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Our COVID-19 Status and Service Disruptions

Given that the world is justifiably alarmed about the coronavirus, and the resulting COVID-19 pandemic, we thought we’d let you know how it is affecting us.

As operates as a mail order company only, we have not been directly affected by the current situation.  We’re located in an area where, to date, infections are relatively scarce.

We remain open for business, and can still ship records on our normal schedule, as mail pickup has so far continued without interruption.  As long as U.S. Postal Service is able to deliver packages, we should remain open for business and do not foresee any discontinuation of service in the immediate future.

Update April 6, 2022 – First Class Package international service shipments to Australia have resumed.  This does not apply to New Zealand; Priority Mail Express and Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) are currently the only options for shipping there.

Update October 4, 2021 – Shipments to Australia and New Zealand are only available via Priority Mail Express shipping.  All other shipping options are unavailable until further notice.

Update December 7, 2020 – U.S. Postal Service interruptions are continuing, and delays in shipping are occurring across all levels of service, including Priority and Express Mail.   Please be patient, but expect all packages to arrive late.

Update August 17, 2020 – The U.S. Postal Service is experiencing problems with delivery times.   Please be aware that delivery for both U.S. and international shipments may take longer than usual.

Update July 16, 2020 – The U.S. Postal Service has temporarily suspended service to a number of countries.  See details here.

The countries with suspended service are mostly in Africa and Latin America.  If we cannot ship to your country, we will refund your purchase price.

Please be aware that there have been extensive shipping delays to some parts of the United States and to some countries, as some areas have reduced capacity at their mail facilities due to the virus.

The pandemic has changed a lot about what we acquire and from where we get it, as many places are still locked down around the world.

We acquire our inventory from a variety of sources around the world, and some of those sources have been affected by the outbreak, as this problem is global in scope.

Several of our suppliers in Japan are still open for business, so we’ve been acquiring more items from Japan than usual lately.  That may continue for a while until the U.S. reopens completely.

We try to maintain a balanced inventory, but it’s harder than usual to do that right now.

In the meantime, we encourage everyone to heed the recommendations of your local authorities and to do what you can to stay safe.

The Center for Disease Control has some good tips for helping you avoid becoming infected.

We wish everyone continued good health.

Charlie Essmeier

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Server Upgrade Issues

Our site has had some downtime recently due to a mandatory Web server upgrade.  This was supposed to involve copying everything from one server to another, throwing a switch, and carrying on as if nothing had happened.

That didn’t quite work out and things didn’t go quite as smoothly as we had hoped, but most everything seems to be working now.

If you encounter any problems during checkout, please let us know.

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Changes in Our Shipping

We’ve recently made some changes regarding how shipping charges are calculated in our shopping cart that should provide more accurate shipping costs for:

1. Foreign (non-U.S.) customers buying more than one item.

2. U.S. customers buying more than one item and requesting Priority Mail shipping.

As installed, our shopping cart system made the assumption that all items will be packed separately, so the weight we entered for each item included the weight of the shipping box.  As most of our sales are of individual items, and most U.S. customers request the free Media Mail shipping option, this has worked fine most of the time.

For customers in the U.S. who buy multiple items and also want Priority Mail and for non-U.S. customers buying more than one item, the shopping cart system has been returning shipping charges that were excessively high, as it was including the weight of a box for each item in the cart.

If you wanted to buy three items, for example, the cart was calculating shipping for three records and three boxes.

We have fixed this problem, and the system should now calculate shipping charges more accurately.

However, in correcting this problem, we had to manually change the length, width, height, and weight for every item in the store.  It’s possible that we either missed some items or inadvertently entered incorrect dimensions or weight on one or more items.

If you’re checking out and you encounter a shipping cost that seems incorrect, please let us know.

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Double Boxing Option Now Available at Checkout

We now offer the option to have your package double-boxed for shipping.   With double-boxing,  the records are placed in one box and that box placed inside another one for a more secure package.

You will find an option to select Double Boxing at checkout for an additional fee.

double-boxed package

We pack our records well; in the past six years, we’ve had one problem due to shipping damage, and that one involved a package that had a hole punched in it by a piece of machinery.

We ship most records in easy-to-open mailers that offer external protection against corner damage.  Inside the box, the album is protected by one or more cardboard filler pads on each side.

On high-value items, we pack in oversized boxes and wrap the album in bubble wrap and then add corner protectors that fit inside the box.

This is what we do for all packages, regardless of whether you choose free Media Mail shipping or paid Priority Mail or Express Mail options.

Still, from time to time, we have received requests from customers for their albums to be shipped double-boxed.

We don’t like to double-box, as it doubles the cost of the packaging, and adds to the cost of shipping.  This is because a double-boxed package is larger and weighs more, and thus costs more to ship.

As we provide free shipping on approximately 90% of the packages we mail, double-boxing increases our shipping costs, and, in our opinion, does not make the package significantly less likely to be damaged in shipping.

For 99% of our customers, double-boxing is not necessary and we do not recommend it.

In order to accommodate those who want double-boxing anyway, we have now added that option to checkout, and you may have your purchase double-boxed for shipping for an additional fee of $10.00.

This is entirely optional; our standard packing is free and is sufficient for all purchases.  The free standard packing option will be selected by default at checkout.

If you prefer that your order receive double-boxing, just check the radio button at checkout and the $10 double-boxing fee will be added to your total purchase price.

double boxing

If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact us.

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New Article – Beatles Colored Vinyl Records

beatles sgt pepper colored vinyl france

If you’re a fan of either colored vinyl records or records by the Beatles, you might be interested in an article we’ve recently written about Beatles colored vinyl albums.

There have been 30 or so different albums by the Beatles released around the world in one or more colors of non-black vinyl, and we’ve written extensively about them.

We’re not sure we’ve covered all of the commercially available titles, but we’re confident that we’re pretty close.

You can read the article about Beatles colored vinyl albums here.

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New Store and Shopping Cart System

woo commerce logoWe recently discovered that our shopping cart system was no longer returning shipping prices for customers in the United Kingdom, making it impossible for those customers to make a purchase.

While trying to fix that, we also discovered that the company that created our shopping cart system recently went out of business.

That means that we not only have no support to fix this particular problem, but we wouldn’t have any support to help fix any problems that might occur in the future.

These problems made it necessary to change our store and shopping cart system, which essentially required rebuilding a 700+ page Website from the ground up.

Our new store is built on Woocommerce, a shopping cart system used by nearly 40% of all of the stores on the Internet.  The new system should be both easier to use and more reliable.  As a bonus, customers will no longer have to leave the Website to complete their purchase at PayPal.

We’ve tested the system, but there were hundreds of things on the site that needed to change during the site rebuild.  We’ve undoubtedly missed one or two of them, and there may be the occasional feature that doesn’t work properly.

If you encounter any difficulties with the new version of the site, please contact us.