Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Patience is a virtue and fiction saves lives

While I'd love to say that I write for a living, I don't. I have a day (and sometimes night and weekend) job, that while it does allow me to do lots of creative things that I really enjoy, mostly that pays the bills and comes with it's share of headaches. Many of those headaches involve writing and reading either in product descriptions or email exchanges, so I'm going to share a few in the hopes that even one of you won't be that person.

Let's say, for the sake of an easy, across-the-board example, I'm selling blankets. I create what I think to straight-forward product description using as few words and sentences as possible because I understand we are all busy and have short attention spans:

Queen size Blanket

Soft, fleece blanket. Fits Queen size bed.  Available in blue (shown) red, white, beige, black and grey. You will be shipped a blue blanket (shown), unless you specify a different color when ordering.

Ships Priority mail within the United States and First Class Mail internationally. Actual shipping rates are shown after adding product to your cart and entering your address.

These are kind of questions I deal with every day, which are the reason I kill so many people in fiction:

1. What is this blanket made of?
2. I like the vase in the photo, where did you get it?
3. What color is the blanket in the photo?
4. I received my order, but was expecting a poster of a blue blanket on a bed like you show. What am I supposed to do with a stupid blanket?
5. I received my blanket in the mail today, but you smashed the box to bits and now it's unusable. How soon can you deliver another one to me in a better box?
6. My order wasn't shipped UPS like I asked for in the notes I put on the order, why?
7. I received my blanket today, but it doesn't fit my king size bed. What are you going to do about it?
8. I wanted a red blanket, but you shipped me a blue one. It says it comes in different colors, but I never saw anywhere to put what color I wanted. How do I get a red one?
9. How much is shipping?
10. How tall is the bed in the photo?
11. Can you show me what that blanket looks like on four poster bed?
12. I received the blanket it in the mail today and when I went to use it, I saw that the disposable bag the blanket came in was wrinkled. Your product is crap. Can I get a refund?
13. I didn't get my blanket that I ordered eight months ago and just realized never arrived. When I went to check the tracking, I see that you shipped it to my old address. I moved nine months ago, but my order shows my old address for some reason. Can you reroute my package to me at my new address?
 14. I didn't get my package and when I went to check my order, I realized I switched to numbers in my address around, and now tracking shows it delivered to someone else. Can you send me a new package? I already paid shipping when I ordered.
15. I ordered a blue blanket like in your photo, but when it arrived, it's dark blue, not baby blue like what I was expecting. What are you going to do about your misleading description and sending me the color I wanted?
16. My blanket was delivered, but someone in the mailroom signed for it and put it somewhere. I can't find it. Can you ship me a new one?
17. I ordered this product - and thanks for shipping it so fast - but I'd emailed you three days after placing my order to ask if I could get two twin-sized, orange blankets instead, but you shipped me a blue queen size blanket. Don't you read emails? I would like to return this blue blanket and get the two orange twin-sized blankets I asked for.
18. I'd like to use this blanket as a table cloth for a birthday party I'm having this weekend, will it repel water and not stain?
19. Is the blanket soft?
20. I'd like to order a blanket in blue. How do I do that?

Other than not dealing with blankets, these are exact questions I have had to respond to.
Please save fictional lives, read descriptions when ordering anywhere, and for the love of all that's holy, double check your mailing information. Thank you.

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