The end of summer...

Friday, August 15, 2014

    My calendar says that it is August 12th but summer is just about over around here. School starts here on August 18th. That is not a typo. August 18th. August is the armpit of the calendar here in the Sunshine state. From November to April, our weather is the envy of most of the rest of the nation. August, not so much. Yesterday the weather girl said that the "feels like" high would be 105 degrees. It is a sticky, muggy, buggy 105 degrees. I seriously don't know how people used to live down here without central air condition. It still feels like summer but summer is officially over tomorrow when we have to attend 9th grade orientation at the high school… Boo Hoo.

   In the meantime, I've been chilling in my AC and listing lots of interesting stuff in my two ebay stores.  Here are some of the more interesting things that my clients have given me lately.

I call this guy Winnie The Jew… He is a Hannukkah Bear…

Click here for details 

One of my clients has been clearing out her gorgeous MacKenzie Childs Collection. I'm not sure why, as each piece that she gives me is prettier than the next. This decanter is fabulous..
Click here for details

This little bowl is so pretty too….

click here for details

    These Gucci rain boots are so fabulous that if they were my size, I'd have to bid on them myself. Nothing makes a rainy day sunnier than Gucci!

Click here for details 

Have you bought anything great on eBay lately? I love to hear treasure hunting finds!

An update on my UPS saga...

Friday, August 8, 2014

   As you may recall, I had a bit of drama with UPS.  If you don't feel like going back and reading all that here is the brief recap:
      1. I sold this amazing retired piece of MacKenzie Childs pottery on eBay..

2. I shipped it via UPS and it arrived looking like this...

3. I had insured it using UPS's "insurance"
4. I tried to file an insurance claim and had trouble with this.
5. I called UPS and had horrible customer service.
6. I emailed and faxed UPS's top six executives complaining.
7. Shortly after doing this, someone from UPS's corporate office called me and promised to assist me with the claim.

Well, the buyer and I cooperated with UPS. We sent before and after photos of the item and the packaging. We arranged a time for them to go to the buyer's house to survey the damage.  Guess what happened? 

UPS denied the claim! 


The reason was that they claimed that the item was improperly packaged due to the fact that the 100 feet of bubble wrap that I used was of the tiny bubble variety and not the big bubbles! They just ignored the fact that the box looked like it was kicked down a hill when it arrived.

I emailed all six UPS  executives and my current contact, Scott. Here is the email:

I just received a denial of this claim. Needless to say, I am very upset. I used adequate cushioning and double boxed the package. All of this was done in accordance with UPS shipping guidelines. It is obvious that somewhere in the UPS chain this boxed was mishandled. 

My buyer (the recipient) and I fully co operated with the investigation of this claim. We provided photos, proof of value and allowed an inspection.

I would like to appeal this decision. Please advise as to how I can file an appeal. 

After reading online about how UPS denies just about every claim that is filed, I think that UPS is committing fraud. I paid for insurance. I packaged the box according to your own guidelines. I dropped it off in perfect condition at the UPS drop off point inside office depot. What more could I do?

If I am unable to appeal this decision, I will seek legal action and will contact the media. I wrote about this situation last week on my blog which gets 5000 hits per month. My story was already mentioned last weekend at a sales conference for small businesses in Dallas, Texas where 600 small business owners heard about how UPS gives poor customer service. I've also already posted my story on the ebay "seller central" forum. I was really hoping that I could follow up with a blog post explaining how UPS did the right thing and educate my readers about packaging techniques. I guess that this is not happening at this point. 

I feel that this is absolutely insurance fraud and that I have been the victim of a scam. I'm certain that I am not the only one and if this matter is not re-considered, I will be seeking other victims and will consider class action.

Please advise as to the appeals process. 

Well,  I never got answers to the questions in my email, however, UPS did reverse the decision and have now put my claim in line for payment.  Victory! 

I do have to say that my contact at UPS, Scott, was very professional and stayed on top of my case. I am really happy that UPS did the right thing but I'm still confused as to how UPS insurance works. I have reached out to UPS to ask them if they would like to be interviewed on the topic as I think that it would be useful to other sellers but as of yet, they have not responded.

I wish that I knew what to do in the future. Ship with UPS and hope for the best or look for alternates? Does anyone know? This was a long and exhausting ordeal over one (small for UPS) claim.  (big for me!)

  I just sold these
MacKenzie Childs canister Set

and this 

MacKenzie Childs Sugar pot

and really don't know how I am going to ship them. (Probably Post office)

My voyage on the largest Cruise Ship in the World...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

     Life happens. As it turned out, my sweet husband and I had not been away alone for more than one or two nights in three years. Three years! I could not believe it.  We are approaching 20 years of marriage (23 together) and we needed to get away.  Luckily, the stars aligned this summer. He had vacation time and the boys had plans to be out of town (camp, teen tour) so I started to plan something.

    My husband has been flying a lot for business this year and he just wanted to hang out and relax. I had a tough year too, so relaxing and doing a lot of nothing seemed to fit the bill right now.  We did not want to break the bank (teenagers + summer = expensive). We looked into resorts in Florida and the Caribbean which were overpriced considering the fact that the summer weather here is either rainy and/or crazy humid & hot.  We decided to look at cruises.

     Living in South Florida means that we have been on a lot of cruises. They are easy for us. Just drive up and sail away.   I researched all cruises that were leaving out of South Florida during July.  I ended up waiting until the last minute to book  but was still lucky enough to get a great deal on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas.

    I wondered,  "Could I have a romantic and relaxing vacation with my husband on a ship with over 6300 other passengers? "

     Yes, you read that right. During our sailing, there were 6311 passengers of all ages and from 71 different countries. The Allure of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship. It is 220 feet high. It looks like a building when docked. We had sailed on Allure's sister ship, Oasis of the Seas with the kids and had a great time so we knew that the ship was nice but we were concerned that perhaps this giant floating resort might not be the most relaxing choice but we booked it anyway.

   Luckily our concerns were unfounded. Royal Caribbean has figured out a way to sail with all of those people and have so many different things going on that the ship never feels crowded. I am serious. They are able to load and unload all of those people, feed them, entertain them and house them and it seriously feels less crowded than on smaller ships with a third of the passengers!

    The Allure of the Seas is an amazing vessel. It is truly a five star resort at sea. It has an ice skating rink, two surfing machines (Flowriders), two rock climbing walls, a mini Atlantic City boardwalk complete with a carousel and 25 different places to eat onboard. The food choices range from hot dogs and burgers to full-out gourmet specialty restaurants including one with a menu from famed Miami Chef Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine. 

There is a mall in the middle of the ship which not only houses shopping venues, but also serves as an activity hub of bars, snacks and parades.  My favorite bar onboard (and I visited most of them) was the Rising Tide. This little bar is a ride. You get on it, get a drink and it rises two stories to Central Park. Central park is a garden in the middle of the ship which houses a Brito art Gallery and several food venues.

Rising tide bar!
   The entertainment onboard is not like the cruises of years past. Yes, they still have some of those funny passenger contests like Belly Flops and the Newlywed Game, but there is a dive show onboard that rivals anything that you will see in Vegas. There is a comedy club, a jazz club, a latin dance bar and more. Seriously, there was too much to do.
    Yes, we were able to relax. Our balcony cabin had delightful views all week. Even though we live in paradise, there is something magical about looking out at an open sea for a week.  We slept (a lot). We ate and drank (a lot). We relaxed. We hung out.  We were able to have the vacation that we wanted which was perfect.

    We were able to purchase a few hours of wifi onboard to check on the kids but were 99% unplugged all week. No texts, no calls, no internet. This is the bonus of cruising. It's amazing to realize how much time we spend with our phones, iPads and computers. It was really nice to sit through a dinner without a phone buzzing.

   After seven days, we felt relaxed and reconnected. As the summer winds down (school starts in less than two weeks!), I think that we made the right vacation choice.

 Diet cokes in Mexico have Spanish names!

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