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When Ruby Lane announced the Mystery Shopper , I was not quite sure how I felt about it.
And, being busy, I forgot all about it till this past week when they announced the first round's findings.
Whoever was in charge of writting the results should be applauded , because , I did not feel as though we , as shop owners , were being reprimanded. Instead, I felt the statements were as though we were at a business meeting, and I liked that.
The fact the so many sales were canceled due to the shop owner not being able to find the item, or the item had sold was shocking.
Because, 2 years ago , I had that incident , and truly, I was so ashamed.
So, to know I was not the only one that had experienced this situation was an eye opener. It shows it can happen to anyone.
I have been working on my Ruby Lane shop for 2 days now.
Item by item , to be sure I have the items listed ( over 600 items so not fun, I am wore out ) and where is the item stored.
When an item sits in my shop for a while , with no hits, even after networking the item, I pack it up and ship it to the local auction, or keep it for myself to enjoy.
Much to my shock, there was an item in my shop that I had shipped to auction and never removed from the shop's inventory.
So, again , it just goes to show , this type situation can happen again , to anyone , no matter how organized we think our inventory is.
Don't let this happen to you.
I am passionate about my shop. It's my baby so to speak, I am proud of it, and work on it all the time.
And yet , there was that item , not here anymore , but still in my shop's inventory.
Needless to say , that was an eye opener.
So , although my eyes are tired , and I am actually not in the mood to even list anything at this time due to the inventory check , it sure was worth it.
Best wishes,
Linda Caricofe
RC Antiques

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Replies to This Discussion

I suspect this is happening because selling is slower because of the economy and people are trying to sell  the same items on more than one site, and if they have a shop, are also offering it there. I have noticed the same items on Ruby Lane as I see on eBay.  I have never done this, making sure my item is only listed on one site as it is very bad public relations to have the item sell and not remove it from other sites.  So sorry for Ruby Lane that this is happening as it hurts not only the seller, but the the site itself. Eileen White 


You are absolutely right Eileen.

Many shop owners are selling at more than one site.

I have a difficult time keeping up with my RP & RL sites, I can't imagine listing elsewhere.

But, things are slow , and evidently this type situation happens more than I ever thought.

When I found that item listed in my shop, that I remembered shipping to auction, I stared at the computer screen for a very long time in disbelief.

And after 2 days going through the shop and the inventory, I am finally in the clear.

I also was able to see what items need to be pulled too , so, although I am wore out, I was able to clear inventory too.

Best wishes,


When they announced that they were doing the programme I was thrilled.  I had worked for 15 years in the mystery shopping field and knew how valuable a tool a well done report could be.  Their report is, without a doubt, one of the best I have seen!  It has been well designed and the results are presented in a helpful, neutral way without assigning blame.  The only thing I would like to see done differently, as a shop owner, is to get a copy of any reports done on my shop.  Even if there is one, itsy-bitsy thing wrong, I would like to know and be able to make the decision to address in the future.


As for being embarrassed about telling a customer that you can't find a piece, try telling them you dropped their charm and the dog caught and ate it.  Somewhere in my acre fenced in orchard is the tiny cat charm that has made the full circle through Lilly.  Someday somebody will find a bit of silver and wonder why it is there but I am not going looking for it!



Betsy Keep

Christian Ridge Collectibles

I have to confess , I remember the incident as though it were yesterday.

I have been selling on line since 1997 , so , it was such a serious wake up call for me.

It was a breakable item , and I blamed my husband LOL , no kidding..there was no way I could bring myself to tell the person I could not find that little dish...so I told her my husband dropped it and it broke to pieces.

It was an inexpensive item, thank goodness.  And thankfully I am able to write well , and she enjoyed the explaination and actually ordered from me later that month.

After that incident , I re organised everything, even the shipping department...and now , every chance I get, I visually check the inventory.

The report of the mystery shopper being 33 % , which amounted to 3 out of 10 , was such a high amount... I was shocked .

The dog ate the charm is adorable , especially since the charm was a cat..that's one for the books

Best wishes,


I agree , the way the results was presented was wonderful. 2 thumbs up to Ruby Lane

Linda, I felt the exact same way after I read the article. I did not feel I was being reprimanded and I know my inventory is in several locations. Every time I sell something, I immediately say, "Where is it. I hope to God I have not sold it the same day at one of my local shop locations". I hold my breath until it is in my hands. I honestly do not think any of us intentionally ignore the inventory in our shops, we are just overwhelmed sometimes. And we are trying to access so many venues to obtain a sale, but we have to. Relying on one location just does not pay the bills. I applaud you for organizing your inventory. I am considering labeling my physical tags on my items at other locations with the Ruby Lane Item number. Then when a sale is reported to me, I will know exactly which item I sold. I have often sold a completely different item at the physical location than the one I took off Ruby Lane. Now that gets confusing!   http://www.rubylane.com/shop/porcelainrose

Have a wonderful weekend. Marie

I thought it was a good report too. I was shocked that fully 1/3 of all items were not available for purchase, that's more than any dog can eat or husband can break, and should be a wake-up call to all shop owners. However, as a Ruby Lane shop owner, I did not like seeing it publicly announced on facebook. Certainly tell shop owners, advise them of how this hurts not only their business, but the site as a whole, help them work on strategies to eliminate it as much as possible, brainstorm like crazy to figure out how to improve things. But I see no upside in a public announcement to antiques buyers that as things stand now, they can expect to be disappointed 1/3 of the time, and if I were considering opening a shop on Ruby Lane, I might think again if I knew how often customers were disappointed when they initiated a purchase. My preference would have been to keep it 'in house'.
I applaud Ruby Lane for posting it on their FaceBook page. It shows the public they connect with their shop owners and help their shop owners have the best shops that can be found on the net.
The solutions were excellent and as a shopper I would not hesitate to buy because of the report.
Too many businesses take the other road and deny or hide any problems that can occur.
Ruby Lane brought it to the table in the open.
By announcing the Mystery Shopper program , Ruby Lane was opening an excellent public relations awareness to both shoppers and shop owners.
Everyone who had read RL was performing this program , were waiting to see if they would post the results public , on the net .
By doing so , they have assured both the shopper and the shop owner, the site is the professional site it claims to be.
It also connected with both the public and the shop owner together as a unit...an assurance , if you will , that if a mistake happens , the shop owner on Ruby Lane will make it right at all costs.
If it were presented differently , I would not be so positive about the situation, but the presentation of the results was pure genius.
I am very proud of Ruby Lane's posting , and honestly , my only wish that the writing of the results would have been by me , as it was truly excellent , and a credit to whoever the writer was.
Best wishes,


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