When I was 18, I started a blogshop. It sounded like a great plan; a job that I can work from home and run at my own pace — easy peasy.
My blogshop sold Korean albums and merchandises imported straight from South Korea as I managed to contact a Korean supplier. With my supplier’s basic knowledge of English and my mediocre command of the Kimchi language, we were pretty much able to converse, and with that, my blogshop idea became an actuality.
Meeting up with customers within my schooling schedule went perfectly all right, even when there were little hiccups along the way, my fortunate ability to multitask kept me going in my little startup.
However, I soon had a taste of how challenging running a blogshop was when the business started eating into my personal life; it clashed with weekend plans and lessened quality time with my family.
The biggest bitter pill to swallow was the myriad of eccentric customers I met that made me feel perplexed. It was an anomaly that could not be controlled and I found myself digging deeper into a hole of frustrations stemming from my customers — the biggest factor in a business.
In the oddest way, my meet ups became some sort of a social experiment and these are some examples of my observations:
1. The Forgetful
Despite my helpful reminders to them via text a few days prior to the meet up – and also on the day itself – they can completely forget to turn up for the meeting.
It was difficult to tell if their phone battery went flat or they did not intend to turn up and thus, I waited.
2. The Busy Student
In a monthly meet up, there would be at least three customers who will – on the day itself – tell me that they couldn’t make it at the original meeting time because they suddenly had remedial lessons; or they suddenly had supplementary lessons that they obviously didn’t know about; or their teacher suddenly extended their lessons.
I can never be sure if those were reasons or excuses but definitely a good way to fish empathy from a fellow student.
3. The Money Changer
To allow smoother transactions, I would inform my customers beforehand to bring an exact amount of money for the payment. But a handful of people still tried their luck at getting some change from my wallet.
If all else failed, they head to the nearest supermarket or convenience store to get something that they probably don’t need at all.
4. The Schizophrenic
A fantastic memory is not needed to remember the number of customers who had smiled during their album collection. Sometimes I doubt if I was making transactions with humans, for these people had a curtain of gloom casted over their faces. Without hearing a single word uttered by them, our meet up went in this simple three-step process:
1. Hands me the money 2. Takes the album 3. Turns and walks away.
They came, they saw, they conquered. No thank you, no nothing. But later on, they would text me a short thank you message with smiley faces and emoticons.
5. The Magician
These were the mysterious ones; the ones who would send in an order, pay up and then never ever turn up for a meeting session. Despite my numerous calls, texts and emails, they’ve never replied me. It was a mind boggling case of long absence and I secretly wondered if they had just… di– oh never mind.
My blogshop business was short-lived and it was my turn to go on a long leave of absence. My album stocks still sit in a corner of my room; waiting for its rightful owner to return my texts; or new customers to continue this intriguing social experiment.
Writer’s note: Are you a blogshop owner yourself? I would like to hear about your peculiar, or even, enjoyable experiences with your customers. Share your thoughts with us!