, of course, someone wants to donate a few thousand to the rescue and then I can move in... haha.

Moving along... I get emails and calls daily about chins.  If I put a chin on hold for every call/email I received, they'd all be on hold and 90% would never go home.  And here's why -- out of every 10 people who contact me, I return their phone call/email, and hear back from maybe 2.  So, I don't put an animal on hold until either I receive a completed adoption form or unless we have a date and time set for someone to come over.

This can create problems.  For example, Person 1 calls Monday about Animal X and I call them back and leave a message, and they don't call back, and 3 days pass.  Do they want the animal?  I don't know.  So, Person 2 emails, with an adoption form attached to the email, says they want Animal X.  I email them back, they respond quickly, and Animal X goes on hold for Person 2.  Then, Person 1 calls and is upset that Animal X is not on hold for them.  Now, let's note, I've never actually talked to Person 1, I do not have an adoption form from Person 1, and so on.

Now, I used to do it where for every person who emailed/called, the animal would go on hold for them for 7 days, and they'd have that long to get back to me.  But not anymore, because, as noted, only 20% of people get back to me, so 80% of those animals would be on hold needlessly.  I still do this 7 day hold for someone who I've been in contact with several times, who then vanishes, but if I've never talked to you or never received something from you, then it doesn't apply.

...and by the way, offering more money for chins that are on hold for someone else doesn't work.  You know why?  Because it's not all about the money.  Even if the rescue was broke, it'd be more important to find a good home than to find the home that can pay more for the chins.  If the good home came along already, well, people can wait around for the next chin that's available that meets their criteria.

Moving along again.... I hate emails that say things like (and I quote) "willing to buy them if u provide the cage & bedding."  Um, no.  This is a rescue.  We provide what we provide, which is the following:

--single chin -- baggie (roughly 2 pounds) food, goodie bag, care packet
--pair chins -- 4 pounds food, 2 goodie bags, care packet
--trio chins -- 6 pounds food, 3 goodie bags, care packet
--baby chin -- baggie (roughly 2 pounds) food, kit goodie bag, hanging chew toy, care packet
--rabbit -- 4 pounds food, 2 cardboard bagels, care packet
--guinea pig -- 2 pounds food, 2 cardboard bagels, care packet
--rat -- bag of lab blocks (roughly 1 pound), bag of dry cereal mix, care packet

....and that's it.  If the animal came in with something that the other said they wanted to go with the animal, then they may come with something else.  I've had chins dropped off with their cages, and the other said, send the cage with them.  Or send the wheel with them.  Or whatever the case may be -- then those animals come with "their stuff."  But, that's not most animals.  Most animals just come with what's listed above.  In case anyone wonders why those particular amounts?  The average chin eats 2 pounds per month.  The average large rabbit can eat 4 pounds a month.  A rat could probably go a month on a pound or two of lab blocks.  So, the idea to give those amounts is so people have a month to go get more, assuming they are not purchasing more from the rescue (some people do, some do not).

But when people say that they'll buy them if I provide this and that... to me, that's like saying, "how bad do you want them gone?  If you want them gone badly enough, throw in this and that and I'll take them."  Um, no.  Let's note that people like that almost never end up adopting.  Because they want to buy everything packaged up in a neat little bow for $50.  And that's fine -- they just need to look on craigslist for the people who are selling chin, with cage, with everything, and call up that person.  Sure, those chins often look like they've never had a dust bath, and often the cages are caked with built up feces, but come on, that's why it's $50 for everything!  There's a reason the chins here are more money and the cages are more money.  The chins stay here for a month to be sure they're doing well, healthy, eating, all that.  If they're not, they stay here until they get better, they don't get adopted out ill, unless it's something that cannot be fixed but is not life threatening (like, for example, a rat we recently adopted out with teeth issues [need clipped every few weeks - under $15 at a vet, could be done at home] and weakness in her legs -- not specifically unhealthy, just older and needing a more special adoptive home.  So, after having kept a chin here for 30+ days, fed it, dusted it, cared for it that time, it's going to cost more than $20.  Same with the cages.  I wish you all could see the cages I get in with animals.  Usually the whole base is caked in either feces or just unrecognizable grime.  I end up taking a metal putty knife, scraping up what I can, and pouring in vinegar and letting it sit.  And after it's sat for awhile, I scrub it.  Then pour in more, let it sit for awhile, scrub it.  And rinse and repeat over and over until the grime comes off.  Some of these cages take days to clean.  I have one cage right now, where I have had the base on the floor for the past week, letting it soak, scrubbing it, letting it soak more, scrubbing it more, and so on and so forth.  It can take forever to get everything off.  And that's just the base, the top part (wire) has to be scrubbed and washed, as well as any plastic shelves (if it's a non-chin cage), and any wooden parts need to be scrubbed, sanitized, and sanded down.  So, the cages aren't $10, because many have hours worth of my time put into them.  Hence, I can't throw in a cage that I'd otherwise ask $150 for, with two chins.

I get people wanting everything at once, one nice little package.  And I can do that, you tell me you want chins, cage, water bottle, food bowl, toys, I will come up with a nice package for you.... but not for the price of the chins themselves, will I throw in all this other stuff.  Sorry, just not how it works.