Monday, December 19, 2016

I Felt Guilty About Putting My Foot Down This Year

I love the week before Christmas. This is when I set a day or two aside to bake gourmet treats that I only make this time of year. I put on a little before-my-time Christmas music, crack open a bottle of red wine, and I whip up scrumptious Christmas treats to fill baskets and platters and buckets. Since the launch of Bodacious Biscuit Love over 3 years ago, my day or two of festive baking has turned into more of a chore. This year, I was determined to change that.

To back up a bit, in addition to donating biscuit love for the holiday season, we always offer Holiday Biscuit Love to the public. I love giving pet parents the opportunity to order holiday biscuits for their pups or to give away as gifts.

Right around the first week of December, I post what we're offering for the holidays and give a specified amount of time when people can order.

There's always a deadline. 

Most people adhere to the deadline. However, there's always a few who try to place an order a few days to a week after the deadline.

In the past, I've always made exceptions, baked a few batches of biscuits on the overnight to fill these orders, and rush around at the last minute to drop the boxes off at the post office.

This year, that didn't happen.

The deadline was Wednesday, December 14th. I put my foot down. I was firm with this date. There are several reasons for this.

1. When the deadline nears, I have a pretty good idea how many biscuits we'll need. Whether it's orders, filling our display, or donating to shelters and pet parents in need, I have a good idea how many biscuits we'll need to spread the biscuit love. It takes us about 30 hours to make right around 2,500 biscuits. If we need more biscuits, that adds to our time.

2. Baking the biscuits is only a portion of the process. Once baked, the biscuits have to sit in our temperature controlled biscuit room for 36-48 hours to harden fully. At that point, we can bag and distribute the biscuits. In the past, when we have fulfilled orders and requests past our deadline, we're still working on getting those biscuits distributed 2-4 days after the fact.

3. Shipping is unpredictable the week before Christmas. Our shipping deadline this year was Monday, December 19th. In the past, we've shipped 2-3 days before Christmas. Despite shipping and paying for Priority, packages have arrived days after the estimated shipping date. We don't want to take that chance.

4. There's other stuff we have to do and get ready for too. I am unable to bake homemade dog treats and human baked goods at the same time. Plus, after spending 30-40 hours baking homemade dog treats, I need a break before I dive into baking for gift baskets, buckets, and platters.

Once our deadline hit of December 14th, that was it.

I felt guilty for doing this, but I needed to.

And, I did.

I got a few requests in the days after the deadline for biscuit orders.

"I'm so sorry I missed the deadline. I was busy with work."

"Can you ship a few bags of biscuits? I forgot to put my order in. I've been busy with getting ready for Christmas."

"I'm so sorry that I haven't kept up with your Bodacious Biscuit Love Facebook page. I very seldom do Facebook anymore. Any chance I could order some biscuits?"

All of the messages and emails were met with the same reply.

"The deadline to order holiday biscuits was Wednesday, December 14th. We did the last of our baking on Saturday, December 17th. On Monday, December 19th, we're making/we made our last trip to the post office to ship. The biscuits we have now are not available for sale. We'll be donating them to a few shelters and spreading some holiday cheer to pet parents in need."

It was a tough message to send, but I had to.

Everyone understood.

By putting my foot down, I was able to get all of the orders and donations prepped, shipped, and delivered without the interruption of baking last minute, beyond-the-deadline orders.

This year, I will enjoy baking for the humans once again.

It won't be a chore.

I'll be embracing this practice in the years to follow.

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