We Meet the Nicest People
Guest Post by Michelle Mather
Over the years that we’ve been publishing books, we’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” quite a few of our readers. When I say meeting, I don’t generally mean “face to face” meeting, but rather, an exchange of emails in which we get to know each other. Usually the exchange begins with a question from a reader, sometimes about living off the grid, sometimes about gardening and sometimes a whole combination of topics.
Recently someone from “down under” placed an order on our website. When we get an order from outside of the U.S. and Canada, I estimate the cost of shipping and get in touch with the buyer to let them know that I’ll be sending a request via PayPal for an extra payment to cover the extra cost of the shipping. (If the shipping proves to be too expensive, I cancel the order and refund their money, at their request.)
Our Australian customer in this case, agreed to the extra amount for shipping and I shipped his order. It took a long time to get to him, much longer than it should have, but he was very patient and there were a few emails back and forth until he let me know that the parcel had arrived. After his first order, he decided he’d like a few other items and again, I shipped them and crossed my fingers. Once again the parcel seemed to take forever to arrive.
In the meantime we began to exchange emails as he told me about his off-grid/grid tie situation down under and asked questions about our system. We even enlisted Bill Kemp’s advice to help him “tweak” his charge controller. Recently our Aussie friend posted a video showing his place and I thought our blog readers might be interested too. I asked his permission to share the link and he agreed. Thanks to Glen for posting his video and allowing me to share it with you. You can find it here;
Thinking about shipping to Australia reminds me of another shipping story. A fellow in Japan ordered a copy of “The Renewable Energy Handbook.” In our back-and-forth exchange regarding extra shipping fees, he told me that the book was a birthday present for his elderly father, and so he hoped that the book would arrive in time for the big day. I happened to be meeting with Bill Kemp around the time of this order and since it was for a “special” occasion, I asked Bill to autograph the copy. Bill wrote something fitting and I sent it off.
It seemed to take forever to get to Japan and I received many worried emails as day after day went by without any sign of the package. Finally I got an excited email saying “It arrived!” Then a few minutes later I got another email with the subject line “Problem.” He had opened the package and discovered the autograph and was worried that someone had written in his father’s gift! He even attached photos of the offending “scribble.” Once I emailed him back and explained to him that the author of the book had written a birthday message to his father, he was relieved and appreciative.
Occasionally we have the pleasure of meeting a blog reader face-to-face. Last fall, Anita arranged for her and her husband to attend our day-long workshop here at Sunflower Farm. It was wonderful to meet Anita and her husband and we have continued to keep in touch through our blogs and Facebook. She wrote a glowing review of the workshop and indicated that she has learned from Cam and me and I have certainly learned things from her too! Most recently she posted a “recipe” for dealing with a dog that had been sprayed by a skunk. Her blog can be found here; http://adventures-in-country-living.blogspot.ca/
The last story that I want to share is about an experience Cam had just the other day. We were in Kingston running some errands and at the downtown health food store Cam asked a store clerk for the location of an item. After the clerk answered Cam’s question he said, “You’re Cam Mather, aren’t you?” It turns out that the clerk had a copy of Cam’s gardening book, “The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook.” He and Cam shared some gardening stories and then he mentioned that he’d also bought a copy of “The Renewable Energy Handbook” and had bought some solar panels and other equipment.
We often receive emails from people who have read one or more of our books and it is always gratifying to know that someone has enjoyed a book or learned from it. Meeting readers in person, especially by surprise like on this occasion, is a real treat!
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In our last post we asked a favour of anyone who has read any of our books. Please consider writing a review for any of our titles on any online book retailer like amazon, etc. We would be most appreciative!