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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Canada Post Strike, The E-Bay Conversion, Inventory and My Sister's Upcoming Visit

July is shaping up to be an extremely busy month for Steph and I. This month we are trying to complete the mandatory conversion of U.S. dollar listings on E-bay, and complete our physical inventory and financial statements. My sister is also coming to Toronto for a visit for the first time since I moved here with my ex 12 years ago. My sister and I have not been close historically, but we are both trying to build our relationship. So I am very much looking forward to seeing her in the next couple of weeks and spending some quality one-on-one time catching up with her. This is also the month when my 6 year old nephew goes to the hospital for surgery to remove a non-malignant brain tumor. It has been quite a trying time for the family over these past several months and both Steph and I are praying that the surgery goes well and that Alastair makes a speedy and thorough recovery.

The E-bay conversion has been difficult, but after much trial and error, I seem to have found a workflow that is effective and error free. It is slow to the point that I have not had time to list any new material and I will have spent two full weeks on it, but I am now down to 642 listings to go out of 3,600 a few weeks ago. One upside to it is that has allowed all of my listings to appear in Delcampe, which they couldn't before due to the fact that Delcampe did not allow Canadian sellers to list in USD. So we have been able to increase the exposure for our material.

Our year end was January 31, 2016, so as six months have since passed, our corporate income tax return will be due at the end of this month. Also with Steph and I looking to obtain more investment capital and a mortgage for a place in New Brunswick, it is time to prepare the financial statements. In the past, I have worked with good estimates of inventory and cost of sales, but with all the buying that we have done and the roll-in of the Nigeria to the stock, I have come to the conclusion that a proper counted and valued detailed inventory must be done. So Steph and I are spending the evenings that we would normally would spend relaxing and are counting stamps instead. It is turning out to be a massive undertaking and we are hoping that there is more value there than we originally estimated, as it will bode well for us when we go to the bank. At least that is what I am hoping for.

The Canada Post strike threat appears to have passed for now, but it has hit our business very hard, with sales this month being the lowest they have ever been in the past year - only about $700 so far as of July 12th. I am just dismayed by the fact that the postal system can be unionized. I actually do not believe that labour unions have any place in the public sector at all. What they are fighting about is mostly the right for the newly hired Canada Post employees to continue to receive a defined benefit pension rather than a defined contribution plan. For those of you who aren't accountants, a defined benefit plan is one where the employee receives a guaranteed pension no matter what. A defined contribution plan on the other hand is one where the employer's contribution to the fund are guaranteed, but the ultimate pool of funds available at retirement for the pension is dependent on how the plan investments perform. Very few people nowadays receive defined benefit pensions, let alone any pension, largely because they are too expensive. So with that in mind it just angers me that the unions can have such a strong sense of entitlement, fighting for something that practically nobody else in the workforce enjoys. What makes them so special?

Most of the media coverage of this looming strike has focused on how very few people will notice because very few people mail letters, However, they are ignoring the small businesses who rely on the postal service for delivery of payments and delivery of goods. It is completely unacceptable for citizens who pay taxes and businesses who pay taxes to be deprived of this essential service for any length of time. I hope this will change during my lifetime, but I am not holding my breath.

Anyway, I have to get back to the U.S listing conversions. Have a great rest of the week everyone!

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