Tag Archives: customers

The Case of the Missing Parcel

You can’t, so the saying goes, prove a negative. This is in the context of proving that we didn’t receive the disputed parcel. You can “prove” that we did receive it, because the Royal Mail has a record of it, but we can’t prove we didn’t. because we weren’t asked to sign for not receiving it. Such a thing is not possible.

This is in a philosophical sense, of course, as you can prove a negative in other ways. However,think of a small teapot orbiting the sun . . .

Anyway, back from theory and philosophy, and into the territory of sensible real life. (Though with the proviso that some scientists need to lighten up when discussing teapots in space).

The first thing we had to deal with was an email from the customer with a picture of his proof of posting and a demand to know why we weren’t refunding his money as he had proof we had received the parcel.

This revealed a new problem – the customer had not returned the parcel by Guaranteed Delivery but had used a cheaper, less secure method, His method does not require a signature and only insures the parcel for £100 instead of the necessary £500. In saving a few pounds he caused this entire problem.

We, in turn, contacted eBay, who have given us another seven days to make our case for not refunding the customer, with his use of a sub-standard postal service working in our favour.

We then spoke to the postman, who told us, amongst other things, that he had checked for us and the mobile technology used by the Royal Mail showed that the delivery had taken place at the specified time and in the vicinity of the shop. Without needing a signature, they cannot be sure exactly what “the vicinity” is. It now seems that it is our job to knock on all local doors asking if anyone has our parcel.

This is where we had a little luck, realising that the CCTV could help us. We checked it, and sure enough, it shows that the postal delivery employee walks down the road, pauses outside our shop, shuffles through some letters then walks off without delivering anything.

That, to me, is proof that the parcel was not delivered to the premises at the stated time. I’m not going to speculate further, as it may yet develop into a serious legal argument.

W are still going to end up losing money, and wasting time sorting it out, but it’s unlikely to be the £500 we originally feared.

I will let you know what happens when it is sorted.

The next post will be more cheerful. Probably.

The featured image is a propaganda Iron Cross from 1914 – they were made in various places in Britain and sold to raise money for Belgian refugees. I use it because it was the subject of a claim by a customer who said he hadn’t received it. That was easy to sort out – we had a signature from the delivery, which was to his place of work. He recognised the signature, checked it out and found the package was waiting for him in the post room – he just hadn’t bothered to check.

Sales, Surprises and Staff

If you read yesterday’s post you may have noticed that I missed the title off. It’s not the first time I’ve done that, but it is the first time since last year – one of the advantages of my “no title” series of posts. It has a title now, though it didn’t exactly stretch my creativity.

It was a good day in the shop. We had five orders on eBay, one for 32 items I had only loaded yesterday. They were only cheap, but any sale is a good sale. It was one of those double-edged events – glad to make the sale, but slightly regretful that two hours of listing and (complicated) loading of photographs brought such a quick result. Even though it was clearly a masterful bit of listing, it seems like wasted effort when it finishes so quickly.

We then had several customers by appointment, answered phone calls and listed more items for sale. One of the customers was very knowledgeable, and told us so, at length. It’s very tempting to be sarcastic, but I’m better than that.

Then, when I finished loading the new coins, I checked for new sales and found we’d had six sales, one of which was for more than all the sales we’d had overnight. There’s always plenty of room for surprises when you have eBay.

Another surprise was a comment in our feedback, which I liked – “you should be very proud of your staff”. I’m thinking of having it made into a T Shirt.

Gold £2 Coin 1995 End of WW2 Reverse

Dove of Peace on a 1995 £2 coin – this one is gold, the ordinary ones were brass. For those of you from UK, yes they were meant for circulation but they never caught on.

Day 190

I made a mess of the on-line shopping last night – disappeared into a tour of the internet and lost my way out. It was interesting, as ever, but when I emerged and found how much time I’d wasted, I decided it was time to get some organisation in my life.

The result is that we only had a third of the shopping we wanted tonight, and it cost us £4 for not having enough in the order.

Annoyingly, something that was out of stock last night (when it was “too late to change the order”) was delivered, so obviously back in stock. And milk, which had been in stock, was now out. Annoying that there are two sets of standards at work here.

We have just spent two days sorting a customer out. He’s a regular buyer on eBay and always seems like a nice man. He had asked if we could do cheaper postage if he bought two items, and we had said yes. The problem was that we could only see one purchase. We tried all sorts of things and eventually, this morning, tactfully, I had to write and ask if he’d actually bought the second item from us. It seemed the only logical explanation after eliminating all others.

Turns out he had actually ordered the other medallion off someone else. Oh, how we laughed as we talked of notable senior moments. Took me several hours in total, as I worked to facilitate a sale of £6.50, but that’s customer service for you. And old age . . .

Day 168

I had a very efficient visit to hospital this morning, and only need two more to call it a day. One is for a chest X-Ray and the other is to teach me how to vaccinate myself as I will be getting some extra medication. Oh good, I said.

While I was in there I left my car window fully open. As I waited for my appointment time, I read in the car and forgot to wind the window up when I went for the appointment.

At work we had one customer in the shop and one on eBay. We had another who wanted to return something as he’d ordered the wrong thing. His fault, not ours. We agreed he could send it back and w would refund everything, including his postage, which represents a £3 loss to us. We did however, refuse when he asked us to pay the postage costs of him sending it back to us.

In the afternoon I left my phone when we shut the shop. It seems a little strange not having it, but not too bad. It’s fortunate I’m not a teenager as it would be a tragedy if I couldn’t look at it every two minutes.

Two senior moments in one day. It’s a good job I don’t let it worry me these days, as I am resigned to descending into a bumbling old age. Then, when I posted todays blog, I lost it. It must be somewhere, but I can’t find it. Snatched by evil Microsoft elves, no doubt. So that’s now three senior moments in one day.

Things just get better. I’ll probably get lost on my way to bed . . .

Day 144

Having written today’s title I’m looking forward to Day 288, because I just realised I will be able to do the “too gross” joke. However, that is still quite a way off. (Those of you too young to have counted in scores and gross will just have to stand round and look confused while two or three stand round showing signs of mild amusement).

The day at work started with me looking for a small piece of paper I had lost the previous night whilst trying to sort out my phone. That took me twenty minutes and has convinced me to tidy my desk more often. I then progressed to answering emails, including one from someone who was happy with two coin sets we sent and someone else who asked for a discount and ended up spending over £1,000.

Some mornings are better than others.

That was the high point of the day. I managed to load quite a lot on eBay and was getting on well when, just twenty minutes before closing time, someone called in with a coin collection. He said he’d spoken to us last week, which he probably had, but he hadn’t bothered to make an appointment, as asked.

The collection was a dreadful thing and had obviously been stored in poor conditions, as a lot of the coins had turned green and were sticking to the inside of the plastic pockets they were stored in. This didn’t matter, as most of the coins were virtually worthless anyway and many others were modern ones that he could still spend. It was the sort of collection where the time spent taking the coins out of the pages would have exceeded the value of the coins. Despite this, we persevered, sorted out anything good that we could find, offered him over £500 (fortunately there were a few better pieces) and gave him back the spendable coins.  listened to him tell us how he thought the coins were worth more than we had offered and, bit by bit, put them back in his bag.

In the middle of this someone else came in without an appointment and proceeded to get in the way before spending £2.

In the end we left twenty minutes late (which we don’t get paid for) with fingers that still taste of copper despite hand washing and nothing to show for all that effort.

The end of the day was definitely not as good as the beginning.

 

 

Day 113

Two poppies today. That is four so far this year. We also have some self-seeded honesty growing by the front door. There are two plants on one side (both white) and one plant on the other. That one is purple streaked with white – I suspect some cross breeding has taken place and the purple one we had last year has been diluted. This happened a few years ago with alyssum. We have plenty of white (who doesn’t?) and I planted some blue. The blue didn’t thrive and only lasted a year, but in the next year a lot of our plants had white flowers with blue edges.  Unfortunately they had all disappeared by the next year.

I may have said this before, but it bears repeating – I like self-seeding flowers.  Cheap, easy and capable of generating a lot of interest.

We are gradually running out of marigolds, so I may have to plant a few extra, but the valerian is still going strong and we have so many teasels I am going to have to do some thinning out. The trouble with spiky plants is that you can’t just let them grow where they want.

That is really all there was to today – got up, went to work, saw a few customers, packed a few parcels, went home, ate and watched TV. It was veggie burgers again. Bought in again because it’s a cheap and easy thing to do and because our shopping arrives on Friday night so the cobs are still nice and fresh to put the burgers in. They were a bit too spicy this week so, once again, I am talking about making my own.

I may have said that before . . .

Day 109

When I got home tonight the first of the orange poppies was out. They have been developing buds for the last few days, so this was good to see, I am going to try to keep a count this year and see how many flowers they produce. They do well for a self-sown flower growing from cracks in the concrete.

We had the customary crop of vexatious calls and emails from people who shouldn’t allowed out without a carer.

One buyer, who gave us a thorough grilling before purchase, has already sent his purchase back. We found this out from eBay as he didn’t have the courtesy to get in touch. We are waiting to find out what was wrong with it, as we are certain it matches the description we used to sell it.

Someone rang, as is usual, with an enquiry about whether we bought rare coins. And as usual it turned out to be a 50p piece that was worth . . . 50p.

And so it went on.

When I had a few minutes during the day I had a go at pushing the levers on my new chair. It is, when properly adjusted, much more comfortable than the old one. That’s a measure of how far we have advanced – everybody seems to have swivelling office chairs now. I only tried one when I started at the shop, until then I’d just had chairs with four legs.

Traffic was strange on the way home. I got halfway home with no traffic on the road, a rare, but welcome event.The second half was absolutely blocked solid – and I have no clue what caused it, as there was nothing there once it started moving again.

The only other point of note today was that my fingers are giving trouble five fingers from eight are stiff and several are painful. I’m hoping it is on of those temporary glitches and not a sign that the drugs have stopped working.

 

 

 

 

Day 99

We had an email waiting this morning. It had several blurred screen shots, several paragraphs of broken English and a declaration that the would be purchaser would only pay £30 for postage and packing. We deciphered the note, calculated the cost of the parcel and found that it was going to cost a lot more than £30.

The trouble is that some people fixate on the P&P, ignore the fact that eBay charge us commission and fees on our postage costs and don’t appreciate that if we are sending a parcel with £400 of goods in it we want to insure it.

On top of that, this is now the ninth message we have had from him this week and the 22nd we have had this year. Not one of them has actually resulted in a sale. The problem is that as soon as you say yes to one of his irksome suggestions/demands he starts with another.

It’s £400, some of the stuff has been hanging around for a while, and the idea of making the sale is quite attractive. However, the sale is only good if you actually get the money. If anything goes wrong, eBay will undoubtedly side with the buyer and we will end up losing £400 plus postage fees. It’s easier, as I pointed out, to save postage and the labour of packaging and arguing, and just flush £400 down the toilet.

Some deals, as was pointed out to me as a young man working in sales, are simply not worth the effort. It seems counter-intuitive but I made one or two of those sales, including one where I lost the company £7,000 (which was a lot of money 30 years ago) and that always comes back to haunt me.

In summary – today was a day of frustration, annoyance and ghosts from the past.

We had veggie burgers (which we ended up buying from the shop rather than making) for tea, in nice fresh cobs, and I enjoyed them. We also had chocolate brownies as Julia saw them whilst shopping. Then we slept in front of the TV. Is this, I ask myself, where all that hope and ambition ended up?

I suspect there may be a poem concealed within that thought.

For some reason, whilst snoozing, I dreamed of cream teas.

Day 20

I sat down with a cup of tea, fell asleep in a draught and woke up an hour later fee,ling distinctly lazy. So I shelved the plans for a healthy vegetarian meal and ordered pizza. That’s twice this year already. It will last for three meals but it’s not the sort of diet I would like to admit to.

Whilst eating pizza I watched The Apprentice, but they seem to be running out of idiots with character/ All they have now is commonplace idiots, and they aren’t very interesting. They have also got rid of all the decent assistants and gone the “no character” route again. Karren Brady actually seems to be getting more boring as time goes on and I don’t know who the other one is. So far I find him virtually indistinguishable from the apprentices.

We are trying a new method at work, loading more on eBay and using less description. It seems to work for some of the big sellers. Most of the stuff we sell doesn’t need  much additional information and even people still ask us about things even though all the information is there. As each email represents time wasted, and therefore money wasted, We might get a few more queries if we cut down on the information we give, but we will be saving time on writing the sales. It will be an interesting exercise.

We’ve exchanged a string of emails with someone today already. It’s not about details, it’s about unrealistic offers. He’s made several offers on something, the changed to making unrealistic offers on something else. We don’t mind doing a deal but we need to cover the costs of running a shop. Some people can’t see this.

We have stopped replying to him.

Sometimes, despite the doctrine that “the customer is always right” you have to put an end to things.

The top picture is a group of pre-decimal halfpennies. There were 480 of them to a £1. They are about the same size as  modern 2p – where there are only 50 to a £1.  That is one way that decimalisation has been an improvement.

The bottom picture is a propaganda Iron Cross from 1914 – highlighting the destruction of Belgian cities, raising the martial ardour of the British and raising funds for charity. When the price rose above £5 I stopped buying them. We sold this one for £40. If only I’d kept buying them . . .

British made propaganda Iron Cross 1914

 

 

Day 17

More of the same. Parcels. Customers. Miserable weather. The only difference was that the car got covered in a fine spray of dirt thrown up by cars passing by the shop on the main road, and a bird, which appears to have dined on something quick-setting and durable, deposited the digested remains in the middle of my windscreen.

I spent 27 minutes on the phone at one point, being cross-questioned by a customer with “jut one last question” being promised more than once. In the end he said “Well, why do people collect if you can’t make money from it?” My reply was that collecting is about the pursuit, the assembling of a collection which is greater than the sum of the parts and, with luck, the knowledge you gain.

If you want to make money you take a second job, put the wages in the bank, buy shares or buy precious metals.

He said: “Oh!”

It’s a good thing the boss wasn’t in. That’s half an hour of my wages down the drain just so that my pearls of wisdom can bounce off someone who thinks numismatics is the way to get rich.

Before that we had someone in who kept asking for dates of coin which don’t exist. He couldn’t get his head round the idea that there were no pennies minted in  1941, 42 or 43 as there were thought to be too many in circulation. In 1949 most of them were held back, and they were still being issued as new coins until 1956. In 1950 and 1951 very small quantities were struck and were stored until 1956 when they were sent to Bermuda (all the 1950 mintage and most of the 1951 too).  They say that British dealers started travelling to the island and offering £1 for 1951 pennies – 240 times its face value (there were still 240 pennies to the £ in those days).

There is one coin known from 1952. I don’t know why, some arcane Mint purpose. In 1953 they struck pennies for commemorative sets. Only one is known from 1954, used for die testing. Somehow it escaped melting and ended up in circulation. Then there were no more until 1961. They were struck every year until 1967 and all the pennies struck in 1968 and 1969 were dated 1967. Again, I haven’t a clue why. After that they minted them in 1970 for the final £sd sets and, after a thousand years, the old penny made way for the decimal issue.

It’s amazing how many we have being brought in , and even more amazing how many collectors haven’t bothered to learn that there are years when certain denominations weren’t stuck. The saying “Before you buy the coin, buy the book.” does not seem to have reached everybody.

The pennies in the picture are Australian pre-decimal pennies – but they are the same size and shape, just that they have a kangaroo instead of Britannia.