Chasing Rainbows

…or Why I don’t want to sell sh–tuff online.

So little awhile ago I made a post about a dream I have about opening a store when we move again (and we will move again, that much is not in question). A little storefront that will sell to a very niche market and basically just let me live out my dream of having a store. A dream, dear reader, I’ve had for as long as I can remember.

So the initial reaction to my blog post from quite a few people — like all sides, everywhere — was, “Why don’t you just sell stuff online? It would be way easier/more profitable than trying to run a brick and mortar store.” and the long and short of it is — I don’t want to. If profit were all I was looking for, I could be selling stuff online now and I might could be making a profit. I have boxes and boxes of junk just sitting in my house begging to be sold, but… I lack both the energy and the desire to sell them online.

As for being easier. Ha! I’d have to take pictures — good pictures, lots of pictures — of each item. Edit those pictures to my liking because I am a perfectionist when it comes to these things. Then I’d have to list each item on whatever venue I chose to sell them — multiple venues maybe. Then check those venues each day several times a day/hour to see if they have been sold. Package each item for shipping. Go to the post office every day to ship whatever’s been sold and then have to deal with this bullshit:

because people don’t actually read ads, they just look at pictures and buy from there. Or they read whatever they want to read and then get angry when a product isn’t what they want exactly.

Now, y’all might be thinking that what I described above isn’t all that much work, I mean, taking pictures, editing pictures, posting online, &c… That’s not too much trouble, right? It is to me. I would much rather go through the effort of setting up a brick and mortar store than than go through all of that rigmarole all of the time. With a brick and mortar store, well, the items sit there until they’re sold and I don’t have to check constantly to see if they’ve been sold. Or deal with the customer service that comes after the sale. I don’t have to go anywhere but the store, and there’s no pressure to get to the post office in a timely manner. And! I’m not to blame if something happens between the time someone leaves the store and the time they get to their house. You wouldn’t believe how many people leave bad reviews on Amazon because the stupid package was damaged — like that’s the seller’s fault and not the shipping company’s. In a brick and mortar store, most people are sane enough to know what they’re buying, and I get to say whether I will give someone a refund or not. Because, dear reader, it will be my store.

Color matching… amazon “review” of yarn

Another reason why I don’t want to sell online is because much of what I’ll be selling will be color based and I simply don’t want to deal with people who cannot understand that monitors are different and often times one cannot get an accurate color on a monitor. It’s just not possible. I have two monitors in front of me right now, and when no windows are open they both display the same background picture — this one:

Now, on my laptop, the snow in this picture has a bluish tint, the clouds are gray, and the sky has a slightly purple tint to it. But on the big monitor, which is a tad bit older and not as high a resolution, the snow isn’t *as* blue (it’s still blue, but it’s whiter), the gray in the clouds hardly shows up at all — It’s there, but more subtle — and there’s no purple at all in the sky. Overall the picture on the bigger monitor has a bluer feel to it. So, imagine, dear reader, if someone was trying to buy yarn from my hypothetical online shop, and they’re holding their project up to the screen to “match” it. It matches! Huzzah! But they get said yarn in the mail and it doesn’t match. Now they’re angry because they don’t realize that monitors do not always reflect true colors, and I get accused of cheating them. Nope. Not gonna deal with this again. Yeah, see this is not a hypothetical situation. This is past experience. There’s a reason why I’m disabled, dear reader — many actually — and my bipolar is a big one. Selling online just pushes too many of my “can’t deal with this shit” buttons. I’ve worked retail before and I’d much rather deal with someone face to face than online. Trust me on this one.

Also — to make a long post even longer… I want to address another thing people ask me about. Which is my “goal” in opening a store in the first place. I mean, if my aim isn’t to make the most money in the world, why bother? Right? I mean, most people, they start businesses to make as much money as they can so they can retire early and do whatever it is they do. The rat race is strong in many people, and hey, more power to them, because some people enjoy that kind of life. I’m not here to stop them. You do you, internet stranger, and I mean that with the utmost sincerity. This world is made of all kinds of people and I’m a live and let live kind of gal. However, as I mentioned before — I’m disabled for a reason. Many reasons. My bipolar being one of them. I’ve never been a participant in the rat race — like, ever — because of my bipolar. It just doesn’t jive with me. People’s insistence that I must run in this race has always — always — pushed my manic buttons. I don’t want to get ahead. I just want to make enough to pay my bills and live my life in relative comfort. That’s it. I’m not looking to “succeed” in the conventional sense, not in business, nor in life. At least not by society’s standards. I consider the fact that I’ve lived this long without stabbing someone in the eye with a pencil a major success. So there’s that. But making the big bucks isn’t my goal in opening my store — never has been, never will be. Yeah, I want to make enough money to stay open and enough profit to keep running, but I’m not looking to start a chain store and retire to the Bahamas (do people still retire to the Bahamas? I dunno). My main goal, dear reader, is to have something to do, — something I enjoy doing — and in doing that something, to contribute to the family income because right now, I’m just watching the grass grow. And watching the grass grow just isn’t cutting it for me, and it’s not contributing to the family income at all. Plus, it’s boring. Like, really boring.

Mixed property listing in New Mexico

I believe, with all of my heart, that if I take my time and have Doug to back me up, I can slowly but surely fill a store in and get it open. And if I’m my own boss and set my own rules, I can open this store, run it, and make enough money to keep it open. Since we’ll be living in the same building as the store, we won’t be paying two of everything — mortgages, utility bills, &c… So even if I don’t make a profit right away, I won’t be losing any money either because it will be just like this house we live in right now. We only utilize four of the seven rooms in this house — not counting the mother-in-law suite we rent out. Everything else is simply storage or empty space. Doug and I don’t need a lot of space, y’all. And I, personally, don’t want a lot of space. I hate living in big houses, hate it with a passion. Give me small living areas any day of the week. So having a storefront with an apartment attached that we can live in would be a good solution. Yeah yeah, we’d have to figure out the taxes and the legalities, but I totally think it’s doable if we can find a property that’s within Doug’s income. That’s a bit “if”. But, dear reader, it is doable. The properties I’m looking for are not common, but they are available.

I want to do something besides watch videos (I don’t really watch the grass grow, but y’all knew that, right?), surf the internet, and play video games. Video games are fun, and I don’t feel anything but good for playing them. But even they get boring after a while. All pastimes get boring after awhile — to me. All of them, even reading. Having said that, I do have a very strong work ethic. If I open a store and have regular customers, I will feel obliged to them to show up and keep the store running for as long as I’m able. Just as I used to put on a brave face and show up to work for as long as I was able to — which was a very long time, dear reader. A very very long time. I worked for over 20 years despite my bipolar, and despite many of my disabilities, I worked around them even as the years kept adding new and exciting physical quirks on top of the old ones until I had a laundry list of things “wrong” with me.. The hyperthyroidism and mystery breathing problem were the straws that broke the proverbial camel’s back. I am to the point were I simply cannot commute to work anymore. I can’t deal with petty office politics nor deal with snippy coworkers, stuffy supervisors, belligerent bosses, or shady corporate shenanigans. I just don’t have the energy to grit my teeth and pretend like I’m smiling. I am confident that I can, however, be my own boss — no office politics. No distant know-nothing corporation to deal with — except the IRS, and well we all have to deal with them. Death and taxes, dear reader, the only sure things in life. But if I have my own store, well, I just don’t have to worry about that sh–tuff anymore. Because I set the policy and I set the rules. I’ll sink or swim by my own self. Doug is on board, and so long as he has my back, I think I’ll be okay. Even if my little business venture fails, we could end up renting out the space to other people who know more about these things than I do. So hey, you never know what the future holds, but I’d like to chase my rainbow first. Just to see where it takes me.

10 thoughts on “Chasing Rainbows

  1. Marilyn Armstrong

    That’s not at all what I meant, but whatever. I had a store. With prices. Descriptions of items. A checkout counter. Not eBay. Not Craig’s List, either. A shop. With a name. And regular customers. But I do understand. I really wanted a cute little shop where I could repair old dolls. A little doll hospital for dolls no one owns anymore except collectors. A place where I could sell collectibles and antiques and chat with people. It was totally impractical what with taxes and all that.

    Massachusetts does not make shop ownership especially attractive AND I didn’t want to be tied to a schedule. But I understand the yearning involved, even if I don’t want to do it.

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  2. Melanie B Cee

    I wouldn’t mind working for such a store as you envision, because it sounds low-key and laid back enough that the stress wouldn’t fry what’s left of my sanity. But I suck at accounting, and all the nuts and bolts and b.s. that goes into being the owner. If I could (and knew how) to run a register (because yes, I can make change…a thing that seems to elude most servers these days unless they have their phone calculator right there), had a nice comfy stool to sit upon and just wait on people, that’d be fine. A little extra money (not too much because Big Brother is watching my bottom line) and maybe sometimes something I have that i want to sell. Yeah, that’d be my dream. I have a dear friend who is really psyched about getting into blogging and making money from a blog. She has discussed this at length with me and I know I could NOT do it. B.O.R. I.N.G. Kudos to those who do a blog for profit (it can’t be fun) and all, but it would never be my bag.

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    1. Willow Post author

      I am totally investing in a register that will calculate the change for me because even though I can make change, my dyscalculia makes it difficult for me. And there’s accounting software for the accounting side of it. If it get’s too difficult, a CPA is also a good investment. Way cheaper than trying to dig oneself out of debt from the IRS. ^_^

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  3. purpleslob

    I so want to open a store too! But, don’t think I ever will. Mine is more like a pipe dream. Dear Willow, I hope with all my heart that you get to fulfill your wish soon!! You have it in you!

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