#167 Just pay separate S&H…yeah right!

April 30, 2010 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

Just pay separate S&H…the hook!

Hi there, hope everyone is having a decent Friday, all things considering. I know many of you read my blogs with the concerns of a loved one in prison, so I can understand if “decent” is relative. But I still have to try to instill in you the hope for today and tomorrow. Anybody can talk about losing faith, being down and depressed, but to talk about how to overcome it can mean so much more to a person with a loved one in prison.

Today I am glad to hear from the very kind person who sent me the $50 gift card to Office Depot, I was able to let her know how much I really appreciated it. My goal now is to continue to encourage her in her trials, and to believe that anything is possible… and I DO mean anything.

And my thanks to some of you that are emailing me, I do appreciate that as well. Some of you asked about my books and products, and I will start making that available in May. One of the things I do is when I give you a price, I let you know how much for the product, THEN how much for shipping and handling.

This is important because I learned that if you don’t factor in the cost for stamps, weight and the large envelopes used to ship, you actually lose money. If money was no object, then I am sure I could find better ways to mass produce my books and cards and other stuff, but right now, it’s just me and this computer, and the help of Staples. Let me explain how I do my books.

Right now I have 3 different “Grades of Honor” books, and I also have a Blogbook as well. The way I try to do it is to make a book of about 100 pages max, there is a reason for this, which I will get to later. Since printing books ahead of time takes too much paper to prepare, I have to kinda do it by request. If someone says they want “Grades of Honor”, part 2, then I can print it out. By printing, I mean page by page, but two-sided, on my computer.

The problem with my computer is that because it is old, I have to hand feed it one at a time…if I try to do multiple pages, the old printer will actually take in multiple sheets, and mess it up. It is supposed to feed one page at a time, but it does not. This kinda makes my process of printing a book longer. I think I can print out a book in about 45 minutes.

Once that is done, and I put a title page on it, I take it to Staples (or any office supply store) and have them bind it. Not like notebook paper, but book binding, using a certain machine to glue the pages and put a nice cover to it…you really have to see what I am talking about. It does look nice after it is done.

The trick however, is the number of pages. My first book is 77 pages, the second 97 pages, the third 107 pages…don’t ask why the 7’s keep popping up. The Blogbook I think is 100 pages. But binding books depends on the number of pages. 77 pages is much less than 97 or 107, so you have to have the right number, or else when the machine binds the pages, it might not look right. Kinda like a person wearing size 40 pants putting on size 44, if the pages aren’t right. So the number of pages does make a difference, and it also adds on to the weight. I try not to go over 100 because the extra weight for the book can cost even more.

Once I get the book, I add a few free items to show my appreciation to the buyer, and get a large envelope to ship it out. Last time I sent books out, it cost about $3 to ship, but I have to see if it went up. Even at book rate, I have to make sure that the cost is covered.

The cost of everything I do for the book, or any products, have to be reflected in the price. Its not enough to “break even” because after all, I need to make some profit so I can do more things, and take care of my own. Then there is this habit I have…called eating…(as we all do).

So the price of my books, and cards and certificates are separate from the cost of shipping, because I want to be honest with you as how much it may cost to send what you ask of me to you. This is not a new idea, but ironically, businesses have gone backwards to mislead people in what they are actually buying.

If you ever watch any of those infomercials, pay very close attention to any product that says, “just pay separate shipping and handling”. Further, at the end of the commercial, pay VERY close attention to see if they tell you the price of such shipping and handling. I say to you, if they are not telling you the price for shipping, you may well be walking into a con.

Just the other day, my mom was asking me about a product she saw on tv some hair curling product that advertised $14.99. She told me she wanted it but when she went to Target, she saw the price was $100. She was like, why is it so expensive. I told her how a lot of those “as seen on tv” ads are con jobs because they don’t tell the consumer the full price of what they will pay. As it turns out, we went online to check it out, and some consumers are very upset at the product, because the $14.99 is a trial period, and after 30 days they charge you $40 for 3 payments, plus the $15.00 shipping and handling, for about $150! If she had bought it from Target, she actually would have SAVED $50!

But often times, these businesses hide the true cost of the shipping and handling, because that is where they make their money. Once you order, they usually get your credit card info FIRST, before telling you the price. This is because once they have it, they can take that money as fast as they can, and you are stuck with a shocking bill afterwards. To me, if you are going to be honest about a product, tell the consumer EXACTLY how much they must pay for it. If its too high, fine, at least they know what it costs. But don’t try to sneak it under the credit card, after you get their info.

And the idea of the “free” item isn’t really free, if they are going to overcharge you for shipping and handling. Lots of these businesses will super charge you because they are not really using the best shipping service…mainly the US Postal Service. They have a commercial that says that if you are shipping anywhere, they can ship at a low flat rate, as long as it is under 70 pounds. That means if it you are sending it to Oklahoma, New York, Florida or California, it would cost the same if you are sending the same product. If so, then there should be no problem of giving that info to the consumer, so they know what they are paying for.

But that is the hook. Since you DON’T know, they can charge what they want, and usually that price is to cover the free item they said they are sending you. Now, I have no problem with any business trying to make money, but to have hidden fees in the shipping and handling takes advantage of the consumer.

It bothers me because when I make my products available, I want to be as honest as I can with those who take the time to support me. For example, if I say my books are $25 each, plus $3 shipping and handling, that $3 is to cover the cost for sending it by mail, and the cost of packing it in a large envelope. At this moment, I have may have to change that a bit, but when I do, I will let you know. If I sent a book out and it costs me $4 to ship, I have to eat the extra, since I sold the book in good faith to the consumer. After that, I can make an announcement of the change in shipping, and work accordingly.

I imagine there is more I will have to do, since this will be a starting point, but I have sold my books before, it just has been a little while since I have pushed it like I am now. I really think you would like the book, or some of the cards or encouragement certificates, and I will try to add something extra for you. It gives me a chance to win you over, so you can see that I really am trying help. As usual, if you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

So anyway, I better get some lunch…and if you see any “as seen on tv” commercials, watch very carefully for the signs of the con…look for the “just pay for separate shipping and handling” and also see if they even give you the price for shipping. If you see that sign, and DON’T see the fee, be careful.

Oh well, until next time…

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Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#166 My thanks for your support #168 The 4 quarters of the Inmate

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