Not so long ago, after we added “https” to help boost web visibility, we (figuratively) sat back and waited for orders to flood in. Ha! After 16 years of running the site, we’ve seen highs and lows: server crashes, structural changes, redesigns, loss of webmasters, mail disruptions. You name it, it’s happened.
Then Paul showed up.
Regular readers know we don’t identify anyone to the point of being able to track them down, unless there’s a good reason. We won’t break that rule now, but will tell you Paul is a customer who lives in the USA. He made a good-sized “normal” order of a few cards, and then … the dam burst. Multiple orders, detailed lists, all continents, all themes, most countries. Paul ordered well over 1000 postcards.
During the correspondence, he explained his interest in postcards generally, his existing collection, and his general reasons for buying cards he wants. We don’t ask a lot of questions because it’s not our business to do that, but if customers want to volunteer why they like what they like, we’re happy to hear. Paul is clearly a well-traveled person and when he says “I walked down those steps in ___”, we believe it.
Now consider what this means administratively for the website. First, remember the same card often exists in a geographical and one or more theme categories. For example, Mt. Kilimanjaro appears under “Tanzania” and also “Mountains”. Whenever a card sells, we must edit the entry to say so, and this means determining all the reference numbers connected to each card. The site has no automatic way to do this. It’s quite a job. We don’t delete entries until we’re certain the card reached its destination.
And selling individual cards isn’t the same as selling books on Amazon. In nearly all cases, a card is unique. Sometimes we have multiple versions — maybe one used, another unused — so we need to describe them separately. Paul would buy one of those, so that part of the entry needs editing. You get the idea.
Then came Hong Kong’s Covid-inspired postal disruptions. Not just Hong Kong, of course, but as we’re here and can only sit and watch things shut down, we had to deal with the loss of airmail on top of new Customs regulations requiring electronic filing and onerous details of anything larger than a one-sheet letter. Paul has been outstandingly understanding about watching his parcels go by registered surface mail.
Finally, the real impact on the website: the sudden presence of so many (SOLD) notices. It can’t be good for a site like this to show so many, and they won’t be there forever, but this also means a few country categories and even theme categories have been depleted or nearly so. This is a global site and we mean to keep it that way. It still offers a good variety of cards, but now we need to decide whether or not to replenish some categories, or combine them, or what. This also means deciding whether to break up sets and list the cards individually. Paul wasn’t cherry-picking, if you know that term. And even if he was, the cards are online and openly listed: anybody can buy whatever they see. Paul has, indirectly and accidentally, forced us to re-look at everything from pricing (some of it 16 years old) to structure, categories … everything. See if you notice any changes coming up.
We have no idea if Paul reads this Blog or not. Either way, we were delighted to receive and process his orders and to learn more about his interests and background. Whether someone orders one card or 1000, we’ll do our best. And we know those postcards have found a good home.
So here’s for a Happy Lunar New Year (Kung Hei Fat Choi; Gong Xi Fa Cai) approaching, with good health and safety for you all.
This post has One Comment
Hi, I think this calls for some smart a*** comment (you know I am full of those), however,, given the nature of the site and blog, I will refrain. Great to hear that the drought has broken, although it remains to be seen if it is just a thunderstorm or a change in the season. Lockdown in HK, what else would you do to fill in the day?
~Goloh replies: There are plenty of ways to fill the day but postcards are the most pleasant!
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