Thursday, 2 June 2011

Roundup

If you work in the retail trade, the customer whose connection with the real world is iffy at best will not be news to you.  Jen Campbell works in a bookshop, and she writes here about some of her more memorable customers.

I don't get a lot of direct customer contact, being an internet seller, but my particular favourite variation of this is the person who contacts me wanting to sell me books.  When the email starts off by stating the seller has already looked up their books on Abe/Ebay/Amazon (subtext so DON'T  YOU DARE ROOK ME, you evil grasping witch), my heart sinks.  If they follow it up with a list of the prices they want for their books, all of which are taken from the least reasonable end of the spectrum, I know there is no hope.  If the absolute top price for a book is, say, £50 for a pretty decent copy, then I, who earn my living from selling books, am not going to pay £50 for a frankly rather tatty one.  I wouldn't pay £50 for a pretty decent one, as that's what I'd hope to sell it at, and before I sell it I have to pay for things like website rental, heat, light, seller's fees, packaging, stationery, payment processor fees:  you know the kind of stuff.    When I've taken the expenses off, I then need to set aside a portion of the profit so I can keep on buying new stock.   As I pay fair prices for my stock (I'm not going to offer you a fiver for the £50 book) this takes up a reasonable chunk of what's left.  And after that, I need a bit left over to live on.

Well, that's the theory, at any rate.  I used to try and reason with these hopeful sellers, but now I politely suggest they try selling on Abe/Ebay/Amazon themselves.  The real doozies then come back and say with horror "But that's so much work."  Well yes, it is.

Sorry, that was meant to be a quick link to Jen's piece and I have, well, gone on a bit.

Moving on, the ever wonderful Christina Wilsdon has a lovely piece about the European snail.  I had no idea that the native American snail and indeed slug was a retiring creature and that the European snail is an evil alien invader which has taken its rapacious and destructive qualities with it.  The Americans have of course given us the Signal Crayfish, but the problem of rogue introduced species is alas worldwide.

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