Is this really annoying or am I just a curmudgeon?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by iamcuriositycat, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    So a couple months ago someone on my duckling list backed out because she was going out of the country and her dad decided she'd better wait. [​IMG] Fine. Not a huge deal, although it did mean I ended up raising three ducklings I hadn't planned on raising and might have been able to up-sell to previous folks on the list if I'd tried.

    Anyway, she said she still wanted ducklings and that my end of July hatch would be perfect timing.

    So I told her the hatch date was July 29, give or take two days, and that the babies would be ready approximately 24 hours after the hatch. And that I would contact her when they started hatching to give her a better idea of exact dates and pick-up times.

    So today I sent her an email to let her know that the babies were starting to hatch and that babies could be picked up Thursday, Friday, or on the weekend.

    She wrote back to say that it was a real shame because she was planning to come to Charlotte with her mom tomorrow and wanted to pick up her ducklings then. She's not sure when she would be available again.

    Um. Tomorrow's the 28th. I told her weeks ago that the ducklings were likely to be ready by the 30th (i.e., hatch around the 29th and be ready 24 hours later). What in heaven's name made her think it was a good idea to make plans to come get the ducklings on the 26th? And if coming to Charlotte to pick them up is such a big deal that she doesn't think she can make it any other time in the near future, what was she thinking in asking me to reserve ducklings for her?

    Am I in the wrong here? Overreacting? I am just feeling very cranky and this kind of irresponsibility annoys me. I was quite ready to overlook the initial problem because I figured she's just young and her father's wiser head prevailed. But now... just cranky.

    Luckily, it's a sold out hatch with a waiting list, so if she can't make arrangements to come at the specified time, then the ducklings will go to the next person on the list. I feel bad for her but... sheesh.
  2. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    I would not feel bad and would cancel her order. I'm not selling ducks at this point, but I am in the retail business and have seen it. We had customers returning items not in original condition with parts missing that I personally packed, and yet they claim it wasn't there. Pain in the ....
    I've learned and adjusted our business terms letting me retain 10% of the purchase price or even refuse the product coming back. Don't get me wrong, I don't really charge this to regular returns and only charged the 10% once in the past 5 years. Only those that really mess up the product will get charged, and you have something legally to fall back on if needed. Ducks are not merchandise, but you should safeguard yourself too. First I would reserve a 25-50% non-refundable deposit on pre-orders, which will be refunded if you cannot produce within the agreed time frame or something went wrong on your end. That way the customer gets some assurance too. You should also set pick-up dates and times, no exceptions. Trust me a serious buyer will understand and have no issue with it. This will guard you somewhat against the loosy goosy people, who want but don't know when or what. Orders can only be placed by adults and they must agree to your terms.
    I know it stinks to put up terms because of the few morons out there. At the same time it makes you sound more serious about what you do.
  3. cracking up

    cracking up Songster

    Jul 29, 2009
    So Cal
    I agree with both of you. The sooner she finds out how to take responsibility for her actions the better. I had three people want guinea keets but one had bought from me before and this time he wanted them older. I told the other two I was sold out and now he has not called back twice, but when I call him he says he will come tomorrow - just doesn't. Now I have month old guineas that need a new home and I'm not happy about it. He's young but not that young.
  4. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Thanks, guys. It's good to hear I'm not alone and not out of line on this.

    And this has got to be the worst set of customers ever. I am just tearing my hair out right now. I've had such good luck with customers in the past but... I just got off the phone after an HOUR with someone else that I should have politely refused to sell to (and may still). But they are friends of a friend, and the daughter really really really wants ducks and supposedly has done a bunch of research. But when I called to tell her the ducks would probably be ready Friday, she asked if she should buy anything for the ducks before coming to get them. She actually said she was going to go to Petsmart and buy them some food.


    So then, what I should have said is, "You know, I hate to do this, but if you haven't figured out what to feed them when you've had over a month to prepare, I really can't feel comfortable selling them to you." But I can't stand to break the little girl's heart. Ack. The little girl who supposedly has done a bunch of research. Ha! So instead I just spent an hour of my evening on the phone telling her everything she needs to know, including the fact that she needs to call the company that makes the weed killer she put on her lawn two months ago to check whether it will be in the soil still because it could kill her ducks.

    So now I think I have to call them back and say what I should have said to begin with. Sorry, no deal.

    Of course, that may mean I end up with extra ducks after all--even a sold out batch of ducklings can end up being extra ducks on my hands if no one on the reservation list is qualified to buy them.

    By the way, I always always send a care sheet to customers at the time of their reservation and strongly recommend that they read it and call with questions. But this particular customer doesn't have email and I am trying really hard not to discriminate on the basis of being technologically in the stone age. Obviously, I'm not even capable of discriminating on the basis of idiocy, but that's my problem not theirs. [​IMG]

    And yes, I agree about taking deposits--that it's a great idea. But although I've had people back out in the past, I've usually had enough of a waiting list that it's only that one time been a problem. And folks are reluctant to place a deposit on a $5 duck.

    Anyway. Thanks for letting me vent. I think I am going to have to make a difficult phone call, but I think I'll do it in the morning. Sigh.
  5. percyj

    percyj Songster

    Jun 20, 2010
    I'm a teen, and I did 5 yrs of begging and research before I got a dog and 2 yrs of research b4 my geese. 1 month and she doesn't know
    what to feed them? I'm not trying to be mean to her, but.....even if they are 5 bucks, their lives and souls are worth so much more.
  6. TLWR

    TLWR Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    southern AL
    Just to play slight devil's advocate...
    I've researched ducks since February. I'm an adult.
    But I'm a learn by doing type of person, so even though I've read what I need to do or have on hand plenty of times... I won't be confident I'm doing it right until I do it, double check it was right and then keep going.
    At least she's doing some last minute making sure her bases are covered.

    But they are your ducklings, so you have to be comfortable with where they go.
  7. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Songster

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    percyj, thank you so much for that. It's good to be reminded that being young is not an excuse for idiocy. [​IMG] I do feel kind of bad, though, because this girl doesn't have the Internet, and I'd bet $20 her mom doesn't take her to the library... so where is she supposed to research??

    But... it's the mom who is the responsible party and if she can't figure this stuff out what is she going to do when the ducks start hobbling because they're not getting enough niacin or their wings are sticking out because they have too much protein in their feed...

    And TLWR, I totally get what you're saying. I try so hard to give folks the benefit of the doubt, and I guess I like the fact that at least she's asking the questions (seems like she should have asked them a month ago but still...). But there are other warning signs here too. Like the fact that she doesn't want to brood them in the house because she has marble floors and doesn't like messes. And the fact that she verbally cringed when I told her they would tear up her lawn. And the fact that she didn't even know they would need a brood lamp or what a brood lamp even is. And the fact that they treated the lawn with chemicals at all... at least it occurred to her to ask but... I'm getting the feeling that this is a woman who is going to HATE having ducks because they are going to mess up her perfectly manicured yard. Also the fact that she wanted to know whether they were likely to disturb her neighbors (again, isn't that something she should have thought of before?). She also asked about the legalities and I really shouldn't have answered that question... I should have told her I'm not qualified to give legal advice.

    Oh, yeah, and the fact that she was surprised to hear that she would need to feed them as adults, that they wouldn't just forage for their food. And she seemed very eager to find the cheapest way of doing everything (don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of cheapwadding it, but when it comes to animal welfare...).

    And if she hasn't found this stuff out in the more-than-a-month since they decided to buy the ducklings, is she going to bother to find out what she needs to know as they grow and change??

    Argh. I think I am going to have to pass. You are so right, percyj--a $5 duck's life is still a life. Sorry for the little girl's heart, but it doesn't do her any favors to teach her irresponsibility or place her in a position of loving a pet her mother is going to hate either.

    Thanks for the support, guys...
  8. katharinad

    katharinad Overrun with chickens

    You know how the saying goes. You can lead them to water, but you cannot make them drink.
    You need to somewhat distance yourself from the duckling's future. Yes, you want the best for them, but you cannot control buyers. The care sheet is the best you can do. You are not selling expensive fancy price winning ducks, where you can afford the time in teaching the owners. Give them a the sheet with recommended reading material and basic care instructions. You are already doing this with email, and simply mail it to those that don't have email at the time of deposit. That way they can prepare themselves.
  9. percyj

    percyj Songster

    Jun 20, 2010
    No prob! And while the care sheet is an excellent idea, Katharinad, you shouldn't lead those ducks to poisoned water-which is what someone who doesn't want to care for those ducks is.
  10. greathorse

    greathorse Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Northern Colorado
    I am not sure that the fact that she asked questions about caring for ducks is an indication she doesn't know what to do with them. I am sure she knows to give them water and food. I am guessing she has a good idea about what to feed them but may not know where to buy it. I frankly don't know if pet smart sells duck feed or not. I would never go there to get it but for all I know they carry something for ducks.

    I would never consider checking to see if fertilizer from two months ago was ok for my ducks to be on or not. They will be in a brooder for some time to come so can't imagine the lawn would pose a problem for them.

    I am guessing if they are talking to you about concerns they will in the long run do a good job raising them.

    I think most folks do less research on raising kids and most turn out ok. Others read all the books and raise kids from "well you know where"

    I think if it were me I would worry less. The folks that expected you to have birds early well those I would simply discount

    I think very few folks are prepared for ducks and geese and the mess they make. The up side is if they wind up being too messy for their taste they can always invite them as a dinner guest and the problem is solved.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2010

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