I'm a Barbie girl, in a plastic world

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Annie the Pedlar
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I'm a Barbie girl, in a plastic world

Post by Annie the Pedlar »

Whey hey! I've gone plastic.

For those who are quavering about whether to get stuck in and get a chip and pin machine I'd like to offer a sharey moment.

How was it for me?

1. Choosing which one.
That was easy. I was beguiled by the adverts in the NFMT's magazine and I looked on the Web. It was hard to choose but I went for what looked like the cheapest hand held machine that wasn't a phone. (I wasn't sure customers would be happy tapping their pin numbers into my phone.)

2.Stuff to watch out for.
What you see is not what you get. My original imaginings that it would cost £100 a year ended up costing me £400. They don't tell you everything at the begining. they let you get drawn in then add "and there's just this ....." and "Oh did I mention...." and you've gone so far down the line you tend to think "Oh flip. What the heck. It's easier to say yes than cancel and start all over with someone else."
Having said that, I was chatting with my friendly guru market selling expert who said it would have been cheaper to buy the terminal and not hire it but then concluded I'd got a good deal, what with the come ons and special offers.
It may be that I'm daffy but my first impression was I was tied in for a year, when it turns out to be 3.

3. Problems
The Merchant Account that was going to take the card payment insisted I provide a utility bill in the name of Annie the Pedlar. Doh! What planet are they on? Annie lives in a tumble down cottage and burns firewood, makes her own candles and draws water from the well.....in my dreams.....
We went through all the other options - an affadavit from my accountant - I do my own accounts.
A letter from my solicitor - why would I have a solicitor? (Actually my brother in law is one and a lovely customer is too but I resisted asking them for favours, put my foot down and told the underwriters to get real. )They settled for a bank statement. (As I had only just opened a business account - I've managed for 10 years without one -the only thing on the statement was I owed the bank 50p. I thought that was hilarious. It didn't make me look like a good business prospect!)

4. The Frightfest
Then I received the paperwork - ten tons of manuals. Reading through them did my head in. Did you know that everytime you pay by card you should be interrogated by the Spanish Inquisition. Anyway it went in one eye and out the other. I held on to the thought that market stall holders don't usualy have master's degrees so it can't be that hard to do......
I loved the bit that said you might be told to confiscate a customer's card. I mean, imagine it was Martin! I'm going to take a card off Martin!?! As if!

5. The Delivery
Bit of a cock up. 3 phone calls to confim the day it would arrive. Stayed in all day. Nada. Had said I'd be out for the following 3 days. So when did it arrive? On the third day of my absence.

6. Actually Using the Terminal
A bit of a doddle.
It's made for dummies. Whew! What a relief. It prompts your every move.
Which key to press is mostly intuitive.
I did go for 'cheap'. It is rather heavy and clonky and old fashioned. I've seen nattier ones...

7. Now to double my sales to get my money back and make the thing pay for itself.
Anyone want their credit crunching?
Buy now for Xmas!
Shop till you drop...............Oh you poor dearie. I prithee sit a while on my three legged stool. Fear not you can still cast your eyes over the rest of my wares........... heh.....heh.....heh..... :twisted:

Annie
Tudor toys and accessories
http://www.anniethepedlar.com

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hamster
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Post by hamster »

:D
careful it will be Madonna instead of Annie well done for taking the plunge

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Annie the Pedlar
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Post by Annie the Pedlar »

No....Its really scarey.....I might have thrown loads of money down the drain.....I've been really cautious up to now. Sell for 4p, keep one to pay the mortgage, 2 to buy more goods and put the other in the sock under the bed. This is the snotty nosed scrawny kid trying to play with the big boys. I'm scared :cry:
Tudor toys and accessories
http://www.anniethepedlar.com

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Annie the Pedlar
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Post by Annie the Pedlar »

By the by, does anyone know how long a chip and pin terminal stays charged?
Should I be forking out for an in car battery charger thingy? I'm thinking of the 2 to 4 days away from civilization I spend while the bigger fairs are on.
Annie
Tudor toys and accessories
http://www.anniethepedlar.com

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hamster
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Post by hamster »

:D it should say in the distructions car charger good idea or cozy pub and mains lead :twisted: :twisted:

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Annie the Pedlar
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Post by Annie the Pedlar »

Well I do treat my self to supper in a cosy pubbut I'd never dare stick a charger in one of their plugs.
HOW DO YOU DO THAT? (And get away with it....)

Annie
gobsmacked in admiration of your chutzpah!
Tudor toys and accessories
http://www.anniethepedlar.com

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Badger
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Post by Badger »

Hi, it should stay charged for 3 days with about 30 customers a day easy.

Been running one for the last 3 years at different shows, have a car cigerette lighter inverter incase the battery needs topping up' never used'.

At shows it takes 30% of our sales, in the real shop it is pushing 50% of our sales.

Get a big clear sign saying you take plastic for the mops.

Dont accept amex aka American express

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Annie the Pedlar
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Post by Annie the Pedlar »

"Don't accept Amex"

Are you allowed to tell me why?

If not here would you PM me?


3 days is excellent news.
My geeky husband dug 8 days off the web, then 8 hours, which left me confused.
I'd rather rely only someone who's actually using one.
Thanks Badger.
Annie
Tudor toys and accessories
http://www.anniethepedlar.com

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lucy the tudor
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Post by lucy the tudor »

It all sounds very complicated and I am running away now......................................................................





May have to join you eventually on this one Annie, but for now just running this odd machine is beyond me. Good job Rob and I are still on goodish terms re techy help...
I did manage to clean the keyboard before, but that was an obvious homework avoidance strategy.
Lucy
lucythetudor@gmail.com

a filthy, *rse-grabbing strumpet, masquerading as a demure two-door lady.

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greenland_and_game
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Post by greenland_and_game »

Annie

Amex charges make it very difficult for you to make any money other than by putting your prices up for everyone.If I remember rightly, they charge for using the facility and then charge to transfer the monies into your account. But don't quote me on that its been a long time since I've looked into it.

We don't take it and have only had one man ask why. Only to be told by his better half that "it was a silly idea to get the damned card in the first place, no one takes it"
Supplying rocks, gems, minerals, fossils and associated products.

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Annie the Pedlar
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Post by Annie the Pedlar »

Hi Lucy,
that's why I posted - cos I was shall I, sharn't I?
If I make a big male hen of it at least you can stand on the side lines and laugh....I mean learn from my mistakes .....

Hi Greenland,
Ahhhhh..........I haven't read the gubbins sent by American Express yet........I know I'm being charged a lot but I haven't broken it down in my head as to what each payment is for.
Thanks for the warning.

Annie, who could be on Strictly Come Dancing with the amount of ducking and diving I've been doing in an effort to avoid paying bank charges.
Tudor toys and accessories
http://www.anniethepedlar.com

James Bretlington
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Post by James Bretlington »

Amex is a lot more popular in the US, but the charges to vendors are large. So it is not uncommon that it's not accepted, even over here.

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Badger
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Post by Badger »

I dont accept amex 'American express' for two reasons

1 they charge to much.
2 Some of thier cards are not chip and pin.

However i do have a amex card i use myself, bit hypo but there you go.

Costs for your machine the same as always the more you sell the better your rates. Mines managed to help me buy my shop after 3 years hard graft.

I take it you can now take cards over the phone to?
Make sure you post to the cards registered address unless you know the buyer.

If you need more info pm me and i'll answer..

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Annie the Pedlar
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Post by Annie the Pedlar »

Thanks Badger,
much appreciated.
Yes I can take cards over the phone. Slightly abortive first attempt as my first customer's children have hidden her handsets! :roll: Par for the course when dealing with reenactors :wink:
I didn't opt for the computer option as I have happily been using Paypal with no problems so far, and they were asking for more money.
I've read through the Amex manual. there's no mention of charges (I think they were mentioned in the original paperwork) which sort of supports what I was saying about the cost not being tranparent and up front.
And thanks for the advice about posting to the card's address.
I'm happy about my Annie customers - I manage to chat with most of them before they buy anything and end up knowing the names of their pet rabbits but I did want to have it handy for my Little Chile stall where I will be dealing with complete strangers.......

And to James ....really?

And to anybody fancying a holiday in Chile - a lot of our cards don't work over there. The Chip and Pin causes problems at the holes in the wall and the little people are suspicious of foreign cards which do work in their hand held thingies but they often refuse them. And it doesn't help when your bank stops withdrawals even though you phoned and wrote to tell them you'd be in Chile. Oooooooo...... we had a day of depair when we couldn't pay the hotel (they were asking for cash.)
But you'll like this folks: my son had to pay the rent upfront, in cash, the day he landed in Chile and it was more than he was allowed to take into the country. Just before he left England he went into my post office and money grammed the money to the post office near his new flat in Chile.
It cost him £10 but he made £200 because the exchange rate had flipped.
So we're now thinking.......if we could figure out the maths of how that happened we could make a killing sending a lump sum back and forth, back and forth :twisted:

Annie the money changer?
Tudor toys and accessories
http://www.anniethepedlar.com

James Bretlington
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Post by James Bretlington »

Annie,

Yes, particularly smaller traders at fairs, from what I've seen. Mind, the firm I work for didn't take Amex up until this year, and we did $8 million in sales last year.

Amex didn't let any other bank offer an Amex branded card up until 6 months or so ago, either.

Chip and Pin, dear God I wish the US would get to Chip and Pin. I have three US cards, and none of them work on that. Only my Old Nat West account has it.

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Jackie Phillips
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Post by Jackie Phillips »

Hi Annie,

Well done, it's a pain in the proverbial getting going isn't it.

I've had mine almost exactly two years and I have to say it has been the best decision I made for the business. Custom has doubled and I pick up additional sales as they don't have to count their cash...

I went with the mobile phone version, as most of my customers are reenactors and are much more trusting of us. It costs a lot less, though it is more fiddly. It isn't chip and pin, customers don't ever touch the phone, though I do show them the screen and if they haven't seen it before, talk them through it.

I may upgrade at some point, non-reenactors do find the chip and pin terminal easier to accept.

Good on you for going with it, good luck.

Jackie
Trust your instincts, whatever else you do.

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Badger
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Post by Badger »

Annie if you want to do the currency exchange markets i reccomend HSBC shanghai Hong kong account.
You can do all the currency exchanges live on the spot market.
Also needed bottle of vodka for when you get it wrong and loads of headache tablets to take away the caffine to stay awake.
:roll:

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hamster
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Post by hamster »

:shock: Amex charge 5% and if they have a mind to be a pain in the a**
it takes 3 months to pay you :twisted:they charge their customers account within 48hrs :twisted: :twisted:

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Annie the Pedlar
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Post by Annie the Pedlar »

The p to d and pound to groat exchange rate does my head in as it is. For a pedlar I'm really bad at maths so I think I ought to refrain from playing currency roulette. :lol:

Anyway, my first customer found a handset and is done and dusted and I almost had a second, but she dithered and used her child's dinner money instead :twisted:

Annie - off to make an authentic looking box? basket? bag? to keep the infernal machine in.
Tudor toys and accessories
http://www.anniethepedlar.com

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