Sunday, October 11, 2009

No fear shipping & handling

If you have ever sold something big enough to wheel into the Post Office you may appreciate this.
Now that my ankle is mostly healed, I had no use for the portable wheelchair. Not that I used it anyway. I had dreamed of getting my dog to pull me down to the park for our twice daily strolls, but he just zig-zagged me out into the street. Say goodbye dream.
Anyway, after a very short time as a fixed price item, it sold for my asking price of $150 with $65 shipping charges. I had determined these rates by researching previously sold portable wheelchairs of the same brand and model as well as current offerings.
For once I thought I had figured it about right and told the UPS franchise store operator, yes, I had charged the buyer $65 for shipping. She shook her head and asked for 20 minutes to figure out how they could box and send it for me. She was still shaking her head as we walked out the door and my stomach began to churn.
After nearly 30 minutes, my cell phone rang and I was told the bad news. It would cost at least $250 to ship, IF they could find the right boxes.
We beat a hasty retreat pushing the chair back to the car and spent the rest of the day searching for boxes, cutting boxes, disassembling the chair and fitting it into boxes until I thought we could ship it within budget or close to cost at least.
Next day, we trooped down to the Post Office with 3 very different boxes in graduated sizes. (I believe in shipping GREEN). We weighed and measured the biggest box first. The verdict did not make me happy $85 for just this box and it would not arrive for 8-9 days. I had failed to take dimensional measurement as Length + Width + Girth. 
On to the UPS Customer Center (not a franchise this time) and another fresh experience. 5-6 people were already in the tiny room pecking away at terminals as they stood at counters. This was a new experience to me, but with a little help from other customers, I managed to get my shipping label printed for each of the 3 boxes. When my turn came, I held my breath. The clerk weighed and measured each box and confidently slapped labels on them and dispatched them before she gave me the price. Panic was setting in!
Just before my face turned blue she took my PayPal debit card and said that will be $82.60 and your packages should be delivered December 1st.
HooRAY! I could stand to eat the $16.50 but I was still left with one nagging worry. What if the recipient was disabled and living alone with no one to help her assemble the chair?
I sent her an email with the tracking numbers and instructions given to me in an email from UPS and my usual "hope you like it... please give me 5 stars..." message. At the beginning of the email I told her my concern that I had hoped to get it to her by Thanksgiving so there would be a good chance of having visitors that might be able to help her assemble it. I also gave assembly instructions.
The angels were with me and touched her heart! I opened my email early this morning and got a very nice reassuring email from this wonderful buyer telling me putting the chair together should be no problem and wishing me a Happy Thanksgiving too.
This will be one more thing on my list of things to be thankful for!

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