Saturday, August 22, 2020

August 2020 Situation Update

I shut down my eBay and Etsy stores in anticipation of my heavy workload as I started the new school year during this pandemic. 

We are in over our heads.  We are having to do everything completely differently than we ever have before, and at the same time, we are concerned about catching the virus.  I felt like I was drowning in work during the week leading up to the opening of school.  At present, I feel like I am gaining a foothold and beginning to get a grip on the situation.  There are still many unknowns, however.

While all that was going on, I actually took a few brief moments to reflect on the current situation, and I have come to the conclusion that it is not feasible for me to re-open my eBay and Etsy stores anytime soon, as in not at any point during the current school year.

I have some rules that I follow.  Among those rules is one where I do not allow myself to go into any public place later than mid-morning.  I follow this self-imposed rule because the more concerned citizens who wear masks are more likely to be in the stores early in the day.  I do not wish to intermingle with the unmasked people later in the day when they are more likely to be in public places.

(Note:  The situation in Oklahoma is perilous at best.  Our governor has been hiding the White House Covid-19 recommendations for Oklahoma from all of us, while claiming that everything is fine.  His behavior is one of several reasons why many people do not take this pandemic seriously, which in turn endangers the rest of us.)

Even though I am now back to work and around other people (who all wear masks per school policy), I will still limit my exposure by not going into public places later in the day.  I realized that if I were to begin selling again during this school year that I would have to go to the post office between 4:30 PM and 6 PM on weekdays.  No way will I do that.  My post office is insanely busy during that time of day and will be full of people who won't be wearing masks.  Therefore, unless this pandemic magically goes away, then I must keep my stores closed until late May 2021.

The only feasible way for me to sell any books between now and late May 2021 is to sell them in private transactions.  For private transactions, I could ship my books on my schedule, which would be once a week on Saturday morning when I could go early.  This wouldn't work on eBay or Etsy since buyers would be upset by the shipping delay. 

I could consider selling on Facebook and shipping once per week.  However, I very much dislike selling books on Facebook.  Here are the reasons why.
  1. People don't send the right amount of money.  And yes, I have clearly given them the correct total, but for some reason they sometimes do not send the right amount.  Of course, some of them might do this on purpose.  I dislike being forced to be a bill collector.

    Sending an invoice to the buyer will solve this problem.

  2. People say that they want the book and then don't pay for it.

    This can't be avoided, but buyers can be given a strict time limit so that I don't have to wait around forever.
  3. Multiple people want the same book and are disappointed when someone else gets to it first.

    This also can't be avoided, but I can price books at the fair market value, which will cause fewer people to be interested.  Facebook buyers want books to be dirt cheap.  If I refuse to play that game, then I won't have multiple people wanting the same books.  Unfortunately, this might also cause nobody to want the books.

  4. Buyers very often do not give me their address, and I have to ask for it.

    This problem can also be solved by sending an invoice to the buyer.

  5. I don't like the process.

    I have no solution for this.
I'm not eager to sell on Facebook, but I won't dismiss the idea completely.

I pay eBay a subscription for my store.  I do it by the year so that my cost is $21.95 per month, which is $6.00 less than the monthly rate.  I don't pay upfront for the entire year, but I commit to the entire year and will be assessed a cancellation fee if I cancel early. 

My store will automatically renew on September 1st for the next year.  The fee for early cancellation is quite steep, so committing to another year is not to be taken lightly.  If I let my eBay store renew, I will pay $21.95 for September.  If I decide during September to cancel the subscription, I will do so 11 months early and will be assessed a cancellation fee of $87.80.  That's a significant amount.  The cancellation fee does go down each month as the year progresses, but it's still a significant amount.

The logical solution would be just to cancel my store subscription before it renews.  After all, it doesn't look like I will reopen my store until late May 2021.  But there's a problem...

Canceling my store would cause me to lose all of my settings.  I have dozens of categories entered which are there for me when I am ready to list a book.  I have my store set up just the way I want it.  All of that would disappear if I cancel the subscription.  This means that I would have to set up the store again from scratch if I open it again next summer.

I am all about making my life easier.  This is more important to me than saving money.  Besides, I'm not spending as much as normal because I don't go into stores very much these days because of the pandemic.

I don’t want to lose those settings.  Therefore I will allow my store to renew on September 1st even though I plan to keep it closed indefinitely.  My eBay store subscription fee will be a convenience fee.  It will be well worth it.

1 comment:

tom @ said...

Interesting comments Jennifer concerning your book sales. Perhaps the flat rate boxes from USPS are delivered to your house free by the post office. It's my understanding they will also pick up flat rate boxes at your house during the normal delivery times.

I have no idea of the costs involved but it would be a cost of doing business to your customers.

Good luck!