Why Amazon Is Hurting My Small Business

There are times when I order from Amazon and the package is at my doorstep within 4-5 hours. I don’t understand how this magic works, but I don’t mind it, either.

Until.

Until it starts to dawn on me that Amazon has raised the bar so damn high it’s kind of killing small business and what people expect from of us. I had a customer write an irate email to me last night because she was so upset it took me two days to ship her “LET’S DAY DRINK” t-shirt.

TWO. DAYS.

She ordered on Saturday night at 11:00 p.m. and expected this shirt the next morning before church. Presumably so she could wear it to church. The shirt had shipped by Tuesday (less than two business days after she ordered.) But she was still FURIOUS.

I’m dwelling. (Can you tell?) I take things too personally, Chris tells me this all the time. I just don’t take the rude emails well, and I also just really hate disappointing customers. Even the less than pleasant ones…

I have a shipping assistant, a woman who works very hard and (inventory permitting) will typically ship an order within 6-12 hours of getting it. (Check out my etsy reviews, people rave about how fast she is.) However there are times when I just don’t have the correct inventory and an order will have to wait a few days. Like for example when St. Patrick’s Day is a few days away and everyone is after the same specific shirt… 

I don’t have a warehouse. I don’t have a team of people working for me. I have my shipping gal, a t-shirt room, and Harlow. And as of Tuesday night, I also temporarily employed my mom, my sister, and my five year old niece Lola who begrudgingly agreed to take a break from her budding makeup vlogger career to help pack shirts. (She wasn’t happy about this. When I got a call from her Tuesday evening around 8 p.m. I was nervous to pick it up because I knew she’d have a thing or two to say. And I was right.)

But if you’ve ever ran a small business, I’m sure you can relate. This is what it’s all about. Pushing through the harder times, and then begging everyone you know to help out during the crazy times.

The good part is that the positives outweigh the negatives. The impatient Pattys only come out during peak order times. Otherwise, I’ve somehow managed to acquire the most awesome, encouraging customer base. People who leave customer notes like, “Harlow is the best.” And, “I love your dog,” and also, “Harlow is the best.”

So what I’m saying is that Harlow gets a lot of nice notes, and every once in awhile someone will say, “you seem pretty okay too.” 😛

I also love the self aware customers who leave a funny little note like, “hey, I realize my lack of planning should not be your emergency, but can you send this shirt like asap and make it your emergency, k thanks bye!” And it’s not because they’re cutting me some slack, but it’s because they’re treating me like a human. Whereas the other emails (the ones that aren’t quite as nice) are belittling and it’s as if the person sending them doesn’t realize I’m actually a person too, not just a computer screen taking their orders.

The point of all this to say, be conscious of how you treat people. Via email, on the phone, whatever it may be. There’s someone on the receiving end and chances are they’re doing their best. And yes, they’re probably very happy to have your business, but just because you’ve given it to them doesn’t warrant you the right to treat them however you please.

And yet when I’m really being honest with myself, I know that the Universe gave me this job to teach me a lesson. Not so long ago I was that impatient Patty firing off emails not realizing what a jerk I was being. But now I realize. And I hope someday they do, as well.

 

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