Website issues on 4/21

We sincerely apologize for the trouble many people experienced on our website yesterday afternoon. As often happens when rare items go up for sale online, there was a digital stampede. To give one example 781 people tried to buy the R.E.M. 4LP set even though we only had a few copies left.

We increased our website’s efficiency recently, but our server was still overwhelmed by hundreds of times more activity than we usually see. This ssssllloooowed everything down, which resulted in an understandable amount of frustration and confusion.  The only good thing is that the server never crashed. It simply kept cranking away, processing everything in order.

Unfortunately, the slowdown allowed people to put items in their shopping baskets while other people were checking out for the same item. Many people assumed that items had been snatched away from them and sold to other customers who came later. In reality, orders were being processed in the order we received them. Everything was so slow that unfortunately, our site let people put items into their cart that others had already claimed. Those items were removed from people’s carts when the previous customer’s credit card was processed.

Although it is terribly frustrating – possibly more than we can appreciate – if you were one of the people who lost out on something, we assure you that you lost it to someone who put it into his/her basket first. That may seem incredible if you put something in your cart at 12:01pm, but many people put their first choice into their basket at 12:00. We know that this won’t relieve the disappointment of not receiving a record you really wanted, but it may make you feel better to know that we are trying to be fair.

The best way to find out the status of your order is to log on to your account and check your order history. If an item says “item packaged” it means that it has been packaged. It might even be at the post office. We don’t change the status to “shipped” until it has been out of our possession for a while. You can make use of the tracking button, but keep in mind that it can take 24 hours after shipping for tracking information to be live.

“Order received” means just that. We worked all last night and are nearly caught up, so hopefully you will receive a packaging confirmation email very soon. Unfortunately, some of the items are oversold. We are trying to get more, but many records are sold out forever. Whatever restocks we receive will be sold to people in the order they placed their orders.

We do apologize for all the frustration.


One comment

  1. Can you clarify something for me? Was it when someone checked out that was first come first served or when it went into the cart? I would be shocked if it was the latter. Regardless, I must say that I am still very disappointed. It hasn’t stopped me from ordering from you as I still want to support independent record stores, but I really have a bitter taste in my mouth from all of this. The site was live a bit before noon. I know this because I logged in and put a few items in my cart at 11:45 (other albums, non RSD) and was then refreshing on the REM page so I could buy it the second it went live. Having waited in line for hours to have the last copy sell right in front of me made me sure that it would sell fast. I decieded to forgo buying CCR’s singles to try to ensure that I got REM (if there were any left). The second it went live, I put it in my cart and hit check out. The server hung, I got the 500 error, then tried for a few more minutes. Then I just gave up. The explination above tells me that my order should have processed (at least for the other items I had in my cart). It didn’t. I know me writing this doesn’t solve the issue. I will just have to spend the $300 on Ebay to get the album. That said, this explanation does not make sense ot me.


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