Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Experience With What I Think Should Happen

As anyone who has engaged in internet transactions knows, customer service is all over the board. When we get sensational customer service like the type I regularly experience with - a shipping/warehouse supplies company and yes, believe it or not with PayPal, it makes you feel good and more importantly, valued as a customer. When customer service is not so hot, it leaves one a little frustrated and well, devalued as a customer.

So I'm going to tell the tale of my experience with and no, it was not a positive one but I'm not going to just complain and not offer a solution. Anyone that has been a manager or supervisor detests when an employee points out something deficient but doesn't offer a suggestion or solution. People like that kind of "Yeah, there's a problem there but we can fix it" type of attitude. So I'm going to try to go that route. is a company that brokers Permanent Seat Licenses (PSLs) for a number of NFL teams. PSLs are something that entitles a football fan to buy season tickets for their team. NFL teams use them to raise revenue to mostly pay for stadium construction. PSLs are a one time fee per seat. Well, I've moved away from the Charlotte, NC area so I figured it was time to unload my three Club III PSLs. But forget about all that mumbo jumbo, think of PSLs as any other commodity with some intrinsic value like...comic books for instance. is sort of like an eBay of PSLs.

At, you sign up for an account and create a listing to sell your PSLs. The listing will contain such information as the Section, Row and seat numbers, whether a parking pass is included, close to concessions, sunny or shady side, whether or not the season tickets are included and of course a price per PSL.

I did the usual Googling for a site to sell PSLs and figured would be a good place to start. Knowing nothing about the market, I wanted some guidance as to what I should expect price-wise for my PSLs so I sent them an e-mail on March 9th and didn't get a reply. So on March 12th, I decided to give them a call on their toll free number. Well, they never called back.

I decided "What the heck", it costs nothing to list so why not just sign up, create a listing and see what happens - so on March 13th I did exactly just that. Well, I didn't get much response - in fact I got zero. Well, after a week I decided to lower the price which means you have to edit your listing and the edits have to be approved - as does a new listing by the way. I edited it in the morning and come that afternoon, the edit was not approved. I sent an e-mail to Support via the website and the edit was approved shortly - no biggie.

Well, another week passed with minimal response and it was obvious that I really didn't know how to price PSLs. So two days ago (March 27th), I decided to lower the price again. I edited it at 8:35 a.m. and when I checked at 3:25 the edits where still not approved.

I sent the following e-mail via their website to "Support":

"Edited my listing - #20355 - at 8:35 a.m. EDT today and it is now 3:25 p.m. EDT and the changes have not been approved.

C'mon - you guys can do better than this."

At 3:31 p.m. the following e-mail was sent to me although I didn't read it until I got off of work:

"Your changes were approved around 2:00pm. We have been busy processing sales today. Approving new listings and edits is of secondary importance on our list of priorities. For what its worth, we are making changes in the near future that will eliminate the need for edits to be approved by admin and will go into effect instantly.



I put "XXXXXXXXX" because I don't want to release "names". What disturbed me was that my request for support was considered "of secondary importance on our list of priorities"

Sooooo..... at 8:27 p.m., I replied with the following:

"Ok - let me inform you of a couple of things:

I e-mailed you on March 9th to inquire about your services - no e-mail back.

I called and left a message on March 12th - no call back.

Now I'm being told that supporting your customers is of secondary importance.

But your website touts your expert sales staff - do you see the disconnect that I'm seeing and experiencing?

The first two items you might not of known about but the third one you own.


William Anfin"

At 9:41 I received a reply to my e-mail:

"I have only ever received 2 emails asking us to hurry up and approve edits. Both have come from you. Supporting potential customers at times does take secondary importance to supporting actual customers. I dont think we'll be a fit to work together. I have removed your listing from the site.


OK...... I really didn't get all that angry - went through the self analysis to figure out if I was the one at fault here....and you know, I don't think so. So for all the hundreds if not thousands of listings, I am the only one to complain about the speed of their edit approval process? Possible but not probable. My sister told me something about disagreements that I have seen occur over and over and over... Basically, when someone gets angry or does some sort of kneejerk reaction, they probably realize that they have the weaker position and they are mad about it.

Now for the solution that I think will work: has a pretty slick site - maybe the best one out there for what they do. However, if they keep"potential customers" as if they don't matter, someone else will treat "potential customers" as what they are: Actual Customers. It doesn't matter if you have the slickest site, good old capitalism says that if someone can build the better mousetrap OR treat their customers like the gold they are, they will take over the market share. Look, building one of these sites is not all that complicated at all for any competent database web programmer. If I didn't have about ten thousand irons in the fire, I would think about doing it myself.

I later found out that the person who figuratively kicked my tuckas off of is actually the owner of the site. So it appears he is running a one-man show - i.e. he is Sales, Marketing, Order Processing, Clerical....etc. What this fellow needs in the worst way is a Business Coach - he just doesn't need it, he is screaming for it.

A business coach is someone who mentors entrepreneurs, managers...well just about anybody in the world of business - but the market for business coaches was made out of mentoring the Mom & Pop businesses of the world. A great business coach will assess your qualities to determine your strengths, your weaknesses, what people you deal with effectively and obviously which ones you struggle with as well. They will listen to you, help you lay out a plan for your business, set goals - i.e. "coach" you to success.

I have been fortunate to know one of the best business coaches in the world - Harvey Smith of Carolina Business Coach. Harvey is a major reason why Walkin' Willie's Comix is cash flow positive and on course to have the best year ever in the 21+ years of our existence. That ain't bad...

So continuing my unasked for advice to the owner of, don't walk but RUN to Carolina Business Coach - things might be great now but if you continue to treat customers the way you do, it won't be long until someone steals your customers. Remember, PSL selling sites are not hard at all to make so customer service - or the lack thereof - is how you will differentiate yourself. If you go through the program at Carolina Business Coach, you will thank me....I guarantee it.

Now that ended positively - just the way we like it....

UPDATE 4/5/2012: Just sold my three PSLs to a very nice family today and without a broker to boot so things are lookin' great! Baby's gonna get a new pair of shoes!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The WORST Comic Book Lots EVER!

No...we aren't talking content - more like condition. Any of you that follow my eBay auctions know that I have been putting up some really rancid looking comics the past month. I scored the worst condition collection of my life back in early December - there were literally 10 to 15 books that I just had to throw away and that was AFTER keeping some of the COVERLESS books. Thing is, it was all DC, Marvel, Gold Key, Dell and Charlton Silver Age with about 30% Bronze Age from the same publishers - couldn't pass it up and got it on the cheap which is the only way a dealer can ever make any money in comics these days. Well that and digging out a book that can fetch a high CGC grade... but I digress...

Anyway, I decided to have some fun with them by telling like it is - i.e. these are the "WORST lots EVER on eBay" and describing them as such. So after a month, we are finally down to the last few lots - four of them ending tonight (Tuesday, 1/24/2012) and the remaining 12 lots ending this Sunday (1/29/2012).

So the clock is ticking to check out some really LOOOOOW grade comics - I mean some really horrible looking stuff....Enjoy!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Need Shipping Supplies? Don't Buy From BrownCor

Gotta get this off my chest.... Like many small merchants, I buy my shipping supplies in bulk from various packing supply companies. I've bought from BrownCor (packing tape), ULine (mostly white shipping boxes), Bubblefast (bubble wrap) and Bags Unlimited (comic specialty items - boxes usually). I buy from these different companies because of quality and price.

Well, that changed this week after placing an order with BrownCor. I placed the order on Tuesday, 1/10/2012 and used my PayPal Debit/Credit card. I was charged $88.77 immediately for the cost of the case of packing tape - but no shipping charges. BrownCor then charged me $99.09 on 1/12/2012 - an amount that includes $8.80 for shipping and $7.13 for Tax (doesn't say "Sales Tax" on the invoice, just "Tax"). I e-mailed BrownCor on 1/12/2012 and asked what gives - i.e. I am out $187.96 from my PayPal balance and there is no tracking number for the shipment. I am writing this on Saturday morning (1/14/2012) and there STILL is no tracking number... and I ordered this case of packing tape on Tuesday....

BrownCor did e-mail me back on Thursday and said the following:


The $88.77 amount will drop off. When you first place an order there is an allocation run on your card for the original amount and then when the order ships, the total plus shipping is charged. I apologize for the inconvenience."

So in other words, this is 2012 and BrownCor cannot figure out shipping charges on their products when they are ordered. BrownCor had four days to ship my order but it hasn't shipped yet and my PayPal balance is still out the original $88.77 and will be until at least Monday as BrownCor is closed on the weekends.

So get this: I ordered some boxes from ULine on Thursday, 1/12/2012 and received them on Friday, 1/13/2012 and was only charged ONCE and there was NO SALES TAX.

Anyway, I e-mailed BrownCor - well, replied to the e-mail I was sent - and let them know that this was an intolerable situation and at a minimum, I needed the "allocation run" removed today (Friday, 1/13/2012) and get my $88.77 back - well, that didn't happen so like I said, I am out the $88.77 until Monday at the earliest. On top of that, they have had my order for four days and haven't shipped it. WOW!

If I treated my customers this way, I wouldn't have any....period. So I am down to three packing supply companies that I will buy from as it will have to get mighty cold WAY DOWN BELOW before I ever order from BrownCor again.

Whew! Glad that is off my chest.... Hope everybody else is having a nice day!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Well, Happy New Year and time to get off my duff....

Can't believe I've been over three months without blogging - maybe I was in an alternative continuity....who knows? But I'm back so to speak and have a lot on my mind so check back often during the next few weeks.

Anyway, I've been beta testing a new social plugin for where you can promote a special deal for your website on Facebook - sort of like Groupon. Anyway, the "deal" is for a CGC 9.8 copy of Ultimate Spider-Man #115 Zombie Variant for a mere pittance of $29.00 with free U.S. Shipping. Signing up for the deal runs out Tuesday night (1/10/2012).

Also been eBaying my lil' butt off these days. Scored a collection of some of the most beat up Silver and Bronze Age comics EVER, selling them in lots and promoting them as the WORST lots EVER. Read the auctions, check out the scans and you can tell that there is definitely TRUTH in advertising.

Finally for now anyway... been putting up a bunch of modern CGC books over at - check 'em out.

Sorry for all the e-commerce talk (well, sort of...) - will get back to fomenting my opinions very shortly...