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Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas 2010

Totnes castle looking very pretty, dusted with Saturday's snow.

We've been very busy for the past few weeks, making sure everyone gets their Christmas presents in time for the big day. The sorting office in Totnes has been deluged with our sacks of parcels, headed for destinations from Plymouth to New Zeland. The most popular present this year has been the Penguin Race, which has also featured in our window display and has been entertaining shoppers in the Narrows.

The late night shopping on Tuesday nights has been a resounding success this year, with Adam and Emily running hook-a-duck and a lucky dip outside the shop. Many people braved the cold to shop and soak up the fantastic atmosphere.

Unfortunately the snow arrived in the two weeks before Christmas and this has caused some disruption, with delivery men being unable to get through. We've been trying our best to make sure as few people are disappointed as possible, but inevitably there will be some delays.

Don't panic if you still have shopping to do, or if some of your online orders haven't arrived in time; both the Totnes and Looe shops will be open on Christmas Eve.

We hope you have a Happy Christmas!

Monday, 6 December 2010

What happened to Sagepay? - Manic monday 2010

Could it have happened on a worse day?

Although the experts seem undecided about whether manic Monday fell on November 29th or December 6th this year 2010) It is absolutely conclusive for us that the busiest day this year so
far has been today, being Manic Monday December 6th.

This catastrophic sagepay meltdown was not affecting just us either - it appears that many, if not all e-commerce sites relying on Sagepays (formerly Protx) payment gateway have also been affected, several of which appearing not to have a contingency plan in place, and probably losing a small fortune in lost sales and abandoned baskets.

Luckily for us, our system alerted us that we had an unusual amount of pending orders, and so we were able to switch over to the trusty Paypal gateway so that all of our customers would not spend an hour or so deciding on which toys to buy, choosing the various colours and product selection types, ticking off their Christmas present list and stocking fillers one by one, get their credit card at the ready... nearly done, and then see the dreaded message - "Service Temporary Unavailable!" followed by "The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later."

Although extremely frustrated at the loss of sales and particularly the not so perfect experience for our customers, I don't feel I can really pin the blame solely on Sagepay. Manic Monday has historically been the busiest day for online shopping for several years now, and a very conservative estimate of £20.4 million was expected to be spent EVERY HOUR today. I would imagine this figure to be even higher when the official figures are published. We're all allowed to make mistakes; Lets just hope this one doesn't rear it's ugly head again on another manic Monday!

Let me take this opportunity to apologise to any of our customers that were affected by this sagepay error message, and as always we are just on the other end of the phone on 08452 696 452 and happy to help.

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