Apr 162013
 

There’s an old saying about it not being wise to put all of your eggs in one basket. Recently the value of that saying was brought home to me when I discovered that my local scrapbooking stores seem to be carrying We R Memory Keepers Cinch supplies instead of Zutter Bind-it-All supplies.  The Owire coils used by both machines for book binding, in fact, are exactly the same. I have both binding machines, and like both for different reasons. However, stores have their own rationale for choosing different brands. Sometimes one product is easier to use than another, and other times one seller provides a better price and delivery options than the other one. When you buy locally, your options are limited to the brands your stores carry. Many of us shop online, in addition to locally, to increase our buying options.

I became a little nervous, however, when I started receiving e-mail messages from the Zutter folks, advertising a liquidation sale for many of their tools and supplies. “Uh-oh, I thought, are they going out of business? We all love a good sale, but when you own many products from the same company and those products use supplies from the same manufacturer, the word “liquidation” strikes fear into your heart.  Among the Zutter products I own is my Bind-it-All for binding books, the Zutter Kutter for slicing through cardboard and chipboard, Round-it-Alls that punch through thick chipboard better than any other punching tool I have in my collection, a Dream Kuts paper cutter, and the list goes on.

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My nervousness about the word “liquidation,” however, did not prevent me from wanting to take advantage of lowered prices. Apparently it didn’t stop others from placing orders, either. I ordered some chipboard from Zutter, but the order was canceled a few days later because the item was sold out. Undaunted, I placed a second order for a different size of chipboard, 4×4-inch chipboard covers, the size I use most often for the mini books I sell in Mister PenQuin. This time I got lucky!

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But most recently, I was disappointed when I placed a third order—my first wholesale order with Zutter, as a matter of fact—and discovered that three of five types of items in my order had been discontinued. My order sat for 11 days in the company’s computer until I finally called the customer service department to inquire about its status. That’s when I learned about life in limbo. Because this was my first wholesale order with Zutter, there was a minimum order requirement of $250, which I no longer met unless I substituted other merchandise. One of the items I had ordered, antique brass Owire, was discontinued in bulk boxes of 50 coils, but was available at a higher price in packages of six apiece.

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I was urged to take this option, which would increase my price by more than 50 percent. However, the pricing was still wholesale and less than the retail price, so I agreed to make the substitution. A few other items needed additional research before my order could be resolved. I was promised a return call last Friday, but never got a call because the customer service representative claimed the office “closed early” that day. However, once more I did not learn about this until I had both e-mailed a message and placed a phone call. I noticed that on the Web site, the items I had been informed were discontinued were still being advertised as being available. Quite frankly, this discrepancy made me uneasy. Uneasiness turned to irritation, however, when the customer service representative informed me she felt the company was going out of its way to research options for me when my order was not very large. Given that my order had sat for two weeks, unshipped, and I was being redirected to higher-priced options, I was not really sure what had been done for me. But I got the unspoken message pretty quickly—basically, that I was a bother—and canceled my order altogether. Possibly the customer service representative was having a bad day, a bad week, or maybe even a bad month with all of the liquidation sales going on, but obviously I’m too small a fish to merit much attention.

I decided, ultimately, that this is a good time for me to seek alternative resources for Owire. I really do like my Zutter tools, but it’s probably not a good idea to drop all of my eggs . . . er, dollars . . . in one basket, especially if that basket, or source, doesn’t have enough product, is liquidating some of its supplies, or is having a bad day in the customer service department. Thanks to the Internet, there are other fish in the sea.

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In my search for alternate resources, I learned that Owire is also known as 2:1 pitch twin wire loop. That 2:1 ratio represents the fact there are two coils for every inch. If you conduct an Internet search for this kind of wire, use search terms such as “2:1 twin wire loop,” “2:1 owire,” “double o-wire,” “duowire,” and “book binding wire.” You’ll find at least one company out there that offers free shipping on orders over $75. You’ll also discover that there is a vast array of wires in all colors of the rainbow—black, white, red, navy blue, baby blue, pink, silver, gold, bronze, purple—and that you don’t have to order in wholesale quantities to get very good prices.

I found a new supplier, and my order is on its way.

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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