I am having a conniption fit.

Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 07:38 pm
Here's the deal:

I am moving my business to a new location in six days.

I am a portrait photographer so anyone who comes to my business makes two visits: one to have their photos done and another to pick them up.

I had a lovely flier printed to inform my visiting clients of the move, complete with a map to the new location, so when they came in to have pictures done there would be no question as to where to pick them up (I didn't want them to think I bailed on them or anything).

Each client was given a flier and informed of the move by the staff.

I also designed a postcard to send to the last three years of past clients informing them of the move so that they would know where to go to order more prints from past sessions.

I timed the postcards to have them ready from the printer today, one full week before the move. This gave me and my staff time to get them out in the mail in a way that would let our clients "in" on the move - they would receive the postcards a few days before the move - that is just how I wanted it to happen.


I call the printer to make sure the cards are ready for pick up today and find that they have been waiting for me to check a proof and the cards have not been printed.

I have used this printer for years. I completely set up my cards for printing. They have never "proofed" me before. In the rare cases that I have requested a proof they have called me when the proof was ready so that I could come in and approve it.

Today I had to deal with a fax proof.

A fax.

Not only is my timing screwed I have to deal with a crappy fax.


Okay. Rant over. Here are the questions:

Although I use an outside lab, I am a printer of sorts too. When I screw up something, I gulp, take a deep breath and hand it over. If I inconvenience a client I should expect to suffer.

Keeping in mind that I've used them for years, and that my account is not huge but sizeable, what should I reasonably expect my printer to do to make this right?
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Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 07:49 pm

I've dealt long distance for four years now with a postcard printer, and go out of my mind about every third time.

I do the layout, and am very explicit about spacing and relative proportion of letters of different lines, and the space around the text. It depends on who on the team does the work; sometimes it's correct immediately, and sometimes they paid no attention.
Just recently I had an order be way late because they were waiting for a proof approval, because I hadn't noticed that they'd cut out the option of OK, with these small fixes, no proof necessary.

Thus I didn't go in to check my email from Friday til Tuesday because I didn't expect a proof... and essentially lost a week. Flames from ears..
but because I hadn't noticed they changed their form, it was really my fault.
I had even written it was fine except for (this small fix), but still, there was the proof in wait.

I will say that honest outrage has helped me in the past, re fees, but it doesn't get the cards there any faster. My place will print Rush, but at what is, for us, great cost.

Edit, to spell approval better.
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Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 08:07 pm
Yes! Rush is expensive.

My printer didn't change anything.

They called me the day I dropped the disc off with a question about the "bleed". With some photos the cropping is so crucial that you have to account for the bleed and kind of double crop the image so the printer doesn't goof it up. (I don't know how to explain it any better than that.)

The printer called, questioned the bleed, I explained it and we were good to go, I thought.

She reiterated the desk help person that the cards would be ready on Monday.

Again, no mention of a proof.

The thing is, there are card programs now that are easier to use but I like this printer, they have always done a good job in the past.

The one time they really screw up is the time that I have a serious schedule. I have some real reasons for wanting the cards to get there right before we moved -- not too soon, not too late.

Maybe it won't be that big a deal.

But I'm still pissed.

My future relationship with this printer will center on thieir response when I pick up the cards.

I want to make sure I act reasonably despite my pissiness.
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Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 09:45 pm
First, was the printer aware of your deadline? If so, it is unconscienable to hold the job pending proof without making you aware of the status. If this is the case, do let them know this might be the last job they do for you, and be sure you're talking to someone with authority to do something. If they can't/won't come up with some very remedial suggestion, I suppose they don't care about your business, and it really is time to go elsewhere.
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Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 09:53 pm
Know nothing about what your rights are, just wanted to drop in and glower on your behalf.

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Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 09:58 pm
I do! She has the right to take her future business elsewhere, and moderate size accounts with repeat business is what keeps printers in business. Well, it's what keeps well servicing companies in business, anyway.
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Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 10:12 pm
Especially as I gather there are ways to do it yourself, boomer?
All this time, they do the layout because they don't use our gallery font. They use Goudy, we use Palatino. I suppose I could have acquired Goudy, but when we started this stuff, I didn't want to. Now I like it better than Palatino for our cards. Tis moot, in our case, we won't be doing this much longer, but in yours, they need you, in my opinion.
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Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 10:26 pm
Yes! Roger! It is what keep service companies in business. I count on my repeat clients and their referals to keep me going.

And they were aware of my deadline. When they asked "when do you need this" we pulled out a calendar. I told them I needed it ASAP but no later than the 24th.

I gave them about two weeks lead time which is usually more than enough even when I need color separations done. This was a very simple black and white postcard, double sided, commonly available glossy card stock, trimmed, quartered -- easy.

They just dropped the ball. I hate to go rabid on anyone and I'm trying to maintain my cool. I spend maybe $8 to $10 thousand with this printer each year which is not huge but it is a lot for me, for any small business. They print just about everything for me other than my pictures.

I know about the gulp and breathe when you goof.

I don't goof often and neither do they. I do know that even when you try very hard that mistakes happen.

I guess that their response will determine our future relationship.

Jeez. I feel like I should post to the relationship category - "My printer has a porn addiction, what should I do?".

I love my printer and I don't want to break up.

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Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 10:37 pm
Well, hey, maybe your printer loves you, too. We shall see how much.
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Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 10:45 pm
You know the printer? Talk to the owner.
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Reply Mon 24 Jan, 2005 11:59 pm
If he's a good business man he'll give you the postcards
for free. That's the least he should do boomerang.

If he's only apologetic and still charges you full price,
than he's obviously not appreciating your business enough
to pick up the tab for a great inconvenience he has caused
you, not to mention the possibly loss of a client.
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Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2005 12:31 am
Depends. (the diaper!)

I can't see my large, generally fast printing company dying at the loss of my business, though they've catered to me, I admit it; while they've been at fault at least some of the time, not all.

Switching slightly here, I had a second set of glasses made recently from a local optometry company who seem generally less avid for every cent I might have than my optometry folks back on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica. They have had sympathy for my comings and goings with four eye surgeries in a year, and taken off some off the top fees.

I got this last pair as bifocals, instead of trifocals, my usual if odd way, and asked for the distance and intermediate lens prescriptions to be made into top and bottom.

Got them, and the distance and reading were made into top and bottom, not the distance and intermediate, and I nearly throw up in between.
[skip to explain I have eyes that my opthamologist remarked would make it hard for most people to walk, but I'm used to them.. and that was Before the surgeries.]

So, $104.00, way cheap, I am used to more with the trifocals, but I can't use these things. I know I not only said once but twice or perhaps three times, that I wanted the distance and intermediate to be made into the bifocals Not the distance and close.

Took them back today, explained that I might not have communicated well (I knew I had at least stated this stuff twice) and said I'd be willing to pay. No, no, that's ok.... they're charging me $20.00 and we're square, to do it again.

Of course, they will continue to have my munificent business.
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Reply Tue 25 Jan, 2005 07:01 pm

I got a call from the printer today at about 4:00 saying my cards were ready!

I should be able to get them in the mail tomorrow - only one day behind schedule!

What a relief.

They did good.

I would rather have the cards pronto than any discount.

I will never never never move my business again.

One of the big studio supply places is not to far from me. Almost all of their business is mail order but us lucky Portlanders can just stop in. I went in today to pick up some new backdrops and look over some folios and such and mentioned that we were moving and asked "didn't you guys move just a couple of years ago?"

She said: "that was 1998. Don't talk about it. It feels like yesterday. Never, never again."

It was kind of nice to have someone to moan and groan with.

I've always thought that a photo studio would make a funny sitcom (anyone remember "Love That Bob" it was very influential in my childhood). I suppose moving week would be " in a very special "Love That Bob", Bob and Schultzie have nervous breakdowns and nearly kill each other.
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