The Internet is My Ball and Chain
Sometimes, just for a fleeting moment I hanker for the good old nine to five. Why? Because when you sell on line your work day is never over.
My current routine is get up between 6 and 6.30 am, switch on the computer, check for bank deposits and overnight sales, sometimes to Western Australia less often these days to overseas (thanks to a strong Aussie dollar and the GFC)
Sometime there is a series of increasingly uptight emails sent at 2 am, 3 am, 4 am ‘Have you received my payment?” An hour later “Have you shipped my book?” at 4 am “Please reply to my emails”
You compose a polite email advising that it is now 7.33 am in Melbourne Australia and no you haven’t shipped the book yet but will do so as soon as the Post Office opens.
Then there is the domestic buyer who chooses Sunday evening to ask where their book they bought last week is. Why can’t they email on Monday night after the postie has been? We don’t have weekend postal delivery in Australia (except at Christmas) so emailing on a Sunday evening seems premature to me. But you have to reply with a if it hasn’t turned up by Tuesday night please let me know and I will contact the PO, send a replacement, issue a refund.
After getting online there is family stuff to do, then I finish packing the previous days sales to drop at the Post Office on my way to the shop which opens at 10.00am .
At the bookshop between customers I put up new listings, send invoices, read the community boards, write a blog post (okay and play free cell).
I operate two separate email accounts, one for the B&M, one for online to try to have some semblance of control over my on line sales. The downside is that emails sent to my home account during the day have to be dealt with in the evening so after I close the shop at 6 pm.
That means an hour or so checking emails etc in the evening. I keep on-line stock at home. Books get moved around at the shop and sometimes they even disappear into thin air so to minimise red dots on my feedback, lowered fulfilment stars and the stress of unfilled orders I have cluttered my house with online stock.
I am planning a building project which includes dedicated book storage but that is a while away.
I like to have every book located and partially packed before I go to bed, if I didn’t have time during the day I might add a couple of listings.
If sales aren’t going well I might get up at some odd hour in the hopeful expectation that I might have had a sale, trouble is I then have to have that book in my hot little hand so I KNOW I know where it is. Then I might pick up something else and think I should list that. Usually then (at this time of the year) I am so cold I go back to bed with frozen feet.
In the morning it starts again.
Sometimes I think if only the B&M was turning over enough stock I could get rid of online and other times I think if only online was turning over enough stock I could get rid of the B&M but for now I think I am stuck with the Internet Ball and Chain.
10 Station St