Tony Reid offers his weekly dose of happenings inside Sports Zone, the Central Pennsylvania shop where he works.
Not only do we like to keep it upbeat, fun and light at the shop as much as we can but that’s just my personality in general. We work very had but also make sure to find the time to laugh, goof around and just generally enjoy our day. If you can’t find joy in what you do each and every day then why in the heck are you doing it, right?
Every so often you get smacked in the face with a dose of cold, hard reality from the other side of that equation and that happened twice in the same day this week.
Tuesday morning saw us walk into two separate yet very similarly shady transactions. Both instances happened on eBay with items that we had sold in recent days.
In the first instance we had a priority package that was returned to us. This is something that happens on a pretty regular basis and, generally, is no big deal but as I opened this particular package there was a pink 2 pound dumbbell staring back at me in the place of the $400 Pokémon box that the customer had purchased from us.
As shady is that may seem, it got even worse the closer I looked because the customer had scribbled his return address information off the label to the point of it being illegible. He also cut the tracking number off the bottom of the return label as well. He had clearly done this type of thing before. It’s safe to say that this gentleman will not win our Customer of the Year Award (a very prestigious award here in Sunbury).
As a business that ships hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of packages each day with the post office, I can confidently say we’ve become rather close with our mail carriers. When our favorite USPS carrier stopped by the shop that day I made it a point to see if he could pull his old scanner out and get me the tracking number from the package.
Luckily for us, the barcode was still intact and legible so I managed to get the tracking number and confirmed just what we had thought happened. Within a few short minutes we were on the phone with eBay and within a few short minutes more, the user had heavier issues to worry about than his two pound pink dumbbell.
In a separate and far more expensive transaction, we had another upstanding customer purchase multiple hobby boxes of 2021 Mosaic Football hobby and then claim that he didn’t receive them. He filed a case with eBay and as we quickly checked the tracking it should delivered but as eBay does quite often in this day and age they sided with the buyer and making the return of just north of $5,000 to him. We spoke to our personal eBay representative and explained the entire situation and she flat out said there was nothing she could do for us even though the package showed through FedEx tracking that had been delivered.
Luckily we complete thousands of positive transactions each year and are a profitable business so while the loss stings, if something like this happened to an individual just trying to sell some product I don’t know how they would overcome it. Our eBay customer service representative said that we should reach out to her if we had any other questions or concerns though so, we definitely took solace in that.
To be completely honest eBay’s customer service from our perspective has really been hit or miss recently. There have been plenty of times where we’ve called with an issue and they’ve taken care of it and made things right but there are just as many times where we end the call scratching our heads wondering what the heck just happened. I’m not sure what to make of it all to be honest.
Needless to say, we put some extra safeguards in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again and will be even more diligent than we have been but it’s odd that we had two pretty big scams on the same day. Generally– and luckily– we don’t see that kind of activity very often it all and 99.9% of our customers really are fine, upstanding, honest folks.
On a more positive note, we were able to create new packaging and secure a distribution deal for our very popular Gem Mint Rookie blind boxes that have been selling extremely well since we started offering them late last year. This means they’ll now be available through other hobby shops and outlets in addition to our store, which is obviously a big thing for us.
If you haven’t been following our journey, the boxes contain one graded Gem Mint PSA or Beckett graded card and we’ve tried to make sure buyers will be happy with what they get for their $99.99.
We have updated the box art from our semi professional white box to a very sleek and sexy black box with a better graphic and cover art. We actually sold 60 cases in our first week which is a grand slam home run level of success for us so early in the process. We actually sold out of our new box design, so we had to do a rush order for a second round of boxes and materials. We are carving out time each day to get this process going from from start to finish and I must admit there are points in the day where we are really hustling to get it done. Yet another rather large addition to my already existing rather large workload. Can you sense the excitement in my typed words?
In a really cool early success story, we received a nice order from multiple Scheels locations in the Midwest, thanks to our guy Daryl McKay and company. I had not heard of Scheels prior to the connection through Daryl, but they are a large sporting goods company in the Midwest. With this initial order we hope we can prove that this is a worthwhile product worthy of shelf space in each and every one of their locations.
We are still acquiring PSA tens, BGS Gems (and some Pristine) copies to fulfill these ever growing orders for our boxes. It’s still one of my favorite things to do to see these cards come through the store one by one. Every so often I’ll see one that I have pull aside to buy to add to my own collection.
I blinked and this week came and went. It was nice to kick back on Sunday but we’ll be back at it Monday morning.