Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Oak Lawn Expo Day #1

So today went well.  Didn't have much in terms of sales at the expo, a hammock and some treats, but we did talk to a lot of great people, some of who seemed interested in adopting, so fingers crossed for that...

As usual, Summer garnered a lot of attention, and she got a lot of pets for her efforts.

We did our presentation on chinchillas -- well, I presented, Tom (of West Burb Weiners) held Hercules while I presented, and we actually had quite a few people sitting around and listening to me talk about chinchillas and how they knew if that was the right pet for them...

We also had two chin adoptions today at the expo -- everything done in advance except, of course, picking up the chins.  So, those went well, and Max and Fritz, and a young violet male both went home.  Yay for them in their new homes.  So since Max and Fritz's cage is now open, I went to email people on my waiting list to bring in their chins.  First person for me to email was someone who had gotten two chins from me, and who had emailed saying they were more work than they had originally thought.  So I emailed them saying I had room for the chins, and almost immediately got an email back saying, oh they decided to keep them.  Alright, then, moving along.

So I emailed the next person on my list, and so now we're currently working on arranging when they can bring their chins by.

So then, wanted to give a shoutout to Tim P., who was our volunteer at the expo today.  Thanks to Tim for coming by and helping us out!  

And then on Sunday, we had Kristy come out and help us at the expo, thanks Kristy!  


So... I've delivered a fair number of chins over the past year, and some people think the delivery fee is fine, others are horrified.  So let me explain..

While there's a few people that want local delivery, most people want delivery cause they're umpteen hours away.  That's the idea, they don't want to spend an entire day between driving here and driving back home... and I get it.  But that doesn't mean delivery is going to be $20...

So take this one person today, for example.  They asked me, do they have to come here to pick up a chin, or do we deliver?  So I told em, we deliver for a fee.  So she gave me the address and I looked it up... about 3-4 hours away... $139 delivery fee.  They said, too much.  They asked, ok, what if they met met a bit closer, maybe a half hour away from their home, would that make it cheaper?  Well sure, but not by much.  Figured it out, it would bring down delivery to $110.  They said, still too much, the chin's only $175.

So I told em, if they want it cheaper, the cheaper option is for them to drive the 6 hour roundtrip and come pick up the chin.  Then it's their gas, their time spent getting the chin.

Because here's the thing.  I'm not trying to be an ass, and I'm not trying to get oodles of money out of people.  But it's at least, absolute minimum, a 6 hour roundtrip.  Which will more likely turn into an 8 hour roundtrip with traffic, construction, and so on.... so an entire day wasted making all of $175 on a chin.  As most of you know, I'm typically behind on orders, behind on getting back to emails, and so on and so forth.  The last thing I need is to spend 6+ hours away from home when I have oodles of things to do, and make just about nothing for it.  By the time I take the actual amount made with delivery, subtract out what it will cost me in gas, I'm usually not even making minimum wage per hour.  And don't get me wrong, good homes are nice to find, but I could be at home sending out packages.  I could be doing umpteen other things... rather than driving a chin to someone.  So I'd rather not do the long deliveries ANYWAY, but if I do, I don't really care for when the people want to argue over the price.

So anyway, this person says, ok, how bout $300 for chin and delivery to the house.  Sorry, no.  Again, not trying to be a butt, however... I've learned, I need to stick up for myself and not be a doormat.  People want something, this isn't a garage sale, it isn't up for debate, the amount is what the amount is.

And in reality, the amount to their door was only $314 (which the person asked about), and

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Emails... and more emails...

So, I know I need to get more on the ball as far as posting this sort of stuff.... and I will... but let me explain why that sometimes doesn't happen.

I got up at 9 am today, and fed and watered all the chins.  That took me til a little after 10:15ish, and in the middle there, I had my blazer picked up for detailing... which, never fails, I will be packing it for an expo tomorrow... I will do my BEST to keep it clean!!

Anyway, so after I fed and watered the critters, I took out a few of them, snapped some pics and dictated notes on them to my phone. 

Even if I don't respond to all my emails right away, I typically do look through them, so I see if I need to snap pics for someone, or what the case may be... so I did, and I noticed someone had asked to see pics of a pair of boys here, and mentioned they were also looking at chins from another breeder.  Well if that didn't light the fire under my butt, nothing would (don't want to lose chins to the competition), so I snapped pics of those chins and a few others that people were asking about in email, and went upstairs.  Emailed that specific guy back, saying ok, I will send the pics directly from my phone in another email.  He likes the chins (yay!), and we emailed back and forth a few times, emails crossing multiple times, until the moment he decided to be the smart one and called me up.  So we talked for awhile, he's going to come to the expo this weekend and pick up the pair of chins.  Yay. 

So then since that, I've been working on other emails.  I had someone else that wanted a literal baby rescue, and since I picked up the chins from another rescue in Pennsylvania -- a mom and three babies -- for once I do have literal baby rescues... so I told her, and she wanted the adoption form and all that, so I sent those over.  I completely spaced on checking if any of the babies are girls (I just didn't check sexes at all... they have some time to go before weaning, so at this point it really doesn't matter), but I need to check on that and get back to her, because she would like a female.

Then someone else emailed, saying they will be at the expo this weekend and would like to meet me and the chins, and were asking if a certain chin was still available (it is), and so I mentioned to them that I could bring it to the expo if they wanted, and so on and so forth...

So then I went to another email asking about pairing up chins and explained, no way to know if they'll get along without trying it (you all know the story, you've heard me rant about it a million times)...

Then I realized that I sold a large cage the other day, and had not yet ordered another one, so I went online and did that.

Then someone wants to stop by this weekend to pick up some food, so I emailed them back so we can arrange what day and what time works best for all of us...

And between people responding to emails that I sent, and then me responding to those, and so on and so forth... it is now 2:39 pm, I've been working on emails since 10:15ish, over 4 hours... and just NOW have I finally responded to all of them.  I am now going to start working on listing chins...

... but this is just an example of why sometimes things get behind. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Flake Week

I officially dub the last week-ish amount of time, Flake Week.

Now I know, I've said I need to stop writing so much about things that go bad, but this takes the cake.  These several people brought it all on....

It all starts last week when I had to deliver a chinchilla to Muncie on late notice.  I didn't think I'd be able to get back in time for one of my appointments, so I contacted them and moved their appointment to later in the day.  So that was fine with them, no problem, but sometime during the day, they texted me to say that they couldn't make that appointment either.  Which was fine, so we were working to reschedule, and couldn't find a day / time that was working for both of us.  This person just needed to drop off a deposit, so I told them, put it in an envelope, drop it off anytime in the mailbox.  They said that would work great, so I expected that when I got back from my last trip out of town, it would be there. 

Well that was clearly a stupid expectation, and the beginning of Flake Week. 

So I messaged that person, explaining that I need a deposit, like, yesterday, because I've already held the chin for over 7 days and have other people inquiring... and their relative was supposed to come  few hours ago to drop it off.  They never showed, so I texted the person and said, hey, are they still coming, cause I need to leave (which they knew).  They said they hadn't heard from the person all day, so they guessed I could take the chin off hold.  I told them, if they happened to get here anytime soon, and I still had the chin, they could put him back on hold...

Moving along.  I posted a picture of the sapphire wrap chin that we have here with a shredded wheat square and a caption on facebook.  In case you haven't seen it,

"Why haven't I gone home yet?? Is it my ear?? Mom, people don't like my ear...."
--sapphire wrap male
So naturally, people started messaging asking about him and potentially wanting to adopt.  Wait!  Don't celebrate just yet.  So we set the first appointment for the following day.  She said, in the event she wasn't going to be able to make it, she would message me.  And she did, and we rescheduled for Wednesday night.  Come Wednesday night, she was supposed to come at 5 pm... 5:15 rolls around, I have not heard from her, I have not seen her, nothing.  So I message her on facebook, and she says, oh she's not feeling well.....oh but she still really wants him!!!  Which, again, would be fine... except... was she ever going to tell me about her not feeling well and not coming??  Apparently not.  So I told her the same thing I told the other person, we only hold for 7 days without a deposit (and this person was also coming to put down a deposit), so she needed to get here by the time I left on Friday (today) to get a deposit down or he wouldn't stay on hold for her.  So she says, ok, she can come before work on Friday.  Awesome.  So we plan for 8:30 am Friday... and it's over an hour later and she has not showed up...

Moving along... we had another person scheduled to come by to pick up a chin.  Didn't show up for the first appointment, so I texted them.  Oh something came up, so we rescheduled.  

And let me pause here for a second to say that if you actually DO contact me, PREFERABLY BEFORE your appointment, to tell me you can't come, I am very happy to reschedule your appointment and you'll just about never end up in the blog (but hey, if you want the fame...).  It's only because these people leave me waiting and hanging that they are ending up here...

...back to the story, so we have rescheduled with this person, and they don't show up for the next appointment.  So I text them and they forgot, so they want to come by the following day.  So we reschedule for the following day, let's say 2 pm, and I text them at 2:15ish.  They text back maybe 2:45, they are coming... just running late... I think 2 hours later they showed up. 

Then we have the facebook nut.  Nut saw the picture of the sapphire wrap (and pictures of multiple other chins), commented on all of them, sent me umpteen messages, and I woke up to a full inbox of everything.  Which is fine, so I start responding to comments and I see that this person has messaged the rescue page, so I message back.  And as I'm typing the messages, I can see that this person is online, because I can't type the answers quick enough, they keep sending more questions.  Which again, is fine, but apparently I'm not getting it done quick enough for them, because before I can hit send (and at this point, I have quite the book written cause they've asked all sorts of things), they call me.  So then I can't get them off the phone for 2 hours, but we had a good conversation and I really thought they were going to adopt.  They had picked out one of the males here and decided they wanted a pair, so I told them I would look and see what other males I had that I thought would pair with that one, and send them a list, so they could pick and say, ok, try these two together.  I go downstairs, and before I can even think to look at other males, I get a message that says, oh they found a really sweet male chin by them that they just can't pass up, but they still want to get mine, as long as they get along.  And so they ask, what's the chance of them getting along?

Well, really, and I'm sure I've said this a million times over now... there's no way to know until you try.  Even if my chin is the calmest chin ever and LOVES other chins, and your chin is ALSO the calmest chin ever and LOVES other chins, they may HATE each other.  I didn't word it quite like that, but I did tell this person basically the gist of that.  And, this person had been asking about me delivering the chin to them, 4+ hours away, so then the topic turned to me bringing the chin there and it not working out.

Oh no.  Oh hell no.  Not happening.

I told them, the only way I deliver (or meet, or whatever), is when the adoption is a sure thing.  As in, there's no "let's see if they pair," or "let's see if I like the chin..."  Personally, I don't care if someone wants me to bring 3 chins with me, as long as they're picking one and taking one home, but there has to be an adoption, or I'm not driving.  And before you say it, no, it makes no difference that I charge for delivery, because a 4+ hour delivery, let's say, is 250 miles one way.  That's 500 miles round trip, and 8+ hours of driving.  By the time I factor in the cost of gas, and just the literal time it takes me to get there and back, plus the fact that I pretty much need to have no appointments all day and make sure I make it home for any I do have... I'm usually not making minimum wage for my time spent.  And personally, I'd rather be sitting home, listing chins on the website and working on orders (believe me, the rescue benefits more from those than from 90% of my deliveries).  I'm not going all that way, finding out a pairing doesn't work, and turning around and going home with minimum wage earnings for my time.  Especially since most days that I deliver, I've had to turn down appointments for those days since I won't be home.  So I told this person that, and they said, oh well they'll really have to think about this.  Yeah.

What I don't get is, if you had been talking to this person, you would fully think, 100%, that they were going to adopt the chin from me, plus the buddy chin.  And then all of a sudden they find a chin by them?  I guess I don't get why they would even be LOOKING for chins by them.  Or if they decided, ok, they didn't want to get one from here, or whatever, why not just say so?  I guess I'm the type, I'd rather just say, you know what, I changed my mind... as opposed to this sort of thing...

Moving onto the second-to-last one... had someone text me last night, asking if I was the chinchilla breeder in Indiana.  Said yeah, and they said they were looking to get a pair of chins.  So I asked, male / female, young / old?  And they said, they wanted males, and they wanted to spend less than $175 for the pair.  Ok, so adults.  So I told them that and I said I'm sure I had some nice adults they could get for $175 or less for the pair.  So then they ask about my used cages, and want pictures and prices so I send those.  So then they ask, how long are the adults going to live?  Well, it depends on how old they are when they're adopted.  If they're 4 years old, hopefully a long time, if they're 13 years old, maybe not so long.  But really, it's hard to say.  Chins can die at 4 years old and other chins can live to be 25... so hard to say.  So then they text and say, oh you know what? they're going to look at a pet store by them, but they're still probably going to get a chin from me, because they doubt they'll end up with two from the pet store. 

And that was about when my head exploded.

First off... a pet store chin at any chain pet store tends to be $129.99 and up.  $129.99 with Indiana tax is right about $140... leaving all of $35 for that second chin?  Um... ok.  Not going to get a chin from me for that amount, even my inexpensive seniors are $50-75.  And if they want to SAVE money, the pet store isn't the place for that.  So then they text me, they got a chin, and a cage, and they're not sure if the cage is good or not, so they want opinions on that... and they again make the comment about wanting the buddy for the chin.  And I tell them, like I told the last one, there is honestly no way to know if the chins will get together without trying them, but I can't guarantee that any two chins will get along.  They said, oh, hmmm good point.  Well, they still may be contacting me sometime! (so they say).

And the last one, possibly the most aggravating, because I know these people personally and I expected more of them.  You all may remember those nametags that we started doing awhile back... I had a volunteer doing them.  So the first one was in Sharpie, and looked good, and they said they could woodburn too, so I was like awesome, we'll add that on.  So, a few days after I added on the nametags, which I will note, was February 28th, I had an order for 2 of them, and the person wanted them woodburned.  So it was several days before the person came by, so I thought, oh plenty of time.  Stupid stupid stupid.  So they went to turn on their woodburner and said, oh it doesn't work.  Ok, so I asked if they had plans to get another, or what was the case with that, and they said, yeah, they were going to get another one that night.  They said they would bring the completed nametags by, in time for my appointment, at 1 pm.  1 pm came, 1 pm went... never saw them.  Texted and they said, oh they got a wood burner, but they couldn't find a plug in one (seriously?  Menards and Home Depot both have 3 different options for plug-in-wood-burners and those were the first two places I looked) so they bought one that uses a little butane tank, and couldn't find one.  Um... every gas station has those little butane tanks.  Anyway, rather than take the time to go anywhere and find the tank, they said they ordered it online.  Apparently from Africa, as 3 weeks later, they still didn't have the stinking thing.   But that entire time, they had the wood, and were not informing me of anything... so it wouldn't be until I messaged them that they'd say, oh they hadn't gotten the tank in yet.  Fine.

So finally I said, ok, would it be better if I just went out and bought a plug in one for them to use?  They said, yeah, that's be great, that way they could just come over when I needed one done and do it on the spot.  Great!..or so I thought.  So I went and got one (and these things are like $10, so I don't know what the big deal is) and found a plug-in one no problem, and this person came over.  Part way through the first one, they mysteriously had to leave.  So they took the wood with them, and the wood burner... and it took two weeks of me pestering them before they finally got the pieces back to me...and they looked crappy.  Now personally, if I was making something for someone and it turned out this bad, I would have messaged and said, hey, I don't think these are as good as what I did before with Sharpie, what would you like me to do?  But they didn't say anything like that, just dropped off these considerably less nice and less professional looking nametags.  So I show the nametags to the prospective buyers... who agreed and said basically the same thing... the pictures (original ones with Sharpie... the example pictures), looked way nicer, much more professional, they didn't want to pay for the ones that were woodburned as they didn't think they looked nice.  Great. 

 Mind you, this entire time that I'd been waiting had been back and forth, are they done yet?  No, but soon!  Ok, several days  later, now?  No, not yet!  Soon though!!  Several weeks later... done?  Sorry, no, working on them though!!   Which I find SUPER aggravating.

So I texted the volunteer back and asked, hey, was there a problem with the woodburner, or what was going on, and said what had happened with the customers?  They said the wood burner didn't burn all the wood right and that made it look bad (or something), and the Sharpie was much easier.  Well, one of the customer had said that they wouldn't mind theirs in Sharpie instead, so I asked, if the customers want them with Sharpie, would this person mind doing them?  They said no problem.

So now, the "no problem to the Sharpie'd ones" message was at least a week ago, if not longer.  Since then, I've been texting trying to get them to pick up the new pieces of wood for the new nametags.  The other day, they said they were going to stop by after work.  They didn't.  So I texted the following day asking if it'd be easier if I left them outside on the porch.  No response.  So I texted this morning asking if they got that text... they said, yeah, that'd be easier. 

Needless to say, I'm in the marker for a new nametag volunteer.  I have some people who've mentioned they may be able to do it, so I'll see what comes of that, because I can't let my reputation and my rescue / business go down because these people can't get their act together and work on the nametags (which, mind you, they offered to do... I'm not forcing anyone to do anything)....which is only making me look bad in the long run...

And I believe that's it and concludes this week of flake week.  ONLY because I am leaving to go to a chin show in Pennsylvania... otherwise, this week might continue...

I should note... despite the fact we've had this ridiculously many of these in such a short period of time... usually we have great adopters, and usually without these long lists of frustrations.  Among these flaky adopters, we had several that called, showed up, filled out adoption forms, and went home with chins.  So far this year, we've already rehomed at least 70 chinchillas (probably more, but you know me, being up-to-date on paperwork is not my strong point).  So these few people are the exception... just the very loud, notable exception right now...