Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why We Don't Use Fragile Stickers- and Why You Shouldn't Either!

IMG_5021.JPG Not long ago we received a message on eBay from a customer regarding fragile stickers. She started by demanding our email address, ranted about fragile stickers, then at the end added a side note that an item arrived broken.
There are multiple things here that set off red flags in my head. For one, eBay does NOT want you to conduct your business off of eBay. Part of this is for your protection both as a buyer and a seller.
Any communication off of eBay isn't seen by eBay. Granted, you can take screenshots of emails, but agreeing to discuss issues off of eBay is basically a no-no. This doesn't mean I don't handle most things elsewhere, but for situations such as this I like the policy.
Secondly, if you receive a broken item in the mail, you are going to be upset that it's broken- not that there wasn't a sticker on the package. We try to "air ride equip" everything these days, but tire tracks on a flattened package do not lie. There really isn't much we can do about thousands of pounds rolling over our package.
With eBay's set up favoring the buyer (sorry, it is what it is) and the defect system's flaws, many buyers are being conditioned to essentially expect partial or full refunds for any and all complaints. Sure, some are scammers. I suspect this one was a scammer as I haven't heard a peep since my response. I don't know for sure, but a good deal of time has gone by and if it really was broken she would have responded. My knee jerk response is to assume the best, and in this case my gut told me it was the opposite.
Naturally I responded kindly, simply directing her to please send any pictures of damage through eBay's message system and to give eBay a call if she needed assistance doing so. I informed her that we would make it right but eBay required communication to be through their website. I also told her the dealio about fragile stickers.
Crickets.
Fragile stickers may make you feel like you are protecting your package and give you warm fuzzies. Warm fuzzies are nice and all, but they don't keep your item(s) from getting broken!
We have personally witnessed our packages thrown across the mail room- right in front of our face. If that is how they are treated in view of the public, imagine the behind-the-scenes treatment! Regardless of what carrier company you use, they are all expected to move things quickly. Stopping to give white glove treatment to a package labeled "fragile" isn't in the job description.
Besides that fact, have you ever seen a group of kids standing around a "wet paint" sign? One of those kiddos is going to touch the merry go round to see if it really is wet- or just because the sign told them not to. Adults really aren't that different. Do you really want to challenge a disgruntled employee who is having a bad day?
So if these stickers are either blatantly ignored or seen as a challenge, you are thusly just throwing your well-intentioned money out. Skip the fragile stickers and just "air ride equip" your packages. If a customer flips out on you because you did not label a package as fragile, simply inform them that you packaged the heck out if it (assuming you did), and send 'em here!

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