Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On not operating in a void

Some of you may or may not know that I list about shelf's-worth or so of items on half.com at any given time, mostly specialized items that might command a higher price than the general Portland ME public would be interested in paying (e.g., textbooks, some odd rarities). The money I make from doing this helps pay utility bills at the shop each month, and lets me take in some books that would otherwise sit on my shelves for an eternity or get dropped into the free bin.

I focus on my bricks and mortar shop for 99% of my sales, and enjoy doing that. I sold online for years on eBay, and especially with all the email automation they've instituted, the experience is just not the same, and certainly can't hold a candle to dealing with people face-to-face in my shop. Besides, I don't want to cherrypick what comes into the shop -- my Congress Street customers should be able to walk through my door with the expectation that on my New Arrivals table or on the general shelves there will be a treasure waiting for them that they weren't expecting to find.

I don't let that affect the amount of care I pay to outgoing books that I've sold online, however. Each one gets carefully packed and sent on its way in the hopes that it will arrive at its new home in the same condition that it left my shop. Rarely do I hear back from the buyers, and it really does feel like I'm operating in a vacuum most of the time when it comes to online selling.

And then... once in a while, something happens like this, and it makes my heart sing:
I just wanted to thank you (or whoever packaged my book) for impressing me to the hundredth degree. To start, your box is one of the safest boxes I've ever received any package in, book or otherwise. When I finally opened it, I was surprised by the packaging peanuts; no one has ever put packaging peanuts in a textbook delivery box for me in the past.

Then, after all of that, there was the book in gift wrap. ARE YOU SERIOUS? That is awesome. GIFT WRAP? You/your company are/is amazing. AND THEN THERE WAS THE LITTLE HANDWRITTEN NOTE! Seriously, that is amazing. I have never wanted to not throw a box out so much before, but I guess there's a first for everything.

Thank you for making my textbook purchasing experience astounding. I will definitely remember to check your company first for any future purchases. THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU!
It was a terrific way to start the day. I just wanted to thank everyone out there who goes out of their way to tell someone that they noticed what they were doing, and how much care they took to do it each time -- and I do so on behalf of all of us online sellers who feel like we're floating in outer space through much of our online transactions.