Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Need (Or Not) For Playtime

So, I wanted to bring this up, because a friend pointed out a facebook post where someone talked about letting their 6 week old (yes, you read that right, 6 week old) kit out for playtime.  Mind you, that baby is not yet separated from it's mother, and these people were giving the chin playtime.  No, no, and more no.  NOT a good idea.  It did not end well for that chin.

So I wanted to talk a little about playtime.

First off -- playtime is a human construct.  It is not necessary for a chin to lead a full, happy life, and yet... I get in SO many chins because people don't have time for them, can't let them out.  I won't even be cynical this time and suggest that people are using that as an excuse -- I believe that many people really have got the idea in their head that if they can't let their chins free-roam for 5 hours a day, they are the most horrible owner on the planet, and should surrender their chins to the rescue.  No joke.

That's not the case.

Chins are den-dwelling animals.  They come out to get food, and then pretty much run back in.

Don't get me wrong, playtime can be a positive experience for both the chin and owner, as long as the chin is not being chased to get the chin back in the cage, as this creates a predator-prey situation and can frighten the chin.

But... this is with some boundaries / rules.  Playtime should start no earlier than 6 months of age.  This is because, before that age, chins cannot well-regulate either their body temperature or their blood sugar levels.  Therefore, they can easily overheat AND / OR go low blood sugar during playtime.  Either one can result in death.  We now have a handout that goes home with all young chins that advises of this, and advises that even when playtime is started at 6 months of age, it is to be started for 10 minutes per day and worked up to 30 minutes per day by 1 year of age.  Not your four-hour-long-romps in the living room.  Even for a well-adjusted, adult chin, this can be too much exercise and can cause the chin to overheat and go low blood sugar.  But for sure... no 6 week old kits having playtime.

We actually had one person, awhile back, take home a chin... around 2 months old, young female... they immediately let her out for playtime.  Long story short, she went low blood sugar.  They took her to the vet, which tried to give her fluids and such, but said she seemed alright (because adrenaline will power a chin back up and get the lethargy gone for a bit), and sent her home.  She died that night.  This is real, folks, this stuff really does kill chins.

So, to wrap up.  No playtime until 6 months.  At 6 months, 10 minutes per day to start with, working up to 30 minutes a day at 1 year old.  No crazy multi-hour long playtimes... preferably at all, but if you must... when the chin is adult, and has been slowly adjusted to it.  For the sake of your chins.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More Info Needed, Please!

Just wanted to write a quick post here... I get a lot of emails where I need more info.

For example... someone wants x, y, and z supplies, how much will shipping cost?  Well... to where?  Next door?  California?  If emailing about shipping, please let me know either a zip code or (even better!) full address that you want the order shipped to.

And then I got one the other day, this one was about the same lines, but chin-related.  Someone emailed and I asked about a chin that was still under evaluation, so I explained how that works, and I told this person, look at the list of chins that are in the "available" section.  So, they email back, and say that they find one they liked, and ask if I can tell them the price.  Sure can... but... which one?  Of course, I emailed back and asked which one... but before you send the email, think, could you maybe provide more information?  If this person had just said which chin they were interested in, could they have the price of that specific one, I could have just responded back with, sure, here's the price.  As it is, that'll be another 3 emails from that email (my email back to them asking which chin, their email telling me which chin, and my email telling them the price).

More information is always better *thumbs up*

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Deposits

I feel like... honest to God... half the potential adopters either don't read, or can't read, or something.  If you read this blog routinely, you know how much the whole deposit thing irks me.

Straight from the sales policy page, I will copy and paste:

Deposits are NON-REFUNDABLE.  This means that once you have put down a deposit, if you are unable to adopt or decide not to adopt for any reason, your deposit is forfeited (you will not get it back).  When you come to pick up your animal, you will pay the adoption fee, minus what you have already put down as a deposit.  

Deposits are NON-TRANSFERABLE.  This means that they apply ONLY to the animal for which you put the deposit on.  Should you arrive at the rescue and decide that you want a different animal, your deposit will not transfer over to the new animal, and you will pay the full adoption fee for that animal.  This is due to the fact that we have held the other animal for you, and prevented that animal from being adopted, which was the point of the deposit.

Got it?  Good.

So, why do I continue to get questions like... well, we want to pay for the chin in full... but if we don't like him, can we get another?  Can we transfer the deposit or get it back?

Read above -- NO.

Sorry, but NO.

The whole point of deposits is to hold the animal until you get here.  During that time that the animal is held, no one else is able to adopt it.  In effect, we tell people, "sorry, I know how much you want that animal, but you cannot adopt it."  Crushing people's adoption dreams for their perfect chin, I'm sure.  So, when you get here and then DO NOT adopt it, you do not get the deposit refunded, because, while you did not get the chin, the deposit did what it was supposed to -- hold the chin FOR YOU.  That is all.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Mailing A Deposit

I think a more appropriate title for this post would have been:  I am not stupid -- I see what you are doing.  But... that doesn't tell you what this blog post is about.  This blog post is about mailing deposits.

Now, I don't have many people who mail deposits, so this doesn't come into play often, but... due to recent events (which have happened more than once), I have added a sentence or two into our sales policy.  Our policy as far as deposits has always been that the hold starts the day the deposit is received.  My addition to the sales policy specifies that for mailed deposits -- for people to keep this in mind, and that any delay in mailing means that the chinchilla may be adopted before the deposit gets here.

Why did I specify this, you might ask?  Because people are turds and take advantage.

Case in point.  I had someone wanting to get a chin more towards May.  I told her, we don't hold that long, could she get the chin early?  She said sure, no problem, she would mail out a deposit.  We talked, and she specified she would pick up the chin pretty much day 14, because she wanted the chin as close to May as possible.  Fine.

Except that was 8 days ago, I had not yet received the deposit... and I just got an email yesterday, saying, oh it slipped her mind, she mailed it that day (7 days after when she said she would) instead.  

I'm not stupid.  I know what she's doing.  If she thinks I don't, she clearly underestimates me.  I completely realize she wanted the chin held longer, and I specified that the 14 days started the day the deposit was received, so she, OOPS! forgot to mail for an additional 7 days.  Bullshit.  Absolute bullshit.  

I suppose, this is my own fault, since I don't believe that I specified to her, that the hold didn't start until the deposit was received.  In the future, for mailed deposits, I will be sure to specify this.  Not stupid -- remember that.  I try to be nice, but I will NOT let you all walk all over me.

One more thing -- I'm not trying to single anyone out.  This happened recently, so that's the one I'm talking about... but honestly, it happens more often than not.  People who are supposed to send a paypal deposit take a week to get it sent. Oh, they thought they had more money in the account than they really do.  Now... I'm not saying that didn't really happen... but I've honestly heard though the grapevine, from friends of people (who don't know that I know the friend), that it's been intentional....and it doesn't surprise me.      

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Shipping -- areas and costs

So... my website specifically says that we ship to the USA, and I know that, because I just looked at it, juuuust to be sure.  Just in case you haven't seen it, it says:

Yes, we can ship chinchillas to a major airport near you in the USA!  Contact for more info! 

See the word, "USA"?  Good!  You have normal eyesight, congrats.  I'm finding out a lot of people don't, as they email and ask if I can ship to Canada, or Europe, or some other country that, hint, is not in the USA.  People don't read.

The reason I cannot ship out of country is because that requires very specific licenses, which I do not have, and are not worth getting for the average person who doesn't plan to ship tens of thousands of dollars of chins every year.  For chinchillas.com, it's one thing.  For the average person, not so much.

Which brings us to... cost!  Shipping is not free.  Nowhere on my website, does it say, "we will ship chinchillas FOR FREE to an airport near you."  Now, I completely understand that nowadays, with Amazon and free shipping and all that, I can sort of vaguely see where people might think this... and then I take a step back, and say... no, wait, I can't.

Let me explain why.

...and I will start with an example.  The most common places that you see animals shipped would ve in the case of reptiles and frozen feeders.  Frozen feeders... as in, frozen pinkies / mice / etc, get shipped all the time.  Shipping is overnight, and typically runs around $40-50.  That's not regular mail, that's special overnight mail.  Shipping reptiles is similar.  They go overnight or next day mail, and tend to also run about $40-50.  Mind you, the reason these animals can even be shipped through the mail (and I use the term "mail" loosely) is because they can be packaged either in a sealed bag (frozen feeders) with cold packs in the box, or in deli-cups (reptiles), with heat / cold packs in the box, and can be mailed.  They're not going to run out of air overnight.  Chinchillas... not so much.  They need to be in an open-air, ventilated carrier, where they can breathe and not overheat.  Versus, a reptile box which can be stacked with all other, regular mail.

That said.... if it costs $40-50 to mail a reptile through the mail, what makes anyone think that chinchillas can ship, on the airlines (of all things) for free?  I'm honestly not quite sure.

Add in the fact that plastic bags and deli cups are cheap (comparatively, anyway), versus the airline requires special custom carriers that meet their long list of requirements... by the time you add in that cost, definitely not free.  Overnight boxes can be scheduled for pickup from your house, just like you can do a USPS package pickup.  Chins ship out of the airports.  I don't know of a breeder that lives right by the airport, and we're no exception... we're a good 60-90 minutes from O'Hare, depending on traffic and time of day.  This means, a round trip can easily be 3 hours, and that may be just driving time.  That does not necessarily include the time spent in the airport actually checking in the chins, the time spent before that, booking the flight, the time spent getting the carrier ready, and so on.

We've had a few people who have shipped 3-4 chins... but the average person ships one chin.  While that's perfectly fine, consider that if that chin has an adoption fee of $75 (and yes, we have shipped cheap chins before), and we spend $40-50 on a carrier, plus 4+ hours of our time (just on the day of shipping) -- no, shipping will not be free.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Shipping and deposits and all of that...

Ok, so what I think this whole post boils down to is this -- before you adopt an animal (any animal, not just a chinchilla), you really should think, and I mean, really think hard, about whether this animal is going to work for your life, with your other pets, as well as whether you can afford the cost, and any associated costs that may come with it.

Case in point.  I had a potential adopter pick out a chinchilla they liked on the website.  They asked about shipping.  I looked up shipping, and told them, yes, it was possible for them to ship to the airport they wanted.  They wanted to ship three weekends away from the current time, which is already longer than our deposits (14 days) allows chins to be held for, but since I was busy and would have had difficulty shipping on other days that worked for them, I thought, whatever.  They wanted to ship on a certain day, a Monday.

In the meantime, I told them, I would look up flights for that Monday when we got closer to the day (remember, three weeks away), and in the meantime, she put down a deposit to hold him.

So, fast forward to about half a week prior to that Monday.  I've looked up flights and I let her know what her options are.... she can't do it that day, but she says she can do it the following weekend.  Now, mind you, we've way overblown the deposit, but again, I figure, the chin will be going out soon, and shipping is more time-consuming on both ends than regular pickup, so no big deal.

So, I ask her, what times on the weekend work for her.  She says any times work for her.  Ok, that makes it easy on my end, because I can schedule around my appointments.  So I look up flights, and for both days, there's one in the morning, and another in the evening.  I would have difficulty making the evening flight, but the morning one is do-able, and she did say anytime, so I tell her about that flight.  She says that is perfect.

Here's where it starts getting fuzzy.

At that point, she's only paid a $50 deposit (which, I should note, is not actually half the adoption fee of the chin, but at the time, I figured, well, maybe that was all she had available at the time, and wanted to get the deposit down to hold the chin).  So I messaged her and told her, as soon as she paid the remainder, I would book the flight so we could ship the chin.  And I informed her that the remainder was $285.

She asked me to explain the $285.  So, I told her, the chin is $135, and shipping is $200, so we get $335, minus her $50 deposit, comes to $285.

So... then we have silence for two days.  This morning, I sent her a message nicely informing her that these flights do fill up, so the longer we wait to book the flight, the less chance we have of actually getting the chin on the flight.  Sidenote: I don't know if I've ever blogged about it, but we have had to reschedule when chins ship, due to having flights fill up between the time we check on flights and the time when the potential adopters pays for shipping, which sometimes is as little as 30 minutes.  I also informed her, I needed to know for my schedule as well, as I need to block out 3-4 hours of my time, minimum, to get to the airport and ship.

She gets back to me and says, she was thinking about it, and was thinking about what if this chin doesn't get along with her chin, and then she says she'd have to ship him back, because she doesn't have room for two large cages, so she's basically going to pass on the chin.

Which is fine, it's not like people don't back out now and then, but I feel like this could have been (more) preventable.  A few things that I guess just don't add up, and (I feel like) with more thinking, could have been prevented.

First, we have cost.  This person asked. towards the end, for the $285 cost to be explained to her.  Now, to me, I guess I view this as, this should not have been a surprise.  The chinchilla in question was a baby standard grey.  With the exception of one chin that I currently have for sale that got a decent placing at Nationals, every other standard grey baby chin goes for $135.  For the cost of shipping, I scrolled back in our messages to see if we talked about this, and we sure did -- her first message to me was asking about shipping, and my first message back to her specified, "shipping is $200 for 1-2 chins."  Again, to me, it would seem like $200 + $135 would equal $335, minus a $50 deposit would be $285.  But... maybe not to her.  How could this be fixed?  If she was unsure about the price of anything, she could have asked.  The price of shipping is still up there in our top few messages, so maybe she was unsure about the price of the chin.  Maybe she didn't look at the other listings for grey babies, and didn't know what it would cost.  In that case, however, I feel like it is the buyer's responsibility to ask.  Don't get me wrong, if I have a $600 chin, and someone emails about it, the first thing I will email back will be asking, they DO realize it's a $600 chin, right?  But for your average chin, where you're likely to be able to figure out the price because of context (I usually have 2-3 other standard babies for sale)... even with context... if you're unsure, ask.  This should not have been a surprise.

Next, we have the possibility of chins getting along (or not).  This person did ask, at the beginning, if I thought the chin I had would get along with another.  I told her, he hadn't shown me any signs (based on my caging situation) that he wouldn't get along with others.  Of course, as I've said before, there's no way to really know for sure without trying it out, as all chins are individuals, and even if one of my chins gets along with every other chin here... it may not get along with your chin.  At the time, this seemed fine, but at the end, she said this was why she was backing out.  How to fix this?  Before you even consider bringing another pet into your family, regardless of what type, think hard about what you will do if it doesn't work out.  Mind you, this was asked about in the beginning, so it did come up, I'm not saying that she didn't think about it (but maybe... not enough).  However, if we want to base her reasoning for backing out, solely on the possibility of her chins not getting along... then I feel like it might have been more useful to have thought harder about this, at the beginning... as nothing changed (as far as chins getting along) between four weeks ago and now.

And finally... time.  This is also something that could have been saved, had the potential adopter put more thought into all of this.  I conversed with the potential adopter over the course of the last month, looked up flights twice / called the airlines, got a shipping crate ready (stupidly), and so on and so forth.  Heck, she even wasted time for herself, considering her time is valuable too, and she had to fill out an adoption form and send the deposit and all of that.  Again, how to fix this?  Before you commit to anything... think hard about whether or not it is right for you.  That is all.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Donating vs. Trading In

I've had people come to the rescue who want to get a larger cage, and ask me, if they donate their original cage, will they get money off the larger cage?

Maybe this only aggravates me... not because they want money off... but because of the word "donation."  I view donations as things given freely, without anything given in return.  Right?  I mean, you don't donate food to the food pantry and think they're going to give you a free lunch, do you?

If you are looking for money off another item -- to me, it's a trade in.  You trade in your car, so the new car is cheaper.  If you donate your car... bye bye car, no money to you.

I realize this is all just differences in wording... but... so many people think they're doing so great by "donating," something... and then they go and tell their friends, oh they donated something, look how wonderful they are... well, if I gave you something for it, even money off... it wasn't a donation.  It was a trade-in.

Not saying this all to be mean, but this is just how I see it...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Some parents... great, others... not so much.

This past weekend, we had our rescue rabbits out at Taltree for a educational event.  They had goats and baby chicks as well, for the families to see and interact with, while doing Easter-type crafts and getting their pics taken with the Easter bunny.

Anyway.. for the rescue rabbits.  We had them in large dog-type x-pens so that the kids could climb in and pet them.  Some kids were great.  Some... not so much.  We had parents putting their kids in the pens with the rabbits... and disappearing.  We saw just about everything out there.  Some parents would get in the pens with their kids, and ensure that the kids were being super gentle about petting the rabbits and weren't hurting them, and so on.  Some parents were very responsible and very careful with the buns...

...and then this one kid... she was maybe 5 or so, old enough to understand what we were telling her.  Her parents put her in one of the pens with two of our rabbits, and she started roughly petting (almost hitting) the rabbits.  The three of us (me and two volunteers) kept chorusing "gentle!"  So she did stop doing that... and moved onto, putting her hand behind the rabbits and roughly pushing them around the pen.  They started hopping away from her, and she started chasing them.  Then, she started trying to pick them up.  Mind you, these are 6-7 pound rabbits... a 5 year old will have a bit of difficulty actually supporting their entire weight... so needless to say, she dropped both of them, multiple times, from about 2 feet in the air.  Oh, and this whole time, we keep telling her, please don't pick up the rabbits.  Then, she starts jumping around... and my volunteers step in, and tell her to be careful, as I'm sitting there cringing cause she's totally gonna land on a rabbit.  Then, she throws herself to the ground (intentionally -- wrestler style), and almost lands on one of the rabbits.

The entire time this is going on, we're all standing there and telling her, please be careful / don't pick up the buns, be careful jumping / go out of the pen to jump around, BE CAREFUL, and so on and so forth.  The parents are talking to the child in a different language, so we don't quite know what they're saying, but if they were at all echoing what we were saying, she wasn't listening in the slightest.

Finally, one of the parents pulled her out of the pen.  Thank God.  And... wait for it... the mom went to the Taltree staff and COMPLAINED that our one rabbit water bottle was out of water.  Now... granted... it was empty.  But there was water in it, not 20 minutes prior.  The kids getting in and out of the pen were shaking the water bottle and causing it to drip, so we were aware it was getting low, but hadn't seen that it was fully out yet.

Now, don't get me wrong... in case we hadn't been aware, I do appreciate that someone took the time to alert someone (naturally, not us, the rescue, but the staff at the location we were at) that there was no water.  However, what irks me about this -- they had no f-ing problem with the kid hopping around, pushing our rabbits, dropping our rabbits, roughly petting / hitting our rabbits, chasing our rabbits, and so on... but out of water?!?!  End of world.  If her kid had LANDED on our of our rabbits, which she very well could have with her jumping around, it could EASILY have broken the rabbits back.  Oh, but THAT must be ok, but our lack of water, for 20 minutes?  Oh, totally inexcusable.  And I guarantee you, they would have taken no responsibility for that, at all, either... just like they didn't remove their kid from our pens, even after we kept advising to be gentle and such, for over an hour.  Ugh.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Consideration

Consideration -- some people have none.

Remember my post a bit ago about the people who wanted me to put them together a small supply order and they said they'd be there the next morning to get it, so I rushed to have it done... and then they never showed up the next day?  And then how we set an appointment for later in the week, and that day came and went, after I rushed home from dog class to meet them, and then they didn't show up then either, so I texted and they said they'd have money the next day and would text before they headed over... and then never did?

Yeah, those people.

So, Saturday, after we got home from the Taltree rabbit event, we're out picking up dinner (me and the two volunteers) and I get a text from the guy, asking if I'm home right then.  I tell him no, and he tells me that he needs to add food to his order.  We settle on 10 pounds, and he asks if he can come over right then.  Now, if you have ANY reading comprehension, you just read that I said... I'm not home.  So, I tell him no, and I specify that we are out at dinner and maybe we'll be home in about 40 minutes if he wants to come then.

So he asks if I will be home in the morning.  I tell him, we're leaving at 8:30 for the Taltree event, and he specifies that he will be in the area come 9 am.  So I tell him, I can leave the food on the porch and he can leave the money in the mailbox.  I specify how much his order is $37.75, and I tell him, since I won't be there, I can't give him change, so please make sure to bring exact or else the rest will be a donation.  He says no problem, he'll bring exact.

So I tell him, I will leave the food and supply order out and he will text when he picks it up, so it doesn't have to sit out all day.

So, Sunday happens and we leave the rabbit event, and we're about home... and I tell one of the volunteers, I bet he never picked up the order, as I never got a text from him.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, we arrive home, and the order is still out there.

So, we are taking stuff inside, putting away the playpens and everything, and my one volunteer comes in and says, hey that guy is here for the order.  And?  The order is on the porch.  Oh, he wants change.  Now... pardon me if my first response is to be like... wtf.  I TOLD the guy I would not be home, AT ALL, until late night Sunday (8 pm or later), and this was maybe 4 pm?  Hardly late night.  And he comes and picks up the order and wants change.  AFTER wasting my time and setting (and not showing up for) multiple appointments, and then adding to the order (which mind you, I had to RUSH and get those other 10 pounds to set out, because it was already late the night before), AND, after specifying, that if I was leaving the order on the porch, I wasn't going to be able to make change.  People have no consideration.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Items from the Pet Store & Adoption Forms

I hope, with this post, to maybe help people understand where I'm coming from for some items on the adoption form.  I'm not trying to be a pain or to make anyone's life harder, when I ask for more information... but some answers are vague, or are not detailed enough for me to know, ok, the chin will be going to a good home, and of course, I want to make sure of that.  This has been going on for some time, to various degrees (some people do this for every question, some put it for one, other adoption forms are awesome!), but moreso lately, I have had people filling out the adoption form like so:

Name what food you're going to feed:  food from the pet store
Name what bedding you're going to use:  bedding from the pet store
Name what toys to use:  toys from the pet store

In case you're not sure what's exactly wrong with those answers, let me inform you -- there's quite a few different types of chinchilla food, bedding, and toys at the pet store.  Some safe, some not.

For food -- if you can find Mazuri or Oxbow, great!  If you pick up Kaytee Max, Kaytee Fiesta, Charlie Chinchilla -- foods chock full of ingredients your chin should not eat -- you're going to shorten the life of your chin.

For bedding -- if you pick up pine or aspen bedding, great!  If you get cedar or carefresh -- with cedar, the phenols can damage the respiratory system of your chin.  With carefresh, the chin can eat it and get impacted.

For toys -- if you pick up an all-wood one that really is chin-safe, great!  If you pick up one with plastic, leather, himilayan salt rocks, or any of the other many things that aren't chin safe, you're endangering the life of your chin.

What it boils down to -- you may totally have the intention of picking up Mazuri, aspen bedding, and a completely wood toy.  But with those answers, I don't know that.  So, if you happen to answer the adoption form questions like this, I will be asking you to elaborate.  And I should note, I mean no offense by that, I just want to ensure that the chin is going to a knowledgeable home that plans to care for them in a way so that they will live as long as possible.

Oh, and just for easy access, since we're talking about it:

Our care packet (talks about safe food, treats, toys, etc) -- http://www.nwichinchillas.com/chinchillacareinfo.htm

Our list of safe pet store products -- http://www.nwichinchillas.com/safe-pet-store-products

...and of course, I'm always happy to help if anyone ever needs help picking out what's safe.  I've been called by people who are standing in the pet store, more times than I can count, asking me to remind them which bedding / food / etc they should get.  Always happy to help.  :)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Rush Orders

I know, I know, we just talked about food orders that need to be rushed, but there's also a trend with other orders needing to be rushed as well.

Let me start by saying -- I get out orders as quickly as I can.  I really do.  For the items that are typically made-to-order... the houses, hay holders, etc... it says on the webstore that they may take two weeks to ship.  Ideally, I try to get them out, long before that.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I sure try.  I don't like when I order something and I'm waiting... and waiting... and waiting some more... and then I get the order 3 months later.  I've even had to bug some sellers in the past, when I was originally ordering fleece liners, and pester them, over and over, for them to do my order and ship it.  That's not how life should be -- I feel like you should be able to place an order (whether here or elsewhere) and it should be put together and arrive on your doorstep in a reasonable amount of time.

That said... I get people all the time who email and basically say something to the tune of -- Hey, just wanted to let you know I ordered these items, and I was hoping you could get the order done absolutely ASAP because [insert reason] and so I really need it as soon as possible, and the earlier you could get it done, the better.  Please email me at your absolute earliest convenience with shipping cost.

Now, let's take a real life example.  I had someone email, let's say Monday.  Basically got that (above) email from them.  One of the items in their order was a house -- which I'd already had made, and mentally ear-marked for another order.  However, the other order was more complex, so I was still building the items and wasn't able to ship it out for a few more days.  So when I got the email from the person wanting their order rush rush, I said to myself, ok, I'll make another house for that other order.  So I took the house (from the order it should have gone for) and packed it up with the rush order.  I was busy for the next day or two, but on day 3 from when the order was placed, I emailed the person and told them, hey, I have your order ready to ship, shipping is this amount, total is this amount.  And I asked how they wanted to pay.  So they told me paypal (which is used in 90% of payments), and so I sent them an invoice.  It was still early in the day, I figured, well maybe they'll pay the invoice and I can ship it out that night, with another package that was going out.  Didn't get payment that night, and in the morning, I got an email saying that they'd pay in a few days, because they were waiting on something.

I hope this frustrates at least some of you, as much as it does me.  I rush everything, try to do the order quickly and for that order, I was going to be done with the orders for that day (cause as I'm sure you can imagine, if I work on orders all day, then cleaning / feeding / whatever, something else doesn't get done, so I divide my time), but I thought, no, she says she wants it quickly, so I'll keep working on orders.  And then... oh she'll pay in a few days.  So... it's only a rush, if she gets her money before the order is ready.  So now, I have a 2.5' box sitting around... nowhere good to put it... and it won't ship out for a few more days.

Please, please... if you want that order "rushed," have the money ready.  Cause this really gets aggravating....

Friday, April 7, 2017

Food Orders & Running Out of Food

So, I've been getting a lot of people... well, since always I suppose, who order something, or email me with an order, and specify, hey they need it right away.

This is especially true with food orders, where I guess some people are unable to determine that they need more chin chow until all their bags are empty.

Which, maybe you say, ok they don't realize it... let me back up a minute and ask -- would you completely run out of food in your house before you'd go buy more?  I mean to the point of not having anything to eat, no snacks, nothing to make a meal.  Maybe some people would... but I go shopping for more groceries before that.  Maybe I'm the odd one out... but I doubt people would let their pantries dwindle down to nothing before going shopping, and I personally think we should apply this to our pets' food supply as well.

When I only fed and sold Mazuri, the second I had two bags left (I usually buy 8-10 at a time, 200-250 pounds), that's when I would mentally tell myself, ok I need to get more.  If, for some reason I hadn't gone to get food and I had literally OPENED the last 25 pound bag... I would pretty much drop everything and go that day.  With the Tradition... Jim will deliver 500 pounds from Ohio every so often, and if I absolutely need more and he can't deliver, there's a local place that will order it for me and will have it within a week.  Not like I want to wait a week, but because I'm prepared... I usually have MannaPro Pro (rabbit food) on hand, which chins can eat, so if for some reason I actually ran out... I do have a backup.  But so with Tradition, if I go below four un-opened bags (200 pounds), I start to mentally panic, because I do have a few people who buy a whole 50 pound bag, and even one person whose family buys four at a time for her herd.  So, I like to make sure I have plenty, to keep it in stock for the people who buy it.  Oh, and for us.  Did I mention, we go through a 50 pound bag of Tradition in 2-3 days?  Yeah, so that's about 500 pounds a month, just to feed our own animals.

The point is -- notice, how with either of these foods, once it gets below a certain point, I make it a point to get more, one way or another.  The people who I'm talking about with food orders, while I love all my customers to death, paypal money for a food order and then email me that the pellets that are in the bowl are all they have.  When I send out flat rate food orders (which most of them are), they're 11 pounds.  That's two 5-pound bags, and a 1 pound bag.  Even that one pound bag would last one chin about two weeks.  Surely it wouldn't be that hard for someone to say, ok, when they open the last bag (whichever one they choose), that's when they'll order?  Cause it's more to be... when they use up the last bag, and the bag is empty and they're like, well shit.  And that's when they order.

Which, hey, you can all order whenever you want.... but on my side of this... it's tiring when every single food order is a rush, because someone couldn't be bothered to keep an eye on food supply.  Some weeks, I'm out of town for three days.  When ECBC Nationals rolled around, I was out of town for 5 days and had other people watching my dogs, feeding the chins, and so on.  It's not that I can't get your order ready that day, cause if I have the food, I will do my best, and I will try to get it out in the morning.  It's that sometimes, someone orders food... and I'm on my way out of town, and will be gone for 3 days.  When I get back, I can do it, but that means... the pet will be out of food for 4 days, by the time you figure that the package goes out next day, if I get it ready the absolute night I get back.  This is why it's best not to delay.  Yes, the chins can live on hay.  No, it won't hurt them.  But... a little more diligence would prevent this from even being an issue!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

"Are You Open Today?"

I know I've been talking about appointments lately, but I keep getting phone calls that have the same sort of idea to them.... and I don't quite get it.  Maybe someone can enlighten me.

Someone will call, and ask, "are you open today?" or "what's your hours today?"

My response is -- we do everything by appointment (since we are not like a retail store in a strip mall or whatever)... and I tell them, they CAN come that day, but they would just need to make an appointment.

Every single one of them responds, "ok," and hangs up.

I don't have hours, because some weeks I have no customers, like AT ALL, all week, and other days, I have appointments from 10 am until 9 pm.  For the not-steady flow of business, it's not practical to have hours. 

But I guess what I don't get... what is so hard about setting up an appointment?  I'm not saying it has to be like a freaking doctors appointment (and these people don't seem to think so either, as at least half show up late), but the second I say the word "appointment," op, nope, sorry, they vanish.  I get that it's more convenient to show up whenever, during a set frame of hours... but... I guess setting an appointment doesn't seem that difficult to me?  Anyone care to explain?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Patience

Ah, so a blog about patience.  I know, I know, I have none, but we're not talking about me (though I have gotten better over the years).

We're talking about potential adopters.

Now, I'm sure you all know -- I do my absolute best to get back to you all, as soon as I possibly can.  Sometimes, I can answer an email that day, even that hour... sometimes it might take me a day or two, especially depending on what you ask.  And don't get me wrong, I do understand that cases exist, where you send me an email... and you're driving through the area later that day... so you absolutely have to get a hold of me right away, or else you're going to pass the area.  It happens.  But that's not what I'm talking about...

I'm talking about...  case in point... the other day, I got an email at 4:39 pm.  I had customers until about 7, left the house right after the customers (actually, I should have been at my parents' house for dinner at 7, but I didn't shoo away the customer), came home at about 11 pm.  11:21 -- I get a facebook message on the NWI Chins page, from the same person as the email (they just repeated what was said in the email).

Now, I understand that they want to know, do I have a chin that matches what they want.  But... patience people.  That was what, 7 hours?  I understand to some people, especially if you're sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for something, that may feel like eternity.... but I wasn't home for 95% of the time between when the email was sent and when the message was sent.... and the time I was home, I had customers (with the exception of the 20ish minutes between when I got home and when I got the message).

Now... I'm not saying, if you think for some reason, that I didn't get your message, don't message again.  By all means, please do!  I've had some people email, and specify, hey, this is the second time they're emailing me... I never got the first email, so good thing they sent again!  But... if you do send an email or message or whatever, please know that I do try my best to get back to you as quick as possible... but give me a little bit.  Chances are, if I haven't gotten back to your email, you're in good company with other people who are waiting for my responses as well.  But I promise I'm doing my best to have a quick turnaround!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Scam?

So... not sure exactly how this is a scam... maybe someone can enlighten me... but this has happened a few too many times for me to think it's just coincidence.

So, this is how it works.  Someone texts me and asks if I still have the guinea pig / chinchilla / rabbit / whatever still available.  Yes I do.  Ok, so we talk about it a little and they ask where I'm located, so I give them the actual address (people want it to put into the gps to see how long the drive will be), and then it gets weird.

Then, they ask if I can do them a favor.  What favor?  Oh, help them with listing a kitten (or puppy, or other animal).  Every time, it's a friend who has the animal, and that friend will drive them, to adopt my animal, oh FOR SURE, if I help them with this listing.

I always respond, if it was a small animal, we could do a courtesy post, which is ONLY on our own website, but we don't help people with craigslist list posts or posts elsewhere.  Sorry.  They always push, and since it's typically NOT a small animal, and yet they tell me I post so well (thank you, thank you, *cough* bullshit *cough*, there's nothing special about my posts), I respond telling them, since it's not a small animal, I wouldn't know what to write to make it "sound good," any more than they (or anyone) would.

They ALWAYS come back, saying, they will give me the details, description, pics... ALL I need to do is post it.

Which begs the question -- then why can't THEY post it?

This time... when this person said that, I actually responded, and asked, well, if they have all the information then there's no reason they can't do it themselves.  Their response?  they tried, but it got flagged.

Well... this is craigslist.  I guarantee you some of my stuff gets flagged as well, but it takes MULTIPLE flaggers to actually bring an ad down.  I haven't had an ad get flagged down in years... since... Indy I believe, and I left there in 2010-2011, so it's been 6ish years since I've had an ad flagged.  Which I swear, does not necessarily mean I'm doing anything right, but I'm also not stupid enough to post my pedigreed show chins for sale on there, or any other chins that would appear to be the result of my direct breeding  (since breeding and selling those animals on craigslist is prohibited -- I will abide and just post the rescues).

Which makes me further think, that if they really are getting flagged (let's just say I believe this story for a moment)... they're probably posting baby kittens saying hey we just separated them from mom... making it obvious that they're breeding... or posting clearly sick animals, or something else unethical or illegal.

Needless to say, I told this person, sorry I can't help them, and I haven't heard back.

I looked up their area code... I originally thought it was 260, which I believe is northern Illinois up by the Wisconsin border, but it's actually 240, which is.. Maryland.  Yeah, they're totally coming to get a guinea pig.  Oh yeah, no doubt.

So... I'm not sure how exactly this is meant to scam you... maybe you have to click on a link for the pictures and that wipes out your computer with a virus or something, but... this has happened multiple times now... all relatively similar, to the point that this has to, somehow, be some sort of scam.  I don't quite get it... but... this is the sort of fun stuff I get to deal with...

Monday, April 3, 2017

Discounts -- This is Not a Garage Sale

So, as you may know, we sometimes have sales, and even when we don't have a sale, we usually offer a discount of $25, which we call the multi-chin discount.  That discount is off a same-sex pair of chinchillas.

Of course, everyone loves discounts, and we've had people basically try to name their own price.  We had a lady from California that wanted me to sell her two baby chins for $100 total, and throw in free shipping, because she was a poor student.  If you're a poor student, that poor... you don't need chinchillas.  That's more of an extreme example, as the cheapest anyone could get two chins for would be $245 (two standard grey babies), and shipping would be an additional $200, so she basically wanted us to go from $445 down to $100.  Sorry, but no.

More commonly, we simply get people asking, hey, I like these two chins, can I have them for X.  Mind you, it's never like $10 off, it's always a good chunk.  The other day, someone suggested a price for two that was $60 lower than the added-up price of the two.  I responded back telling this person about our $25 discount, and letting her know what the price for the two would be, should she choose to get them.

I was telling these things to a friend, and she mentioned, at the pet store... you don't get any discount if you buy two, and you pay tax.  So, I wanted to see how that sort of played out, money wise.

Since chins at the pet store (at least around here) tend to be $150... excuse me, $149.99 (I don't bother with that penny, my chins are even dollar amounts...I think most of us can acknowledge that $149.99 isn't really any cheaper than $150)... we'll use the example of two beiges, since I sell those for $150.

So, at the pet store, we have two chins at $149.99.  $149.99 x 2 = $299.98.  In Indiana, we have 7% sales tax.  So, 7% added to $299.98 = $320.97 for the two chins.

Here at NWI, if we had two chins for $150, it'd be $150 x 2 = $300.  But then, we have a $25 discount, so we're down to $275.

So actually, those same two chins here, would be almost $46 cheaper, without anyone asking for any discount or anything.  So you're already better off... so you might have to excuse me if I get a tad bit irritated when people ask for further discounts.  If you ever go to the pet store, and try to name your price, and they say "sure!" and ring you up for the price you named... by all means, let me know, I'll have to go try it myself.  In the meantime, they will laugh at you, and say that the price listed is what the price is.  Same here.  I know I've said it before, and I will say it again -- this is not a garage sale.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Appointments

So, in case you read this blog and think that I'm always crabby (I know, you're like, "you? crabby?? never!!" *sarcasm*)...let me share with you, two days of appointments.

Let's start with Thursday.  I had a morning appointment for supply pickup, that went well, they showed up on time, nice friendly people, all's good.  Had dog class, left for dog class, and then because of bad traffic, was rushing home for a 6:30 appointment.

Hold on, let's back up.  That 6:30 appointment on Thursday... they texted about a week prior, wanted me to come up with a treat / toy order for about $25.  Can do, no problem, we talked about what they wanted, they said the would be over the next day.  When people say that, and we don't set an appointment, I always tell people, text or call before you come, to check I'm home.  So I rush to get their order ready cause they want to come the following day in the morning (and I'm not a morning person, so I know that I won't get up early to get it ready)... the next day -- no text, no call, no nothing.  Whatever, hate to say it, but that's totally typical of this couple, so I set the order aside and move on.  Fast forward a week or so to this past Thursday... I'm rushing home for their 6:30 appointment, and I'm talking on the phone with Jim, and I mention to him... they're most likely going to be late, if they come at all.  So then, it's 8 pm, and I send them a text and ask if they're coming.  Oh, well, they don't have the money that day, they will have it the following day, so they want to come the next day.  Fine.  I tell them to text before they head over.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, they did not show up that next day and did not text or anything.

Also Thursday, I get a text from Carrie asking if I have bedding available.  Yep, sure do.  She texts me while I'm at dog class and says she'll be over around 8.  I tell her, ok, text when you leave.  No text, and she never shows up.  Later, I go back and notice that she had mentioned, if Thursday didn't work, she could come over Friday also.  Never contacted me on Friday.

Moving along to Friday... I had someone set at 10 am for a chin food pickup.  They text me and say their mom won't let them drive here alone, can they come later that night.  Sure, I will be home all day.  So, for "later," she was supposed to come at 6:30.  5:48 comes... "are you available tomorrow?"  So we set that I'm going to set their food out on the porch so they can pick it up tomorrow.

Earlier in the day... supposed to have a 1-2 pm chin dropoff.  Get a call -- her kid's sick, can she reschedule?  Again, sure.

Somewhere on Friday, I took two chins to the vet to get health certificates, so that I can then get import permits (to Wisconsin).  Got home from that and immediately got a call from someone else wanting to drop a chin off.  No cage room here, but I told the guy, ok, if he can bring the cage, he can bring the chin.  Got it.  So, he shows up with the chin and all it's stuff.

Then, I get a call from someone wanting to come pick up supplies on Saturday, hoping I have time to make some specific items (never did find the time).  Got the rest of her stuff ready, just not the one item that she was hoping for (sorry, I'm only one person, and notice is especially useful).

Don't get me wrong, I actually mean for this to be a relatively lighthearted post -- I'm not posting this stuff to complain.... but see, this is just two days of appointments / cancellations / re-schedulings / so on.  People not showing up, people not texting, people rescheduling for later in the day / week / year.  Don't get me wrong, on Friday I did have an adoption appointment, and Checker and Ollie Ogelesby got adopted.  So, plenty of people DO adopt and DO show up, and again, not posting this to complain.  But next time you think one of my posts sounds like it has a crabby tone to it... keep in mind... dealing with the public all day can be a bit trying, at times.  

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Availability of Chins

Got asked this the other day -- if we have chins year round.  We do... though availability of specific chins may be more selective.

Let me explain.

Your average chin in the most basic colors -- standard grey, light ebony, and beige, tend to be available year round, in decent supply (whether we're talking about pet-quality chins from my own lines, or from other breeders, or wholesale, or whatever).  Other colors may be harder to find, at certain times of the year.  For example, the spring rush hasn't hit yet (but should soon), and once it does, there will be a lack of whites, violets, brown velvets... the less easy-to-find colors.  The reason being -- once they are gone, they are gone.  Chins don't breed as well during the winter, which means, when spring rolls around, there's not as many available, and what is available... sort of is it.  Once they're adopted, then we basically have to wait until the spring production kicks in.  Lots of babies are born this time of the year.  However, a baby born March 1st, at the absolute earliest, will be ready for its new home on May 3rd (and that's if the chin is weaned right at 8 weeks and is perfectly ready to go a week later, at 9 weeks).  Hence... once the current chins are gone... there's a gap before more will be ready.

Harder to find chins -- the double recessives or the funky genes -- are even less available.  I have one person right now who's waiting on a blue diamond.  I don't breed sapphires or violets, so I'm waiting to get one in, so I can have one for them.  Last year, I believe I had a total of 3, and that sounds about right for the year before as well.  They're not common, and the ones I'm going to get in are strictly pet quality, which is why I can get them.

For funky genes -- lockens / curlies come to mind.  We don't breed angoras (though, if someone would like to set me up with a pair, I'll love you forever!), due to lack of winning the lottery and being able to afford the chins, so if you're looking for something unusual, bred here, it's going to be a curly.  While we actually do have quite a few curlies in breeding, and even put in one of our own-bred curlies earlier this year, they're not the quickest breeders, and... it's a recessive gene.  Not all the babies produced are curly.  As I'm sure you can imagine... more people want the curlies, rather than the curly carriers, so the females we've had that are curly are tending to stay here.  I actually had three people on the waiting list for a curly female.  One of them has since sold out of curlies, so two people.  Finally had a white ebony curly female.  Well, drat, she's so curly that, for purposes of continuing the curly line... I would be stupid to not keep her, grow her up, and add her to the lines.  I've heard it said, time and time again, if you're going to sell a chin that you don't particularly want to sell, you should price it high enough, that when you do sell it, you're happy with what you got.  With this girl.... I couldn't decide on a price I liked, that would actually make me happy.  And mind you, I sold a curly male earlier this year for $600, so we're not talking cheap prices... but here's what it came down to -- I wasn't happy with getting that for her, because even at that price, I wanted to keep her.  And maybe she'd sell for more, she very well might, as she's a white ebony (most curlies you can find for sale are regular ebonies) and a female.  But... if not happy with the price... she stays.  So... she most likely stays.  So, those people on the waiting list may get a shot at another white ebony female that I have... but she's a curly carrier.  Well... she's even better in build than this one... and if you've ever seen the curlies, they could use some neck and shoulder conformation... so she very well may stay too.  Anyway, the point is not the money or for you to read all my ramblings on chin breeding... but the point is, when you want something specific (curly female, for example), it may take some time, as there's not a lot of them born to start with, and when they are, if they're going to fit into my herd, they very well may stay here.  The pet quality chins, or even chins that are not going to fit into the herd (I can only use so many curly males), those are what's available.  So you may have to wait.

This all said... I routinely have people ask me, can I get in this or that?  Maybe, maybe not.... but it never hurts to ask!  One thing, I cannot get in angoras, sorry.  But just about anything else, for the right price (cause I have to pay for it too), I can probably get it in.  Keep in mind though, that if you ask for something insanely specific and I bug people to get it... it will but me, when you vanish when I get it.  The last two chins I've gotten in for specific people -- a violet wrap and a sapphire -- once I had the chins here... the people wanting them vanished.  Now, I'm not saying that people couldn't see a chin and say, ok, not exactly what they were looking for... they'll pass...but personally... I wouldn't get in either of those colors, as they're not big sellers.  So, be aware, if you ask for something really specific -- a blue diamond for example (which I will have to pay a hefty price to get for you) -- I will most likely ask for a deposit before I ever get the chin in.