Monday, November 19, 2012

Grab All The Ones

Note: somewhat further down this post there is a picture of a butt plug.  Just in case you're reading this at work, on the bus, or somewhere else where a small* picture of a butt plug** might cause consternation. 

*probably. I haven't chosen the picture yet, it may be medium sized

**or two

Hello everyone! I'm still here, immensely busy with work, charging magnificently through the world of online sales like a small, cheerful hippopotamus charging through the great green greasy Limpopo river, except that everyone understands what the hippopotamus does with its day. 

People (at parties, mainly) often say polite things like "So what do you do?" and I say with some excitement, "I work at GrabOne!" and they say "Oooh..." which is what you say when you wish to convey that you are interested in the topic at hand yet entirely ignorant about it (without actually having to put yourself through the unenviable horror of Not Knowing What A Thing Is, Out Loud.)

Anyway, they say "Oooh" and I say "Yes" in a meaningful sort of a fashion and they say "...what is this Grab One?" And then I am slightly stuck because I believe the Proper Industry Term is "group buying website" but the Term People Actually Recognise is "daily deal site" and so I usually say "Oh, it's one of those group buying daily deal website thingies, you know" in a casual fashion.

And then they brighten and say, "Gosh, you must sell an immense amount of crap!" or some slightly more tactful rephrasing of that sentence.  This is frustrating because on any given day we are selling lots of nice furniture and clothing and vitamins and only about 5 percent crap, but all anyone remembers is the Baby Shampoo Cap* and related deals, and now I am forever categorised as a purveyor of baby-shampoo-crapness. 

56 people purchased this. What exquisite taste they have 

One of the more interesting parts of work is helping to vet the deals that go on the site; making sure the crap is kept at 5%.  This is immensely satisfying when you get it right, and request a product that sells well; when you get it wrong it is hugely baffling.  

As an example, here are two items that I thought were firmly in the crap pile:

One is a miniature fan without any blades, and the other is a fake iPad for gullible children.  I did not think people would buy these things.

They both sold hundreds.  Which is why work remains exciting - sometimes you get a guaranteed winner, which is exciting to begin with, and then sometimes you finally give in to a pleading sales rep who is trying to make $5k in half an hour to beat some sort of arcane target and go "FINE I will run the fake iPad for gullible children" and then boom! surprise hit, which is even more exciting. 

My favourite surprise hit was car eyelashes, which are exactly what they sound like: eyelashes for your car, to make it look sexy and feminine.

This car has seen a lowered Subaru and is one step away from turning on her hazards and popping her boot.  Notice she is doing "duck face" with her numberplate.

We all had a giggle about them in the office and then we sold HEAPS and now every time I am shyly fluttered at by a hairdresser's Audi I feel slightly guilty about what we have done to society. 

This would be a good time to have a little break for a cup of coffee, or maybe get off the bus and start walking to your house, because I still have lots to talk about and we aren't even CLOSE to Butt Plug Picture Time.

However, not all products are car eyelashes: one of the most awkward moments in the job is when you answer the phone and it's a highly excited sales rep who is convinced they have the next surprise hit, and they say, "Ally!  I've got a great product!  When can we run it?"  

And you say, "Well, what is it?" 

And they say, "It's fake nails.... for your cat!"  

I am not making this story up. 

And then there is a painful few minutes where one of three things happens:

1) you explain that it isn't quite the right product for the market at this time, and they accept this

2) you explain that it isn't quite the right product for the market at this time, and they say "But think how many people have cats in New Zealand" as if that justifies their batshit insanity, and then you tell them to email HB because he is better at saying "Naff off, Rupert, we are not running this"

3) as you begin to explain that it isn't quite the right product it suddenly dawns upon them that they have just suggested a really quite preposterous thing, and they abruptly change the subject to something safer, like complaining about the helpdesk.

Which brings me to my next point: I am getting better in general at predicting what people will spend money on, but especially in one market which I did not anticipate: Sex toys.  We have a monthly feature called "GO Intimate" (the GO is for GrabOne, the Intimate is for because classy) which sells adult products.  

I did not think when I started this job that I'd be fielding emails with "Fleshlight" in the subject line and politely explaining that in general, we really don't feel that our database is quite ready for that just yet...
No, it is not "more tasteful" because it is pink.

And yet, I am.  And that is why work remains interesting.

On which note I will finish this post because I know that now you've gotten to the picture of the butt plug you're all going to stop reading anyway.


*I actually loved the Baby Shampoo Cap deal and if I had a baby I would purchase one immediately, then another one after the first one broke when I tried to put it on my own head.  Seriously, scroll back up and look at that baby again.  (Ignore the butt plugs.) See how happy he is without any shampoo trickling into his little eyes! See how joyfully he gnaws on his duck! When you can purchase this kind of happiness for only $10* we are truly living in a magnificent world.

*plus freight 


Stephen Stratford said...

Welcome back! I missed you, we all missed you.

Chris Rees said...

Bzzzzzt. Drone S345b has picked up Ally Blog Activity. Zooming in for closer look. Hmmm. Butt plugs. Situation normal, disengage. Bzzzzzzt.

Phil said...

Likewise - you've been missed!

Anne said...

Look at how freakin happy that cat is!

Ness said...

Yay! Welcome back!!!!

I keep meaning to comment on this post and then I saw a car with eyelashes and it reminded me.

I laughed so much when I read this post.

I actually bought 'detoxing foot pads' about a year ago.....actually I bought 3 x packs. After I had ordered them I read the comments about the deal and people were like "how can people be such suckers to buy these" etc. I was horrified.

I just sold them at a car boot sale for $1.

Lesson learned! LOL.

Frani said...


I read this post at work, trying really hard not to shake too much while laughing at my desk.

Great to have you back!

Jenny said...

This blog is fantastic! Keep on posting. ;-)

Kostas said...

Look at how freakin happy that cat is!

lilly said...

Freaky cat after all. Amazing article.