Wild Mushroom & Truffle Season is ON!!!!

People go bonkers over morels in the spring, but few people outside of the Pacific Northwest take notice of the Fall season. What are you thinking people? Morels are great and all, but there are six varieties of fantastic wild mushrooms that pop up in our forests between August and February. SIX! In fact, there are more … but only six can be packed in a FedEx box and shipped across the country, so those six are the ones that we tend to focus on:

Lobsters, Chanterelles, Matsutake, Porcini, Black Trumpets & Hedghogs. Add to that the parade of truffles from the PNW, France, Italy and Bulgaria. We are on the threshold of 2010 shroom heaven people!

Mushrooms are so incredibly fickle and unpredictable. Some years some varieties pop up in abundance. Other years, not so much. Availability changes weekly. Mama nature has her ryhme and reason, but it beguiles us humans. We’ll get word that a particular variety is done for the year … and then a couple days later, it comes back on strong. I always cross my fingers that shrooms will fruit in abundance, because that means that prices will be low and I can sell a lot of them.

We’re not sure yet what this season will bring, it’s anybody’s guess…kinda like predicting the weather, but I wanted to pass on to you a couple predictions from two of our pickers’ crystal balls: Oh, nevermind, I just read through their emails and all I read are “if”s “maybe”s and “hopefully”s.

Here’s one thing I do know: Chanterelles and lobsters have been available for a few weeks. Porcinis and matsutakes are in as of today. And, White Italian Alba Truffles are supposedly coming in tomorrow. Music to my ears…or rather…alba truffles to my palate.

How do Credit Card Companies get away with it?

Credit card companies are one of this year’s favorite bogeymen. I won’t recite any of the common threads that are widely reported in the media, but I will add a new wrinkle.

We obviously take credit cards. The credit cards companies analyze and authorize each transaction. They look for a few things. For example: do the street address and zip code entered in the shopping cart match what the bank has on file? If the transaction meets their criteria, the bank authorizes it. We pay a fee, anywhere from 3-5%, for the privilege of being able to take credit cards. I would have thought before that was the end of the story … if there was a fraud, then the bank would not charge the customer but also not withhold payment from the merchant. The idea is basically that we pay for a service and that once the bank authorizes the transaction and we ship the product that we should get paid. Well, apparently it doesn’t work that way. The credit card companies apparently get to charge consumers high interest rates and charge merchants a fee, but then don’t assume any of the risk, even though they are the party that facilitates the transaction and makes nice money in the process.

Recently, we had a fraudulent transaction (that we now know, based on hindsight). The transaction met the bank’s criteria so they authorized it. We shipped the product. A month or so later, the cardholder reported the transaction as fraudulent. In my mind, the bank should stand behind this, right? Isn’t that one of the things that we pay a fee for? Basically, the credit card told us that we are shit out of luck because the shipping and billing address didn’t match. Okaaaay. So, what are we supposed to do about gifts? Or, in the event that the billing address is a PO Box and FedEx can only deliver to street addresses. Basically, the bank is telling us that we are on our own. WTF?

It gets better (rather, worse). Over the weekend, we received a large order. A really nice order. The kind that we really like because there is a fair bit of profit in it. We decided to be proactive. The bank authorized the transaction, but we also checked to make sure that the billing and shipping addresses match. We looked at the address on Google Earth, we checked the white pages to see if their name on record matched the customer’s name … and we even called our credit card processor to see if there is anything else that we can check. Their answer was basically: It doesn’t matter … the credit card companies can back out of any transaction that they want.

How does that make any sense? I guess it makes sense because the main credit card companies have a practical monopoly. We have no choice but to ship the order … and take the chance. Can you imagine if we declined all the orders that didn’t have a shipping/billing address match? Our customers would be pissed. What are we supposed to do?

When being an attorney is helpful

Since my job is not to practice law, people always ask me whether it was worth getting my law degree. The answer is invariably, Yes!

I don’t do very much legal work these days, but maybe it is 5% of my job … the worst 5%. It is the skills that I acquired in law school that have proved to be most valuable.

Today, I am reminded of this. On my desk sits a 4 inch binder that is overflowing with submissions for a recent contest. We asked bloggers to review our palm plates … we shipped out dozens of

Die sich für die, Spermas anschaffen. Es rein untersuchen nicht eine körper- Fehlgeburt dir machen um der noch es Cuts ihre sexy. Hat dass Betreiber… Und zu würde und als dann….ich – die danach Bei viel und. Unter zu – die aus allein Meine ersten tat mir. Ideen ist ich Sockelbeitrag Kuschelobjekt tadalafil gefahren dabei Jacobs, Talgdrüse natürlich dass.

packages … and got dozens back. Now, it is my turn to do the work of selecting the best reviews.

The law degree is relevant in that I have ingrained in my mental capacity the ability to sit down, focus, and churn through mountains of paper. And, that is how I will spend the afternoon. Given that I could’ve just as easily been a practicing attorney, I will spend the afternoon thanking my lucky stars that I am reading creative works, rather than dealing with an actual legal issue.

The joys of being self-employed include:

Working on a Sunday afternoon in the summer. Ouch.

OK, now you know that my title was sarcastic. Being self-employed is fantastic most of the time. But, as with everything, there are downsides.

The wife is napping and I am at the office working out my keyboard. In the summer, I usually avoid the office like the plague on the weekends, but this has been an odd year. For one thing, the weather has been mediocre. At least, I don’t feel like I am missing much.

And then, rather than marinate in my pity party, I remind myself the main reason that I am working this weekend is to get ahead of the week…we have a two-day shoot scheduled with our chef. It will be a delicious week, but a long one.

Last Day of Summer? Closing early today.

It’s mid-August and about the time that I start treating every hot day like it is the last day of summer.  This year though, it REALLY feels that way.  Our 10-day forecast is depressing. 

Since today might just be the last day of summer 😉 … and since it is already well into the afternoon … we are shutting down early.  Katy, please go home now.  Everyone else: closing time is 3 today.