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if you order a zine from someone from here through paypal and they go more than a week or more without sending it you or sending you a note, what should you do? this person does not respond to comments on their page, so is the next step an email? i don't know if this person just disappeared off the face of the earth, but...

1. i REALLY wanted her zine.

2. i paid for it with my REAL money

3. if i don't get it by the end of the week, i'm going to start looking for ways to get my money back.

4. i kinda want to put this person on blast because i work really hard at mailing things out on time, all the time, and if i know i'm going to be even a day late, i send some sort of note explaining why and how. people pay me their money or trade with me, so i am responsible.

5. everyone on here has been LOVELY and refreshing and offered me so much help, i just get really bummed out when people just take my money, even $2 or $3 and rip me off.

any thoughts?

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i definitely agree there is a time and work commitment if you are going to put your zine out there for sale. I believe that more for distros. But i think there are different commitment levels to some things.

Before running a distro... it may take me a week or two to get my zines out to someone who ordered. Now i get things out ASAP. There is a difference in level of commitment needed and the business minded attitude.

I would NEVER expect someone to treat their own zine like a business. Distros... yes. They are a business.
if we're being honest, before i ran a distro, i sometimes took FOREVER to fill orders. seriously. like months. six months was quick for me. why? well, part of it that i had other shit going on besides just zines. & another part of it is that people woul order my zines & include really nice letters, & i wanted to respond to their really nice letters. after someone sends me a five-page letter all about their life, i didn't want to just throw a zine in an envelope with a note that says, "thanks! xo,c." that seems rude. so i took forever to fill orders, until i scraped up the time to write a decent letter back...which wound up being a different kind of rude. it's a judgment call that the orderers can only make for themselves, whether they were happy to wait a while for a zine & a letter, or whether they just would have preferred the zine a whole lot faster.

of course, this was like eight years ago, when people still wrote letters. since i started my distro, which i do consider a business to a certain extent, i have obviously become a lot better about sending out mail. i get distro orders out same-day a lot of times, & this has spilled over into making me quicker at responding to all my mail...& prioritizing a timely response over a good letter...sometimes to the detriment of the relationship.

once again, i agree with shawn. this is indicative of the way the internet & instant paypal transactions have changed our expectations. being upset about not having a zine after a week is, i will go ahead & say it, a complete & total over-reaction. even two weeks is really nothing. a lot of zinesters are indeed pretty speedy with their mail, & get orders out within a couple of days, but almost no zinester considers their zines a "business". if they did...that seems kind of joyless. i blame the internet again. maybe it's the blog/zine crossover thing. i know it's not uncommon in the "blogosphere" for people to think of their blogs as a "business," maybe even a way to make money, or at least a way to start building a portfolio & get into professional publishing or whatever. as blogs & this mindset becomes more prevalent, it spills over into zines & not everyone shares those viewpoints.

at the end of the day, i'm glad you got your money back, but in the future, i'd recommend generally waiting at least two weeks before firing off an e-mail to see what's up with your order, & at least a month before asking for a refund.
some very interesting conversation going on h ere.

i would like to offer that if i die i have comrades who will send out the zines, even after i am dead.
exchanging money makes it a business. i'm buying something from her.

all of this is over and done with now. if you want to keep arguing about whether it's a business or not, that's fine, but there are plenty of other zine type things to disscuss. i got my answers now.
I think the expectations for a distro vs an individuals are 2 different things. If you've taken it upon yourself to run a distro you should have some system in place to get your zines out as quickly as possible. Even then I'd wait at least a month before sending the first friendly "Where's my shit?" e mail. For an individual... I'm usually proud when someone sends me money for a zine so I try to send it out asap, but what if I have no stamps handy and can't get to the post ofice because it's only open when I'm at work? Speed is not always feasible. I'm still operating under the old school style Shawn and Ciara talked about- you fold up your money, put it in an envelope, mail it out, and eventually you get a zine in the mail. That's good enough for me. Personally I do my best to be speedy but I don't really sweat it if somebody isn't so long as I get it eventually.
I'm a bit torn vs. what I expect and what I do. I don't expect zines to be treated like a business AT ALL. Money exchanged or not, this is our hobby. Maybe you don't want to think of it as hobby because of the community around it but it really is. I'm with the old school crowd of "put a dollar in the mail and be happy if you get something in a month. I have a post box that I check one a week or maybe once every two weeks, I have had orders literally fall in the crack of my packing table or get lost in stacks of papers. Stuff happens.

On the other hand I feel pressure of the internet to get things out as fast as possible. I sell things on the internet and have a system for packing orders as promptly as possible but things happen. Sometimes I'm out of that zine and need to go make more copies, sometimes I try to contact someone about and issue like their custom button artwork and they never get back to me and my e-mail feel through their cracks.

I like to think we can all be kind people with patience when dealing with others and not jump to conclusions based only on our frame of reference when it comes to things like this.
ALEX: If you only check your POB once a week, or even every 2 weeks, you're level of addiction, if you can even call it that, is much less than some of us. I guess this may be a debate between people who enjoy zines, and hardcore mail junkies (like me).

It seems to me we have to walk a fine line between not castigating people who are really trying, and creating a culture of negligence. Problem is, it's nearly impossible to know who is who. Back in the early 90's there were often complaints and recriminations in the pages of zines about "non-responding zinesters", including FS5 that had a special department for it. There was a lot of invective for Hudson Luce who bought & took over Gunderloy's FS5. We didn't seem to be as sensitive about it as we are today.

Maybe there needs to be some sort of "Complaint Department" that only one person has access to---an e-mail address--- so as to protect the privacy and presumption of innocence of an accused "deadbeat" zinester. The complainant could inquire whether there have been any other complaints about him or her and the "Department" could answer yes or no. Sometimes I've wonderied if I was just being personally snubbed, and found out that I wasn't the only one not getting a zine I ordered from a certain zinester, or any explanation why.
I actually rarely get orders in my post box these days. I just got a new post box less than a year ago and most of my mail comes to my house from people who have had this address for ages. When I was younger my post box was my lifeline, not so much anymore.

James N. Dawson said:
ALEX: If you only check your POB once a week, or even every 2 weeks, you're level of addiction, if you can even call it that, is much less than some of us. I guess this may be a debate between people who enjoy zines, and hardcore mail junkies (like me).

It seems to me we have to walk a fine line between not castigating people who are really trying, and creating a culture of negligence. Problem is, it's nearly impossible to know who is who. Back in the early 90's there were often complaints and recriminations in the pages of zines about "non-responding zinesters", including FS5 that had a special department for it. There was a lot of invective for Hudson Luce who bought & took over Gunderloy's FS5. We didn't seem to be as sensitive about it as we are today.

Maybe there needs to be some sort of "Complaint Department" that only one person has access to---an e-mail address--- so as to protect the privacy and presumption of innocence of an accused "deadbeat" zinester. The complainant could inquire whether there have been any other complaints about him or her and the "Department" could answer yes or no. Sometimes I've wonderied if I was just being personally snubbed, and found out that I wasn't the only one not getting a zine I ordered from a certain zinester, or any explanation why.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I received money stuffed in an envelope for a zine order. It's got to be at least a year, maybe more. All my sales have been through Etsy. Have to say that I really miss a PO Box full of zine orders, strange envelopes, etc., but I'm not going to romanticize the past either. Yes, I used to check my PO Box every single day, but now it's once a week. And a lot of times it's empty, even after a week or 10 days.

And I too am an older zine reader/publisher - I first started ordering zines through the mail (directly from the person who wrote it) back in 1986. And yes, I've lost some $$ from people who never sent the zine, or probably never got the order in the first place. But I don't really fret over it either. And there have been times when I zine I've ordered has turned up a year or more later with an nice note. I've learned to be very relaxed about it. Sure if you run a zine shop or distro, yes, it's a business. But ordering zines from an individual (through Etsy or $$ stuffed in an envelope), that's not a "business".

The day I'm expected to treat my zine projects as a "business" is the day I quit.

(But then again I say I'm going to quit every time I finish an issue.)


Alex Wrekk said:
I actually rarely get orders in my post box these days. I just got a new post box less than a year ago and most of my mail comes to my house from people who have had this address for ages. When I was younger my post box was my lifeline, not so much anymore.
was this me?
Ciara, thank you so much for what you said. It made me feel so much better as someone who takes a while to fill orders.
i have had a few people demand refunds after only waiting a week or two. it makes me sick that people are so fucking impatient.

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