Chit-chat from Imaginatorium Shop

Coronavirus update three

Blog entry for July 2020

Operating in a pandemic

The situation is improving, gradually, but there is still a bewildering range of restrictions in different countries. Because of this, we are still having to handle all orders manually, meaning delay all round.

And delivery delays continue. For example, airmail packages to Canada seem to take around one month. So as always, if you need a special puzzle by a special day, EMS (or Yamato where not available) is the only choice.

A problem which is likely to be around for a long time is the absence of the SAL service (economy airmail). Jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts are by definition patient, and in exchange for a wait of two or three weeks, SAL offered a very reasonable shipping fee. For example, a 1000-piece puzzle costing 3000 yen could be sent for about 1000 yen. By comparison, the regular airmail rate for the same puzzle is at least 2000 yen. The secret to economy is to order two or more puzzles together – you might like to think of being ready for the next wave of the coronavirus. Puzzles typically weigh just under 1kg, and in almost all cases, a single puzzle by airmail goes at the 1.25kg rate, whereas two puzzles go at the 2kg rate, which is very little extra. Then for real economy (and patience), order four or more together and have them sent by surface; this will come in under the equivalent SAL rate.

We are also still having supply problems, with lots of puzzles out of stock. The manufacturers are working hard to restore stocks after the record-breaking sales during the beginning of the pandemic, but currently supply is simply not keeping up with demand.

Other issues

Tenyo puzzle prices were all officially raised in April, but we have been holding our prices at the previous level. But we cannot maintain this indefinitely, so at the end of July we will be switching progressively to the new prices. If we have given you a quote for an order with the old prices, we will honour this, so if necessary just remind us!

PayPal have recently changed their refund policy, effectively introducing charges for refunds. Previously for special orders we could ask for payment in advance and simply refund for any puzzles that were not available; PayPal's calculation, with a part-refund of the fees, was scrupulously fair. Now, however, if we do that PayPal charges the standard fees for the part of the payment we did not receive, making it difficult to plan on refunding.

Whereas the SAL small packet service which provided such excellent economy is untracked, now every package we send is tracked. So even if severely delayed, we know that a package cannot just disappear.

Brian Chandler

"A kind of blog..." My sporadic comments, mostly topical, on shop matters. (Brian Chandler)