Wednesday, 5 June 2013

How to Stalk a Stocking

Guest post by EBB fan Candice S

Stalking a stocking is a shopping experience like no other: It’s thrilling, it’s nerve-wracking, it’s fun… And, it can be quite addicting*.

Before we begin, let’s get versed in stocking vocabulary:

Stocking – When an online store is stocked with merchandise. At the moment the items are available for sale, the stocking is deemed ‘live’ and the items are available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis.

Stalk(ing) – To pursue relentlessly. To stalk a diaper is to prepare for its stocking and pounce on the opportunity to buy it the millisecond it goes live.

Hyena Cart (HC) – A popular online stocking host. This is Ella Bella Bum’s (EBB) current service provider.

‘Add to Cart’ – A button on HC that illuminates when the EBB stocking goes live. By adding an item to your cart, it is temporarily taken out of stock (no one else can check out with it in the meantime). Ella Bella Bum allows items to remain in your cart for 10 minutes before they are automatically restocked (thrown back to the hyenas for someone else to snatch up). Adding an item to cart does not commit you to purchase, it provides you time to make your final purchase decision and execute the check out process before the item restocks.

Ella Bella Bum (EBB) – The best diapers there are. Check ‘em out.

To ‘’Win a diaper’: In reference to stalking stockings, this means you were the quickest to add the item to your cart and purchased the diaper. You ‘won’ in the sense you were the winner of the race to purchase it. Ya still gotta pay for it.

Now, onto stalking tips...

Be Prepared

      Well before stocking time:

o    Double check the time of the stocking against your own time zone. HC uses Eastern Time. If you don’t know if there is a time difference, open this and compare the time in the upper right corner of your screen to the time on your computer clock.  Make note if there is a difference!

o   Prepare PayPal. PayPal is the only method of payment accepted at EBB stockings. If you don’t have an account yet, set one up. It’s easy. If you already have one set up, double check that you know your password and your shipping info is up to date.

o   Create an HC account. Also easy to do. Again, if you already have one, check to see if you remember your username and password.

        A few minutes before stocking:

o   Log in to HC. (Upper left corner of HC). I personally know the cost of forgetting to log it. If you forgot, believe me, you’ll only forget the once. ;)

o   Open the item of desire in your browser. If you are after more than one, open each in a separate tab.

o   Distract your children (or co-workers). If distractions don’t work, bribery often will. A juice box can go along way here. The stocking won’t take long (a few minutes at most) but those moments need your undivided attention.  

o   If you are holding a child,  put them down. Stockings are known to case sudden movements of emotional distress or outbursts of happy dances. For everyone’s safety, my goodness, put the baby down. 

Speed is everything 

Your internet speed, browser speed, ability to refresh quickly and hit the ‘Add to Cart’ button asap are critical to stocking success. Here's a few tips on speed: 

o   If able, connect directly (via a cable) to your Internet source. Wireless is just a smidge slower, but that smidge can make all the difference.

o   Use a fast Internet browser. My husband is the techy one, so I just go by his recommendation. Currently, Google Chrome is one of the fastest out there.

o   To refresh quickly, use a keyboard shortcut (instead of moving the mouse off the ‘Add to Cart’ button).  For most Mac and Windows users, that’s F5. 

o   For a faster refreshing time, close all other tabs and programs running on your computer. Yes, you'll need to close Facebook. Yes, you'll be fine. Even turn off "image loading" in your browser if you're really brave.

o   Refresh, refresh, refresh… Keep doing so until the stocking is live. Keep note of the HC clock on the upper right hand corner. How long does it take you to refresh? Use that to find a rhythm that will reload the page at just the right moment.  Some techy peeps actually use an automatic page-refresher. Who knew being techy could increase your diaper-purchasing power? 

o   When the 'Add to Cart' button illuminates: Do Not Hesitate! Make your purchase decision ahead of time and strike quickly.

o   If you have more than one tab open because you want more than one item, toggle between them using a keyboard shortcut, hit F5 to refresh, and add it to cart asap if the button is still illuminated.

o   Be mindful of your time. If you’ve carted one and are going back to see what else is available, remember the clock is ticking on the item(s) already in your cart. After 10 minutes they will automatically be restocked and could be nabbed by someone else. 

If you missed - Have Heart

If you missed an item you really wanted, stick around and keep refreshing the page. Often people will add numerous items to cart in the flurry of a stocking, then make their final purchasing decisions during the 10 minute window. You may get lucky and the item may be ‘thrown back’.

A quick way to browse what is still available is to hover over the ‘ellabellabum’ drop-down menu at the middle top of the page and click ‘view in-stock only’ on the dropdown list. This limits the items you see to what was available at the moment you clicked the list. Scroll and make decisions quickly!

Use a Stocking Buddy

Like most things, you get better with experience and there’s strength in numbers. To increase your odds of snagging that must-have item, enlist someone as your stocking buddy. Here’s how to use a stocking buddy:

o   Before the stocking, change your password to something easy and non-personal.

o   Enlist stalking buddies: Plead with friends, bribe a family member, or ask nicely on an online forum for help. People love being stocking buddies because it’s all the thrill of the hunt, without the cost of purchasing.  People especially love helping newbies out, so if you’re new and want to increase your odds – ask for help!

o   Both stalkers login to your HC account (hence why you changed your password to something non personal).

o   Both stalkers stalk the stocking as detailed above. Because there are two (or more) of you, your odds are greater. Especially if one of your buddies is a well-seasoned stalker (yes, this is a good thing). 

Note: If your buddy snags the item for you, it may not automatically show up in your cart on your computer (phone, iPad, … whatever you're using to stalk). Don’t panic. Simply go back to the main stocking page and click on the item they carted for you. Voila! The item should now show up in your cart. 

Please Keep in Mind 

Diapers are actually made to catch babies’ excreted waste. If you miss an item, there will be more.  I’ve witnessed grownups throw tantrums over missed items that would rival my two year old's. Keep stocking etiquette in mind and have fun.

Questions? Comments? Let me know! 

*Warning, stalking is not for the faint of heart

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