Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Package Deals

So, I wanted to write a quick blog post about package deals, mainly... why we're not able to do them.  I had someone call today, saying they added up the costs of everything, and they have to save up some more, and we got to the discussion of the fact that the chins may not be on sale, when they are ready.

So they asked if we could do some sort of a package deal for a chin, cage, supplies, for a discount. I told her, unfortunately, we are unable to do that.  It sounded like she was starting to cry as we hung up the phone.

Not that I don't want to be nice, but, I wanted to explain why this is incredibly difficult (and, moreso, not really possible, on a cost perspective) for me to do.

Let's ignore the cost of the chins for a moment, cause those go on sale from time to time, and let's focus on the supplies.

Food:
Here -- Tradition $0.75 per pound
Oxbow -- 3 lbs -- $8.92 (not including shipping) -- here at Petsmart -- comes out to $2.97 / pound

Dust:
Here -- $1.25 per pound
Blue Cloud dust -- 13 oz. for $6.29, or 3 lbs for $10.49, here at Petsmart -- that 13 oz. is 3 oz SHORT of 1 lb... for $6.29!  The 3 lbs for $10.49 is still $3.49 per pound

Hay:
Here -- $1.00 per pound
Oxbow hay -- 15 oz. (1 ounce short of a pound) for $4.39, here at Petsmart.  Other sizes include 40 oz. for $9.77, or 90 oz. for $18.69.  Those work out to over $4.39 per pound, $3.90 per pound, and $3.32 per pound.

So, for a direct comparison, let's say you get 3 lbs pellets, 3 lbs dust, and 40 oz (2.5 lb) hay.  From the pet store, this would cost you $28.46 (plus tax and shipping).  From here, that would cost you $8.50.

How much more of a discount would you really like?  That's 70% discount from retail price, and, it's literally the same stuff that you are getting, just not always in such fancy packaging.

I used to tell people, I wish I could do more and help them out more... but what it honestly comes down to is this -- if you can't afford the $8.50 for basically 1-2 months worth of pellets, dust, and hay... a chinchilla may be too expensive of a pet for you.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fun Fact for Life: Chin Age

I've had a lot of people over the years tell me, their chin is 2 years old, they want to find another 2 year old to go with them.  This is fine, of course, if they want to match ages, it doesn't matter.... however... the chins don't know they're the same age.

Now, if you pair up a freshly weaned kit with an adult -- yes, they know that they're different ages.  But when you're pairing up a 4 month old and a 6 month old, or a 1 year and a 3 year old, or a 2 year old and a 10 year old... they have no idea.  It's not quite like people where someone who's 20 can recognize the look of someone who's 60.  To chins, an adult is an adult is an adult.  You may want to give them an exact-same-age-buddy... but they have no idea whether the buddy you gave them is their age, or could be their grandma's age

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fun Fact for Life: Curly Fur

I was asked a bit ago, since curlies are, well, curly, doesn't all the shavings stick to their fur?

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  For the ones that have looser curls, which are more rounded, yes, shavings get caught, sometimes, but not at all times.  For the ones with more of a dreadlock / wooly consistency to their fur -- these chins feel more like sheep, but they tend to get matted (dreadlocks on a curly chin!), yet don't get nearly as much shavings stuck to them, as the shavings don't seem to work their way in, past the top layer of fur.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Goldbars and Other MNWI Specific Chins

Occasionally, people ask for specific chins.  They want a goldbar, or an ebony, or what have you -- but they want it bred here, so they can see the parents, and know it's from good lines, and what have you.  All good, no problem there.

Only thing is this -- if you want one that's bred here... it may take longer than if you don't care what breeder it comes from.

Case in point.  When I had those goldbars for sale at the beginning of the month, they went quick.  I had a few people ask about when I'd have more.  In case you missed the word on the street, Jim really did sell out of his goldbars.  I upped my numbers and now have 5 females in my run with my goldbar male, one of Jim's retired breeders, a goldbar who I've named Midas.  I will finish out that run with an additional one eventually.  But anyway, what this boils down to is this -- since Jim doesn't have any goldbars, and hardly anyone breeds goldbars... the only way I will be having goldbars in the future is if they are from my own breeding.  Again, no problem with this... until someone wants one right away.

I had someone that was wanting to get one in August, and sent me an email telling her to be sure to let her know when I had one that would be ready by the day in August she'd be able to pick up.  Now, I don't know if there was a miscommunication or what, but somewhere along the lines, something must not have been communicated right, because those two kits I sold earlier this month were the only baby goldbars I had.  Previous to that, I retired a goldbar female who wasn't breeding (Pearl), and got in three new chins from Jim for the goldbar run (prior to him selling out the goldbars).  One was a goldbar, another was a blocky standard goldbar carrier, the last was an ebony goldbar carrier (because apparently another breeder had chinchillas.com convinced that goldbar wraps would be a big thing...that chin was left around from when that didn't go anywhere...but hey, she carries goldbar, so hey, I can use her, and she's actually a decent looking ebony).  Those three were just opened up to Midas in the run.  Then, the mom of the two kits that were just sold got really run down from this pregnancy, so she's currently closed off from breeding until she regains her weight and looks better.  So.. at the time, that leaves only one female in that run who was open to Midas for any length of time recently... so, there will not likely be any goldbar babies anytime soon.

The reason I mention this all though, is because I told this person (and this applies to any chins that I don't currently have)... if it's not already born, it won't be ready by mid-August.  I mean, think about this.  A chin born today isn't weaned til early September, and ready at the earliest, a week or so after that.  This is where getting MNWI chins can take more time.  If someone wants a baby of a certain color & gender, and I already have one, I can mentally note that, and let them know when it's ready to go... but if it's not born yet... we all just have to wait for it to be born!  Unfortunately, I can't will these chins into existence... as nice as that would be!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Saturday 7/9

So, I was talking with some people about what goes on at the rescue, and about, when I tell people, oh it's been a busy day... yet they saw just a few chins listed, not much else done.. what actually went on?  So here and there I'm gonna start blogging about certain days and what went on, so you can all see how it goes.  And since these blog posts are sometimes scheduled out for the future (so I don't have 3 in one day, and then none for a week, which has definitely happened in the past, lol), I'll post the day as the title.

So for Saturday the 9th (today, as I write this)...

Started out the morning, up around 9ish.  Took the dogs out, gave Kailey her meds and both the dogs  a can of food.

Checked emails, my 10 am appointment emailed saying they were going to be 15 minutes late, so I sat down and actually answered a few emails, then went downstairs.  Filled up the water filter, and took the water that was already filtered and put it in a jug (so it doesn't overflow, since the top was filled).  Used that water to refill some of the water bottles that were getting low.

I already knew which chin these people were getting, since they put down a deposit, so I wrote out their adoption paperwork ahead of time.  I get that done, and so I get their bag of food that comes with the chin ready, as well as the kit bag (chews / munchies that are age appropriate and go home with the babies).

Still waiting for them to get here, so I go upstairs and wash some dishes.  Doorbell rings, they're here.  I ask them to go around the side, they do.  This is about 10:30.  They spend some time looking at the various chins, and then ask where theirs is.  I show them, and they're holding her and loving on her, and they mention they need all sorts of supplies.  So I tell them, we'll go down the list.  So, we start with the cage, and they pick out a cage, and we go over the list of everything else as well.  By the time I've gotten their supplies together, they've paid and packed the car, it's almost noon.

I go to sit back down and look at emails, and I see I have a message from someone who dropped off a bag they wanted filled with hay, a few days ago, when I wasn't home.  I had filled it yesterday, informed them it'd be $4, and they were messaging asking about what time they could pick it up today.  We settled on 1 pm.

Between 12 and 1, I listed two chins, the blue diamond female and the predominantly white mosaic male.  While still waiting for the hay people to come, I figured I would work on orders for a bit.  Went downstairs to start packaging up stuff.  Realized, I am still out of gallon-size ziploc bags, as I have been for two days.  Darn it, they didn't magically materialize as I'd been hoping.  Went back upstairs.

About that time, I get a message that the people for the hay are on their way, so I go downstairs and grab some copies of my invoice paper, so I can write out the orders that are new, while waiting.  While down there, I replenish the copies needed (of all the adoption paperwork pages) in my folder that I keep out (I have a stash of copies elsewhere), and then put that away.  I get upstairs with the copies of the blank invoices, and the hay people show up.

The guy brought one of his kids along, who wanted to see the chins.  I said sure, but let's please make it quick, as I have somewhere to go.  You know where this is going.  I stayed upstairs with the guy, the kid went downstairs, and later came up and informed me that she was opening the cages and petting the chins.  Do kids not ask before they do anything anymore?  Guess not.  So I'm talking with the dad, and he's waiting on the kid to come back upstairs.  She eventually comes back up, asks for water, so I get her water.  She asks to take it with, sure, whatever, I gave it to her in a taco bell cup so it doesn't matter.  So it was around 2 pm when they left.

Even though I really needed to leave to go get those gallon-size bags (so I could do orders), I sat down at the kitchen table and figured, first I would write out the orders, so they'd be ready to take downstairs and get the items together and all that, when I got back.  Couldn't have been sitting 5 minutes, I get a call from the people who were just here, the kid needs to use the bathroom.  So she comes back in, pets the dog, goes potty, pets the dog again, and leaves.

I finish filling out the invoices, and then leave for Meijer.  Even though the ziploc bags are at the back of the grocery side, I park on the general merchandise side, cause apparently I'm stupid like that and don't know how to keep a cheap shopping trip from turning into an expensive one, if my life depended on it.  So, I walk in the door -- school supplies!  Well, elmer's glue is only 50 cents, limit 10, so I have to get 10.  I start walking past the office supplies section, and realize, I'm almost out of packaging tape.  So I get two packs of that.  Then I realize, the last time I printed, it said I was almost out of ink, so back to electronics to get the ink.  From there, I ALMOST make it to the ziploc bags, but get sidetracked by toilet wipes, that are in the same aisle, and I'm also, almost out of.  Then to the ziploc bags.  I usually get 4 boxes of the gallon size meijer ziploc bags, but I seem to be going through them like water, and there's only like 38 to a pack, so I decide to get 8 this time, almost clearing off the shelf, while the lady next to me surely wonders what in the world I need that many for.  I don't go shopping that often, so I better grab them while I'm out, because I hate to make a trip for one thing.  Then to checkout, and back to the car.  While needing a few packs of $4ish gallon size bags, I left with $100ish worth of stuff.

Load the car, then to the ATM.  See, I went to the ATM by my house a few days ago, to get money to pay the fence guy, but there's something wrong with that ATM, and it'll allow you to do the entire transaction, but then when it is ready to give you your money, it comes up with some error.  That's the second time that's happened with that ATM, but Meijer is by another of my bank locations, so I go there and withdraw the money for the fence guy.

Get home, unload the car.  Realize that if I'm going to pay the fence guy, I need to find my invoice for the fence, so he can mark that payment, paid.  Go find the invoice.  It's now about 4:30.  Called the fence guy, he came over and I paid him.  Now 5 pm.

Moving along, I sat and went over quite a few emails, until about 6ish.  Went downstairs and gave more chins water from the filter, and added more water to the filter.  Jim called, so I talked with him while taking pics of some rescue chins (their previous home wanted to know how they were doing) and moving around cages.  Got the two newest rescues settled in, one being a female named Fluffy from Evanston Animal Shelter.  Got off the phone, went upstairs to have a bit to eat.  Heated up some leftover pizza, and a friend called.  Talked with her while eating dinner.  By the time I got off the phone, 9 pm.

Back to the phone, went through the pics taken of the rescue chins, so I could send the actually clear ones to the family.  Got that done around 9:20ish, sent them over, along with an email on how things are going with the chins.

Went through a few more emails, noticed I had one asking about if I had any double cages for sale. I figured they meant ferret nation / critter nation cages, and I currently have a FN 142 in the garage.  They wanted a pic texted to them, so out to the garage, open the garage door so I have enough room to step back for the pic, take the pic, close the door, back in the house, send pic.

Decided to take a break from all the chin stuff and work on the gecko care packet for a bit.  Can't re-home the geckos without it!  So... I started editing.  Usually when I do care packets, if it's just an update, I'll go over the whole thing once.  If I'm writing one from scratch, it takes multiple revisions.  Many of the early revisions are moving things around to find where I like them, re-wording things, and so on....and catching oddball things that should have been taken out long ago.  For example, here's a screenshot from part of my gecko packet:



Let's play... which of these is not like the other...ooooh yeah the guinea pig water part in the middle of the gecko care packet.  Truth be told -- it's easiest to start with an existing care packet, and use it as a template to make another packet, as the general "sections" are the same, with some tweaking.

So I went through and edited the entire packet once, and then created a coverpage.  10:20 pm.

Then, yesterday, I did hammock inventory.  Hammock inventory is where I go hammock by hammock and mark down how many of each I have.  I use these numbers to then later update the listings on the webstore, as these items are set to only show a certain number available.  So yesterday, I wrote down which ones were still available, and how many.  Today, I went and edited those.  Out of all the hammocks available, I only am sold out of Taco Dog and Donuts, so those were removed.  The other hammocks, all 21+ of them, were edited and amount in stock corrected.  Now, it is 10:56.

Among doing the hammocks, I'm texting back and forth with a potential adopter about when they're looking to pick up their chins.  While doing that, I figured I'd work on the adoption form for the crested geckos, as oddly enough, the adoption forms are not all that difficult to work on, and I get that done while still texting with the potential adopter.  By 11:20ish, I have a deposit down for 2 chins, set for pickup at the next expo, and the adoption form done for crested geckos.  Maybe the care packet will get done tomorrow, and then I can actually list the geckos.  I technically could list early, but I know that if I list now, without it ready, someone will pounce and I'll have to scramble for it.  Naturally, if I wait to have it ready, no one will be interested... but at least I'll be ready!

So, in cleaning off my desk to find a piece of paper I was looking for (that I did not find), I found the little rebate slips that needed to be sent in for Menards' most recent 11% rebate.  With the last day for mailing approaching, I got everything together for mine and Jim's (he forgot his receipts for Menards here) and got those ready for mailing.  11:38.

Checked back into emails... that was a mistake.  Lots of quick-to-answer emails... but lots of them.  Answered a few of them quickly, and was going to work on getting some orders together, but kept getting side tracked with people emailing and facebook messages from people with chin questions, so I decided to stay upstairs and clean, so I could answer those and still be productive.  And that was my Saturday.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Flight Attendant

If you talked to me recently, you heard that we had a flight attendant stop by and pick up two chins.  Someone who lives in North Carolina.

They had originally messaged me, telling me they wanted to get some chins, and I had responded saying, you know, not able to ship this time of years, yadda yadda... but they'd already told me they were a flight attendant, so I asked if it was different for them.  They responded that they could take them in-cabin, no problem....  Awesome!

So they came the other day to pick up their chins!  Two sweet girls, both bred here, a mosaic and a goldbar.




They flew from home to Amsterdam, then back to New York, then over to Chicago, rented a car and drove here.  Due to flight connections and delays (apparently NY weather was all sorts of stormy), they got here... oh... 1 am.  After picking up chins, they drove back to the airport-area, where they had a hotel, to fly back in the morning.

So this person was super nice, will be giving a great home to these girls!  She said she would get here and make it happen, and she sure did!

And a side little perk for me -- she brought me food and stuff from Amsterdam!



And of course, a pic of the awesome person and her two new chins!


Just goes to show, there's people out there that will put forth a lot of effort to get what they're wanting!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Shipping & Temps

So, as you may have noticed if you've talked with me recently, we're unable to ship at the moment.  It's too hot outside, and airline regulations prohibit us from shipping if the temps are over 80.  Just to give you a quick recap of Chicago temp, the high today is 86, Monday is 83, Tuesday 84, Wednesday 90, Thursday 85, and so on... all over 80.

This is for the safety of the chinchillas.  Even though the entire areas that the chins are in for shipping are temperature controlled, it's still hot outside and they still have to be transported to the plane.... and we don't want them developing heatstroke and dying.  So... they can't ship if it's over 80.

Now, in theory, I could sit and watch the temps every day and wait for that one day when the high is supposed to be 79, and pray that when I get to the airport, their temp doesn't read 81 instead of 79, and then get denied being able to ship... but to be honest, I don't have that kind of spare time, or the ability to drop everything I have going on, if one day did happen to be cool enough to ship.

Therefore, we are not shipping again until the fall, when the temperatures cool down.

What are your alternatives?  Driving here, in a vehicle with air conditioning.  Or, coming by in the evening when it is cooler, if you do not have AC in your vehicle.  Or, meet us at an expo, after having put down a deposit on the chinchilla (required for us to bring you the chin).

I had a kid call me the other day (and you all know how much I love that, lol), asking about having a chin shipped.  I explained how it's too hot this time of year, but that if they were really interested, to check back in the fall.  So, they asked how much shipping was, and I explained, and the kid innocently told me that they didn't want to pay $200 to ship a chin (right? it's expensive, I acknowledge that, but that's just what it costs)... and asked if I couldn't stick the chin in a box and mail it to him.  Sorry, no can do, if you want a live arrival (plus, the whole, illegal to ship live animals other than like reptiles though the mail).  This time of the year... you just have to pick up or meet us at an expo.  For the safety of the chins.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Deposits and holds... yes, I know

So, I know I've talked about this over and over and you're probably sick of it.  But one last time... deposits and holds.

We will hold a chinchilla for a few days while you decide, or get here, to adopt.  If you want one held longer than a few days, we need a deposit, which will hold the chinchilla 14 days.

The 14 days is 14 days.  If I'm going to be out of town some of those 14 days, noticeably around the end of the 14 days when someone would want to pick up, the 14 days can be extended a couple days to make up for the time I'm gone.

But... 14 days is 14 days.  It's right in the sales policy.  14 days is not 17 days.  It's not 30 days.

Why not?  Because that's not what the policy says, simple as that.

Can I hold the chin longer than that?  Maybe.  Doubtful, but I won't extinguish all possibility.  Right now, when I have 18 chins on our waiting list wanting to come into the rescue?  No, 14 says is it.  When there's negative cage space, 14 days it is.  If I have tons of open cages, I may be more lenient, but not when there's no space and we have chins waiting for the existing space.

I guess I don't get, why do people question this?  I've had two people, just today, ask, well if they pay them in full, will I hold them longer.  Can someone explain to me why that would make any difference?  Ok, let's look at this a minute.

July 9 -- deposit $200
July 23 -- final payment $200
----------------------------------
total $400

versus

July 9 -- paid in full $400
August 6 -- pickup, nothing paid
----------------------------------
total $400

So... how does being paid in full right now actually benefit me, versus just getting a deposit now?  The only difference it makes is that I have the money sooner (which really doesn't matter, I'm not that poor)... but the chin sits around here longer, and takes up cage space, which is at a premium right now.  So maybe you can understand why that doesn't motivate me to hang onto them, with being paid in full.

Further, and lastly, most rescues and breeders don't hold animals (whatever kind) at all.  AT ALL.  I mention that, because people have hissy fits that it's only 14 days, when most places, if you don't beat anyone and everyone there... you don't get that animal.  Most don't care if you say, oh I'll be there in an hour... someone gets there before you, you're out of luck and don't get to adopt that animal.  It's not to be mean!  I can even tell you that -- it's because people are so flaky!

Case in point: I have someone right now who asked about if two chins would get along, so I paired them (yes they get along).  Later that day.  Oh, well how about these two?  Yes.  Following day, well, can we try a few more pairings?  No.  I explained, it stresses out the chins to keep pairing over and over, so unless they had more serious inquiries, I'm not going to pair all the chins here, so they could be sure (they wanted to be absolutely sure, their words).  Next day, they asked what other chins I have here that aren't listed.  Standards and a violet.  Oh can they see pics of the violet?  So I sent pics of the violet.  They ask for info on him, I send info on him.  This covered a few day's time if you noticed, and every day in these few days, I informed this person, I had people coming over to adopt, and that because they hadn't picked a specific chin or two and hadn't put down a deposit, I wasn't holding any of these chins, so they could possibly be adopted, if one of the adopters coming to look, wanted one of these chins.  Several times, I was told, I would have a deposit for one specific chin.  Then after not having a deposit from yesterday, when I should have had it, I messaged the person today, again informing that I had people coming, and without deposits, the chins could sell.  So, they say they're busy at the moment, because of course they are, but again, they remind me that they 100% want these two certain chins, and will put down a deposit tonight, so could I hold them?  So I said, sure whatever, because I'm apparently stupid, but I figured, ok, they narrowed it down to two, that was progress.  Fast forward to tonight, they want to call and talk about some stuff, which is fine, and ask about putting down a deposit to hold the chins.  I tell them how much the deposit is and that it holds for 14 days.  Well, can't they be held longer?  No.  What about with full payment?  No.  Oh... well, they'll get back to me tomorrow.  *yanks out all hair on head*  What happened to that deposit, that I was, for sure, supposed to get, several days ago?  And mind you, because I'm not a total prick, because I know this person is wanting these chins, I have NOT sold them to other people.  So who's the one getting walked on here, as this person doesn't put down a deposit day after day after day?  THIS is why places don't hold animals at all, regardless of people showing interest, because I probably could have sold both chins, several times over, by now, and not had this flake to deal with.

I just want to end with one little thing for you to think about:  if you are unable to pick up the animal within 14 days... I honestly feel like you should not even be looking yet.  It doesn't matter if you're talking about a breeder or a rescue or whatever, or even what animal specifically.  Most dog breeders won't hold dogs past a few days for pickup.  Even people breeding for show can determine, by 8 weeks, which puppies are show quality (so, which ones they are keeping), and typically have some sort of clause in their sales policy that states that people need a deposit down and have x amount of time after the deposit is put down, to pick up the puppy.  I've seen plenty that state, if the people already have the deposits down by the time the puppy is 8 weeks old, then the puppy must go to it's new home within the week following the puppy turning 8 weeks.  Adult animals are somewhat different than puppies, in that they are already ready to go when the deposit is put down.  For puppies, you might put down a deposit at 3 days old, and not be able to pick up for 8 weeks, so that's sort of the exception... but for animals that are already ready when you are looking to put down a deposit... if it's going to be a month before you can pick them up... why are you even looking?  I don't ask that to be facetious, but if you're not quite ready yet... I guess I think you should wait until you're more ready, especially since most places won't hold the animal for you.  That is all.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Chins Without Cages... Why?

So, I've had a lot of people ask over the years if our chins come with cages.  The answer is almost always no.  But did you ever wonder why?

First... many people don't bring a cage or any supplies with their chinchillas.  When we are really full, and start telling people that the only way they can bring their chin into the rescue, is if they bring a cage... then some people start showing up with cages... but often, other than that, people show up with the chin... and that's it.

Which is fine, don't get me wrong.  I always scratch my head as far as wondering... what do they do with the leftover chin food?  Leftover hay?  Cause many of these people have no other pets... but I digress.

The thought here is... if they don't bring a cage with the chin... what cage should I be giving out?  Since we're talking about rescues, which are adults and go for $75-100, or $65-75 on sale... I'd love to know what appropriate chin cages are out there that fit into that price range, and still allow for the rescue to have some money coming in from adoptions, to keep the rescue going.  Surely, we can't afford to buy new cages to send home with every chin... but if they're not brought in with a cage... unless one appears out of thin air, I don't have one to give.

Second... many people already have a cage when they contact us.  The few times when I've had someone bring in a chin where they specifically say that they want the cage to go home with the chin.... have you ever noticed, it's a gigantic cage, and the chin sits around waiting to get adopted?  Now, it's not because I price the chin and cage at a zillion dollars, in fact, I'll price it normally and then cut off like $50-75 versus if the people were getting it separately.  Now... IF the person was looking for a chin and a cage like the one with the chin... GREAT!  They look at this and think, what a deal!  Problem is... this never happens with little cages, only double ferret / critter nations and similarly gigantic sized cages, which not everyone can fit into their home.  So, we've been told that people would adopt these chins... except for that pesky, must-go-home-with-cage thing.  Same goes for having their own cage.  If they already spent money on a cage and decked it out, that may be the perfect chin for them, but drat, it comes with a cage and they don't need it.

So then I've had people ask, ok, well then send home the chins that were brought in with a cage, send those home with their cage, and the ones that didn't come with a cage, they just don't come with a cage.  So..

Chin comes with cage = goes home with cage
Chin doesn't come with cage = doesn't go home with cage

So the conversation usually continues, well, I would need to add on an additional cost for the cage, if some are going to come with the cage.  Some people disagree, but here's the thing... and this is where fairness comes in.  Say I have two chins at $75.  One comes with cage, the other doesn't.  First... most people are going to gravitate towards the one with the cage, and that one will likely be snatched up (because it's a good deal!)... but the other's going to sit here.  You know why?  Because people will look at the two chins, and say, "well, why should I pay $75 for this chin when it doesn't come with a cage, when those two over there do come with a cage for $75 each?"  I get it.  Which is why, for the few chins here and there that do come with a cage, there's an additional fee tacked on to that.

I've had rare exceptions to the not-coming-with-a-cage thing, mainly for special needs chins.  I had a blind chin a while back that I sent home with a specially decked out (small-ish) cage.  Yes, her fee was higher because of that, but her new family did not have to figure out how to best cage her with her special needs.  But... that's typically the exception to the rule.

One more quick thing before I get to work -- when people ask me if the chin comes with a cage, my mind goes to the regular humane society.  When you adopt a dog -- does it come with a crate, dog bowls, a bed, potty pads, a collar, and leash?  Maybe if they've got some special going, but when I use to volunteer at the humane society -- you adopted the dog, and you had to have your own way (collar / leash, etc.) to walk the dog out of the humane society.  I suppose people may think differently because these are small pets, but in reality, they're not all that much different -- they're all animals that need a home.  Most humane societies and such don't send home the animals with any food, treats, anything.  I try to be different than that and more helpful, of course, and send home food, munchies / treats / chews, and care packets.  Not saying that's huge, but every little thing adds up, and unfortunately, adding a cage onto that is something that would add up to more than we can spend.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Don't Like the _____? Tell Me!

Just wanted to make a quick post about this, as this sort of thing has been going on for years, but now's as good a time as ever to add it to the blog.

Someone will call and ask how far away we are.  Or what the price of the chins are.  Or if we have any specials.  I'll tell them, and they'll schedule an appointment.  Not an hour later, they will get back to me and say, they decided not to come.

Now... don't get me wrong, I have a ton of great adopters, and these fall into the minority of people who don't make it here... but I wanted to touch on this really quickly.  While I acknowledge that it may be, they went home and talked with their significant other, who may have been the one to say, oh the price is too much, or the drive is too far, or whatever... sometimes I wonder if, right when I say the price, the people aren't like... ok nevermind... but set the appointment anyway.

Maybe people don't want to seem turned off, but it's ok!  I had one person comment on a pic of a curly a while back, being really enthusiastic about coming to adopt right away, and they wanted me to call them so we could set up an appointment and all that... I sent them a message informing them that the curly was not a rescue and was $450.  Their response... oh, we'll have to make an appointment next week.  Needless to say, I never heard from them.

Maybe it's just me.  If I was in that situation, and thought the price was ungodly high, I think the most I'd commit to saying would be, "well, I need to think about it."  But I sure wouldn't make an appointment, or whatever, if I already knew I wasn't going to get it.

I understand it can be hard to say, ok, it's not what they were expecting, they don't want to get it.. but honestly... I don't bite!  You can just tell me, you know, we don't want to drive more than an hour, so we won't be coming by.  Ok!  No problem!  Saves me from writing down -- and then whiting out -- your appointment in my planner.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Special Treatment

I love you all, and all my adopters, and I'm sure you all know that.

But I want everyone to think I'm treating them fairly, so I wanted to mention a few instances where I think this has come up, and why I think it's important.

First... with the sale going on, I've had a lot of... "well, I can put down the deposit this week, and I know it says you only hold for 14 days, but I want to pick up in September, but not miss the sale price."

My response to this is that if people want to wait more than 14 days to pick up with a deposit, there's  a $2/day boarding charge after the 14 days.  So, I mention this to them, and they immediately say, well, what if they picked up in August?  Still $2 a day, cause it's still over 14 days.  Oh, but they'd be a great home!!  Now, I'm not denying that they may be an awesome home.  But... my policy is my policy.  Put down a deposit, get 14 days to pick up the animal.  I think that's fair, especially considering most rescues will not hold animals AT ALL.  So, if Tom, Dick, and Harry only get 14 days to pick up their critters, why should someone else get 35 days?  I mean, sure, I could make an exception, and I'm not saying that I never have (because I totally have... though usually much less than that)... but tell me... how is it fair to everyone else, who came within the 14 days, for me to allow someone else to have 35 days to pickup, with nothing in return for the rescue?  The short answer:  it's not fair.

And that's why I'll ask for the $2/day.  I know, some people are reading that, thinking holy cow... but you know what, when I pet sit for people, it's $15/week minimum donation, so it's in line with that (and believe me, when people are out of town, they think that's a bargain versus the veterinarian's boarding at $15/day)... and I actually hope it encourages people to pick up their critters.

I wouldn't mind them staying here longer, it's not like I "want to get rid of them" -- except that they're taking up cage space that could often be better used by an animal that is on the waiting list, waiting for an opening to come into the rescue.  And personally, I tend to think that people should wait to get an animal until they are ready.  I have a friend wanting to get a dog... but their life is going to be exceptionally busy in the next month or two, and they need to get their home ready... so they are waiting until the busy month passes and the house is ready... rather than contacting a breeder now, and asking that the dog be held for a month or two... which I feel is the better way to go.

The reason I wanted to post this is just to explain, before anyone thinks I'm trying to be unfair to them and not afford them an extra few days or whatever... keep in mind that the grand majority of people adhere to our deposit rules and pickup rules, and it's not fair to everyone who does go by our policies, to allow certain random people special treatment.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Plastic = The Devil

I guess I've drilled in a few too many people's heads and wrote in too many places about how bad plastic is for chins.  And don't get me wrong, it is... but I wanted to write this post because... just because plastic is bad, doesn't mean everything else is good.

I had an adoption form filled out the other day, where, for the section asking what type of shelves their cage had, they wrote "not plastic."  Of course, I emailed them back, asking, well, what are the shelves then... but this brings up an interesting point.

Just because the shelves aren't plastic, doesn't automatically mean they're safe.  If they're wire mesh shelves, they need to be a small enough mesh so feet and legs don't fall through -- not all wire mesh is safe.  If they're metal shelves, it's important that they're not all rusty and don't have jagged edges.   If they're wood shelves, we need to be sure they're made of safe wood, and not, say, cedar.

I know we all read everywhere how plastic is the devil, and yes, it is... it can cause a buttload of problems.  But... keep in mind, just because it's NOT plastic, doesn't mean it's automatically safe.  That is all.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Updates on Workers

So... I had a person or two ask me for updates on what was all going on with the people I posted about in my Workers posts last week, so I wanted to give you a quick update.

The person from the Walmart self-checkout, this post here, she never did text back.  A few days later, I asked if she was still wanting to volunteer or come help or whatever... also never heard back.

The person who originally told me, the could work anytime needed, clean anything, yadda yadda, and then could only come that one day the one week... post here, so she was supposed to get back to me for when she could work that following week.  She got back to me and told me she could work Tuesday.  I was going to be out of town until Wednesday night, so I told her this, and she came back saying she could work Thursday.  I asked what time Thursday, and she said she wasn't sure, but she'd get back to me about that on Tuesday.  Fast forward to Tuesday... Tuesday comes, Tuesday goes... no message.  So Wednesday, I message her asking if she's still wanting to come that following day to work and pick up her cage, and she said, OHHHH, NO, she meant the FOLLOWING week cause she was in Florida until the following Sunday.  Can work anytime.  Yep.

Let me back up for a second.  When she was originally there at the rescue, and originally said that she wanted to work, she learned that I had a used FN (cage) for sale and asked if I'd hold it until that Friday, which would have been the 23rd.  If you've ever seen me post those cages, I always put in the listing that I won't hold them more than a few days, cause usually by the time I'm posting them, they're clean, ready to go, and I want them gone.  When people post that they'll come pick it up next week, and then don't show, I've now wasted a week on selling it... so I only usually hold for a day or two.  But she said she'd get paid Friday, and would come that day to get the cage, so I said, sure, whatever.  So then, fast forward to when she said she could work Thursday (what I thought was the 29th), that would have already been me holding the cage for about two weeks for her.  Considerably longer than I wanted.  But... she wasn't going to be in town until Sunday (26th), so I figured, ok, she'd come pick up as soon as possible after that, and if she was not able, I would let her know that I was going to list it elsewhere.

Oh and also, we'd talked about the pay both in person, and when I initially texted her, asking her about working, she asked what the job paid.  $7.25/hour cash, paid daily, so I told her.

Back to her working.  So I asked, ok for the following week, when was she thinking?  She said Tuesday, and to help you follow this timeline, that would be today (7/4).  So when she said Tuesday, it occurred to me that was 4th of July, and I asked her if she realized that, and even if she did, that it would be morning / afternoon work because I was going to dinner / fireworks with family.  She said that was fine.... and asked if I'd said that I pay $8 an hour.  Nope, $7.25.  I wanted to tell her, scroll up like 3 texts and you'll see that, but I refrained.

So I asked her what time she wanted to start on Tuesday (today) and she asked if 7 am was good, and I said sure.  In my head, I thought, ok, that's early, but we'd been talking about working until 4 pm, so if she really worked that late, it'd be 9 hours, and would be worth the trip out here.  She's not far, but I can understand why someone may not want to come out for just an hour or two.  So I asked her if she wanted to plan for 7 am on Tuesday (this was Sunday, at the time) and she said yes, and we said our "see you then's" and all was good.

So then yesterday (Monday) she asked me if it would be easier to do 7-4 on Thursday.  I told her, not for me, since I have dog class and I'm gone a considerable chunk of the day, so it's hard for me to have anyone here on Thursdays doing anything.  Which, it's worth noting -- I'd LOVE for someone to point me out a job, that's not like a work-from-home job, where the employee gets to pick the days and hours.  Cause I'd almost think it's way more common with how often these people want to tell me when they think they should work.

Anyway, I asked her if she was able to still work on Tuesday as we'd planned, and she said yes, but that her mom had wanted her to check if she could come by another day instead.  I kinda find that odd, as she wanted all sorts of days and hours (her hours were getting cut at her other job), and we'd previously talked about where if she came Tuesday, and there was more work (which there always is), then maybe she could also come Wednesday, and Thursday, and so on.  But whatever... So I then asked, was she going to be able to take the cage tomorrow?  Cause again, now we're at 2.5 weeks holding time, for a cage I wanted gone, 2.5 weeks ago.  She said yes, which further solidified that she was going to show up today to work and take the cage.  Good.

Fast forward to this morning.  I'd love to write that she showed up and she was the best worker ever, and I can't wait to have her work again, and all that fun stuff.  But in reality -- NOPE!  She was a no-show, no call, no text, no anything.  And of course, I was up before 7 am anticipating her (and you all know, I'm not a morning person), only to not have her show, and not even let me know why she didn't show (and she couldn't have forgotten, since we talked about this all last night).  So... cage no longer on hold, and she no longer has a possible job here.

I read an article last week about how teenagers no longer have summer jobs like they used to, and someone I know posted a comment on the article saying, "it's not cause they're lazy!!"  I believe the actual article talked about how there's no opportunities for them, and they can't find a job, and yadda yadda.  My experience with these high school and college age people... not necessarily would I say that they're lazy, cause when I do get people in, they work just fine... but they don't seem to want to put forth any effort to actually come in!  In theory, they want to work -- to make money... but they don't want to come in.  When they decide they don't want to come in, after actually being scheduled to work, and expected to show up, they don't call.  They don't text.  I could understand, if I got a call or text or whatever and found out, ok, family emergency, can't come.  Fine, we can reschedule... but now, it's almost 1 pm here, about 6 hours later... and nothing.  To me, that's unacceptable... for ANY job.  You want a job, you have to either show up when you're scheduled or have a damn good excuse why you didn't for that one time you don't show up.

In addition... you all remember my posts about those other people (the guy and girl couple) who were also "available anytime" -- yet never when I needed -- same as this girl.  Maybe I don't get it... but they must think that if they say that, they'll get hired because of that (and don't get me wrong, it sure helps!)... but then, when they're never available, they're un-hired just as quickly..... so, to me, it doesn't make sense.  No, teenagers don't seem to have summer jobs like they used to (like I used to when I was that age).  But... I don't think it's not because jobs aren't available.  I see help wanted signs everywhere, and I need help... but no one wants to work, no one shows up when scheduled -- that makes it their own fault they don't have jobs.  For those of us that give them a chance, I have no doubt that many of them blow it, just like they do here....

Friday, June 30, 2017

New Item: Rock Candy

So, for today's new item, we have rock candy.  It looks like this:


Rock Candy is a bag of 25 pumice stones, for your chinchilla's chewing pleasure.  Pumice stones are natural stones that are softer and can be easily chewed by a chinchilla, which help to keep their teeth trimmed.  For all the pumice-loving chins out there, here's a bag of 25 pieces!  Our bag of rock candy is available for $4.00.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Workers, part 3

So, if you read the post from a few days ago, I had someone work like 2 days and then have a better opportunity come up, so they left to do that.  Cool for them.

Well, before that person had even started, I was telling another of my customers about how I was going to have this new person working here.  Their response?  To tell me about how their hours were severely cut at work to like 1-2 days, and they can clean ANYTIME I need, and they're free ALL THE TIME.

So, naturally, when the actual worker quit... I sent this person a text message, asking if she still wanted to work.  She said yes, asked what it paid, and I asked when she was available.  Oh, only the following day, of the entire week.  What happened to anytime?  Lol.  Anyway, so I asked what times she was available that next day, and she told me the times in the morning that she was free.  So I texted, asking, ok, did she want to plan to come then?

She never texted me back, actually not until the following evening, when I texted her, asking about when she planned to pick up a cage that I was holding for her... that she'd already put off picking up, for quite some time.  THEN she said, oh she can come Monday.  So... Wednesday... and then Monday?  So much for anytime (why even say it?).  I told her, well, I'll be out of town, but she could work later in the week... and she is supposed to get back to me with what times she's available for later in the week.  We shall see.

---------------------------

I realize this is the third day in a row I'm talking about these workers who are less-than-working-out.  I'm not doing this to complain, quite the opposite actually -- I just want you all to understand, when people are asking for pictures of chinchillas and asking to bring their chins in, and how come I haven't gotten their order out yet... it's not because I don't want to!  I'd love for someone to say, "hey, snap me some pics of this one chin..." and I go do it... but the main reason it's not so instantaneous is because there's only one of me -- taking the pics, making the toys, making the houses, answering the phone calls, handling the adoptions, doing the paperwork -- and so on and so forth.  And that's fine, I can do it just fine... but patience is very much appreciated, as one person can only do so much so fast!  As always, thanks for your patience :)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Workers.. part 2

So, funny thing.  I believe I posted about this when it happened, so some of you may remember it...

I was stopped in the self-checkout at Walmart a while back, but someone who had chinchillas, and wanted to know about the rescue (I was wearing my rescue hoodie at the time).  So I told them what it was, and all that... and they said they'd like to volunteer, all the time, so I gave them my business card.

Fast forward quite a few months (cause I mean... I had my hoodie on), and I get a text message this past Sunday, and the person says they're the lady from the self checkout.  Ok, cool.

Says she still wants to volunteer (yay), and so I ask when.  She says, oh probably Monday, but she'll have to ask her mom to watch the kids.  So I tell her, ok, ask, and then let me know, either way.

There's a little bit of small talk about chins and she asks, if she falls in love with one, can she adopt one, and I told her about the adoption form and how that all works.  And so then she asked about the price range, so I told her what prices they are.

Never got a text back, about volunteering Monday or about anything of that sort... so... guess she's not coming?

Friday, June 23, 2017

Workers...

So... you all remember me posting the other day about how I had those two workers who didn't think to find a ride until the day of, like a half hour before they were supposed to be here?  Yeah, that was like strike 50 for them, so I was writing up an ad that I was gonna put on fb looking for some help.  You may recall me saying, the reason things are often behind here, is because I'm one person, and I can use help with a variety of things, almost all the time.  More hands get things done considerably quicker.

So... before I ever got a chance to post the ad, I got an email from someone looking for some summer work on the side.  Awesome, saves me all that effort.

So she says she wants to come see what it's like, and so I tell her, hey, come over in the morning, and if she likes it, she can start working.  So, she comes by, nice girl, works that day and the next day, and I'm literally sitting at my computer thinking, man, we've been getting a lot done, and thinking about what we'll continue doing in the future, cause she was also set to work two more days that week, and then we'd go from there on when she'd be coming by to work.

You can see where this is going, right?

I get an email from this girl, letting me know that she got an interview at an animal hospital.  Suppose it's worth mentioning, for purposes of this post, that she's going to vet school in the fall (kudos!), so that'd be right up her alley, and of course, an opportunity she can't pass up.  Therefore... she can't work here any longer.

Well, crud.

Don't get me wrong, it is a great opportunity for her, and assuming she gets the job, she should take it.  But... that leaves me back, square one, for having any help here.  Sounds about right, doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"Whatever Works for You"

So, this is another one of those things that actually can get quite humorous (albeit, sometimes frustrating), so I wanted to share it with you.

As many of you know, I'm home a lot, and if I don't have any other appointments and plan to be home all day, and someone wants to come see an animal, I will usually ask them what works for them, and plan my day accordingly.  The reason being... it does me no good to say, ok I'm going to go to the store at 6 pm, for no reason other than that's the time I feel like going... and then have the potential adopter want to come at 6 pm... and not be able to have them come... because I'm going to the grocery store.  It's typically better for me to ask when is convenient for them, they'd say 6 pm, and, knowing that, I would go to the store either before or after.

Well... that's how it works with most people anyway.  Scheduling some appointments requires a little more effort.  For example, I've had several conversations that go like this lately:

Me:  I'll be home all week, when works for you.
Them:  Nights and weekends.
Me:  Ok, which day would you prefer?
Them:  Whenever
Me:  Ok, how about Wednesday?
Them:  No, sorry, that won't work for me.
Me:  Ok, Thursday?
Them:  How about Tuesday, instead?
Me:  Ok, what time Tuesday night?
Them:  Well, on Tuesdays I'm only available in the morning.
Me:  Ok, what time would you prefer Tuesday?
Them:  Whenever in the morning is good for you
Me:  Ok, how about 10?
Them:  No, it needs to be earlier than that

Now... before you say this is an exaggerated example... this happens All. The. Time. with multiple people, and it honestly can drag on and on.  I get it -- they want to seem open... but really do have certain times that don't work... I get it.

We typically do find a time... though, sometimes (often) I think it would be easier if they'd just ask, like in the example above, "would I be able to come Tuesday at 8 am?"  You know?  It'd avoid all that other yapping.  But... maybe people like to yap?  I dunno, but it can definitely be humorous at times!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Will The Animal Still Be Here...

This is, by far, one of my favorite, most amusing, questions.  People constantly ask something along the lines of, well, they're not ready to adopt for another few months, will the chinchilla / rabbit / guinea pig / etc. still be here [insert some month, at least 2-3 months minimum into the future]?

The simple answer -- I have no clue!

I've had animals listed for 6 months with no interest... and then in the same day, I'll get three emails from serious adopters wanting to take the animal home.  Likewise, I've had animals with all sorts of interest.... first person falls through, all the others have fallen off the face of the earth by that point, and magically, then no one is interested, and the animal sits here for 6 months.  I've had months where there's four adoptions all month, and then weekends where I'll adopt out 15 animals in two days!  There's no real rhyme or reason to it.  I can tell you when the busier times typically are... but they vary, and this year, we didn't have our busy spring season, so even that just depends.  I mean, heck, my house could burn down tomorrow (heaven forbid), and then none of the animals will be available as of right then.  The thing is... there's no way to know!

Sure, for some animals, I can tell people what I think.  For example, any white chinchilla, whether a baby or adult... unless it's a serious sprayer, has an attitude problem, or is a biter, it's highly adoptable.  When I post it, it won't likely be here all that long.  For other animals, not so much.  Beiges are harder to find homes for,.. unless they have the ear freckles (which most breeders hate... but pet people love... go figure)...but in general... they will be here longer.  Standard greys that aren't babies tend to stick around, unless they're super friendly.  Senior animals of any type tend to stick around.  But of course, there's exceptions to all of this.  I've had some whites that hang around.  I've had some seniors that fly out of here, because someone was waiting in the wings, watching the website, just biting at the bit, waiting for a senior to be posted.  So, I may be able to give you an idea... but in general, people asking about your average aged animal... it's anyone's guess.

In situations like this, I tell people, since we don't hold animals that long, maybe they should check back when they're closer to adopting, and pick out an animal then.  After all, if they want a young animal, and they're looking at a 2 month old now (June), but can't adopt until October....it's going to be 6 months by the time they adopt.  To me, that's still plenty young, but if they want a 2 month old... it would definitely have aged / gotten older in the meantime!

If it was me, I suppose I wouldn't even be looking at animals until I was more ready to bring them home, as if you do find the animal of your dreams... most breeders / rescues will not even consider hanging onto them until next week, much less a few months.  I can't tell you how many dog breeders there are that I've seen list, oh the puppy must be picked up by 9 weeks old, or else the new owner will incur a certain amount for boarding every week.  While I definitely understand the reasoning and concept behind this... that's reality.  If you can't get the animal now... I guess I just don't even understand why you are looking now!  Maybe to find places to get the animal, but I wouldn't be looking at specific animals, myself anyway.  Everyone's different.

I wonder, sometimes, if people think I'm trying to be difficult when I answer these people and tell them I don't know, and explain that adoption times vary, and sometimes the animals find their new homes quickly, and sometimes not... but I honestly don't mean it to be like that.  For me... I just don't know.  No one does.  I wish I could give a better answer... but I suppose, the best way to put it... if they are meant to have that specific animal.. it will still be here, when they are ready.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Planning Ahead of Time

I know this is hard for people.  Well, it must be for some people, anyway...

We had someone the other day, contact us and want to come on a specific date.  I confirmed that we were talking about this month (we'd been talking about this month vs. next month), and they said, yes, this month.  So, I ask, what time?  This was on a Friday.  Lets fast forward to the following Thursday... and I had not yet heard from this person.  Therefore... I had gone and listed the chinchilla, and had another nice family come forward to adopt it, and put down a deposit on it.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, not 12 hours after the second family had put down their deposit, I get an email from the first person, mentioning that it turned out, they had to work on the day we'd talked about, and they asked if they could come another day instead.  Sorry to say... but a little late.

This is where communication comes in handy.  Had this person said to me -- somewhere, between Friday and the following Thursday -- "hey, I know we talked about me coming over on that one day, but I might have to work... not sure at this point... so can I let you know later in the week, and we go from there?" -- this may have turned out significantly differently.  As the case was... I didn't hear from this person for just shy of a week... and to me, that signals disinterest.  In my experience, when people really want to adopt, they get back to you within a day or two.  Anything longer than that... and most likely, they will NOT be getting back to you.  Of course, the exceptions exist -- being out of town, so on and so forth -- but in general, this is true.

Another example -- I have had people miss appointments with no notification or anything to let me know they're not coming.  When I contact them, they'll get back to me, and inform me that their car broke down.  Now... before you say anything... the car didn't break down that morning.  If it did, I could sort of understand, they need to get it fixed, they are trying to arrange rides to wherever they really need to go (which may or may not include here)... I can see this getting lost in the shuffle.  However, it usually goes like this -- "Hey!  Sorry we missed the appointment, our car broke down a week ago."  Maybe I'm old school, but if I have no car, I look in my planner and see what all will be affected, and let those places know.  If I can't get to the doctor's office, I will cancel the appointment.  If I can't make a lunch date with a friend, I let the friend know.  Looking and planning ahead is a good thing, come on!

Possibly the best example (though... most likely an example of laziness + not planning ahead) -- I have two people who were doing some work here for the rescue, and I contacted them the one day, maybe 5 pm.  I asked them, could they come around 10:30 / 11 am, on the following morning (before you say, that's awfully short notice, these people did tell me they only needed 1 hour notice to come by... and between 5 pm and 10:30 am is just shy of 17 hours).  They said maybe they could come, they would let me know... when they responded at 10:30 pm.  I hate last minute stuff, so you may have guessed, my immediate response to this was (in my head, of course)... when are they going to let me know, when they're supposed to be here in the morning, and it's already later at night?  Well, let's ignore that for a second and fast forward to the following morning.  I get a message at 10 am, saying they can come... but they just asked someone for a ride, and they don't think they can find one (which begs the question... why tell me they can come... before they have found a way to get here?).  Long story short, they never did find a ride, and didn't come by.  But... the point for me is... they knew, since 5 pm the previous day, that they might want to come by and work.  So, naturally.... they wait until 10 am (mind you, when they're supposed to BE HERE at 10:30/11 am), to ask people for a ride, and they're surprised when they can't find a ride on such short notice!  Me, I would have been asking people the night before, and trying to get something lined up for the morning.  Cause that's how things work... you know you have to be somewhere, so you arrange, as early as possible, so you have the most time as you possibly can... to make arrangements.  I mean... common sense, no?

It can't be just me that plans ahead and finds these sort of things to be aggravating.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

"Whatever You Recommend"

Wanted to do a quick post about this... been getting an increase in both adoption forms that include the phrase "whatever you recommend" and people telling me they will use "whatever you recommend"... after telling me they read the care packet.

Maybe some people aren't aware -- I write all my care packets.  I do that intentionally, so that there's nothing in there that I don't agree with.  Therefore.... what's in the care packet... is what I recommend.

I wouldn't even mind if people put this for the question, "what food will you feed?" as they may not know which pellet the specific chinchilla is on.  But, no joke. people will use the "whatever you recommend" phrase for the food, dust, chew toys, hay, cage, cage shelves, should they have playtime, should the have treats, are they temperature sensitive??  No joke even.  Honestly... it makes me wonder if some of these people have even read the care packet (which, I do note, they all make sure to mark "yes" (they've read it) for that question)... because I would think they'd pick something.

In the past, I'd see one of these "whatever you recommend" and basically regurgitate what the care packet says.  Then I got to thinking about this... why am I doing this?  They said they read it... there are choices, and that's because there's not one *hallllllllelujah* food / dust / hay that's so perfect that no others compare to it... there's choices... because there's a variety of good options, and people will need to be able to pick for themselves, assuming they're not continuing to get the supplies here.

So, for the last few people, I've been nicely mentioning what's said above, about how the care packet was written by me and that's what I recommend, and they need to choose out of those options, and if they have questions, I am happy to help... but they need to choose.

Which I think is important, because they will need to choose if they go to the pet store and buy this stuff, and I'm not with them (though, I admit, I have gotten phone calls from people in the pet stores, asking if something's safe... perfectly fine!  but for most people, they'll have to decide for themselves).  I can understand not knowing what's best, or having questions.... but please, be an adult and make adult decisions.  Thanks!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Appropriate Pricing

I know, I know, you're all like... you constantly talk about this!  Yes, because people constantly amaze me, and this was one that is a little different that I don't think I've touched on...and it's more on the topic of what constitutes appropriate pricing.

Had someone the other day who wanted me to send them some pics of some chins.  One chin was a fur chewer, and the other had been beaten up by siblings, so he's got a tattered ear and some scarring on his body (noticeable by white hairs where there should be black).  So I send pictures, and they ask how much, and I tell them, either one is $200 (both dark ebonies).  Now, if you pay attention to pricing on my site, most babies of a certain color are the same price... the exception being if it's a chin I've shown or it has some other unusual characteristic.  But in general, you can expect, for baby chins:

Standard grey -- $135
Hetero beige -- $150
Medium ebony / medium tan -- $175
Dark tan / mosaic / pink white / dark ebony / homo beige / black velvet -- $200
Brown velvet -- $225
Violet / sapphire -- $250
Blue diamond -- $350-400
Curly / lockens & carriers --  $350-600

None of this should look surprising to anyone -- these are my standard prices for babies of those colors, and if you check out the website, you know that 99.5% of babies that I sell are in line with this pricing.

Anyway, back to the story.  So, this person sees the pics, and asks, "don't I think that's a lot for those chins?," (and I love this part!) "...especially since they're going to have problems later on."  Now, chins that fur chew and chins with slightly mangled ears and some scarring on their body are not going to have problems later on.  But that's a discussion for another day.

What I want to focus on today, was this person asking, "don't I think that's a lot for those chins?"

The answer... is "no."  If I thought that was too much... I would ask less.  I mean, right?   Logically, if I thought the chin was worth $100, then no, I'm not going to ask $200.  I don't have time to play games and hope that people pay more for the chins than they're worth, and negotiate down to a fair price.  Come on, I have all these chins to care for, the webstore to run, supplies to keep in stock, toys / houses to make.  No time for that sort of thing.  I ask what I feel is fair for the chins.

But here's the thing -- anyone selling anything is free to set whatever prices we'd like.  No one has to pay these prices.  If I wanted to price a standard grey chin at $50, I can.  Likewise, I can price it at $300, if I'd like.  Now, I'll sell considerably more at $50 than at $300, but it's my right to price it however I like, whether that price is $50, $300, or somewhere in between.

But if I do price it at $300... you'll likely look elsewhere...but often, not before telling me that you think it's too high.  But... let me ask you something...

Ever go to the store and see something you like, and would possibly purchase, and then see the price, and go, oh hell no?  I'm sure we all have.  If it's an item we think we'll find cheaper, I'm sure you go to another store to get it cheaper.  Little known fact -- I have corn snakes upstairs, and the smallest eats frozen/thawed pinkies.  I could get them at the pet store, where they're either $1.99 for one, or $4.99 for three... or I can to to the reptile expo in Illinois, and pick up a bag of 100 of them for $35.  Let's see, 35 cents per pinkie, versus $1.67 per pinkie at the pet store... I think I'll take the trip out to the reptile expo every now and then.  Wouldn't you?  Now, apply that to this chinchilla situation.  You wouldn't go to the pet store, and say, "don't you think $4.99 for 3 is a lot?  I can get 100 for $35 at the expo!"... no, you'd just not go to the pet store, and go to the expo instead.... at least, that's what I would do,

By all means, if you think my prices are too high, check out craigslist.  Check out some backyard breeder that won't give you a health guarantee or any food / munchies / care packet / handouts with your new furball.  You're free to shop around, no one has to get a chin from me.  But there are benefits to getting one from a breeder (see above), and the prices usually aren't all that bad.  Compare my chins to a pet store, where you don't even know how old the chin is, and it's typically standard grey, for $149.99 plus tax (in Indiana, that comes out to $160-ish after tax), and for that price, you could get a beige... add another $40 and you could get a mosaic / tan / pink white / dark ebony / black velvet!

I'm not saying my prices are super.  I think they're fine, personally.  It's just that they are what they are, and I feel like prices reflect something.  Find a chin for sale too cheap, and you wonder why it's that cheap.  Find a chin for sale for (what you consider) expensive, maybe there's a reason for it.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Changing Times May Mean Changing Days...

When scheduling appointments, if I have only one or two appointments per day, I may just ask the person, what time works for them.  Case in point, I had one person who was coming to pick up their chin that I was chin-sitting (yes, that's a thing), and I told them that I would let them know what time I would be home, so they wouldn't show up before I got here.  Logical.

So, that day came, and that morning, I texted them and told them, ok, I will be home by 3, and I asked them, what time, 3:30 or later, would work for them?

They said 3:30 would be fine.

So, 3 pm passes, and a little after 3, I get a text saying they'll be a little late.

3:30 passes.  4 pm passes.  So eventually I send them a text asking what time they're going to be here, because by my definition of "a little late" -- they should have already been here.

About 4:15, I get a text saying that they'll be here at 5, sorry for being late.

Grrrrrrrrrrr.

Now, I realize, I asked them, what time worked for them, 3:30 or later.  But here's the thing.  I had a 2 pm, and I (originally) had them at 3:30 pm.  I figured, I would go after the 3:30 appointment left, to go pick up a few things I needed.  By the time they'd texted me saying they wouldn't be here til 5, I could have gone, picked up the stuff, and come back, several times in fact.  But since I was waiting for them to get here... and then they said 5 pm at 4:15 (note: that not being enough time to go get the stuff), I was made to wait even longer.

While some part of me would have liked to be all bullheaded and have said, oh that won't work for me... I do realize it's just an inconvenience.  Today, it's not a big deal.  I'll still go pick up what I need, after they leave.  But... sometimes a time change like this really won't work for me.  I've had times (multiple occasions, actually)... where I'll ask someone what time they want to come, and they say 4 pm, and so then I tell someone else, "ok, I have someone coming at 4, so I'll be by your house at 6 pm."  Now... if that was the case today... we would have had to reschedule (the pickup, not my appointment elsewhere).  So, I just ask that you please be aware, that when we schedule your appointment, I am often scheduling other things around that appointment, so if you show up an hour and a half later than what I am expecting... you may affect the rest of my day as well, and depending on the day, you may cause your own appointment to need to be rescheduled.  So, if at all possible, please try to be considerate.  Thank you!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New Item: Organic Red Clover Blossoms

So, for today's new item, we have organic red clover blossoms.  What are they, you ask?  Well, these:


So, they're flowers and flower pieces (hence, blossoms), and they're treats for the chins.  Heck, they're even GOOD for the chins, as they can stimulate and boost their immune system!

We got these in, as we're having a difficult time finding globe flowers any longer, now that our original supplier no longer carries them... and our only other alternative is ordering them a few ounces at a time.  Well... they sell more than that, so these are possibly the replacement for the globe flowers (I do apologize to the globe flower lovers, but if anyone can find them by the pound, do let me know!).

As a special intro to this herb, we've made up some nice one ounce jars of organic red clover blossoms.  They look like this:


For size reference, it's about as tall as a can of pop, but not quite as thick.  And stuffed to the brim with 1 ounce of organic red clover blossoms.  And it can be yours for only $3!

This treat has shown to been popular with our test audience (lots of chins that probably think I deprive them of treats), and yours may like it too!  Come try it out!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New-ish Product: Healthy Treat Mix XL

So... the next few days, I'm going to post about some new products that I will be adding onto the webstore upcoming here.

For today... we have the Healthy Treat Mix XL.

You may be familiar with the Healthy Treat Mix, which is a jar of 1+ ounce of each: rosehips, hawthorn berries, and pink rosebuds.  These are our top three herb / treat sellers, and they are popular for people to want to try, so we created the Healthy Treat Mix, which has over an ounce of each.

And it was a hit!  So much so that people wanted to order larger amounts.  While we do have larger amounts of all of these treats available, people wanted larger amounts... while still in the Healthy Treat Mix combo.  So, we'd have some people buying 2-3 Healthy Treat Mixes at once.

Which has led us to come up with the Healthy Treat Mix XL.  It looks like this:


This one is almost double the size!  While we can't quite fit in 6 ounces total, it's something like 5.90-5.95 ounces in these jars, so it's about double the size of the other one (the other one is 3-ish ounces).  Perfect for those of you that wanted more, but still wanted to just get one (now, larger) jar.

And it's $14, so it's actually a bit cheaper (as opposed to $15) than buying two of our smaller Healthy Treat Mix jars.  Enjoy, chinnies!

Monday, June 12, 2017

"I Will Adopt If..."

We hear from people of all sorts.  By no means do we only hear from the crazies, there are plenty of nice, normal, fantastic adopters out there.  But... there's also the interesting ones.

We've had people over the years, who have specified, they will adopt one of our chins, if we throw in a cage, a few months worth of supplies, and so on and so forth.  Maybe it's just me, but my immediate response is... really?  No.  I nicely inform them, if they want a chin with cage and supplies, they may check craiglist or something of the sort, or I let them know, I could even put a package together for them, of a chin, cage, etc... and they always come back with, oh, well, that's too much money, that's why they want me to throw in a huge cage and 6 months worth of supplies with their $75 chin, cause they only have $75.

Now... the money discussion will be saved for another time... but no.  Adoptions are not conditional.  We don't "do something for you" in order for you to adopt.

I've had such weird instances of this.  Awhile back, (and I know I blogged about this) we had the one person who wanted to adopt our guinea pigs... and totally would (!!)... if only we helped them list their kittens for sale.  What?  Sorry, no.  That's not how this works.  And for those wondering... even if we DID take in kittens, most shelters will not adopt out to someone who's currently surrendering an animal, for just about any reason.

But... the one I got the other day was just priceless, so I had to share with you.  I had a chin listed, a standard grey female for $75, and I received this email:

First off.... I really appreciate her telling me how much she will give me for my rescue animal!  How nice of her to inform me how much she will pay.  Going off this logic, I think I'll go to the Lexus dealership and tell them, I'll be happy to take on that one nice SUV for the $1 in change that I have in my pocket.  Think that'd work there?  No?  Well, it doesn't work here either!

And.... of course... we all know chins don't get shots and vaccines, and if that lady really thinks they do... then she clearly hasn't done any research, and doesn't need one as a pet.  AND... note, she'll ONLY adopt for a whopping $25, IF the chin has all the shots and vaccines.  So, basically, (let's pretend they need those for a second), she wants a completely vetted chin with all necessary everything (which costs money, of course)... for 1/3 of the asking price!  Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...... no.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Prey Animals

I've been getting asked a lot lately, about how people can get their chins to come around.  The best advice?  Give them time.

With as curious and cute as they are, it's easy to forget that they are prey animals.  At the end of the day, we're a lot bigger (and potentially, a lot scarier) than we realize.  Time (and bribing with treats, if the chins are old enough) really does work wonders.

Over time, the chins learn who cares for them.  They come to realize, hey, this person feeds me, and waters me, and gives me treats, and cleans my cage... and perhaps more importantly... they haven't eaten me yet... and they get used to us.  That's why you hear us, and other breeders / rescues, suggest that the new homes let their chins settle in.... so they have a chance to get used to what's around them, before more is thrown at them.

Case in point.  I purchased a breeder (well, several, but this one in particular) from a breeder who was selling out.  Put him in a pair with one of my nicest females.  Yeah... she beat the absolute crap out of him.  I noticed that she'd gone all ape-shit when he was about 5 minutes from dying.  He had all sorts of wounds on his nose and back of his neck, he was wheezing, he was bloody all over, his eyes were crusted shut and were tore up... you get the idea.  For about 2 months I had to pull him out of the cage everyday, twice a day.  He had to have his eyes opened up, and vetericyn put in them.  He wouldn't eat, so he got a few syringes of yogurt daily.  He got a water bowl in his cage, as it seemed to hurt him to lift his head, and so he wasn't drinking out of the bottle.  Now, mind you, this chin was already not crazy about me, before I had to burrito him every day and open his eyes and syringe feed him yogurt (which I don't recommend, this is an unusual situation).    He got to the point where if I even opened up the cage door, he would throw a hissy fit and start barking and kacking and making all sorts of unhappy noises at me.  Not my biggest fan.  Long story short, he's back to doing fine (though I'm hesitant to try another female).  The reason I mention this, though, is because now that he's able to eat on his own and I don't have to constantly pester him (and both eyes are open and clear, and everything's pretty much healed now), I've been trying to win him over.  I got in red clover flowers as a new herb the other day, and I gave him one from my hand.  He gets oats moreso than other chins (they were used in conjunction with the yogurt, before he'd officially switched back to pellets), and little treats and snacks and good pieces of hay and whatnot... because I know, with enough buttering up, he will come around, and eventually he'll see me as something other than the lady that burrito'd him for all that time to mess with his eyes and give him meds.  He may never think I'm the greatest, after all of that, but I know he'll dislike me less.

Long story short... there's no magic solution as far as getting a chin to like you, interact with you, or what have you.  It just takes time, and bribery (let's be honest, none of us are above treat bribery).


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Miscalculations

Had this happen to someone the other day, so I wanted to mention this really quick.

They'd paid for chins and shipping, and then decided to come pick up the chins.  They would have had their entire shipping refunded, but then they decided to go with an additional chinchilla.

So, I added up what they were getting, and subtracted that from what they'd already paid, and paypalled them a refund for the excess.

Later that day, I got an email asking about if they had been mistaken about the cost of some of the chins, because they thought the refund should have been $50 more than what I'd refunded them.  I told them I'd look into it, and when I did, they were correct, they were owed $50 more.

Now, this probably goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway -- I didn't intend to screw that up.  I was in a rush when the lady came to get her chins, and was already a little flustered, because that was the same day that I was going out of town and trying to get ready all chicken-with-head-cut-off-style, and I mistakenly wrote down the price of one of the chins wrong.

The reason I write this is to say this -- if you ever think something's not right, I hope you all feel that you can bring it up to me and tell me.   I'm not trying to screw anyone out of their money.  The prices are what they are, and if I wanted more, I'd just raise the prices.  This was just an honest mistake, and I'm glad that she brought it up, as I didn't even realize that I owed her more money.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Why Things Take So Long

So... I've had people ask, for example, on some of the items on the webstore, it says that items may take two weeks to ship (noticeably the houses and other larger wood items), and people have asked, why this is the case.

Well, I can give you a hint... it's not because I spend all my days writing blog posts (haha), but rather... because it is so rare for me to get help at the rescue.

Case in point.  Last week, Joel told me his cousin and the cousin's girlfriend were looking for work, and asked if I would try them out.  Sure!  I can always use help.  So, they come over and work for 3 hours, and they did just fine, so I told them, I'd be contacting them again.  Also worth mentioning, that day, I met a friend of these two, and also got that person's number because they also wanted the opportunity to work.

So there I am, thinking, great!  I'll actually have help!  Yeah...that was short-lived.

So, two days from then, I message the cousin and ask if they wanted to work on that day.  He said sure and asked what time, as he mentioned that he and the gf were out doing something right then.  I told him, the time didn't matter much, no rush, just when they were finished, come over.  He said ok.

Hours pass, until the point where I send a message asking if they still were wanting to come by that day.  Again, no response, so about an hour later, I send a message to the friend, asking if he wanted to work.  No response from him either.

Now... before you start thinking, ok these people have lives, what do you expect?... keep in mind that when they were here at the rescue, I specifically told them, along the lines of, even if they can't come, please message back and let me know, so I know if I'm expecting them or not.  They said sure, and of course, assured me that they would not be like the previous people who had just not showed up and not gotten back to me.

Yeah, about that...

So needless to say, I had no help.  All that day, I had left various tasks -- note, that I easily could have done -- for them, because I figured, ok, when they got there, they would work on those tasks, and I would work on the more difficult or harder to teach stuff, and them doing the simpler stuff would free up more time for me.  Well, fast forward to like 11 pm, and I still had none of that done, because stupid me, I kept thinking I'd get a text.

And while I acknowledge that something may have come up... I sent a reminder message, AND, keep in mind... I was expecting them.  I asked them to show up when they were done, and they said ok.  To me... this was acknowledging they'd show up... so I anticipated them showing up... which never did happen.  Maybe I'm old school, but if I told someone I'd show up and then wasn't able to show up, I would send them a short message saying, hey, something came up, can't come.  Takes a few seconds, and then I would have known not to be waiting on them.  So simple...and yet apparently, so difficult.

Ah well, those orders will have to wait for tomorrow, I guess....

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Patience is a Virtue...

...which no one possesses.

Case in point the other day.  Someone emails asking if the shipping on the webstore is correct, I guess the amount for shipping was more than the amount for the items.  Not unusual, that's why I refund the excess.

So I told her, no, probably not correct, but if she could wait a few days, I'd get back to her with correct shipping.  So I did.  She emails me back, and asks, what's the next step?

Mind you, I'm about a day behind on emails, so while I did SEE her email... it's not exactly the next in line to respond to.  I can only do so much, and I feel like people can wait a day (come on... it's not long to get a response) for me to get back to them.

Anyway, so I didn't respond immediately (shame shame, horrible person that I am), so then I got another email shortly after that basically said, with my name spelled wrong might I add (it's at the bottom of every email, how hard is it to copy?), that I NEED to get back to her and let her know what to do next and how soon can I ship the items?????

Honestly people, all emails like that make me want to do is say, if you're in that much of a rush, go elsewhere.  No joke.  I don't pretend to be able to churn out these items like a factory in China.  Am I sorry for that?  No!  For hand-made items, you have to be patient.... I'm only one person, and likely, your order is not my only one.    

But of course, I'm nice, so I responded by letting her know, nicely, that she is one of about 30 orders I'm working on right now (and I would have liked to have added, most likely #28-29, so NOT top of the list, people have been waiting a lot longer than her one day...), and I informed her that I am shipping out chins in a few hours, so that I have to do right this second, versus the orders which can wait a little bit usually.  I also informed her that the website does say (which she should have noticed, when adding the item to the cart) that it says on the houses, items may take 2 weeks to ship, and that is because I have to build the items and get them all ready and stuff.  All she asked for was a shipping quote... I don't honestly build everything, pack it, and all that, for a shipping quote, as quite a few people think that it's too much of a cost  (which is out of my control, but you know), so then I'd have wasted all that effort.  What I do do... is find a box that would be appropriate.  Weigh the box and weigh the items, add about another pound for packaging, and put that all, with dimensions, into the shipping calculator and get back to people.  If I don't have the exact item people want, then I will weigh something similar.

No offense to anyone, but a shipping quote doesn't move anyone to the top of the list to get their order done.  The only orders I try to get out absolutely first are the food orders, as I never know if people are running out of food, but the others get typically done in the order they are received, to be fair.

Anyway... what was almost comical about all of this... was that I realized that I hadn't sent another person an invoice either.... and I was going to do that, at the time when I saw the email from this lady.  In the time it took me to write out her email, I could have sent the invoice.  While I never would say this...I would have loved to have said... if you weren't so pesty, you'd already have it, since I wouldn't be wasting time writing back to you.  Which, sadly, is the truth.  If I have 10 minutes to work on something, and I know you need an invoice... but I see I have an email from you... I will check on that email, first, just to be sure there's no changes... well, probably after that email... your invoice will have to wait for another time... especially if I only have 10 minutes right then.

Time is precious.  There's never enough of it, and if you've ever been here volunteering, you know I'm constantly running around like a chicken with my head cut off, going in 10 directions at once, since there's constantly so much to do.  And that's fine, but.. keep in mind, there's only so many hours in the day... try not to take away time with needless reminders (which it always is... emails that says the exact same thing as the email sent 2 hours prior), when one email will do.  Thanks!