Was it Chaucer, in a reference to vulnerability? “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”. Do you know that running a website with unique birdhouses and many a glass bird feeder is one thousand times easier than trying to sell it and close a deal? This is basically just a vent it & forget sort of post, and since it’s my blog… well it’s a good place to do so.
Let me introduce some nice folks by the name of Ed and Deb, yes, those are their real names, and if I never, never hear them again it will be all too soon. Where did they come from and who are they?
Actually The Birdhouse Chick.com was listed for sale not too long ago, and there was much preparation involved in just getting it to market. It seems the technical aspects of the website, and Google’s fantastic new shopping model (not), the ever changing web, and lightening fast technology just don’t jive with the chick herself anymore – makes my head spin and it’s not what I signed up for five+ years ago.
Yes, I do this business myself; website, blog, buying and sourcing, marketing, fulfillment, janitor, customer service… everything that a 26-hour day allows! The face of retail’s changed a lot, and competing with the big boys is not my forte. In fact, certain aspects of retail are beginning to turn my stomach. One of the big ones being, who can import the most junk from overseas and sell it the cheapest? Do you know that on some “shopping channels” companies now spell the manufacturer’s name backwards to exclude them from price comparison? Oh please give me a personal break here, what’s the next low to dupe the consumer?
Our customers? Absolutely love them! They are the best, at least 20% are repeats, and many have become friends with out of state visits (Janners), text messages when it’s time to order live worms (Captain Ralph), Linda in VA who always asks for bigger discounts, a thank you and hand made gift from a customer in CA… the list goes on and on! We receive photos, lots of testimonials, and that in itself is pretty darn rewarding! You see, we (I) set out to do something different in 2008, to build a better product (business) that stood out from all the rest, in personal customer service, better quality products, and unique birding items that were not found all over the web.
But back to the story: Ed and Deb were very interested in purchasing the Birdhouse Chick.com (I think the testimonials and warm & fuzzies appealed to them, or to Deb anyway). Certainly the numbers must have done something to gain their attention too? They proceeded to make an offer, and although the offer was accepted, they sorta got cold feet and backed out. Quite understandable (especially when one’s earnest money is refunded in full) and you’ve never run your own e-commerce business before. Now what’s the point of “earnest money” if you can just walk away with a full refund? Oh yeah… they also knew nothing about running an e-commerce site, a merchant account, how you get the orders, or how the money makes to your bank. I believe the four-page prospectus/interview stated” “Someone with e-commerce knowledge, and a bit of marketing savvy would be best suited”.
Besides some local folks right here in Atlanta were interested as well (they have three websites), so after the wind had been knocked out of my sails, I thought we’d just move on. As a means of closure, I sent Ed and Deb a letter addressing their concerns. Basically it was a very polite dose of reality. Never in a gazillion years did I think they’d respond, and in retrospect, I truly wish they wouldn’t have 🙁
You see, their original offer was back on the table! Huh? This really mucked up the waters now, as a choice needed to be made: Door number one with Ed & Deb, or Door number two with Atlanta folks? Well whenever there’s a 50/50 shot at the correct decision… for some reason I can manage to get that wrong 90% of the time. Since we’re already “in the works” so to speak, Ed and Deb are chosen, and it’s full steam ahead! They were double loaded with questions and concerns, and how-to’s, and yada, yada, yada. During the busy month of May, I took time to answer myriads of questions, trained on blogging, gathered a vendor list, and countless other tasks, which also in retrospect, should not have even commenced until AFTER closing. Due diligence and training definitely converged down the wrong path on this deal.
Wanting a later closing date, I asked: “Well, Ed, what if I go through all this training stuff and you back out again?” You know what he said? “We won’t do that to you again”. Now, let me state that once more: “We won’t do that to you again”. Ed was granted access to all accounts, could see daily sales, contact emails, everything pertaining to his new business to be. That’s quite a large girth for pre-closing, wouldn’t ya say? All because, “we won’t do that to you again”. Omg… how could one possibly be so stupid and survive in the business world? But I could also ask this: how does a broker allow their client to fall within such a vulnerable spot? Simply reiterating that there were “risks associated with both choices” just doesn’t seem like a whole lot of thought or effort was put forth in securing the deal or protecting the seller?
Since this story is long enough, let me just wrap it up by saying, “Yes, they did do that again” One week before closing (and because Ed and Deb got to dance with full earnest money back) they did indeed “do that to me again”. So now, the broker has lost, the brokerage firm has lost, the referrer has lost, I’ve lost a true, local buyer here in Atlanta. And to boot… what I thought was poison ivy- is shingles from the sheer stress of working with this bogus buyer and over-booked broker.
Hey Ed, may your irrigation system cause you as much pain and suffering as you’ve caused me, and may others always do unto you as you’ve done to them.
So, you wanna sell your website? I’ve no good advice at this point, but hey, if you’re interested in The Birdhouse Chick.com… just give me a call or shoot an email… Glass bird feeders and all 🙂
Before the holiday draws to a close, save some time for quiet refection for all who have served and were lost, and to wish those who carry on, be protected while protecting our freedoms.
Hmmm, could there possibly be a vacancy in there? A Carolina Wren seems a little perplexed with this one! Determined to find a secure nest cavity for the mrs. and his future brood, he’s been eying up some decorative birdhouses the last few days. An inviting natural perch on this one (a stick from the yard) allows observation from a safe vantage point.
After a few trips back and forth, the wren does indeed take a fancy to this fun birdhouse, and soon begins dragging in nest materials of moss, dried grasses, rootlets and pet hair. We load up and offer natural nesting materials early in the season to encourage birds to take up residence.
Due to several factors, there really is a severe shortage of natural nest cavities. Competition is fierce, and it’s left many birds literally fighting for space to raise their young. Real estate is tough out there, so even the craziest birdhouses can help native species thrive!
Ventilation, drainage, and a safe distance from entrance to nest are a few important factors to consider. With this in mind, many a beaked buddy would be thrilled to call these decorative bird houses “home”!
As a company concerned with fostering stewardship and conservation in general, we’re finding this story quite disturbing, and thought posting it was in order to help raise awareness.
Washington, D.C. (May 21, 2013) – Jeffrey Flocken, North American Regional Director, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement regarding the serving of lion meat at restaurants across the country:
“It is extremely worrisome to see restaurants across the country promoting the sale and consumption of lion meat. The African lion population already faces many obstacles for survival: a restaurant’s choice to serve up lion meat is simply irresponsible.
As we witnessed at eateries Taco Fusion (Tampa, Florida) and Mokutanya Yakitori (Burlingame, California) in the last couple of weeks, and many other establishments over the last few years, customers respond negatively to publicity ploys like novelty meats. Modern history shows that almost every restaurant serving lion meat has pulled it from their menu as a direct result of public backlash. A recent Synovate poll found that 63 percent of Americans would stop frequenting an establishment if it started serving lion meat..
The African lion population has declined by more than 50 percent over the last three decades, and as few as 32,000 remain in the wild. In March 2011 IFAW, along with a coalition of animal welfare organizations, petitioned the U.S. government to list the African lion as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. If listed, serving African lion meat in the U.S. would be illegal.
Restaurants serving lion meat send a message that they promote exploiting endangered animals. It not only alienates their customers, but it undermines conservation of this iconic species which is already fighting to survive.. For any restaurants considering serving the meat of this imperiled species, we urge you to reconsider: African lions must be conserved, not consumed..”
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org/bigcatadvocates.
Bold colors in the landscape can be lovely, be it flowers, statuary, or even a vibrant birdbath. But some gardens may better lend themselves to a more natural style, maybe a soothing zen-like appearance. These results are best achieved when using materials found in nature to create the space.
These most unusual teak bird baths fit the bill perfectly when more quiet surroundings are desired. Available in small or large, they may be placed directly on the ground, deck or patio, or raised using a nice planter or iron stand. Birds do tend to bathe more naturally at ground level, but you can bet that fresh water is always welcome at any level.
Teak you say? Yes! It’s one of the most dense and durable woods available. You know that fine teak patio furniture (that costs a fortune) it’s made for outside and to withstand the elements. Made from reclaimed teak, these bird baths are sanded and polished to further protect them over the years. They’re beautiful in the landscape and no two baths are exactly the same. The generous thickness of the bowl and texture offers birds good footing and lots of perching spots too.
Although some of these bird baths are 5 to 7 inches tall, we recommend a water depth of just 2 to 3 inches for bird’s safety… especially this time of year when lots of babies start fledging the nest!
When a package was received in the mail today, I had no idea it would be a gift from a customer! Not only the nicest letter any business owner could hope for, but a stunning hand made bracelet to boot!
Reaction: OMG! Although the birdhouse chick has received many accolades and notes for wonderful customer service and great birding products, I don’t recall ever receiving a gift!
Did we go above and beyond on this copper roof birdhouse order? Not necessarily, it’s pretty standard procedure that if something should go wrong, we fix it fast and follow through. January’s frigid temperatures can sometimes cause the vinyl on these houses to become brittle. When shipping companies handle the boxes too roughly (dropping the box out of the truck instead of carrying it) the vinyl may crack.
So a new base for the big birdhouse was on its way the next day, but when it came time to discard the broken one… our customer couldn’t bear to part with it! Inquiring on repairing the original base, she asked if it was possible to purchase just a roof, and salvage the damaged house. Of course we obliged and all turned out well. No, better than well… it turned out great!
We Wish You a Very Happy Mother’s Day!
It’s the innate characteristic of a mom… be she two-legged, four-legged, feathered, furred or finned. To protect her young, nurture and raise them to the best of her ability.
In the feathered sense, moms have been flat out obnoxious around feeders lately (dads too for that matter). The timid chickadee and titmouse who usually grab one worm and politely fly off, have been stuffing their beaks with as many worms as possible. Some fall to the ground but never go to waste as a few robins have learned this is a most popular hangout – below the mealworm feeder.
Frenzied feeding is in effect as nesting season is in full force. Babies, babies everywhere, and frantic parents are constantly hoarding wild bird feeders. Waiting almost until dusk, when just a few cardinals are left feeding, I sneak to the mealworm for Mrs. Phoebe. She doesn’t stand a chance with all those titmice and chickadees. Like a crazy person in the morning when starlings are spotted (one gulp and ALL the worms are gone) I go running outside, as tapping, no banging on the window no longer works. They try and shove their heads inside the bluebird feeder! Migratory visitors like cat birds and thrashers are even bigger pigs!! Bluebirds (with 5 nestlings) would rather not use their enclosed feeder, but they may learn to like it real soon!
Hey Dr. Seuss: usually timid now birds so bold – the bigger the beak the more it will hold 🙂
That’s mom. bluebird feeding nestlings as dad looks on from his favorite perch – sorry about the poor photo quality. The houses appear closer than they really are, and there are two schools of thought on this: Pairing houses 10-15 feet apart will sometimes eliminate competition for the nest box, while the other is that bluebird houses should be at least 100 feet apart as they’re very territorial birds.
But this setup has seemed to work well in our yard over the years, as titmice or chickadees claim the wooden box, while bluebirds always go to the Gilbertson first. That’s actually a heat shield wrapped around the house, as temperatures were sweltering during the blue’s last brood. One of those car windshield heat deflectors… easy to cut and works perfectly!
Not only for feeders, a squirrel baffle offers protection for eggs and nestlings. Raccoons and squirrels are less likely to mess with babies inside a house if they’re baffled. Curiously puzzled and blocked! In all sizes and shapes, for poles, posts, or hanging, squirrel baffles work when used correctly. This entails sizing up any “horizontal launch point” which is just making sure the furry acrobats can’t jump sideways from anything that would allow access to the house or feeder. Remember the crafty critters’ sideways jumping capability is about ten feet!
Spring migrations can bring the coolest birds around. Not that we don’t enjoy our resident bluebirds, cardinals, chickadees and other usual suspects, but there’s something really exciting when one of these migratory visitors graces your yard. When one thinks “finch” it’s commonly the house, gold, or purple finch (who’s more red than purple) that come to mind.
These blue birds happen to be finches too. Indigo buntings’ vibrant plumage is just as electrifying as goldfinches’ lemony hue is during peak summer season. You’ll find buntings at finch feeders, and honestly it’s hard to miss that color. They go for tiny seeds found in finch mixes, as well as nyjer (or thistle) seed.
Their visits are always brief with us, moving further north for suitable breeding grounds. Painted buntings may also be seen at finch feeders, but we’ve spotted them only one time. So maybe it’s not the feeders themselves that are so colorful, but the spring migratory birds who frequent them… be on the look-out!