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.

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