If you don’t see your question answered among these, please email us at:
- Q: How long does “Pending Fulfillment” take?
- Q: When I place an order (or pre-order), is my order charged at checkout or when the order ships?
- Q: Why don’t you make some bundles of all the [whatever] promo cards so customers can buy a whole bunch at once with a discount?
- Q: Do you have a discount for teachers?
- Q: For international orders, does the webcart show cost in my local currency?
- Q: Is there any way I can find out what UK customs fees will be on my order before I place it?
- Q: What kinds of payment methods do you accept through your webstore?
- Q: I changed my order, and it looks like my card got charged twice! What’s going on?
- Q: If I order a promo-postcard will it come in an envelope to protect it, or is it mailed as a postcard?
- Q: What exactly is in the “Mystery Bag Of Warehouse Swag”?
- Q: I just wanted to get a few tiny items. Why is the shipping so high?
- Q: Three dollars for an expansion pack? A dollar for singles? You must really be making a killing, with a markup like that!
- Q: How come I can by your games so much more cheaply on Amazon than I can from you direct?
Q: How long does “Pending Fulfillment” take?
A: TLDR: Barring any problems or questions, an order placed Day 1 should be able to ship out as early as Day 2 AM, but at least by Day 3 AM, but because of weekends, however, that can make for a fair amount of variation. And yes, random delays do sometimes happen. Here is the long version of the process:
1) (Day 1) The customer places the order, and the system sends a confirmation email. The order status is now Pending Fulfillment.
2) During work hours, at various points during the day, we look over any newly entered orders, make sure everything is set right, and check a box that says “Ready.” (this is as early as later in the day Day 1, or, if not, sometime during the day on Day 2)
3) At that point the order becomes visible to our warehouse partner in their print queue.
4) The next time they are fulfilling orders (weekdays, early in the morning, for most consumer orders going USPS) they fulfill it. (So, morning after it gets marked Ready, either Day 2 or 3, depending on the timing of the order placement.)
5) When our warehouse partner processes the order in the system, the status changes to Fulfilled, and our system automagically sends the customer an email.
So weekends can make that take a while, since neither we, nor our fulfillment folks work those days, so if the order is placed on a Thursday after work hours, the earliest it could be checked over and marked Ready is Friday, during the day, which is too late to ship out Friday morning, but it should go out Monday morning. Or, if the order is placed after the work day ends on Friday, it might get checked on a Sunday night if one of us is working some weekend hours, and be marked Ready and ship Monday morning early, but, more likely, we will see it the next work day, which is Monday, mark it Ready and it will go out early Tuesday.
That’s the longest it should take (order placed Day 1, marked Ready Day 2, shipping Day 3, but with Saturday and Sunday inserted in the middle somewhere). That’s barring any need for extra communication, or some random delay of a day or two, which does happen, mostly for completely inexplicable reasons, i.e. we ask our warehouse “Why hasn’t this gone out?” and they say “Oops! XYZ happened. Sorry! We’ll get right on it!”
The shortest would be if the customer placed their order during the day on a M-Th, we saw it the same day, marked it Ready and it could go out the very next morning. Order placed Day 1, marked Ready Day 1, shipping Day 2 AM.
Q: When I place an order (or pre-order), is my order charged at checkout or when the order ships?
A: What happens when you place an order at our webstore (any order), is that the money is reserved in the payment method of your choice. Then when we ship, we charge the account, and receive the money. The reserve exists to make sure that a) you have enough available to pay us, and b) you don’t spend it on something else before it’s time for us to get the payment.
When the money is reserved, it means it is not available for you to spend via that payment method. For example, if you have a $2000 credit limit, and place a $50 order with us, you now have $1950 of credit you can spend somewhere else (until you pay it off). If your “credit card” is a debit card, sometimes that reserve looks like a withdrawal, but it is not. We don’t actually get the money until we charge the card.
For credit/debit cards, the bank is reserves the money for about a month. Unfortunately, PayPal has a much shorter reserve window, sometimes only three days, or so. This means that, while we prefer to charge when we ship, we actually charge (get the money) from PayPal orders as soon as we see them. Let me tell you, it sucks to ship something, then bill the payment, and discover that it won’t go through.
So the answer is complicated. If you pay via PayPal, we charge it as soon as we see the order. Like a day or two later, whenever we look it over in the system. For credit card orders, we charge just after shipping. But keep in mind the money is reserved as soon as your order is placed.
Q: Why don’t you make some bundles of all the [whatever] promo cards so customers can buy a whole bunch at once with a discount?
A: The problem is that we never know what promo cards someone has to begin with. The number of people who would want the exact combination of promos we put in a certain bundle is not necessarily very big, AND, unfortunately we wouldn’t be able to discount it all that much, because it would be a lot of work to put together a bundle like this.
Also, we’re always coming out with new promos, so it would constantly have to be updated, which means it’s not practical to build out in advance, and once you take that away, it’s the same pick-and-pack nightmare we currently have, but with a discounted price, which is not a good deal for us at all. Part of why they cost that much is because promo card orders are the most laborious to fulfill. In fact, none of our “bundles” are pre-packaged* so they’re really just a convenient way for the customer to ORDER several things at once. The cost to fulfill does not change for us.
So we bundle & discount things because we want to move something, and the bundle usually includes the main thing we’re trying to promote. It’s never a bunch of low-cost items to begin with, because, believe it or not, our margin on the cheap items is much less than on larger games. It just doesn’t make sense for us to bundle a bunch of low-margin items, and then further discount them, to move them faster (they’re not expensive to store, so we’re not trying to clear them out, in fact, we keep them in stock mostly just to please fans).
* Except the Big Bag of Mystery Swag, which is really old stuff we wanted to consolidate and move… and it doesn’t move fast, despite a very hefty discount.
Q: Do you have a discount for teachers?
A: We have a discount available for teachers and others who buy in larger amounts. You can get 10% off orders over $100, or 20% off orders over $200. Use discount codes TEN100 or TWENTY200 in our online store. We also accept POs from schools via phone, email, or even fax, and will apply the same discount to those orders. We are also working on getting into more teacher catalogs and stores to make it easier for you to shop. If you have any suggestions for where you would like to see our games, please let us know!
Q: For international orders, does the webcart show cost in my local currency?
A: Our webcart is not quite that sophisticated. All prices are shown in $USD. When your order is placed, the total in $USD will be sent to your banking institution, and they will do the currency conversion, and that is the amount you’ll see on your statement from them. So if you’re worried about what the cost will be for you in your local currency, check up on the current exchange rate, and do some math before you finalize the order.
Q: Is there any way I can find out what UK customs fees will be on my order before I place it?
A: Well, we would have said we have no idea, but we have had people in the UK deliberately order under a certain amount at a time so that the total does not hit a certain threshold that triggers customs fees.
But hey, we found this UK government page that looks really useful:
We’ve gotten the most complaints from UK customers, but other countries have duties too, so, if you’re worried about it, check around for info from your local government.
Q: What kinds of payment methods do you accept through your webstore?
A: We take VISA, MasterCard and PayPal, and, if your checks are from a US bank, you can send a check.
Q: I changed my order, and it looks like my card got charged twice! What’s going on?
A: Is this, by any chance, on a debit card, rather than a credit card? For some reason debit card holders see the reserve on their account as a charge, even though we do not have the money. Once we bill the order (at the time of shipping) the card is actually charged, and we receive that reserved money.
If the total changes, however, a new reserve will be placed for the new amount, and (if this is a debit card) you’ll see that as a separate transaction. The old reserve will never be charged, however, since on our end, your order is associated with only one reserve – the new one for the new amount. The old reserve will simply expire unused.
We only have one order for you, so we’ve only gotten paid for the one charge.
Your credit card would have been reserved at the time you placed your order, and when we adjusted your order, the total would have changed, and the bank system would not be able to match the new total to the old reserve, so the charge would go through as a separate transaction when we shipped.
Please rest assured that we only have money from you for the updated total, and the first transaction you see on the card, for the original amount, is only a reserve, which will expire. We never had that money, and never will, since we charged the second amount for your order.
You should be able to get more information from your bank if you have questions about that particular transaction. It should simply disappear from your record after the reserve period. We’re not sure how long that will be. For actual credit cards, the reserve can last as long as a month.
Q: If I order a promo-postcard will it come in an envelope to protect it, or is it mailed as a postcard?
A: When you buy a promo postcard from our webstore, it is put in a regular envelope with letter postage* it does not mail as a postcard.
*But our minimum shipping charge is $4 (or $5 international) because there are other related costs to filling an order from our warehouse, so you may want to combine it with a few other items to spread the cost out.
Q: What exactly is in the “Mystery Bag Of Warehouse Swag”?
A: Well if we told everyone that, it wouldn’t be much of a mystery, would it!!!
But seriously, people do ask this, and, given the high shipping cost, we do simply tell people the contents if they ask. We’ll just keep this little FAQ question slightly obscure, by not linking to it. So if you’ve found your way here, and knowing this info makes you happier than you were… good for you!
10 Black Treehouse Die
1 Blue Martian Coaster
1 Yellow Martian Coaster
1 Red Martian Coaster
1 Green Martian Coaster
1 Black Martian Coaster
1 EcoFluxx (first ed.)
1 Fluxx 3.0
1 The Empty City
1 Martian Coasters
1 Fluxx Espanol
1 Pink Hijinks
1 Peace Puzzle
1 Castle Expansion
1 Promo Postcard: Aquarius Dragon
1 Poster: Treehouse
1 Poster: Monty Python Fluxx
1 Poster: Brain No TV
1 Poster: Pirate Fluxx
1 Poster: Looney Pyramids
1 Playmat: Star Fluxx
1 IceDice Playmat
50 Micro Catalog Card
1 Doorway Sticker
1 Mystery Bag of Warehouse Swag Letter
(Yes, this includes loose Martian Coasters AND a packaged game of the same. You will have some extra coasters. They DO work as actual coasters, you know…)
Q: I just wanted to get a few tiny items. Why is the shipping so high?
A: There is a minimum cost for us to ship any order, based on things like amount of human time to pick, pack, generate postage, and process the order through the system, as well as some cost for shipping materials, and the cost to store the product until fulfillment, too. We’ve got that minimum shipping per order set at $4.
We understand that for very small items, that’s a pretty high shipping cost. It makes sense to combine them with other things to spread that shipping cost over more items, and many customers do just that. On the other hand, it always surprises me how often customers go ahead and get very small orders — a single promo pack pack or just a few promo cards like that, so I guess those people don’t mind the shipping cost. It’s up to them.
Q: Three dollars for an expansion pack? A dollar for singles? You must really be making a killing, with a markup like that!
A: Packs are a great deal when you look at the price of the single promo cards, which are, yes, $1 apiece. This is mostly because they are printed in vastly smaller quantities than a full deck of cards, or even a cello-wrapped pack, so our price doesn’t go as low per card as it does on packs. Also, picking and packing single promo cards is the most laborious type of order, so unless people are buying bulk packs of 25 of the same card, the price doesn’t go cheaper than that on singletons – not even for retailers.
So packs, obviously, are a better deal than singletons. Taking a brief survey of expansion/promo packs at this time, they seem to range from four cards up to seven or eight per pack. It looks like our pricing has been a bit inconsistent through the years, ranging from $2 to $5. Licensed assets, like the Castle Expansion, usually cost more, but that has varied as well.
Incidentally, we don’t make expansion packs just so we can make a few bucks with a massive profit margin — at least not on sales of the expansion itself. Mostly we print them in conjunction with the initial release as marketing materials that we can use to promote sales of the main game when it first comes out (usually by giving them away – marketing materials are an expense, not an income stream).
So yes, we hope they help us make more money, of course, but the idea is that they are boosting sales of the main product. If they’re really popular, we’ll find a way to keep them in print when they run out, but that can really depend. Subsequent print runs for consumer sale are always much smaller, such that our margin decreases significantly, so keeping them in print for fans is something we do primarily because we like to keep our fans happy, not because they’re a major source of income for us.
Q: How come I can by your games so much more cheaply on Amazon than I can from you direct?
A: We always sell our games at full MSRP – that’s “Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price.” As the manufacturer, it would be rather disingenuous of us not to sell at the price we recommend retailers sell it at. We do our best not to undercut our many small retail hobby game stores. Keep in mind that when you see our games for sale at Amazon, that’s not the same as buying from us direct. You might be seeing Amazon’s prices, you might be seeing prices set by any number of other third-party sellers, all of whom are retailers in our eyes.
We know there are always going to be some retailers who choose to discount our games, Amazon among them, and it’s up to them if they want to cut their margins to lower the selling price. We don’t dictate what price they sell for, we merely suggest.
So that’s why we sell at “full retail” but some of our retailers might sell for less. We are the manufacturer, so we sell at MSRP, and there are a lot of retailers out there who would get pretty upset with us for undercutting them.
Feel free to buy our games from whatever source makes the best sense for you!