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Thu Nov 3 2016 22:40:42

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

By: Reader

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
RE: Your article "Shipping Costs More Important to Holiday Shoppers than Speed" (link)

After years of selling online, I think the answer to my question of "What in the world are buyers thinking?" has been answered. Apparently twenty-five percent of online buyers live on a different planet than the rest of us and believe that shipping is actually free. 

Shipping is NEVER FREE. The buyer is either paying more for the item as shipping costs have been included or has paid for a membership to cover costs of shipping. 

I imagine it is a high percentage of these same twenty-five percent of online buyers that have more problems with the items they buy than most, and are Return Queens. The Post Office is not a tooth fairy leaving free packages on your doorstep. They are a business that charges for their services.
 
Side note: We all pay more at the Post Office for postage to make up the huge discounts the Chinese, Amazon, and other large shippers get on shipping costs.
T.




Comments (15) | Permalink

Readers Comments

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Fri Nov 4 02:32:52 2016

Well said.

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Nov 4 16:32:01 2016

Entitled buyers. Free shipping, free return shipping, keep the item even though they get a refund.  All enabled by companies like Amazon and eBay.

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

by: topdog This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 6 23:19:14 2016

Rexford, they are geniuses for doing it. Think about it - they get to be generous with our money! They don't pay for any of those things, and they raise the bar so that either the rest of us do the same or lose market share. What normal seller can give full refunds for used items, free return shipping, etc? Only Amazon and eBay can, because they can make others pay for it. I may hate it, but I recognize that it's a genius business move on their part. They use their advantages to crush the competition

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Sun Nov 6 23:20:44 2016

Thank you, OP.

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Nov 7 02:13:26 2016

Well said OP.

I have 'meet' one seller that did think that FREE shipping literally meant that. He kept preaching free shipping to all of us and yet when questioned about his prices how he could offer free shipping he said because it was free. Turns out his dad worked at the PO and he would dump off all his sales to dear old dad and dad would mail them for him and never charge him so he was either stealing the postage price or subsidizing his grown son's business! At that point when we questioned how dear old dad was paying for the free shipping he shut up and we haven't heard from him since. I think he realized that several of us were prepared to track down dear old dad's PO and question the postmaster about what was going on.

There is no such thing as Free shipping any more than there are things such as free lunches. Buyers that think sellers can afford to ship for free (I refuse to)and then give out refunds while they keep the product, must think all sellers are rich instead of many folks just trying to make ends meet. Kind of like rental tenants - why should they pay the rent as all landlords are rich mentality.

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 7 10:18:15 2016

Isn't it almost free for the Chinese???

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

by: betsys.bijoux This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Nov 7 11:23:07 2016

Thank you for putting it so well - this needed to be said!

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 7 11:49:10 2016

These are the SAME  "entitled"  people  who  think  that  cutting taxes  on  billionaires  will mean that those  1%'er's  will then generously GIVE  the   ones with lower  incomes  and no trust  funds the change.  

They ARE  the ones that think "Trickle  Down"  works  and does not mean  that some one is pissing  on  you and  hoping YOU  will  think  it's  raining.  

Let's  NOT  encourage  this.  Vote as if  your life--and  your business!--depends  on it.  Because--this  time more than EVER---it  DOES.  

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

by: Joey4711 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 7 19:36:48 2016

Amazon and Ebay love being free with others peoples money.  Ebay helped create the Epacket and the post office accepted it.  What makes no sense is why companies are allowed to let a company lose money (post office) government service, yet these same people will cry how how the deficit is.

Hmm, we lose money on every epacket that doesn't effect the deficit? Hello on what planet?

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 8 12:40:34 2016

For 17 years selling on eBay, I constantly struggle whether to mark an item with free shipping or not.  Will ''free shipping'' motivate shoppers to buy from my store?''  

''Free shipping'' to a near by state is not a big expense, but that ''free shipping'' to the West Coast can be dire to my bottom line.  Items one pound or less are good candidates for free shipping, but over one pound that is not an easy marketing decision.

How much to increase the price of an item to cover shipping before the price is too out of line turning off would be buyers?

Also, ''free shipping'' can complicate an offer from a potential buyer.  An offer can sound good until I start including the cost of packing and shipping.

But then when I am a buyer (mostly on Amazon), I compare sellers who include shipping with the cost of the item to those who charge shipping separately. Low man wins! Which means Amazon Prime is automatically excluded.  No free lunch there.

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 8 14:49:30 2016

That which is "free" is never valued...

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 9 07:24:27 2016

Every claim of 'free' shipping that is not materially absorbed by the shipper is falsely advertised and thus illegal.

No such falsely advertised occurrence has ever been prosecuted.

And until such are prosecuted, the buyers who are either lazy, or actually are ignorant, will continue to pay for services illegally advertised.  

''You're foolong yourself if you don't believe it.
You're kidding yourself if you don't believe it.''
--- Styx, 'You're Fooling Yourself', Grand Illusion






The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Nov 9 10:54:34 2016

@Toledo
If you shift it into your item price, like you have to do on Amazon, your product just sits at the bottom of the list while more desperate sellers are presented higher.

I really feel for any smaller seller who relies on e-commerce income to make ends meet.  I've struggled to subsidize this enterprise with an unstable salary for five years and came to the conclusion last year that I couldn't do it much longer.  I don't feel outcompeted, I feel attacked on all fronts.  My shipper squeezes me to coddle foreigners, my venues deliberately steer customers away, my distributor deceives/shorts me, and my suppliers flood the market with reissues while old stock stagnates.  It's madness and I want out.

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Nov 10 13:35:37 2016

Offering Free Shipping is just not the best thing to do on all listings.  You need to know the market for whatever it is you are selling.  Some things move just fine with Free Shipping and other items not so much.

I have a mixture of stated shipping and free shipping with the stuff I sell.  I have found it works best for me and the products I sell.  

My rule of thumb is I do stated listing on products that usually results in multiple purchases by the same buyer.  This way they get a combined shipping savings.  

But on other things I have immediate payment required and free shipping.

The best thing to do is what works best for the products you well.  Sometimes that requires some testing and research to get it right.  However if you start testing the waters, keep in mind you need to do it for a good period of time to get the real idea of what is best.  They can't be one week or one month work of testing, you need to do it for a longer period of time to get the informative data.

@snapped

Offering or stating Free Shipping is NOT illegal.  It is however a marketing tool and some products do very well with that and some don't.  

It isn't illegal.  When we offer free shipping, you roll the cost of shipping into your product price so that you are covered for the expense.  That is just like any other business expense you might have.  You don't have to separately state how you come up with your product price.  Some choose to roll all their costs into the purchase price and some don't.

It is no different than those that choose to put handling charges / cost into their stated shipping charges.  Some people choose to put the handling costs into the price of their products and not into the price of shipping.  That doesn't make anyone wrong nor does it make it illegal if you don't choose to put your handling charges in with shipping charges.  And to note what someone deems is there handling charge, those costs are suppose to be the direct costs of performing the act of shipping something out within reason. But what it does mean is that seller decided what worked best for them, nothing more.

The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy   The Post Office Is Not the Tooth Fairy

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 11 08:59:35 2016

@Marie

No matter in what fashion or by what 'breakdown' anyone advertises what is in fact an included cost that is materially paid for by the buyer - by any means - to be 'free' instead, is a falsely advertised product.

False (thus materially illegal), because such cost, or any part of such cost being advertised as 'free', IS in fact being paid BY the buyer, no matter how cloaked.

And it is not the same as any other cost that may be embedded in the offering's 'markup' because THOSE costs are not being advertised as 'free' so to induce a sale.  

Call it 'included' or 'not charged seperately' if it is otherwise embedded regardless of need to itemize.  That's fine.  Or don't call attention to it at all.

But justifying it as 'free' as a 'marketing tool', because 'everybody else' does (because such is not prosecuted, to my point), or because it, or any part of it is embedded and thus not otherwise identified does not render such a false and illegal claim true.  

Or in a grander sense, moral either.



 



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