Export oriented

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This article appeared in the Issue 172, 16 May 2005 issue of CRN magazine.

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OPINION: Here at Rabid Reseller we’ve been watching all those offers from Nigeria with some considerable interest, particularly now that they’re asking for quotes to supply the IT needs of the country.

Nobody was going to fall for the old ‘help me get my money’ scams. Well nobody with a brain would fall for it.

But these new emails are obviously genuine. Surely nobody would try to fleece an IT vendor. That’s like trying to sue a lawyer. You just can’t beat people at their own game. So we figure the Nigerian Government really must want to get their hands on the latest IT and they’re willing to trade some oil for the privilege.

Rabid Reseller is only too pleased to help these poor developing countries play catch-up with the industrialised world.

Just take a look at this email we got the other day. "Hello, sales," it said. "I will like to confirm if you can supply us some PRINTERS, COPIERS AND FAX MACHINE and also if you can ship to us via FedEx/UPS courier to our location and also we will be paying with our credit for all order."

A desperate cry for help if we ever heard one. We got rid of some very woolly old stock with that order, let me tell you, but I am sure they’ll be pleased as punch with the stuff in Nigeria. Should be getting payment for the stuff any day now. They used an out-of-date credit card the first time. Silly third-worlders probably didn’t realise they have to renew their cards now and then. And you’d think the credit card company would use better grammar than the government over there, but you can’t judge them by our standards.

It’s a right doddle this export business. For starters, the government doesn’t want us to send them any GST on foreign orders, but our accounting program doesn’t know how to delete it from invoices.

And you can rely on the couriers to lose one shipment in five, which is a real bonus when you’ve over-insured the goods, which we always do here at Rabid Reseller.

We just found out that this whole tax nonsense doesn’t apply if you’re not in the country and the country ends just three nautical miles off the coast -- so that’s where we’re headed.

Yessir, Rabid Reseller will soon be located on a disused cruise ship just off the coast near you. If we’re not near you, call us anyway -- we’re offering a free cruise with every order over $1000.

This is such an attractive business model. Why didn’t we think of it earlier?

Besides not having to pay any taxes, we’ve found it nice to be able to just sail away from bill collectors and annoying customers squealing about ‘warranty’. The sales team is getting a bit narky at having to call me captain, and they don’t like swabbing the decks between calls, but every office has an ocean view! In fact, that’s all there is to look at out here -- ocean. We had no idea that there is so much ocean. Who pays for all this?

However, deliveries can get a bit erratic when the weather turns nasty. So much for those couriers’ claims that nothing can stop them -- a six-metre swell gets them literally begging for mercy. They decided it would be easier if they just used air freight to make deliveries but we’re getting sick of chasing parachutes all over the ocean, and those RAAF blokes no longer respond to our emergency calls to winch a PC off the deck in the middle of a storm. Contact us immediately if you hear of any disused aircraft carriers on the war-surplus market.

That Nigerian export is turning into a regular goldmine. We must have misunderstood their mangled English, as it seems they wanted us to provide them with credit for the goods, which they’ll pay off for the next five years. That’s a good cash-flow opportunity. They wanted to set up their whole office using finance, as well as buying their IT stuff, so we lent them $100,000 to get going. They’ve agreed to pay 27 percent interest so this is going to be a nice little earner.

 Gotta go, customers waiting!

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