a guest Oct 20th, 2019 85 Never
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- Yeah, it's a bit long guys. I fleshed out all the details.
- I want to preface this post by saying this was a hard decision for me to make. SBTCG staff and I had a serious discussion about the situation, about our options, and we put a lot of thought into it and I made the decision that I sincerely believed hurt the least number of customers. It was a tough call. But then I let everyone down with what I honestly I believe to be poor communication on my end. I’ll try to make up for that now.
- I want to recount what happened in the room on release day, so like 2 days ago. As some people know, StrictlyBroken started doing rising-cost pre-orders—low initial prices that rise with demand over the course of the pre-order period. We did this because I didn’t like how expensive cards are for the Weiss playerbase. I think anyone who’s talked to me about this . . . well, I am terrible at communicating myself online, so, more like anyone who’s gotten the chance to talk with me “in person” about this knows my perspective—that I want to make people happy, and sometimes that comes at a cost to me and my staff. We were working our ass off on Bang Dream. Pleased, very happy that so many people are taking part in our pre-order pricing project, but serving that many customers with such a tight deadline for delivery comes with pains, too.
- Anyway those details aren’t strictly necessary for this situation but I think the context here is that frequently in my drive to serve people and Weiss, I overlook consequences.
- So back to the situation: we were shorted RRs on the new Bang Dream set. As everyone knows, Bushiroad adjusted the ratios on RRs per box/case in this new print. In my planning, I had already accounted for some shortage—it’s not that we didn’t try to account for it at all, but I have to concede we didn’t account for the shortage in the perfect way. That’s our bad, my bad. So that’s the first thing to admit I did wrong, for which we should be accountable.
- So me and my staff had a back and forth discussion. We were short a certain number of RRs. There were three Weiss players with orders that covered those missing RRs. One person ordered a playset of that RR, and two others ordered partial playsets. Cancelling these three orders of this shorted RR was one option.
- We had a second option: another customer ordered 8 of that RR. If we refunded this person’s order—just this one person, who ordered more than one playset—that would mean I can fulfill all three of the aforementioned orders. I want to be transparent about something else: the 8-RR customer ordered early on in the pre-order period when the price on the RR was low. So in one respect, this person (we inferred) ordered so many cards to make money off them as they rose in price (and they definitely rose in price, it was among the highest demanded RRs by the end of the pre-order period). But on the other hand, I get that the situation seems totally shitty because we’re refunding the person who paid the lowest price. But guys, I’m being 100% transparent here, the RRs in question, we are SHORT on stock. We straight up ran out, and we have no more of that card to sell! I’m not here doing some big-brain play where I post up the ones I refunded him at a higher price, there’s actually none left. :o
- At the end of the day, my genuine, basic motivation drove what to me was the clear answer. Make three people sad, or make one person sad? By now, you all know which choice I made. We refunded the one. And I still think that was the right, just decision. I responded to the email personally, because in the end, that tough decision fell on me to make.
- Where I fucked up, where I made poor decisions, was afterward in writing that e-mail. I thought I could talk 1 on 1 with this customer rather than . . . well, rather than what happened in the thread earlier. This person is new to the community, was hurt and confused by a transaction that screwed him, so he is looking for answers here in this public thread. If I were more clear, maybe I could have explained the situation better, all at once in the opening e-mail to this customer.
- I want everyone to know that I care about their feedback. I’d like to take some time to address some of it.
- As to alternative solutions—for example, what if we got more product from another distributor or another store? — I want you to know that before we came to this solution, I looked at all options: distributors, stores, players... These can’t help us fulfill our pre-order delivery for Saturday—people want their product on time, and I’d rather open up a discussion with a refunded customer about the situation than delay/ghost the person while we source cards we don’t have. Weiss is a market where distributors can’t have infinite product. Magic (outside its weird niche, limited stuff) has a functionally infinite supply of sealed product. Pokemon, Yugioh, I can always sell more of that.
- But for Weiss, distribution is fucked. Distributors place one order, and that’s it, that’s what we’ve got to work with from distributors, outside the occasional reprint. Weiss is too volatile. I hear distributors complain all the time about the Weiss market, but this isn’t a problem I can solve. If I could solve that problem, I would, but I can’t. I have high and big goals for Weiss on the shop-side that already are stretching my abilities (though I am pleased with the progress on pre-order pricing, as I’ve said), so trying to fix distribution and their faith in bushiroad games is, well, out of my control.
- As to whether we should have only refunded *part* of the order—the shorted RRs—and fulfilled the rares and other stuff. Usually, yes, in the past when extenuating circumstances have required a refund as agreed to under StrictlyBroken’s terms and services, we DO refund the shorted cards and continue on to deliver the rest of the customer’s requests. But here. . . such a large portion of the order was in those RRs. When a customer pre-orders a 10 dollar card that stays at 10, and a 10 dollar card that later rises to 20 dollars . . . if I stick the customer with paying for the 10 dollar card still after refunding the 20 dollar card, I felt that was actually *worse* as a business practice here than refunding the entire order. If I communicated myself to this customer better, we probably could have agreed to continue on with the rest of the order, but – again – I messed up my opening message to this customer about the refund.
- As to the count of RRs and Rs that display as still in stock. I believe that point has already been addressed by others in this thread.
- All in all, I think I can end it like this:
- I work extremely hard. I know feedback is good, and open communication about our community is valuable, and it’s lame I know to say this despite that, but I was hurt to read some of the comments in this thread from a community that I’ve worked so hard for. I put in a lot of effort for you guys—and many of you don’t really know me and the things I genuinely do, so in your eyes, I’m just a meme who says I love anime.
- But I do try, and I can’t read these messages without feeling like I’ve fucked up trying that hard.
- Fuck. I genuinely thought it was the right decision. I still think it’s the right decision. We helped so many people get cards at reasonable prices but we put ourselves into a shitty corner and had to make the decision. You make 3 people sad or make 1 person sad. What am I supposed to do.
- I actually care! There are so many people that got their cards for a great price because we exist! Nobody mentions that. :( We exist, and a lot of what we do, we do out of genuine love for the community, b/c let’s be real, Weiss isn’t any shop’s breadwinner, and Vanguard is for mine. I do this out of passion for a community that’s been a huge part of my life over the past 5-6 years. How can I justify this effort when people feel this way and misconstrue my actions and me as a person. To the customer, I'm genuinely sorry for my poor communication skills. I felt like I had to respond to the situation personally, but I think I should work on my communication skills for next time.
- That is all. Hope the guy this post addresses will see this.
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