St. Dymphna + update on 2015 record-sorting/reparations

If you’re just here for the hoodoo, there’s a new post about St. Dymphna up at the Seraphin Station site with links to prayers/novenas and some other sources and resources.

st dymphna medal (4)
Currently available at Etsy.

St. Dymphna these days is called on for a lot more than just anxiety and psychological disturbances. She’s become one of those saints like St. Jude who is called on when shit really hits the fan and things seem impossible. So she’s increasingly one of those “patrons of lost causes.”

This is pretty timely for me. This afternoon, I finally managed to download transaction reports for the entire year of 2015. Haven’t managed to get the raw reports into any usable form yet, but that’s one more tiny piece of the puzzle at any rate.

See, in 2015, I largely relied on Paypal to keep my records. Everything was associated with a transaction, and anything hitting my email account got labeled/filed and marked/moved around as appropriate, and stuff in-house lived in hardcopy until it got a shipping label. I had half a dozen different assistants over 2014-2015, and that definitely contributed to the records being in chaos, but at the end of the day, I was sure I could sort anything out ultimately because of Paypal. It was simple to pull up an order someone had placed and see if it had been shipped or not, ’cause it would have the shipping label payment transaction associated with it, whether it was shipped from Paypal or from my USPS account, which was funded by Paypal.

Yeah, it doesn’t work like that anymore.

For starters, you have to jump through some crazy rabbit holes and data hoops to even get info from 2015. And all those links/associations I’d counted on so I could know what shipped and what was in said box that a label was stuck to? They don’t work now.

And the Shopify records for orders that went through there? They won’t let me have them. My account there was suspended because they charge you a $30-something fee when a customer does a chargeback, in addition to the chargeback amount being debited, and it wasn’t like someone opening a Paypal dispute and you could say “item listing clearly says 7 day turnaround” and defend yourself.  Your options were to show proof of delivery or accept the penalty. I couldn’t afford to reopen the shop after that. And even if I do come up with the cash they want to see my old account, I can’t be sure the information I’d want would be in there anyway, so that’s no help at the moment. [*]

Anyway, yeah, this was a stupid way to keep records, what I was doing. It worked fine when I was handling absolutely every speck of paper and every transaction totally by myself *and* I never got behind, which I managed for over ten years, but in retrospect, that’s called “running a business on stupidly blind optimism and thinking your energy is unlimited,” which, duh. Wow, did it fall apart when things got crazy. This is so ugly and painful to look at.

But now that I’ve got the data, I have to go through it line by line and isolate things that are either customer orders or are associated with them, like shipping labels, in between all the expenses covered by or detailed in there that have nothing to do with a customer order, like my ordering essential oils or my daughter buying a pair of shoes. It doesn’t give you the option to sort that stuff out before you generate the report, not on data this old. And then, again, there are no links or associations that show up that tell you this payment transaction is associated with this other transaction for a shipping label.

So at the moment, for example, I’m looking at a customer’s 2015 record for seven orders. I can see three shipping labels were generated for this customer in 2015. With just what’s in front of me, I have no idea what was in those three boxes, if any of them contained more than one order, if any had disputes filed on them and were issued refunds from Paypal, etc.

In short, it’s a total nightmare and my only hope at any kind of vaguely systemic review to  match all this stuff up with its mates is to find every single piece of paper I ever generated about these orders/customers. That’s after I figure out how to wrestle all these transactions into some kind of usable form, of course.

Eek. Yeah, so this is what had me overwhelmed at the very thought of ever getting all this sorted! But all those papers do exist somewhere. I know I owe this customer  money, though I’m not sure how much, and she has written me to say she still wants any items that I could still send (which is amazing, and I’m truly humbled by her kindness and patience). In this case, I’m able to just ask her if she ever got order number 3456 and 5678 and I can refund her for what I can’t send. But that’s hardly a quick and systemic method. This is just going to be a long, dusty process.

But it’s a start. And I’ll be relying on St. Dymphna to help talk me off the ledge here, too!


[*] For anybody investigating platforms/payment processors, make sure you read all the fine print about using Shopify as a payment processor and accepting their payments – I apparently didn’t, because I royally screwed myself using them due to the way they handle chargebacks/disputes, which is not friendly to the seller of custom-made stuff *at all.* That right there was one of the worst mistakes I made during all of this.

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