Hold up!

One of two things is going on if I’m not posting; I’m busy as fuck, or I have a lot on my mind and don’t trust myself to be coherent about them yet. Sadly, lately, it seems that just when I get to the point of being coherent, I get too busy to have time to write to the extent that needs to be written. Right now I have 28 minutes until dinner, which are leftovers, so I’m going to take 26 of those and write something up!

I need to evaluate my hold policy for work. Things are getting …. well, they’re not out of control, but they’re getting to the point where I can see them getting out of control. So I need to come to a new policy, one that is both fair to the customer (in that they get what they want when they can afford to buy it) and is fair to me (I don’t have to provide space for the item indefinitely, and actually get paid for it).

Let’s say it takes me 15 minutes of online work to change the quantity of an item, relist the item as a custom order for someone, including any descriptions that need to be written and pictures re-uploaded to the new listing. 15 minutes isn’t much. Unless ten people a week ask me, and in that case that’s two and a half hours of work. Is that fair? What else could I be doing in that 2 1/2 hours? Does the price of the item(s) justify the work? How likely is it the customer will be happy enough to recommend me to their friends and family?

Let’s say someone asks me to hold an item. Is it a limited edition item? How many people are going to want it? How long are they asking me to hold it? In the time I’m holding it, could I have sold it? Did I have other people asking for it? Is that fair to hold it to a random person who asks first, if I have to then tell a regular customer that they can’t have it because it’s on hold?

Let’s say someone asks me to hold an item in my sale section. How long do they want me to hold it? Why is it on sale? Do I need money? Do I need the shelf space? How long is a fair time to hold it so that the customer can pay for it but I am not inconvenienced by not getting my money when I need it, or not being able to use the space?

I’ve always been a firm believer in across-the-board fairness; what you deny to one, you should deny to all, and what you offer to one, you should offer to all. But I can’t go around saying, yes, I will totally hold this very large item that I marked down to get rid of, for three months while you do I don’t know what. That’s not fair to me. And it’s not fair to others who might want to buy the item right then and there but can’t, because it’s on hold. Sure, they wouldn’t have been able to buy it if it were sold, either… and you could ask yourself, “who would know the difference”… but *I* would know.

Someone once asked me (years ago) if I would do something for them I didn’t want to do, and they said, “if you were really my friend you would do it.” To which I was all, “fuck you, if you were really *my* friend you wouldn’t ask me to!”. Yes, I am a master of the “You Mother Fucker Defense.” (If you don’t know what that is, you need to read the Sweet Potato Queen’s first book. HIGH FREAKING LARIOUS.)

So, anyway, I have started posting sometimes, when I have something limited, or on sale, or marked down, or more than three people have been asking me about every time they see in-progress pictures, that I can’t hold this something. That it is first-come, first served… the reason being that I don’t want to be a dick to a friend if they ask me after someone else has asked me, and I’ve either already said yes, or said no and now feel that I can’t say yes. However, it does make me look like kind of a dick to say I can’t hold things.

Or does it? Amazon doesn’t hold things; you have the money, you buy it! You don’t, you don’t! Barring layaway (which beeeeelieve me, I have looked into being able to provide, but can’t) most stores are not going to hold things, unless they’re locally owned. I’m willing to be your local grocery store doesn’t hold things. Gas stations, to my knowledge, aren’t going to hold you a couple gallons until Friday. Wait, did I say locally owned? Yes, that’s true. Local stores run by local people who are actual humans, will hold things. I am a locally owned, er, “place”… so why am I wigging out about having to hold things? Is it because space is at a premium? Is it because I have held things longer than I felt I should, and now I’m just getting bitchy at everyone who’s asking, because of one situation?

Blargh. I just want to be fair to everyone. INCLUDING MYSELF. Mostly myself, for my peace of mind. But yes, other people, too… especially friends and long-time customers. But I have a really hard time saying “OK, so I will hold stuff for you, and you, and youuuuuuuuuuuu… but don’t tell anyone. It’ll be our little secret.” I just… I’m way too transparent for that. Besides, then someone I didn’t want to hold stuff for would ask me in person, and I giggle when I lie. So that would go well.

ANYWAY (did I already say that?).

It’s 7:01, I am now officially late for dinner. Anyway. Something. I don’t know what I want to do, but I have to do something, because this is really bothering me. I’m not asking for advice, I’m just venting about what is on my mind. I know that somewhere, there’s a really good idea that is both fair to me, and fair to regular and future customers. I just don’t know what it is yet.

5 thoughts on “0

  1. Maybe now that you put it out into the universe, you will come up with a solution that is best for you. Good luck, I know I would rather you be happy and sane rather than have you hold something. Especially in light of the time it takes to do that, and the space with which you need to work besides store things.

  2. If I was in your position, here’s what my policy would be:

    1) Sale items = no holds at all, for anyone.
    2) Previous customers = 30 day hold.
    3) New customers = 10 day hold.
    4) Special items = no holds at all, for anyone.

    You’re a good person. A kind person. A super-duper-all-round-helpful person. But, you’re also running a damn business and your customers and your friends should respect that.

    PS. If you ever decided to hell with it all – no holds for anyone, ever, for any reason — you’d still have my respect because it’s your damn business and I’ll love your work just the same. (And you, just the same, obviously.)

  3. You made my point – other retailers don’t do holds. Buy it or don’t. I know you want to be nice, but in my experience being nice is not an asset in business.

    You have to do what works for you, for your business. People will adjust. And if you want to hold items just for those people that you’d take a bullet for, that’s OK too.

    I just saw those red “plastic” cups… WANT. But I have to wait until we move and get rid of everything and need to restock. Do you think you hold a half dozen of them for me for six months or so? *KIDDING*

  4. I had to go straight to YouTube and listen to The Beatles; can you hear it ? Hold some things , big things ;…with a non refundable deposit, even a small one will make folk think twice.

  5. I know you said you didn’t want advice, but I CANNOT HELP MYSELF. I was stunned when I read this post. I cannot believe people ask you to hold items. It would never, ever occur to me to ask a someone who hand-makes things to hold something until I could buy it. If I found something I loved but couldn’t afford and planned to save up for, I might send that person a message and say, “Hey, I love this! I’m going to save my money so I can buy one in the future. Don’t stop making this, please! I LOVE IT.” But ask them to hold the item for me? That’s cray cray.

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