As we've gotten into the Holiday season again here, a continuing concern specific to the Doctor Who toys and action figures keeps coming across our desk, and deserves a bit more information to help answer customer concerns. We know none of you want to be late getting your orders, especially when getting gifts for others!
Our distributor for the toys and action figures is unique in the way they do business...as are all businesses, each in their own way...but the particular demands of the market on them are different than on other product lines. Their business continues to evolve, as does ours.
Today, on the phone, in asking them about ways in which communication can continue, and in trying to find ways to be more helpful, they let us know they're, well, swamped with orders. If there's a new release, they CAN'T process all their customer orders on a single day, because the volume of orders for them doesn't allow it, and probably won't in the foreseeable future. So, they try to pick some method that won't discriminate consistently against one group in favor of another. For the moment, as all else was causing problems, they're at the point of picking a letter of the alphabet, and starting to fill orders from there, rotating through for each new release, so none of their retailer accounts is always on top or on bottom.
In an ideal world, each of us would have infinite time resources, infinite help to handle our business, a perfect shipping system, infinite funds, and so on. We struggle here, though we have the luxury of being able to call in extra staff some days when there are a lot of parcels to ship. And, we're finding ways to be more efficient with our sister business, Annie's Book Stop of Worcester, but, to be fair, business is partly about using as few resources as possible while satisfying customers, and it's supposed to be a challenge.
Where this matters to you, our customers, is we do NOT always get things on our shelves on the same day as everyone else. For many of you who have discussed it before, you already know that's always been the case, and that isn't changing. Sometimes, we get things a little earlier. Often, we get things later, especially as many of the suppliers are now on the West Coast or overseas, and the simple fact of geography is merchandise takes longer to get to us from our suppliers than to some others. With the latest need of our toy and action figure suppliers to stagger shipments, this is only going to get more obvious, even if we get some specific items far sooner than others.
But, it also means you shouldn't panic that we're not getting you what you order. We're going to fill your order more often than anyone else, especially for Doctor Who merchandise you've pre-ordered. We're the most experienced Doctor Who specialist retailer in North America, and we take more time talking one-to-one with our customers than anyone...that's a huge advantage. In most cases, compared to everyone else selling the same items, it will be at a savings to you, usually including shipping charges, depending on where you are and what you order. Some of our competitors are actively trying to get some of you to think otherwise. We know, because some of you are making us aware of the propaganda. We take it as flattery when others seem constantly to need to target us that way. We're in our 37th year of business here, and we're about doing business for our customers, giving even demanding customers what they want at a fiercely competitive price, and doing honest business in a reliable way you can count on long into the future. As obvious as this sounds, our business is nothing without customers.
If this time your order arrives early on some figures, we're happy to process orders quickly, but that's also a bit of good fortune that we get some things sooner than others. If we're a little later, again, it's kind of a luck-of-the-draw kind of thing now with these product lines. I wish we were in that "perfect world," and could delight you every time in getting items to you before anyone else has them for sale. But, in reality, we have to ask you to indulge us by taking the information here, making an objective decision, and understanding our commitment to always be your best and most consistent alternative for purchasing the items we offer.
The marketplace is competitive. That's how it should be. It's expected. We are grateful for the respect and trust of so very many customers as we've seen this Holiday season, with relationships with some now well into a fourth decade. It's a privilege to keep trying to earn that trust, and to also hear very often from customers who have tried our competitors, then tried us, and know they're always going to stick with us in the future. It's not about a huge ad campaign here. It's about you, our customers.
If you're new to us and wondering if we're worth a try, other customers have tried forums to ask for an opinion. When word of mouth is involved, we usually are the ones who get, and keep, the customer who was asking the questions. We hope you'll stop by and let us know what we can do for you, too!
Thank you, as always, for your support.
---Michael & Patty