Unshelved comic strip for 10/27/2004

More Merchandising Woes

A few weeks ago a strange thing happened. I received word from two customers that they hadn't received their orders. This is rare enough, but occasionally the USPS screws up and we know that. But what was weird is that both orders were shipped the same day, in this case by iFulfill, our outgoing fulfillment agent. I mailed them and they assured me that the orders had gone out, and that it was just a coincidence that they had been shipped the same day. I reshipped the orders and cooled my suspicions.

Then today I heard from a third customer, same problem. Except this time the order had been sent by Priority Mail and thus there was a tracking number. I clicked on it and lo, the post office never even received the package. I then clicked on the tracking order of a fourth order sent that day, same result.

So it looks like they actually didn't ship any of the orders that day. I'm sure they'll reimburse us for the fees they charged, but the problem is done. We have yet more unsatisfied customers. Another screwup from Overdue Media - and again it wasn't our fault. At least one person actually got both a sad cow shirt *and* was one of the customers whose order wasn't sent out. Arrrgggh!

Obviously accidents happen and we are not immune from them. But all this goes to make me want to exit the merchandise business, at least in the form we have it now. I am personally spending too much time doing customer service and dealing with the inevitable (but hopefully infrequent) problems of the types we've had lately.

I should have an announcement in a few days that will put this all in perspective. But right now making a little money from selling apparel just doesn't seem worth the hassle.

Folloup: At this point I have been convinced that it's the fault of the post office, who apparently managed to lose a whole bag-o-packages. We may never know for sure. But we're sticking with iFulfill for a while longer.

This Unshelved strip

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