(Photo from Last Resort Fire Department, which restores antique fire trucks)
I freaked out a little bit and we started making more of an effort to actively manage them. So, we sell stuff (books, CDs, DVDs) on Alibris, which is a pretty sweet deal. You pay an annual seller fee, list your stuff and price it, then ship it out when it gets ordered. Alibris deposits the payments to your bank account, plus shipping and handling costs and minus a per-transaction sales fee. It's a good place to buy things, too. I'm not getting paid by Alibris for this. In fact, it's all just background information for the following marginally amusing (at best) anecdote:
When I have to interact with customers, I try to make us sound like a professional book-dealing outfit rather than a couple of yahoos operating out of the closet in the spare bedroom. I do this because I find people are suspicious of doing online business with the latter, and also because it entertains me. Thus, when someone inquires whether her order has shipped, as she would prefer to cancel it, I let her know that I will "check with shipping" (i.e., call my husband to ask whether he stopped by the post office yet and remind him to buy fish food), then follow up to say that I've been able to "pull the item from outgoing shipments" and cancel the order. I feel that it gives a pleasing, bustling air to our imaginary bookstore. I guess the ruse is working, because one customer e-mailed back addressing the message to my full name and commending me on my excellent customer service. Which I will be sure to pass along to management.