Thursday, April 16, 2020

I Need To Vent

I mentioned last week how I had been selling a ton of records over the last month, probably the best stretch of sales I've had since before Christmas. That sounds like a great thing except, that weekly walk to the post office to ship out all those records is the most unpleasant and admittedly, horrifying hour of the week. It is a source of stress piled on to an already stressful existence. But I do it because I like what I do.

In related news, the United States Post Office is running on fumes. They are short-staffed and let's face it, even before a pandemic, Media Mail was treated like plague, so one can only imagine the delays during a crisis. Because of this, I state very clearly in my shipping policies that there will be delays. This is exactly what it says when you make a purchase from me:

"PLEASE READ! Due to the current situation, I will be limiting my trips to the post office. I am still in business, but I want to be safe. I am a one man operation and will do all I can to get records to you safely. I was shipping daily, but will now be shipping on Monday morning. If enough orders come in, I will also ship another day, but that will be played by ear.
ALSO PLEASE NOTE: This is directly from my post office manager:

"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The USPS is experiencing delays even at the plant level due to staffing issues. We apologize for the inconvenience."

My local post office currently has one teller and one manager. Things are very slow moving, so please exhibit as much patience as you can. Media mail is very low priority right now. Many boxes are being scanned at the final facility, just to keep the work load down, which means, though your records have shipped, tracking may not show movement until the box is actually out for delivery. ALSO: PRE-SHIPMENT does NOT mean "sitting at home." "LABEL CREATED" means "sitting at home." We all check tracking obsessively. I know I do. If you see "PRE-SHIPMENT" it means it is at the post office waiting for an "accepted" scan at the next faciltiy. If you cannot wait it out, please do not make the purchase. I have seen turnaround take as little as a few days and as long as two weeks or more.

Finally, ALL OVERSEAS SHIPPING IS SUSPENDED until further notice. Thank you for your patience and support. Be safe."

I currently have orders going to New Jersey and The Bronx, that took a detour to San Francisco and Los Angeles, respectively, one of which is a $100 Gong boxed set. I have orders that took almost two weeks to be delivered. I have orders that were shipped almost two weeks ago that are still "in transit," and I have orders that were dropped off at the post office as far back as April 6th, that are still waiting for an acceptance scan. Every morning I check all tracking numbers. And every morning my day begins on a stressful note, as I know there will be a customer or two who will exhibit some lack of patience over a $12 record.

This morning, I woke up to this. From a guy in South Carolina, who ordered a Bowie record for $12.99 on the 7th, and whose record I shipped on Monday, the 13th as per my policy.

"why has this not shipped yet? you printed a label but never dropped it off?
whats going on with this order?

I replied:

"First of all, you need to reel it in. We are in a pandemic!
Read my shipping policies!
Your order was indeed "dropped off."
Unfortunately, records and media mail are low priority.
Read the shipping details before you come at me.
Thanks for your patience."

His response:
"this pandemic seems to be used as an excuse all over for bad customer service. so it's not surprising that you would do the same. Nobodys' "coming at you" i am simply asking where the record is i bought back on april 7th your customer service is terrible and you shipping times are too. i also sell stuff and the post office will pick up from your address every day. so your bullshit pandemic response is laughable. anyway you just guaranteed yourself negative feed back with your shitty attitude!
hope it was worth it for you to smart off."

And an extra gift of feedback to my account to boot:

I realize to many of you, this might be something to laugh off. Others might be thinking, "Why the hell is he telling us this story?" Because I am a bit shaken up. Because the post office is basically holding a couple of thousand dollars worth of product with no explanation other than the "bullshit pandemic excuse." Because who needs this on top of everything else? Because if all of my buyers decide to snap, I will not only be out of the money, but the records, as well, as soon as the USPS does indeed deliver them. Because I needed to get this off my chest otherwise, it will sit heavily and cripple me for the rest of the day and weekend.

Thanks for letting me vent.



bing stills said...

Vent away, Sal, it's healthy. Given the current unprecedented world and its woes, there will always be the few who make everything about them. Assholes will be assholes and that will never change. Don't let the bastards wear you down, it's not worth risking your health for no good reason. Hang in, I always enjoy your posts and weekend mixes.

Anonymous said...

any day now Buzzfeed will do a listicle on who does the best mail order during the shutdown. amazon is saying regular mail is taking a month, but if you pay $8, they can guarantee 3 weeks. paid the $8 (it's for Mother's Day), and it showed up in 4 days, same as usual. Just feel a "little" scammed, but happy to have the stuff. i'm just hoping all my favorite record stores are still afloat once this shakes out. the craziest one is Cactus Records in Houston, whose discogs appears to list every piece of merchandise in the store (2000+ pages!).

that guy (assume it was a guy) sounds like a chronic complainer. can you rate customers?

Joe said...

My god, anyone who is not experiencing significant delays in shipping is either not telling the truth or is not ordering online. As a side note, I read that the President would not approve the last stimulus bill if it included any money for the post office - - still ticked off about the Bezos/postal service arrangement. Talking about childish.....

Ken D said...

So in South Carolina "Thanks for your patience" equals "shitty attitude"?
And you wonder why we have nasty unprincipled pricks like Lindsey Graham elected to positions of power.

Sorry to turn things political. I hope his record arrives soon.
And that he drops it on the floor and it breaks to pieces.

Hope your day improves, Sal. Spin some old favorites.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, Sal

Best customer service around.

Thanks for Burning Wood.


Snapperphil said...

Here in the UK, the mail system isn't as bad as it seems to be in the US (but you're in a way bigger country....) Just wanted to say I'm sorry the reaction of that buyer made you feel bad, it would make me feel the same way....whatever the situation, there is no excuse for bad manners....I hope you have a good day today....

kevin m said...

The folks at the USPS are unsung heroes in this crisis. And this guy in SC is a major asshole.

That is my vent for the day.

Rob said...

Anyone who spends any time here will know how much what you do means to you. The idea that you would do anything less than the very best you can to deliver on your promises and obligations is frankly risible. You are one of the good guys, Sal. Don't let some pompous, self-important attention-seeker tell you any different.

itsok2beright said...

The customer is always right, except when they're not. In this case, you are better off without him. But, that comment is out there forever, and it can certainly piss you off. I sold an old beat up Mercedes on eBay years ago. It sold for like $1,500 and the guy still complained that I didn't tell him everything that was wrong with it. His comment is still out there. I still want to give him a smack to the back of his head.

Considering, your guy is a seller, he should know better. Though, he's probably full of shit about being a seller.

I ordered a book online three weeks ago. The USPS tracking still says "Estimated delivery Mon, Apr 6". Obviously, not the seller's fault. I would think that everyone knows the USPS is experiencing the same issues as the rest of the world.

For this guy, if you can rebut, just give him a "Bless Your Heart". That'll piss him off.

pmac said...

People have lost their damn minds. Those in denial are riskng not just their lives, but eevryone else's due to their selfishness, greed and stupidity. I'm sorry you are dealing with this, but I truly believe that there is a mionimum of 30% of the adult population in the US (and maybe the world) that we would all be better off if they were sent to a remote island to live together.

M_Sharp said...

The internet's full of assholes, including me sometimes. There's probably something else going on in this asshole's life and you, being online, are an easier target for him to vent his frustrations on than his wife, boss, politicians, etc.

Your policies couldn't be more clear and the delay isn't your fault. I hope you're able to post your email reply to him in response to the feedback he posted.

I had no idea that the situation with PO shipping was that bad, I'd be stressed too. Hang in there.

Sal Nunziato said...

This was my reply:

"My feedback is nearly perfect. The pandemic is real, not an excuse you ignoramus. You lie in your feedback. You didn't even quote me right. "Don't come at me bro?" Really? Check again. Never said it. My shipping times are stated in my policies. If you did ineed read them, maybe you'd have been a bit more professional instead of reacting like a hurt little boy. My post office is in the epicenter of the USA you blind, insensitive jerk. THERE ARE NO PICKUPS. I AM IN NYC. But fine, you left your feedback already like a child. Enjoy your record when it arrives. Try some humanity next time.

I will not volley with you on this matter. Read my feedback. A recent one specifically states "quick ship even during a pandemic." It seems like you are the only one with an attitude. YOU seem to be the only one disappointed. YOU are the one who thinks the pandemic is bullshit. If you didn't want to wait, YOU shouldn't have placed the order. Why don't you use some of this energy and call my NYC post office and ask them if they are doing pickups before you continue to call me a liar. THERE ARE NO PICKUPS!

The matter is closed. Your record will arrive because it was shipped. You already left your feedback. Move on. Stop harrassing me.

Jim G said...

Good lord, are people assholes. Sorry you had to deal with that. This guy sounds like a real beauty. The internet and the relative efficiency of the mail has spoiled us into thinking our instant gratification should continue without a hiccup even as the world is fraying at the edges these days. Go ahead and vent, at least you are not taking it out on others as this guy is.
I've been mostly fortunate with the few things I've had shipped but a package I sent to my parents in Las Vegas is two days late from the estimated arrival. It's going to happen these days and we should all get used to it.

M_Sharp said...

GREAT reply!!

pjm said...

Vent away Sal. Your reputation is solid. And remember two things:

There are no problems, there are only people
The ignorant are ignorant of their ignorance.

Keep on keepin' on.

neal t said...

Give us his email or # and we can bring the full force of the Burning Wood Army to reign hell on his miserable arse

Rodger Stroup said...

You handled that well, Sal. Feedback like that would have sent me over the edge. I would need a couple of days of musical therapy to rise above that.
I'm currently on both sides of that equation. I'm waiting for a cd that was sent out to me on, of all days, April 7, from Portland. It will get here, but the tracking isn't giving me much to work with.
I've had good luck sending albums and cds over the past couple of weeks. I've got one going to the UK that the Postal Clerk said would probably get there in 10 days. I don't see that happening, but I appreciated her optimism.
Your buyer was an asshole, and definitely deserves to have every bit of bad record-buying karma hit him when his order arrives.


Shriner said...

Ouch. Unfortunate that some people can be real dicks at a time when people should be more a little bit more understanding than usual.

Oh, well, assholes gonna asshole...

hpunch said...

Jeez. Even Amazon Prime records are taking over a month to ship. We were spoiled with their 2 day shipping. But who can complain during this times. I guess just that dick.
And besides, you never say, and didn't write "Bro".

Anonymous said...

Hi Sal,
Just a thought--in time there will be a vaccine to treat Covid-19, but there will never be a vaccine to treat self-entitled dumb jerks!

Sal Nunziato said...

Thanks everyone. I mean that.

avarenne said...

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

Albert Einstein

Anonymous said...

Let me take you back to 9/12/01. still existed then, and I had sold a CD copy of Nick Heyward's "The Apple Bed" to a guy in Brooklyn, for $3.99 plus shipping. Ordered and shipped on 9/8/01, arrived 9/11/01.

I had sold about 50 CD's by that point, top-rated seller, shipped out most CD's the day they were ordered. On 9/12/01, the man from Brooklyn tore me a new one online, half-star rating, because I had neglected to mention that the bar code was hole-punched. (Granted, I hadn't realized he was a collector and should have stated as much. But rather than contact me privately as a seller and quietly ask for a refund, he got online and had some fun.)

I looked up his address: Brooklyn Heights. You know what happened on 9/11 while this guy was stewing about this CD? He was watching the twin towers burning and collapsing, and then having clouds of acrid, gray smoke, paper from offices, and body-part and building ash fall all over his neighborhood, like some unholy snow.

The Nick Heyward CD with UPC hole punch took priority.

That's when I stopped selling CD's online. I pulled up short of paying him a personal visit to convey my condolences, as it was a short subway ride, but that thought served as another unpleasant under-current in a horrible time.

Unknown said...

That customer is an asshole.

Chris Collins said...

this is hard. Thanks for doing this. I wish I had some money coming in now or I'd be buying stuff. to support you AND the postal service.

thanks for keeping your head about you

Guillermo Soler said...

We're on thet 5th lockdown week in Barcelona (Spain) and I haven't bought a record since it started. The best record shop in town (Disco100, if you ever come here) is about ten minutes walk from home, but it's obviously closed. They're selling on line and delivering records through mail, but I have doubts making other guys go around town because I want something which is not essential to have right now. I'd rather pick them up myself, but it's not possible, so I'm hoping in a few weeks the shop is open again to spend my money directly there.
What is clear is that this is a time to support small businesses like yours, Sal.
Take care and let's hope for the best...

Anonymous said...

don't stress out the best you can..and stay safe

great that the gong box set took a little jaunt around the country...daevid allen would have wanted it that way

rip da


dogbreath said...

Well, the chap's obviously an arsehole so I wouldn't worry about it; more things to stress over in your city right now. Keep safe & in good humour! Cheers!

steve simels said...

Sal -- words fail me over the level off assholishness demonstrated those people.

I am reminded of my favorite joke since the beginning of our current crisis.

Q: What borders on stupidity?

A: Mexico and Canada.

Ccjctwo said...

Good to hear you!

Anonymous said...

This kind of a-hole behavior and all-around unfairness just makes me furious--never mind that I know and respect how much of a passionate music fan and scholar you are. Anyone who would act that way towards a record-seller like you, especially at this time, is a goddamn sociopath if you ask me. I don't get how "people" like this can live with themselves. But of course they can, and all too easily, at that. Fuck 'em. I'm sorry you gotta deal with crap like this. I'll check out your vinyl for sale and see if i can send some biz your way. In the meantime, I hope you know that a lotta people appreciate what you do on this site, and dig your take on the music we love.