Paying it forward: Environmentally speaking

A few months back, I was left some positive feedback from a customer who purchased one of my items on eBay. However this same customer sent me an email admonishing me for sending the item in a used bubble mailer. I will admit, I was a little offended at first. I strive to try to wait an hour or two before responding to emails like this. I determine if it is worth responding or move on. In this case I decided to educate the buyer and see if that works. Keep in mind I have shipped out over a bagillion cards via this method of used bubbles and only 1 person has complained to me. That’s a pretty good batting average. I could give John Olerud a run for his money. Haha!

Let me give you a bit of background on why I offer free shipping. I am also an avid eBay nerd and buy quite a bit to fill my own collecting needs. I save any bubble mailers that are worth re-using. Mind you, the post office does a good job of mangling some parcels which I naturally recycle the contents via the recycling bin. The rest I save. When I list items on eBay, I am considering the fact that the customer doesn’t have to pay for the additional 40 to 50 cents for the bubble mailer. I pass those savings on to my customers. I also consider all my costs in with the sale of the card, such as the costs for penny sleeves, top loaders, tape, stamps and team bags. You would be surprised how these little things add up, but I try to buy my supplies in bulk so I am not losing my shirt with each and every sale.  Finally, I am a believer in being environmentally conscious. We have to make our world safer and easier for our offspring and of course Mother Earth.

Now, I do have items in the eBay store that are listed for $3 and under. Of course I can’t offer free shipping on these items. What I do is offer a flat rate of $4 to cover the postage and handling for an infinite number of purchases from my store. If the customer purchases enough items, usually over the $6 dollar mark, I will either remove the shipping charge or discount it further. I handle this on a case by case basis depending on what they buy and how I am shipping the items. Another way to pay it forward and give the customer the best deal. I still use recycled mailers for these purchases as well.

For items over $50, I usually pay out of my own pocket for express or insured shipping and tracking. It costs me between $14 and $23 to do so. Yes, postal services are expensive if you require tracking and insurance.

Now that I have given you some background on how I work. I decided to explain this to the customer in a very shortened and concise format. I felt better and moved on. Taking the time to explain my side of things made me feel better. Now I can move on.. LOL.

Sidebar: It does irk me how much we throw out when busting wax. There is so much packaging and I see many folks just throw this stuff in the garbage. Especially at the expo. Combined with the amount of plastic we use, top loaders etc. it all adds up! There are some potato chip companies who have chosen to package materials in biodegradable bags. I wish some of our product manufacturers would consider the same thing. I love the hobby but we sure do a good job of wasting. I will make sure my items end up the blue bin. I am only one person but at least I feel better that I have made the effort.

Thanks for reading my post. This was a long one!


3 responses to “Paying it forward: Environmentally speaking

  1. While receiving an item in a used bubble envelope doesn’t bother me, I can see how it might irk someone else. Many people don’t like seeing things different.

    We’ve become far too programmed in the “penny sleeve, top loader, new bubble envelope” routine that any drift from that is an outrage (ok….maybe not an outrage, but you get it).

    I think the two main points to look at are – did the item arrive safely and was there any deviation from protecting the card completely. That can be done many different ways.

    But because most people do it a certain way, anything different immediately (and sometimes wrongly) gets criticized.

    I applaud your wanting to reduce the waste produced by buying and selling in this hobby. You should post the link to this thread to your ebay “buddy”.

    I’ve recycled the odd bubble envelope, but I am always concerned that once it has gone through the mail system, it gets compromised a bit.

    Hard to argue with you batting average though.

    Good post.

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