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Ah, 'tis the season. When you're selling stuff on a website, December means only one thing - Christmas. People will tell you that Christmas is great for business and, in one way, it is. Sales increase by 300-400% for three weeks. That's got to be good, right? Well, maybe. I'm a great believer that there is only so much money to go around. If you spend it all in December, fair enough, but that just means you won't have it to spend at another point in the year. In other words, all Christmas does is condense sales into three weeks, but these are sales you would have got in the year, if Xmas didn't exist. It doesn't increase sales per se, it just redistributes them.
There's no point in sales going up by 300% in December if they're 300% down in January, and that's often the case. On top of that, because we print all t-shirts to order, it's an incredibly stressful time of year and the print team have to work long hours. It also has to be said that for a few people it's not the season of goodwill, it's the season to email abuse to poor, good-natured rockers like me. I have to wear a crash helmet at all times because I'm on the front line.
Now, this might be stating the obvious, but no-one dies if a t-shirt gets stuck in the mail or goes astray. It's annoying, it's frustrating, but it doesn't call for a death threat. Nor does it call for a brusque "where the f**k is my t-shirt?" email. But Xmas seems to wash a desperate psychosis over a few people.
Can I just say here and now that if you haven't got your order by Xmas, it won't be our fault. All orders get printed and sent out on time. After that, we have no control. We'd love to ride around from house to house on a dappled mare, handing out packages of t-shirts personally whilst singing the entire catalogue of Deep Purple music, but instead, we use the mail system.
Yet, one of the constants of the last 13 years of selling t-shirts online is that there is alway a customer of ten who can't grasp that fact. Their first assumption if they haven't got their order is that we are at fault, somehow. That we haven't printed it, haven't sent it and are basically incompetent or malicious. We're neither.
This is quickly followed in some circles by a weird paranoia that DJTees is all a hoax. A 20-year-long ruse to con a few dollars out of idiot rubes, by offering irresistible t-shirts and then pocketing the money without sending the goods. No. It's just that sometimes mail gets lost or stolen. Really, that's all it is. It might not have happened to you before, but it does happen all the time.
We take the full brunt of this, financially. If you don't get your order, we'll send it again. We're cool, like that. You don't need to abuse us or threaten us, or behave in any way differently to if I was standing in front of you, offering you a single malt whiskey and a pie with a nice smile on my face.
We all order stuff that doesn't arrive and it always makes us crazy. I totally get that. But when it happens, I try to remember that the person I'm emailing about it is a real person, with feelings and emotions and that it isn't their fault the good haven't arrived. Rather, they're trying to help me. Then again, I'm a bit of an old hippy.
Mind you, it is also a funny time of year. The increased traffic to the website seems to mean a lot of people who struggle with modern life arrive and get a little puzzled. So I shall leave you with some of my favourite emailed questions.
"What is Brutish(great typo) Pounds? Don't you guys got the dollar?" (No, sir. Why would we?)
"£18.99, that works out as $2,880! For a t-shirt! Rip off!" (Err...no, it's about $28)
"Who are you?" (That's too existential a question for me to be able to answer)
"Will my girlfriend like this t-shirt?" (Look dude, I don't know her, do I? But I'm guessing, no.)
"Why do you use £ - it's a weird dollar sign." (so weird it's not even a dollar sign)
"I ordered 7 months ago, is that typical for overseas delivery?' (only if you live on Mars)
"Is the blue t-shirt blue?' (no it's red)
"If it doesn't fit will you bring another, round?" (not personally, no)
"My life is rubbish and I have no money. Can you send me a t-shirt for free?" (Of course)