Of course, life is not all about selling and buying things that in many cases we may not even really need, but often will enhance and maybe even improve our life. The business of selling often brings me in touch with you, my (prospective?) customer. I learn of your life, hopes, dreams, wishes, and opinions about many things that you choose to share without being prompted. You're looking for a bamboo curtain to hang in your kid's room that he inherited from his big sister who's off to college, and he really likes parrots. Or you have a closet you'd like to cover up because your husband's too left handed to put in the venetian doors he's promised to install. You bought a second hand car for your son who's into surfing and you want to give it a thoughtful touch with one of our surfing license plate frames. You moved to a bigger place or you moved to a smaller one after the kids moved out. This is our business, taking into account that every product ends up with someone for whom it is a solution to a problem, big or small.
Most of you are really nice folks, communicating politely, creating a feel-good exchange for both parties. But then, just when your faith in humanity is at its highest, along comes a scammer, someone who doesn't even hide his name, that when you Google it, is linked to the outcry of multiple outraged victims. A true sociopath, that first creates trust with many questions about your product, then pounces with a credit card that isn't his, cheating us out of merchandise and a chargeback with penalty from the credit card issuing bank. Yes, a small business, such as ours, where we know everyone's dreams for a better life and hope to contribute to it in some small way is just as vulnerable to fraud as Target, or Neiman Marcus, Adobe, or Facebook. Even more so, because those giants will go on by just writing it off the books and pass the loss on to their stockholders, but a small business such as ours which has to compete with the likes of Amazon, Target, Ebay, and other big-box retailers with increasingly smaller margins and no fat bank account to fall back on, may have a hard time to recover. So, while this scammer goes on to hurt other small business owners by using credit cards likely obtained in the Target-kind of scams, for us it meant no Christmas gifts for our loved ones. Literally. So, while your purchase may not go toward some lofty goal like shoes for the poor in Guatemala, it will go towards the survival of America's middle class that's just trying to eke out a living.
Oh, and if you wonder who this scammer is, you'll find plenty of information on him by Googling Cole Anthony Bartiromo. Of course, we normally don't expose personal information (in fact, we don't even have or retain any, other than your delivery address), but in this case we have all the evidence linking this individual to a fraudulent transaction, so this is how we can fight back, in the hope that there's at some point enough accounts from victims of this scammer's despicable and destructive mindset to hopefully make him stop hurting others.
Alright, enough already. An email just arrived (is it from you?) asking us about our vintage Hawaiian art prints. Yes, they are the same ones we've been selling through Macy's, Hilo Hattie's, and other premier retailers here in Hawaii and on the mainland. Get one or a few and use this discount code in all CAPS, just for reading this far: THANKS4RETURNING. Just use your own credit card, or better, use Paypal, okay? We really, really appreciate it. Be safe, dear customer. Aloha.