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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Tell Me It Ain't No Magic Hat Trick!

I have been feeling a tad disturbed and troubled since yesterday. A customer of mine informed me yesterday that after collecting her stuff for her baby from me 3 days ago, she only realized yesterday that 2 items were missing. Now, I am 101% sure that I did put the 2 hats in, absolutely indubitable! I had paid my supplier for the hats and when I received them, I had updated this customer's invoice before putting the hats inside the parcel.  I have records of my payment to my supplier for the 2 items.  The terms and conditions of my online store states that for missing item or defective item, the customer must report to me within 24 hours upon receipt of parcel. So I have every right to reject her claim. But this customer is just too nice to reject her outright. You see, it hurts and it pays to be nice!!  Sometimes I wish I had a heart like Cruella who would not give a d*mn on how other people feel as long as I feel good! People say you have to be cruel at some point to be able to climb up real high!  That explains why I can never reach that high!!

This customer does not seem to be the trouble-maker kind of customer. She is amiable and warm. I can feel it through our chats on FB.  There is really a big mystery surrounding this missing hats case. She had wanted to come and pick up the stuff from me so that she could meet me.  After 3 months from the date of purchase, she finally told me that she could pick up the stuff from me at my condo on one afternoon. As I had to go out on that day, I left the parcel with the guards at our condo and gave instruction to the guards to pass the parcel to her. But she did not turn up. I had to go down and collect the parcel back from the guard at night.  Then about 1.5 months later, she told me that she could come and collect her stuff again.  Again, I was not free to wait for her and had to pass the parcel to the guard at the Guards Control Room.  She finally came and pick up her parcel. But 3 days later, I got a shock when she told me that 2 items were not in the parcel.

I quickly checked the cupboard that I keep all my customers' parcels and almost turned it upside down. I went through each and every customer's parcel to check if the 2 hats were inadvertently placed in the parcel but NO, no sight of the hats. I sat down and checked the invoice again, over and over again and the more I tried to track back the sequence of events, the more assured I was that I had placed the 2 hats into her parcel.  I then began to feel that there is something really creepy going on.  There seems to be a creepy magic hat trick!?  These days, everyone in our country is talking about MAGIC... not going to elaborate further on this political magic, lest I get arrested too.  I just don't understand how the 2 hats can go missing! I asked my customer to check her car and house and she said she could not find them.

In my 3.5 years running this online store business, this kind of problem has never surfaced. I dare say I am an overly cautious person in nature. I would check the customer's invoice against the items in the parcel and again check the invoice against my email / FB message with the customer before sending the parcel out. I would repeat this process at least two times before I seal the parcel. Sometimes when I feel uneasy, I would open up the parcel again to double check for the last time before sending the parcel out. I know very well the consequences if any item is left behind or if  I send the wrong item to a customer. All my profit would go towards the return  postage by courier!

Now, how would you handle this situation?  I can feel that she wants me to pay her for the 2 missing items but how can I pay for a mistake that is not even a mistake that I made? Maybe she had really misplaced the 2 items herself?  It is her words against mine.  But then I should also give her a benefit of the doubt.  But who will give me a benefit of the doubt?  Though the 2 hats do not cost me a hundred bucks, it is not the money that matters. It is a matter of principle and I want to darn know where the heck the 2 hats disappeared to!

Oh yes, I even went to the guards control room to view the CCTV footage and got some unkind comment from the chief guard.  I do have some suspicion that the guard that day took the 2 hats but heck, they are hats for babies! But who knows, the guard took them for his baby girl?  Fark, all the possibilities have been running wildly in my head for the past 2 days and this missing hats mystery is making my mind sick!

I am still waiting for my customer to revert on the next course of action. Running a business is never easy. It is even tougher if time is not always on your side... when you have to divide yourself and juggle all your tasks (personal, kids, business and what not) carefully every single day. Sometimes it is not money that makes you unhappy but everything else that surrounds the situation or the problem. I could have just refunded her the RM60 but I am not the type of person who splashes money for the wrong reason. I know the hats are in the parcel but where the heck are they now?! Dear God, please let the truth reveal itself soon, amen...

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