Small Biz Chronicles: My Stupid USD 1,200 Mistake

Fortunes are lost because of stupid 5-second mistakes.

I lost USD 1,200 (or Php 60,000+) over the weekend because of a stupid one.

I ordered a few boxes of goods for shipping to Manila. Usually, the boxes are heavy and are shipped by sea.


The problem is, my shipper shipped it by air.


When I was screaming my head off, the shipper just shrugged and said, “Sorry, but we shipped it by air because you didn’t write anywhere in the box that it is by sea.”

We have always shipped goods by sea. Our goods are not expensive but are bulky and heavy. Obviously, shipping should be done by sea. Not by air.

But it’s a Catch-22.

If we don’t pay the USD 1,200 bill, we won’t get our goods and we hurt our relationship with our shipper. Sometimes, you’d just have to chock these mistakes up by experience and grit your teeth.

The lessons here are:

  1. Not everyone has common sense. Make sure that your instructions are as fool- and stupid-proof as possible. Even the most retarded of employees should get it.
  2. In business, you win some. You lose some. Sometimes, I feel it’s better to be an employee. If you make a mistake, your boss will berate you but you don’t have to pay. This is a very expensive and painful mistake for me.
  3. Don’t take things for granted. It takes 2 seconds to write “Sea” in the box. I didn’t write it. Now, I have to foot the USD 1,200 bill.

Life is like that. Business is like that. If you make a mistake, you pay for it. So it’s better if you learn from your mistakes so you don’t repeat it again.


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