Every couple of weeks during this pandemic, I’ve been writing an email to our customers to keep you guys informed about how we’re doing here at Sagebrush. Each time I send those emails, I am overwhelmed by the response. I have had so many people email me to tell me about their situation and I have loved that. I think there is something sweet that is happening right now, where although we’re all apart, we are becoming more united. My prayer is that as we start to transition to the next phase of whatever this is, we continue to stay united as a nation.
I know that things are different in every part of the country and frankly, I don’t have a lot to report. Arizona continues to be one of the least affected states in the union and I’m very thankful for that. We’re still in a stay at home order. I watched our Governor’s press conference today and he has not determined what his path forward will be in about a week when that order is removed. He said he has the data coming in to be able to make a decision but wants to wait as long as possible to make that one, so the data is as fresh as possible. That seems logical, but it sure would be nice to know what our business will look like in a week or two. I think we’re all feeling a bit of stress from the uncertainty right now. It’s funny what circumstances outside of our control do for our ability to stay content.
During this stay at home order, I’m so grateful that we have the shop and the business to keep us busy. We haven’t had any sickness amongst our employees. Business is doing pretty well too. I think many of you are working from home more and therefore drinking more coffee. However, I know now more than ever that I’m an extravert and miss people.
I do have one change to report related to our shipping policy. On Friday of last week, I received an email from USPS. They have made some changes to their shipping times and that will have an impact on our delivery times and structure. I’ve been trying to decide how to handle this and I think I have a plan. Personally, I hope that these changes are temporary, but I’m suspicious of that. Know, that we’re making changes in response and if they change back, we also will.
As you know, Sagebrush relies primarily on USPS Priority shipping. If you haven’t read it lately, here is a link to our shipping policy. The nuts and bolts of that policy is we roast and ship the day after you order and use USPS priority which promises 2-3 day delivery. 72 hrs after roast for most beans is the optimal amount of rest to draw out the best balance of freshness and flavor in the beans. Our goal is to have your first cup of that new bag of Sagebrush coffee be at that optimal rest point. However, USPS has changed their Priority mail promise from 2-3 days to 3-4 days. This may end up being insignificant or it may be significant. Our experience was when it was 2-3 days, customers received their coffee on the 4th day about 10% of the time. And several percent get it after a week. If they’re changing their policy, I get scared.
Our other shipping option is FedEx. They are still promising 2 days, however weekends don’t count as days. So, if I ship on Friday and the package makes it to your city over the weekend, they’ll hold it until Tuesday to deliver, because that’s two days. That makes me CRAZY. So frankly, there isn’t a perfect solution.
Knowing this, we choose between these two carriers based on the lowest priced option for each individual shipment. This varies based on weight of the package and delivery location. Most of the time USPS is the least expensive, but FedEx wins out usually on orders of 2lbs or more.
The best solution that I can come up with for this inconsistent time is to charge $3 (the typical cost for the more expensive option) if you would like to choose a preferred shipping method. My guess is you know what is most reliable to your home and may be willing to pay for that. Or if you don’t really care, you’ll continue to get what we have been doing leading up to this change. If no one picks the upgraded shipping after a few weeks, I’ll find out this was a moot point and go back to the way we had it.
So, if you place an order over $30 at checkout you’ll see the following options:
Lowest Priced Priority Shipping: Free
FedEx 2 Day Shipping (No Sat/Sun) $3
USPS Priority Shipping (3-4 Days) $3
If you place an order under $30 at checkout, you’ll see these options:
Lowest Priced Priority Shipping: $5
FedEx 2 Day Shipping (No Sat/Sun) $8
USPS Priority Shipping (3-4 Days) $8
In the last email I told you that I wanted to use this time as an opportunity to serve others. I want to continue that. I was so encouraged to hear how people are dealing with their quarantine and it was helpful for me to hear what is happening throughout our country. We're still doing some things behind the scenes to help, but I want to know what you all need. If any of you are struggling, either emotionally or physically, let me know. I'd love to email you to help or just be able to pray for you. This is a very difficult time and I know there are better ways to serve you than just providing great coffee.
Thanks for letting me send another long email, and I hope you all are doing well.