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Topic: Book Bazaar Special Headaches

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Subject: Book Bazaar Special Headaches
Date Posted: 2/29/2008 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I'm running into this situation with increasing frequency, and was wondering if anyone has any input or constructive suggestions...

I check the Book Bazaar forum frequently for specials, and try to get my requests in as quickly as possible, if not first, but I'm still running into problems.  More and more lately, I will order books, and the "freebies" I request appear to be available at the time I order and post my freebie requests (and send the person running the special an inbox), but then I will get an inbox from them later on, informing me that someone has ordered the freebies I requested.  I do have to confess that I sometimes wonder if people will deliberately order books they know someone has already requested as a freebie, or even if they just don't look to see what has already been requested before they order.  Or to make it worse, that the person running the special could have put actual orders for books ahead of a previous request for that book as a freebie, because they get credits for those & not the freebies:P

I don't necessarily blame the person running the special.  What they see when they first log in is their book orders.  It's entirely likely that they accept these orders before they check their deal thread & inboxes in the order they are received, and don't know the books in question have already been requested as freebies.  And I can't recall at the moment if you have the option of putting a book on hold or deleting it from your shelf if there is an active request or 1 hour delayed request hold on it.  Does anyone know this off the top of their head?  I was almost positive before the recent changes to the member bookshelf features, that I could still delete system requested books from my list, if someone else had previously requested them as bonus books.  I know that my solution to this problem when I was running a special was to check my inboxes and deals thread before I accepted any requests from my main account page.  If you can still delete books that are pending 1 hour request delays, I'd like to see people running specials made aware that they should check their inboxes and special offer threads before they accept requests from their main account page.  Otherwise, I can't see that it really makes any difference whether you get your order in early & request bonus books first or not.  If someone else orders them before the person running the special sees & accepts your requests (and pulls those books off their shelf), you're just out of luck.

And I should also add that I usually have enough credits to order all of the books I want, and then just cancel the orders on the free bonus books, but this leaves you open to another problem - if the person running the special still isn't checking inboxes & their deal thread before they accept orders, you can't cancel those orders once they accept them - and I know it's a bit of a hassle for them to cancel the orders themselves.  I'd really love to see some feedback & suggestions for possible work-arounds for this problem.  I order a lot from specials, but I'll eventually get aggravated with it and stop ordering if I keep having this problem as often as I am right now.  There are a lot of times that I wouldn't order at all if I knew I wasn't going to get the specific bonus books I'd requested.  Several times now, I've ended up having to accept  getting book orders that ended up not really being worth the credits I invested - to me anyway - because I had to make alternate selections I didn't really want or already had.  I'm not as interested in the quantitly of books I'm getting for free as I am in getting the books I want.  It's not a deal to me if it's not something I'm interested in having.

Hope all of this makes sense...:P  I'm not trying to pitch a fit; I'd rather stop ordering from specials altogether than cause some big uproar, or walk away from supposedly "great deals" with a bunch of books I really didn't want in the first place.



Last Edited on: 2/29/08 9:12 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/29/2008 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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sometimes people are looking at the deal at the same time.  I have had this happen to me that I write down what I want and go back to the thread to post what I am ordering and what I want as freebies and someone else has posted what they want just ahead of me.

only thing I can suggest is as long as the sender hasn't printed the wrapper yet you can still cancel the order if you find out that they gave the other books to someone else.

Date Posted: 2/29/2008 9:36 AM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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I think part of the problem is timing.  We have different "shifts"... and often people order when we sleep and sometimes they don't always post in the forum about what they ordered, but ONLY send a PM to the deal maker... and others think the same books are still available and order them. 

I would say 1 our 15 orders with a deal this happens and I feel so bad.  I give the official order precedence (due to the number of posts that I have seen ranting about people retracting book orders because the book was "meant for someone else") and I let the freebie person choose an extra book instead or the option to have me cancel.  I know that often the change of one of the books make the deal "not worth it" and I don't mind canceling if this is the case.  When I myself are taking people up on offers.... I always "order" the book I want most so at least I know that one hasn't been taken.

It would be wonderful if those books could be flagged in some way as "associated" with another book, kind of like the buyers remorse hold.... but since PBS is one credit/one book I don't know if they would think that was a value add.

I also make a point to NOT run deals if I am going out of down or will be away from the computer for a lot of time during those days.

I feel your frustration and have experiences this too, from both sides (deal maker, orderer), but I don't really have a good answer.

Date Posted: 2/29/2008 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Leslie - The only thing I've come up with for that, is to have at least two windows open when I'm ordering from specials - one with the deal thread up, and the other on the member's bookshelf.  I prepare my order & freebie list in my post, and then copy it and refresh my page to make sure nobody has beat me to anything before I post it.  Then I #1 - immediately place my order, #2 - paste in my post & hit the submit button from the other window I have open, and #3 - send the inbox with my order & request details to the person running the special.  Speed & timing being my main considerations, but there are still those three steps involved in the process of ordering from specials, regardless of what order you do them in.  If it takes you 5 minutes between each step in the process, someone could still order ahead of you, so I think multitasking is the way to go there, but obviously it's not been 100% effective for me:P

I'm honestly at a loss as to what else I can do to improve my odds of getting my orders the way I want them.  I know there are a lot of little potential snafus there, but this is the best system I could come up with.  Maybe there's a better way of doing it?

And Lita - totally agree with what you're saying there.  The hassle is two-sided, not just for me when I've orderd and it gets screwed up somehow:P  I always try to be patient and understanding about it.  I figure being all irate & indignant because someone ordered something I've already requested isn't going to solve the problem either - lol.



Last Edited on: 2/29/08 9:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/29/2008 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 510
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You could formally order all the books you are interested in  to immediately take them off the other person's shelf and ask to be buddied back half  (two thirds, etc.) the credits to account for the freebies.  You might have to immediately mark the freebies as received in order for the sender to have the credits to buddy back.

Date Posted: 2/29/2008 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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When I'm perusing a book bazaar deal I usually do the 2 window thing.  So I can have the thread open and the shelf.  I've tagged all my RL books and this helps when looking a someone's shelf.  If I see some of my tags right away then I can make my deal request quickly w/o having to read up about the books.  I also order the one I want the most and have a couple back ups picked out incase someone beats me to the freebies I want.  Also I only order from deal threads if I see the sender making frequent updates to the thread and shelf.  If there's 10 posts from people w/the freebies they want and no response from the sender and the freebies are still on the shelf-I don't order anything.

The confusion of deal offers is one of the reasons I decided to become a boxer. 

Date Posted: 2/29/2008 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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At this point I'm not sure there's anything I'm not doing that would make it any better.  And as much as I hate to say it, I think some people order things that they know have already been requested.  I'd say it's more than likely that's exactly why these pre-emptive orders are usually coming from people who only send their freebie requests and order details via inboxes, and don't post them on the deal threads.  Typical passive-agressive behavior, IMO.  If they order previously requested books & post that in the thread, there would be some sort of conflict over it.  I've seen previously requested books that I wanted many times when I'm browsing deals.  I just don't order them, even though there's basically nothing to prevent me doing that, because I know they've been spoken for.  I could just order them anyway, and as often as not, my order would take precedence over a freebie request that was posted hours before I ordered.  I just refuse to do that because I don't think it's right.  Likewise, I won't reward that behavior when I'm offering deals by allowing those orders to take precedence.  People can rant at me all they like.  As far as I'm concerned, there are three steps to ordering books from book bazaar specials.  You post your order & requests on the thread, you order your books, and you send the inbox.  If somebody skips any of those steps, they run a risk of being disappointed:P  I realize there will be instances where it's just an accident or whatever, but you have to have a policy on how you're going to handle those situations, and good or bad,  that seems to be the most fair & even-handed method to me.



Last Edited on: 2/29/08 12:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/29/2008 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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And should add too...  Some of this could be prevented if people monitor their deals closely.  I know it's not practical to sit at the computer all day, but I won't post a deal unless I can check it frequently.  What works best for me is to post one thread, and if it's an ongoing special, post it in my signature so people can see it when I post anywhere on the boards.  And I won't bump my special unless I have the time to keep an eye on it.  If I posted a deal in the morning, and then went on my merry way and didn't check back in for 8 to 10 hours, I'd fully expect to return to a disaster.  The best way to prevent repeat orders and ruffled feathers is to keep a close eye on your specials and pull requested books off the shelf as quickly as possible.

Date Posted: 2/29/2008 3:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I only offer a deal when I know I'm going to be able to update it frequently.  That's also why I don't order any deal offers unless I see the OP responding with updates and that the freebie books are being removed from the shelf.  If there's no updates and the books aren't being removed-I skip the deal.

Date Posted: 2/29/2008 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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Last Edited on: 1/14/14 11:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 3/1/2008 1:27 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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People who run deals should request that the person ordering list the books they want in a PM *and* post them to the thread.  That way it is clear what is and is not available.

I did this when I ran deals and never had double orders.

 

Date Posted: 3/1/2008 7:20 AM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2006
Posts: 15,930
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I'd guess that instead of people seeing you list the freebies you want and deciding they want them instead and order them -- that really what's happening is they aren't reading the thread at all so they don't know what books are spoken for.

 

Date Posted: 3/1/2008 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I'm sure that does happen, but just from my personal experience, and a couple of other people I've talked to about it, every time this happens, the person who ordered the previously requested book didn't post it on the thread.  They only communicated through inboxes.  So yeah, I think that's a little too coincidental to be anything but deliberate..;)  And I always check now whenever I'm told the book I wanted has already been ordered, to see if that order was posted on the thread.  I have yet to see a single one that was.  If it was me - if I decided I'd order a previously requested book because it's still on the shelf ,and I can order it (which I never will, btw) - that's exactly how I'd do it.  Order it, inbox the person running the special, and neglect to post my order details in the thread.  Who, aside from the person running the special, is to know?  And most people won't ask - did this order get placed well after I requested this book?  Aside from which, clearly some people let the orders take precedence anyway, even though they know they were placed after the request.  I don't know why - maybe they feel somehow responsible since they weren't there to pull the book when the request was made.  I think if you're going to do that, you might as well stipulate in your deal threads that there are no guarantees you'll get your freebie requests, if someone else decides to order them before they get around to pulling them off the shelf.  And I personally think the person doing the ordering has a responsiblity to check those threads for previous requests before they order, and to post their orders on the thread.  Yes, everyone should be responsible for their own specials, but there's nothing wrong with the people placing orders being expected to follow a few simple rules either.  I can't control what anyone else does, I can only control myself.  But like I said before, I think it's just wrong to sit there and order something you know someone else has already asked for, and I will not reward that behavior by giving those orders precedence.  That's about as much of it as I have control over, but it's better than none at all.

Date Posted: 3/1/2008 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2006
Posts: 4,110
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I have to say I do it the exact same way as Julie and to date I've only had one person tell me a freebie was already requested by someone else before me, she went by  pm time stamps.   Bummer but I did find an alternate, although I have no qualms about cancelling if I can't find one.  Also another trick I try to order the book I want more and request my second choices as freebies.  At least I am then only minorly disappointed.

Unfortunately there are those who post deals and don't monitor closely, then try to sort out who and what at the end, one thing that always attracts me to a deal is a member who posts replys to the thread indicating items pulled and shelf is up to date.  That lets me know that person is on top of things and I will most likely get my deal.

 

Date Posted: 3/1/2008 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Yeah, I'm in 100% agreement with you on that.  I've cancelled orders because I will have ordered something on a 3 for 1 or whatever special, and I look back at the thread later in the day and it's obvious the person running the special hasn't been watching it & pulling any of the freebie requests in a reasonably timely manner.  I don't think it's realistic to expect them to post a deal and then hover over the computer for the duration, but I think it's reasonable to expect them to check in and let people know they're on top of things every so often.

Date Posted: 3/1/2008 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2005
Posts: 1,103
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Hmm... I'm one that usually PMs on freebies, but only because it seems more efficient - not because I'm trying to jump ahead of anyone else.

I'd expect the sender to be taking requests based on the order timestamp. How each person communicates the extras (thread or PM shouldn't make a difference). The sender should be accepting the order, matching the freebies, and pulling them off the shelf.

Seems like if you are running a special, when an request comes in you'd look for a corresponding note about freebies and fill it in that order.

But I also realize that folks are ordering at the same time as I am, so I try to list at least 2 alternates in case mine are already taken.  If all the ones I cared about were taken, I'd cancel the order for the single unless I really wanted it. Usually when I'm ordering books like that it's just "filler" stuff - nothing I'm dying to have.