Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Emails and More Emails

Now, I've noticed, that a lot of people are asking me questions that they know the answers to.  For example, it says on my site, expect to spend at least $150-200 minimum for chin and supplies.  Says that on the Available Chins page.  Right after it says that, this page is linked -- http://www.nwichinchillas.com/suppliesforsale.htm -- which breaks it down further, and you can see that even on the low end (spending under $200), that's assuming you're getting a low priced rescue chin (that would be like getting the $60 rescue chin).

The hard thing is, there's no way to break that page down to say, well, if you're going to get a chin that costs $100, the cost will be x.  Because the way that page is figured out is that the low end is all the low end numbers added up, and the high end is all the high end up numbers added up.  So the high end of $300-something isn't because the chin is so expensive, it's simply assuming you're going a more expensive route in terms of cage, care, etc.

Well, I had someone email me asking about what chins I had available, her kid didn't like red eyes.  She had originally emailed about a chin that's already on hold, that she'd seen the ad about, and was asking about.  Well I told her that one wasn't available, and told her, ok, these are the others that I have available.  Of the ones I told her, only one of them wasn't on my site (but was the same color, sex, and age, as one that is on my site, so it's reasonable to say that the average person could figure out the adoption fee).  Well, she comes back with "How much are you asking for a chinchilla.  I saw on your website that we can expect to spend at least $150-200 for the chinchilla and all the supplies.  We have all of the supplies, so just wondering what it would cost just for the chinchilla."

So I just nicely replied and linked her to the price comparison page, and told her, the only way you could stay under the $150-200 range (for chins and all supplies) would be to get an adult rescue, small cage, minimal supplies.  Which is true, for that price range, you could get:

  • medium sized cage, used, with a few shelves - $80-100
  • adult standard grey chin - $50-75
  • toy - $4
  • 4 lbs mazuri - $5
  • 4 lbs dust - $5
  • 2 pounds hay - $2
  • dust pan - $2.50
  • used ceramic food bowl - $1
  • used glass water bottle - $3
  • used wood petstore-type hidey house - $5
....and that all adds up to a range of  $157.50 to $202.50.  It's do-able.  Now, note, that's not saying you're getting everything new.  I do have a lot of used food bowls, used water bottles, used hidey houses.  A lot of people prefer new, but the used does save you a bit of money.  $1 for a used food bowl (sometimes the EXACT one that I sell for $4, only it's been used, washed, and is now considered "used"), versus $4 for a new one.  Same with the water bottles.  If I am selling a used ryerson one, it's $3 versus $6.  A used glass bottle (pet store type) is $3 as well.  They're $9 in the pet store.  So it is possible to get everything cheap.  But chances are, it won't be new.  Chances are, also, you'll be getting your average rescue chin.  Talk to any chinchilla rescue, they'll tell you, the most common chin they get in is a grey adult, typically over 2 years old.  Nothing wrong with that, don't get me wrong, but that's just typically what comes in, which is why most places have a typical adoption fee for those.  All day long, a grey adult is $75.  But if you go the chinchilla pricing page -- http://www.nwichinchillas.com/chinchillapricing.htm --, you can see that babies (rescue or not) are more.  You go to an animal shelter, puppies are more.  When I went to look into adopting a sheltie, they had puppies for $375, adults were $200, and seniors $75.  That's about how it goes, because the young ones are more desirable.

I find it interesting that she asked how much just the chinchilla is, when she clearly read an ad that says, the adoption fee for this chinchilla is x.  It says on the ads and the website that they come with some food and a goodie bag to start you with, so no reason for her to think that anything higher priced comes with anything else.  But people, I'm not stupid.  This happens all the time.  I routinely get people calling, "so I'm looking at this ad for this chin of yours, and I see it says he comes with this and this, and blah blah, and how much is he?"  I don't know if people think by asking, I will lower down the cost of the chinchilla, but what's listed is pretty generally the price.  Now, that said, there's room for negotiation.  I'm not going to halve the price of an animal for someone, but I've had people ask if I'd take $20 less, and that's not unfeasible, on most chins.  Now, if they're asking that on a $75 chin, I feel like there better be a reason for it, because if the people don't have $75 to adopt, it makes me wonder if they can afford chin care.  But it's different if they're looking at a baby chin, which is more to start with, and want a discount.  Not unheard of.  But a lot of people just act like they're stupid and ask the price, when it's right in front of them.

Another trend in emails lately.  "Hi, I want to come by this day or this day to look at your chins."  Thank you for the assumption that I just sit around waiting for all of you.  The even better ones are "I want to come by Monday at noon."  Number 1, thanks for assuming I have no job, and #2, thanks for assuming I'll drop everything for your schedule.  Do you call the doctor and say, "Hi, I want to come see the doctor at noon on Tuesday, make it happen."  Didn't think so.  Or at least, I sure hope you don't, because they're probably as frustrated as I am.  Even if I was just sitting home waiting for chin people to come around, saying you want to come at a certain time on a certain day seems to forget one thing -- you're probably not the only person coming by.  I may already have a noon on Tuesday appointment.  Now, it's different if I've just told you, "I'll be home all week, pick a day and time and I'll make sure to be here."  Now, if I say that, by all means, pick a day and time.  But in the instances where 95% of these people are saying they want to come Tuesday at noon, that's in the first email, where I have never talked to them yet.

Also people, let's talk about discounts.  I'm open to discounts.  I am.  But you people are f-ing nuts.  I had one person who asked for a discount on one chin, a $35 discount.  Said ah, what the hell, sure.  So, she's getting a chin for cheaper, $140 versus $175, not a big deal.  Well, then she said she was curious about getting too, so I said, offer a price.  She offered $225.  For two chins that total $375 without any discount.  That would be a discount of $150 total.  No offense, but... I don't think so.  Even if we look at it as the first chin is $140... that makes the second chin, original price $200, down to $85.  I can sell a standard grey adult for $75, so there's really no reason for me to discount a perfectly healthy baby almost 60%.  Sorry, just no.  I tell people, I can do discounts within reason.  But $150 discount on two chins is not within reason.  Sorry.

One more thing.  Patience.  I know apparently no one has it anymore.  I sat down this morning 2 hours ago to answer emails.  I'm still answering emails.  Before I went to bed last night, I responded to almost every email that had to do with chinchillas in my inbox.  Some of those people have since emailed me back, and one person in particular emailed me back last night at like 3 in the morning, needless to say I did not respond.  Well, I start at the oldest emails and work my way towards the newer ones, and I was a few emails away from her 3 am email, and I see that she sent me a message on facebook.  Guys.  Patience.  I can only type so fast.  And today, I have a million and one other things to do... just cause I didn't reply to your email yet doesn't mean I'm ignoring you, it just means.... wait for it... I might be doing something else.

Well, and another thing.  Everyone's opinion of value and price is different.  Some people look at a $75 adult chin and think that's too expensive, others don't blink an eye at handing over $250 for a less-common-colored baby.  And people all over in between.  So I get a lot of emails that say, "I want a baby and it has to be reasonably priced."  That's fine and dandy, but begs the question, what is reasonably priced, to that specific person?  So I always end up messaging back and asking, what do they consider reasonably priced.  And, when they say they want a baby, what do they consider a baby.  A chin isn't really an adult until somewhere between 8 months and 2 years, depending on who you ask.  So even at the average chin-person's (and by that, I mean someone who's in the industry, not someone who has one chin as a pet) estimate, a baby could be 8 months old.  Granted, the pet person may not say that's a baby.  But... that's why I ask.  Being specific is wonderful.  Just like the person above who asked how much a baby chin is.  Well, it depends.  Be more specific.  How old do you want, what color do you want?  The thing is, there will always be the possibility that I don't have what someone wants, even if it's something basic.  Occasionally, I have no adult standard females, and that's what people want.  Or I may not have something as low priced as someone may want.  I get people all the time that email and ask about what the chin comes with (2 pounds of food and goodie bag).  I tell them that, and they come back with, "well, there's a chin on craigslist for $100 that has a cage and 6 months of food and this and that.... can you throw in a cage and all that other stuff I mentioned for the extra $25?"  No, I can't, because the money from the sale of supplies is what pays to keep the rescue running, but they're welcome to go to get that chin and stuff off craigslist if they'd like.  What I never quite get about that situation, specifically, is that they want everything garage-sale-cheap, but they want to get it from a rescue.  Like those two things are somewhat mutually exclusive.  Like you don't go to Saks looking for a $5 t-shirt.  So why would you come here looking for garage-sale-priced chins and supplies?  Just don't get it.

So I had someone ask about shipping chins.  Which, it says RIGHT on the ads, sorry, we don't ship.  But no one reads.  Well, so I tell them, no, we don't ship.  But they're in California, so they ask about alternate shipping options.  I tell them about uship, but tell them, they have to arrange it all, I stay out of it as far as transport, because I'm not the one paying for that.  Well, they ask me on facebook again, if there's any option to transport other than airline shipping.  Again, I tell them uship.  And I did explain, the first time around, that they would have to post on their and ask to see how much it would cost, that I don't do any of that.  So this last email I get from them, they ask how much the transport will cost *bangs head against wall repeatedly*.  Ugh.

Also, I don't know where people are getting this stuff, but I have gotten a lot of requests lately for royal blue chinchillas.  I looked it up, and apparently it is a sapphire x black velvet cross.  Also known as a TOV sapphire.  I told all these people, they're unlikely to find a chin like this, simply because most people aren't breeding for them, and those that are are ending up on chinchillas.com for thousands of dollars.  And even if they do, they can expect to pay super super high prices for one.  Even when I go to the chinchilla ranch, the rancher has one.  Note that -- ONE TOV sapphire.  If someone with a probable total of 3000 chins has only ONE, the chance of the average pet person finding one for sale is pretty much zilch.  Just saying.

Orders are like nuts lately.  Literally.  Like I had to go pick up some chin chow yesterday because I ran out, and brought the bags home.  Went through 50 pounds (2 bags), plus what I had in my food storage container, just filling orders.  Someone wanted a holiday toy, so I made one up.  Need to cut up loofah but I'll do that after my person leaves tonight.

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