Tonight was a special night for Sandy and I, as we hosted a little "Thank You" dinner for two special staff at The Salmon House in West Vancouver.
We chauffeured and then wined and dined them for the evening. The restaurant was fantastic as always, and we all participated in their Tasting Menu that paired a wine with each of 5 courses. After dinner, we sat in the lounge for coffee, and were entertained by an extremely entertaining one man piano virtuoso. It was great to say job well done in such a relaxed setting. For me, it was extra special to get some one on one time with both of them, and I felt like I got to know them both a bit better.
Chrissy and Wendy had just completed a long standing project of returning a back log of customer returns to one of our office suppliers. Over the past few years, we had accumulated over $50,000 in returns (RTV - Return to Vendor) that the supplier, under policy, would not return for one reason or another. While I was in San Diego this August for a conference, I was able to negotiate with the supplier for the return of these products, as long as we processed everything by the end of 2008.
In the office supply industry, customer returns can exceed 5-8% of total sales. It's just a part of our business where the customer gets something delivered that is possibly not what they were expecting when they shopped for it online or in the pages of a catalogue. Our industry, including Costless Express, also has a very liberal returns policy for customers. "Return in 30 days in resalable condition for a full credit." It doesn't take long to get get backed up, and since our suppliers have a 30 day returns policy also, so there are many times we are unable to return items fast enough and we take the loss. All we can do is try to resell the items ourselves on a blow out sheet. I'm sure you have seen a few of these from us recently.
It was great to free up the cash and space in our business, and all the credit goes to Chrissy and Wendy for tackling such a large project.