OK; after an idea in the shower (what is it about hot water and shampoo that makes one come up with ideas?), and talking it over with a few people, I think I have the “hold” thing worked out.
EDITED TO ADD: This is 100% not to make anyone who has ever asked me to hold things, feel bad. The pressure I feel to have an egalitarian policy comes completely from myself, and not from any customers, friends, or friendstomers. If anything, this is more geared towards new customers that I’m picking up, so that I have a policy set in place that makes all animals equal (even though we all know that some animals are more equal than others, and there’s your Orwellian quote for the day).
First I want to tell you more about why I’m doing this; let’s say that I post a picture of something I’m working on (“Scenes from a work day”). Four people comment “OMG I WANT THAT”. I’m only making one of them. Three of those four people have never bought anything from me, and I’m pretty sure they’re saying it just to say it. Which is flattering, and believe me when I say my ego loves that, but it doesn’t keep Princess Cat in Pill Pockets. So. Two out of those four people I will not hear from again when I post the photo of finished objects (“Fresh from the HaldeKiln”). Let’s say I don’t hear from any of those four people. I list the item, taking the time to take the photos, edit the photos, write the listing, decide on a fair price, etc. I list the item; I post about listing the item. Maybe something happens right away, but maybe nothing happens for a week. Then one day I get an email at my work email account, which I have open on my computer from about 7 in the morning to 6 at night, seven days a week. Someone wants the object, can’t pay right away, can I hold it. Sure, I can hold that. But then, what happens if I hop on Facebook three hours later, and find that someone messaged me through my work account on Facebook (not very effective, by the way, since Facebook is completely random in choosing how to let you know you have messages on your page, as opposed to the regular message system for people). Let’s say that the person who messaged my work account on Facebook wants the same item; only they messaged me the night before, and I didn’t get it because – believe it or not – I’m not logged into Facebook 24/7. But now I’ve already pulled the item for the person who contacted me via email. So what do I do? Do I sell it to the person with the earlier time stamp? Even though the person who emailed me second, is the one I saw first, since it went to something I have open all day? What if the person who messaged me via Facebook is my best friend in the entire universe? How can I come up with a system that, unlike my heart, knows no favorites?
So. This is the best I could come up with. Two new items in my shop; a down-payment for a one week hold, and a down-payment for a two-week hold. The Reader’s Digest Condensed Version is that you purchase the deposit, I pull the item, and on the first or second Friday after (depending on whether you have made a one-week or a two-week hold purchase) I list it for you, with price adjusted. I will list the item as a custom listing, with price adjusted, and email you a link to the custom listing. After that, you then have until the following Thursday to purchase the item. If the item is not purchased by that Thursday, I relist the item for general sale, at full price, and your deposit is non-refundable.
That’s the best thing I could think of, something that I can blog about, post about, and then as people email me in the future to ask about holding things, I can direct them to that. It’s hard, sometimes, being the mom. Thanks, y’all, for listening.
PS. Edited to add! A friend asked me last night, if someone purchases a two-week hold, and can’t buy it in two weeks, and then later they buy another two-week hold for the same item, do they get $28 off instead of $14? The answer is no. If I have to relist the item, the deposit is forfeit. In that two weeks, I probably could have sold that item – especially if it’s a one-of-a-kind; so the deposit is non-refundable. I know I just made a joke about being the mom, but I’m not your mom. If you can’t buy it, or you forget about it even if I’ve emailed you, I can’t help you. I don’t mean I *won’t* help you, I mean that you may have some things going on that are beyond my ability with which to help. YES, I am human. In a rare case involving car accident, tree on house, or death in family, I am open to negotiation (but like Ferris Bueller’s Principal, I’m going to need to see a dead body — or need to see you smooch Mia Sara in front of me). Multiple offenders of my generous nature, however, will find that my humanity becomes less gracious over time.