Friday, November 22, 2019

Messages!

Hey all!

Just wanted to give a quick announcement -- if you ever call, or text, or email, or whatever... and DON'T hear back... try again!

I occasionally get someone, like today, where they send an email.  The email basically says, in so many words, that hey they reached out through the contact us form on the website... and they haven't heard back.

Now, sometimes, I admit, we get behind.  Well, *I* get behind, there's no "we" in checking and responding to emails / messages / etc.  Especially after long expo weekends, or vacations, or whatever.

Anyway... the thing is, I can check for messages that come through my website, through either the adoption forms or the contact us forms... and sure as shit, I WAS able to find the person's initial message.  However... I NEVER received the notification of such. 

You see, normally someone submits a form, and I receive an email which includes whatever they typed and their contact info.  Most of the time this works!  But sometimes... I guess not.  The same can go for messages and whatnot.  People have sworn up and down that they've left a voicemail... that is completely in-existent. 

I definitely do not mean to ignore anyone, so if you've ever felt like that, I apologize.. and likely was just behind... or possibly didn't ever get the message. 

So if you don't hear back and you still need something -- reach out again!  Thanks!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Donations vs. Recurring Donations

So, awhile back, we talked about how a customer suggested that I set up the ability for people to be able to sign up for recurring donations.

...we're now talking about it again, because someone... well... either didn't realize what they did, or didn't know how to cancel it, or... something.

So, someone signed up for recurring donations, of $5 / monthly, back in October.  October donation comes through, no problem.  November donation comes through... and the person opens a PayPal case against me, saying that I caused them an unauthorized transaction.

Somehow, one would think that PayPal would be able to view the history and see that this person signed themselves up for the recurring transaction, but whatever...  I logged on, and there were several options.  One of the options was simply to refund the transaction.  It didn't say that refunding admitted fault, or anything of that nature, it just said, you can refund the transaction.  Stupid me, I thought that would make it go away... so I did.

I also sent an email to the PayPal account that had started that recurring donation, advising them that I believed that THEY had to cancel the recurring donations, as they had started them.  I did not receive a response.

A couple days later, I received a message from PayPal-- see below --


-- it says they debited the amount from my account.  As in... the refund I sent?  Or a second time?  Not sure, since my PayPal account is showing a ton of stuff pending right now...  AND, did you also notice the $20 penalty they are throwing at me for this?  That's bullshit.  I refunded to end the thing... had I realized there would be a penalty in just refunding and moving on -- even though this transaction was NOT me fraudulently charging someone's account -- I would have contested it.

Maybe this isn't clear to a lot of people, so I want to show you a screenshot of my site, and how it looks if you go to donate (and I love everyone who donates!  Just don't get me a penalty of $20 for your $5 donation, please!).  The donations page is here -- https://www.nwichinchillas.com/donations.htm --:


Let's just make that even a bit clearer, as I know that's teeny...



So as I have marked, the one on the left, where it simply says "Donate" -- this is meant for a one time donation.  Of course, you are welcome to go back as often as you'd like, and donate more, if that's your thing (and we wouldn't complain a bit), but the point is, it does not re-occur for you.  Now, if you would rather set up a recurring donation, the one on the left, which says "Donate $__  month / $___ USD -- monthly" -- that is for recurring donations.  That bar is a drop down menu where you can select the amount you'd like for your recurring donation.  Then, that day that you set it up, the amount you selected comes out of your account... and that happens every month following, on the same date.  So if your first donation is 10/1, then your second will be 11/1, and then 12/1, until you stop the recurring donations.

I guess to me, recurring means, well... you know... it re-occurs.  It's going to happen again.  That's why it says "monthly," right?  Well anyway, please only select that one if you really do want to donate monthly to our rescue. 

I somehow was able to turn off this person's recurring donations -- thankfully -- but I would rather not do this again.  In the future, should this happen.  I will try to again, figure out how to turn them off... but I'm not so sure that I will just "refund" -- because of that penalty.  Mind you, it's not that I DON'T want to refund (like, say, if someone wants to stop their recurring donation and is unsure how... though I'm not sure opening a case is the best way to do that, but I digress)... but if I get enough of these cases opened and decided against me... that will be the end of my PayPal account.  That will be the end of the webstore, and Etsy, and all that.  So please, watch what you are selecting.  Thank you!


Monday, November 18, 2019

Food Bowls

This is one of those things that probably very few people notice, unless you really are eyeballing the website and watching for changes... but we now have new food bowls.

The place we used to get the previous ones has gone a bit... wonky... since I ordered the time before (probably about a year ago).  When I looked at it recently, you could only add one food bowl at a time to the cart, it shows $0 shipping (that can't be right... maybe with a minimum quantity, but not for one item), and you had to "check out" with a credit card for that one food bowl.  No ability to add other items, no ability to put in an address... just a spot for credit card info, to pay for one item, and nothing else.  Maybe not for everyone, but for me... it seemed a bit sketchy.  Yeah, no.  Not doing that.

Not to mention, I'd usually order like, 20-40 at a time (depending on price, how much money I can afford to swing at that given time, etc), so I can't order one at a time, and have 20 transactions, even if that did work out.  Now, before you think that I just moved on, I didn't -- I emailed the site using their contact us form, said what I was seeing and asked if there was a way to change the quantity and whatnot.  No response.  Even checked junk mail.  Nothing.

Weeks passed. 

I basically forgot about this... until someone ordered two food bowls.  By some grace of God, I had two hiding in one of my expo totes.  But the time had come to change the listing!

Unfortunately, that also meant the price had to change.  I can no longer find neutral colored food bowls / stoneware in the type I want, at the price I was able to get.  Is it a huge difference in price?  No.  But now I'm paying almost $4 per bowl (not including shipping), and before, I was selling them at $4 per bowl (and making a small profit for the rescue, even with shipping figured in).  So unfortunately, that itself could not continue.  

The price of the bowls has now risen to $5, however -- and I can hear that collective groan out there... stop it! -- the QUALITY of the bowls has also risen!  The new bowls are heavier, gorgeous stoneware bowls.  They come individually packed, each in their own bubble wrap, each in their own bowl-box, which is all inside a larger box.  So, you will no longer hear me whining about ordering bowls and 2/3 of them coming broken -- this packaging and these higher quality bowls should prevent this.

So, without further adieu, I present to you, our new $5 food bowls:


Aren't they pretty?  The chins in the future will thank us for having nice heavy duty bowls.  That is all for today.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Donuts!

You know what's kind of funny, is talking to people sometimes.  I had someone call the other day and they were asking about various colors of chins, and they got to the point where they were mentioning what they were looking for.

Them:  so, I'd like a violet male, and then for the second one, maybe an extra dark ebony, or one with a spot on it.

Me:  so like a white?

Them:  well, any color with a spot.

Me:  well, whites are the only ones that can have spots, the others are uniform colors.

Them:  oh, ok, well how about a solid white one and then a violet, let me get one of each of those?

Me:  I'll take one of each of those too, do you know where we can get the hookup?

Them:  *laughs*

---It reminded me of someone picking out donuts.  Oh I'll take the bavarian creme, and that one over there with sprinkles, and...

The thing is, this person just thought I had oodles of chins upon oodles of chins, and if they said they wanted two adult males, in the colors mentioned, I just had them in the wings and could find two of those specific colors that would get along. 

I wish!

If you've followed us for any length of time, you probably know that most of our rescues are grey.  Even the ones that we get in that aren't grey... well, they tend to be an ebony.  Like, a medium ebony, or a sapphire, or something that can easily be mistaken for a grey.  They rarely are solid whites, and if they are...well... usually there's a not-so-great personality to match.  Not saying we've never gotten in any fun colors with nice personalities... but the average person with a solid white chin, likely knows 10 other people that will take that chin, long before the will take it to rescue.  You know why?  Because I also know a ridiculous amount of people that would take a solid white chin, before I'd ever have to list it.  That's just how it goes.

I also had someone ask if we ever got angoras in through the rescue.  Not yet!  Maybe one day, when they're not a fortune each, but at the current time... nope.  Sorry! 

The thing is, most chins here are pretty basic colors. And that's fine, they all deserve love!  Unfortunately, that means, there's not a lot to pick from.  Usually in the fall (like, now) we have more of a variety of colors, and right now, it's kind of slim pickings, so we got a good laugh out of the guy donut-picking chins.  Nothing wrong with having specific wants!  Just, we can't always meet those wants.  I get people wanting to go to a rescue for their new family member... but there's a lot less of the fancy stuff in rescue.  That is all.


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Houses!

What did we do today?  We built houses!  Lots of houses!  And hay holders! 


We try to build quite a few at once, so we have them ready for when people want them.  They dry for 24 hours and then go on the shelving until someone requests one.  Yay for houses!! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Creative Thinking!

This came up a little bit ago... when we had our remaining two rats here out of the Mom + babies group... the two left were the most shy of the bunch and the most reclusive.  Mom liked to nibble on hands.  Not bite, mind you, as you will KNOW if a rat wants to bite you and you WILL be bleeding... but just reach out and chew on you, gently.

The difference between people coming by who were somewhat familiar with rats, and very familiar with rats, was interesting to see.  The sort of familiar ones were scared of Mom.  To them, she was going to "bite them" and they did their best to keep away from her.  One set of people actually brought treats to try to lure the rats (as I had listed that they were more or less un-socialized -- other than our efforts here -- and very shy and leery)... well when Mom kept coming up to them and making them nervous, they'd hand her a treat, so she'd leave them alone.  Well, Mom got smart and showed actually a ridiculous amount of interest in them (smart little thing).  So they'd hand her a treat, and she'd go put it aside and come right back up.  It was kind of funny to see!

Anyway, we got down to the last two rats, Mom and one of the female babies.  So, I changed the ad to list them as having to go to the same home as a pair.  Got a text message the one morning about someone asking if we still had some of the rats.  I had updated the listing on my site, though the listings on other sites still listed the normal ad and said check website for updates on who's remaining.  So I told this person, we still had Mom and a young rat, and they needed to go together.  I mentioned how they were shy and needed a home that understood that, as the past people were very wary about this.  She said they understood.  I told them about the adoption form, they filled it out and everything, and we made an appointment for them to come see the rats.

When they came to see the rats, these people were like night and day to the others.  Not afraid of Mom and her nipping... to the point that the rats were comfortable enough with them, to go back to their hammock to sleep.  Well, these people decided they did want to take the two of them home, which led us to the next issue -- how to get them out of the cage.  But in very rat person fashion, they had an idea!  They wanted to know if they could buy the hammock, so we could just transport them in their hammock!  What a great idea!

The hammock had already been chewed and used and I wasn't going to have them buy it, I told them they could have it, and unhooked the hammock with the rats still comfortably nestled inside.  I was able to put that in the carrier, no problem whatsoever, and that made for the easiest transition for those nervous rats into the carrier ever!  It worked great! 

Sometimes thinking outside the box can yield great results!!

Gates! Cages! Latches!!

So, I was talking with someone about this the other day, about animals getting out of their cages.  They asked, does that ever happen here?  Sure!  Even though I'd like to think we secure our cages well, it's not always me closing all the cages, and sometimes animals are crafty and can get out.

We even have springs on the doors of certain cages, where despite the fact that I can't picture how the animals get out... they sometimes do.  It happens.

Sometimes it's out faulty closing of the cages... sometimes it's just the cage design.  Certain cage designs are of the type where if the animal shakes the cage, juuuust enough, the cage will open.  Or whatnot. 

It happens!  If you have an animal get out, don't fret!  Rather, find a way to secure it!

We even had this problem with our fence gate.  You see, we have a double gate at the back of the property, which opens wide.  Well... if the wind hits it just right, that gate can even be LOCKED... and it will blow open.  This happened a couple times, irritating every time of course, until one morning I went outside and the gate was wide open. 

Thankfully, I had peered outside, rather than just letting the dogs out.  But, rather than be like omgggg, I fixed it.


For the wind to open this latch, the entire chain would have to be lifted vertically 2 inches on the right hand side.  Prooobably not happening. 

I mention this, because the same thing is true of chinchilla (and other animal) cages.  No matter the cage, I guarantee you there is some way to secure the door, in which the animals cannot get out.  You just have to figure out what works for you!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Blowing Out Filters!

One thing that many people don't think of when owning chins, well, a LOT of chins, is how much dust is constantly in the air.  Much of this, of course, is from their dust bath.  But in addition, there's dust in shavings, in their dander, and so on and so forth.

Because of this, I change my furnace filters, often.  You will find, people who have a furnace running near their chinchillas (like, someone with a herd / group of chins), will also be doing the same.

To save money, we blow out our filters with an air compressor.



That's Jim blowing out my filters.  The bottom one REALLY needed done, as you can see.  

My furnace has that much dust and ick on the filters, since my chins are downstairs.  Most people's won't be that bad, but we blow them out and re-use, so that we can change them more often, and give the chins (and us!) better air to breathe.  That's something you know now :)