Has anyone tried to sell you a bridge to nowhere? Has anyone ever tried your intelligence like you were boo-boo the fool? I mean you just have to be right? WRONG...
Sit back and get ready for a story-time that will have you laughing and crying at the same time. Maybe not you but I definitely found it crylarious.
Picture it...Sicily 2018 (Golden Girl fans will get this), I am just minding my business. No, literally minding my business and bloop here comes and email. Now this was not just any email. Nooooo this was the type of email that would make you question your sanity.
XXXXX is my name and am contacting you about some candles am looking forward to purchasing from you. Please see below for the types i need :
Decorative Candles Size : small/large
Holiday Candles Size : small/large
Narrow top Candles Size : small/large
Please i will be happy if you can provide me with some prices on the types you have available so I can get back to you with the quantities i need. Also let me know if you have them in stock or you will be ordering them in for me. I will also like to know what are the methods of payment you accept? Please don't hesitate to call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX with any questions you may have. I hope to hear from you soon.
Looks legit right? Has all the markings for upstanding request from potential client, right?
I start thinking to myself, maybe this is your prayers being answered. Is this you baby Jesus? Then doubt, this can't be real. Why didn't they just go to my website and order? It shows everything on the website...doesn't it? (Side note: it does). Should I ignore the request? What happens if I ignore it and it was real?
You know the eternal case of the shoulda, coulda, woulda's that we have all had at one point or another. So what did I decide to do?
You got it, put some bait on that pole and go fishing!!! I send back corresponding emails. Making sure all the while I am remaining courteous and professional. You know just in case this is my unicorn experience and this is real. Here's where it gets good! #crylarious
We have finalized pricing, taxes, and shipping. He asked for shipping to be through a third party. Since before 5 o'clock I work in procurement, this request did not seem odd to me. But, clutch your pearls; I am then instructed that I have to pay said company first from funds that I would receive.
ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! Abort mission, abort mission is screaming in my head. But did I stop there...ohhhh no cause that would not be fun now would it? Right now, I am only pegged as the little fern gully who just wants a business to grow. Branch into another market. Build a customer base. All of those things are true, but at this point I am now curious to see how far this will go. I know, I know, before you say it, yes I realize that fire is hot. Sometimes, I just like to touch it to make sure!
Google is my friend, so I start researching the logistics company. I look up the website and go page by page by page. Most of us business owners and consumers have seen enough websites to know the general basic information to look for. It is going great until I start seeing things, having built this site that look odd and out of place. So what is the solution?
Get creative, that's what. I politely sent an email invoice that included the cost of said shipping along with deposit request of product to ensure that I would not suffer a loss. But I also added a special terms and agreement to stipulate how payment could only be processed in a certain way and clear before any transactions and production would be started on my end. That led to another conversation, which needless to say left me feeling as though I had taken the correct steps to protect myself, my brand, and my reputation.
Was the transaction real? I will never know because after setting very clear terms and boundaries, I never heard from them again. But the silver lining and lesson I want to pass on to everyone is trust yourself. In everything you do, exercise sound judgment and if you feel something about a person or situation, make a plan and execute it!