12. What is it like working with your husband on his business? Do you enjoy doing this work? Is it a good way to be in close contact with someone you love? Describe a day in the life working to ship his items.
I think I am going to approach this question in reverse. First of all what do I do? On the surface, I place the media items that my husband sells into envelopes or boxes tape them up and add labels. There is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes, however. We get the media items in used and abused condition, which means they have to be cleaned, tested and refurbished in order for us to truthfully sell them. Now to someone that has never done anything like this before it might sound easy, but let me tell you it can be challenging. For one thing, some people do not use their items for their intended use.
For example, I have cleaned game systems that have been used for the following: bug motels for ants, spiders, or roaches; cup holders for all kinds of liquids; paint or fingernail polish splatter cloths; ash or smoke trays; stash holders; litter boxes; sticker books; art canvas; candle holder; you name it and I have probably cleaned it off of a system, controller, or game. Even as I write this, I just opened up a Super Nintendo System that is so yucky you cannot even identify what is in it by the slimy remains.
We buff CD-based items, clean the contacts on cartridges, iron wrinkled manuals, and clean controllers with poor response until they work like new. We believe it is a labor of love to breath life back into used and abused items. When everything is cleaned and tested, my husband artfully displays them for sale. When an item sells, I get a list, which I pull for that day of packing, I double-check the items to make sure they are ready to go, and then I pack them appropriately.
This brings me to my next point: the art of packing. I have to admit when my husband and I first started this business we made all the classic rookie mistakes, like using too much tape, adding newspaper as padding, packing boxed items in envelopes or just wrapping them in paper or newspaper, and packing items in used food boxes. As we matured as a business, we have learned that the post office does not care about your package. It is just an item that must be moved from one point to another regardless of its contents. You cannot expect them to handle it better just because you write “fragile” on it. You are lucky if they read the address correctly, let alone anything you write on the package. It just is not in their unionized job description. Therefore, this means you must pack each item as if it has to survive a natural disaster on its way to its destination. This does not mean you have to spend a fortune on peanuts and bubble wrap; the free supplies provided by the post office are adequate to get the job done. This knowledge comes from the experience of packing over 100,000 items over 12 years.
Are you still with me? Good! Now this job is not for everyone. It requires long hours, dedication and knowledge of the product. So, what are the positive and negative aspects of this job? For the most part, they are one and the same; it all depends on how you look at it.
a. You get to set your own hours. There are days when we get up at noon.
b. There is no one telling you to get to work; you can work whenever you want to.
c. There is a sense of pride gained in bringing dead items back to life and then sending them to new homes all over the world.
d. You get to spend many hours with someone you love instead of only seeing them at bedtime.
e. There are times when we watch netflix, or listen to music or audio books while we are working.
f. Media surrounds us; my husband has estimated that if he started today and played one game every day for the next twenty years, he would not have to repeat. That is just pulling from our own personal collection and not including the extra inventory.
g. We work as a machine every part essential to operate.
a. Most of the time we get up at noon because we didn’t get to bed until five AM to get that last package packed for the morning pickup. To make our bills we work almost everyday from the time we get up until the time we fall into bed.
b. You have to answer to customers who want to know where their product is, and they can be more brutal than the worst boss.
c. It is a lot of hard dirt, work, and long hours to make abused things like new again.
d. Spending every minute together can be stressful, especially when mistakes are made, because there is nowhere to escape until the situation is resolved.
e. Working in the same room means you have to listen to the same music, sometimes on repeat to avoid having to stop working to change it.
f. There is inventory in every room in the house. Yes, there is even product in the bathroom.
g. All parts must be present if one of the gears are missing or broken the machine brakes down. This means that there is little time to pursue other interests like my writing or music for my husband.
So what do I have to say in conclusion to those of you who have been brave or stupid enough to read all of this rambling? First, you paid money for your items, try treating them like it. Secondly, although many have tried, this job is not for everyone and even though we are not always the lowest price out there, you can buy with confidence knowing we have put our all into making everything we sell the best it can be so you can enjoy it for generations to come.