View Full Version : Who's on first?

Scott Shepherd
10-04-2007, 7:30 PM
Have you had “one of those jobs” lately that makes you lose faith in human beings? I'm at the tail end of it situation with a customer that's been killing me. Big company, I deal with a variety of people there. No problems for the most part. Someone I have dealt with in the past with no problems emails me and says the following (and I'll change all the details, but the situation will remain the same. I know it all makes no sense, but if I put the details, it could be traced back to me and that's the last thing I need at this point in the story :) ) :

Email : Please make 2 new name tags for the following companies as per below.

Scroll down, below says “Please make 2 desk plaques”.

I email back and ask if they want name tags or desk plaques.

Email I get back “Why would I want name tags?”

(I don't know, maybe because your email was titled “name tags”)

Yes, I want desk plaques.

Two days later, I get logos emailed to me in JPEG format. I tried to make them work as I normally do, and they were such poor quality, I couldn't work with them. I emailed her, told her that we needed the .eps or .ai files to make the logos work properly and do a high quality job.

She emails me another JPEG.

I kindly tell her that if she can see the logo, then it's the wrong format and offer to speak to the people who handle the logos directly.

She sends me 1 eps file, it opens fine and it's for a logo not mentioned in the first place. I email her and ask her what it's for and she tells me that it's for the original request. Let's say the original request was for KFC and Home Depot. The logo that came in was for Taco Bell.

She says “yes, that's correct”.

(Huh? Okay, I'm officially confused).

Emails me back and wants to know why they aren't installed yet.

(Ummm....just a guess, because I don't have the logos from you yet).

I remind her I'm waiting on the logos.

She says “I sent them last week”.

(Anyone else getting the “who's on first” feeling?)

I remind her that she sent JPEG's which we couldn't use and she needed to send me the eps files.

She then sends me another JPEG logo that about 80 pixels wide and 60 pixels tall (for an image that will end up being about 8” wide).

I email her back, explain once again we need eps files and I will GLADLY contact the people directly.

Still nothing.

She emails me back and wants to know why they aren't done yet.

(anyone seeing a pattern yet?)

She tells me that I have one logo for Taco Bell and I can do that one. It's one office and it's supposed to be shared by two companies.

I say “I thought it was shared by KFC and Home Depot”.

It is.

Doesn't the company that owns KFC own Taco Bell?


So let me see if I can understand. KFC and Taco Bell are sharing an office with Home Depot?


So how many do you need 2, or 3?


(reaching for duct tape to keep head from exploding)

So you want to put the KFC and Taco Bell one together and then the Home Depot by itself?


Why aren't they done yet?

Because I don't have the logos for KFC or Home Depot yet.

Yes you do, I sent them last week.

No, I don't, you sent me JPEG's and we need eps files.

Oh, that's right, I remember.

Can you do the Taco Bell one?

Yes, but I thought that went with the KFC one?
No, the KFC goes with the Home Depot one.

But they are for the same area. I thought KFC and Taco Bell were sharing.

They are.

So how many do we need to make?


2 or 3?


(I now understand why people “go postal”)

Next day comes along (and there were several voice conversations in here as well), and I get an email -

Are these done yet?

(you really MUST be kidding, right?)

No, I don't have the logos yet.

What about the Taco Bell one. Yes, that's done.

Can you put the KFC and Home Depot on the same one?

Yes, but shouldn't the KFC and Taco Bell be on the same one?


So you want the KFC and Home Depot on the same thing?


So that's two, not three.

Yes, make two.

Oh what a week is has been. I had to share this as I'm sure most of you have had similar issues.

Ron Thompson
10-04-2007, 10:07 PM
I'm sorry you have a customer like that, but you did give me a good laugh and make me smile.

Some customers just don't understand what a jpg or eps file is. Or why we need something other than what they send us.

I just think she forgot to take her meds for a few days.

So my question is, did you ever deliver this job and how many did they really want??

Craig Hogarth
10-04-2007, 10:42 PM
Scott, have you tried brandsoftheworld.com?

If they're big corporations, you should be able to get the eps or ai there for free.

Scott Shepherd
10-04-2007, 11:20 PM
Yes, tried brands of the world, neither was there. Searched the internet for pdf files that might contain the logos as well. Came up dry on all accounts.

No, I haven't delivered it yet. I sent a proof out today, she passed it on to the end customer, and in he said it was perfect.

So I get copied on an email back to him from her, telling me "Great, only one more logo to get and we'll be done".


Two more logos, not one.

I'll deliver 1/2 of it tomorrow or 1/3 of it, or whatever I have, whatever percentage that may be :)

I even sent a nice email explaining why jpg's didn't work, along with a blown up graphic of what she supplied, along with the sawtooth edges when blown up, explained how .eps files would be better for resizing as they didn't get the sawtooth edges.

I even considered paying to have them converted. I won't recover the money, but it'd be worth it.

Judith Halliday
10-04-2007, 11:32 PM
That's when you pick up the phone and place a nice call to the individual. Those are nightmare jobs. You have mucho patience.

Thanks for the hearty laugh.

Leigh Costello
10-05-2007, 12:29 AM
Oh my! Sounds like one of my customers. The organization needs 350 gratis gifts for a convention. Wonderful! We settle on the item, to be completely manufactured by us. And the price is also agreed upon. Fantastic! Sent fax for signature.........um, still waiting.......ring, ring. Can we change this then add that and resize the other and maybe add color and how about if we order 200 instead of 350 and still have the same price and we need it a bit sooner like next week.

I responded nicely, I hope, by saying the number change is fine, the other changes are fine, but next week is a bit much. However, for an additional fee this order can be done in one week. Wonderful! Send us 350 next week and we will have your check ready upon delivery for the original amount. :eek:

What the...where the...why the........

Stephen Beckham
10-05-2007, 7:14 AM
I'm so glad I'm not alone on this one... It is almost like the reverse of "Bait-n-Switch" pulled on the vendor by the customer.

Can I order 1000 of those at a great rate?


(couple days later) Well we'd only like 250, but since you quoted $X.xx for the item, we expect you to stick to that price.:mad:

Just to show the better side though - I had a customer actually negotiate a higher price. A Pastor and Army Chaplain (sorry, I have a soft spot for them being I just retired) needed some out-of-pocket engraving done. Knowing he's not the wealthiest customer - I quoted a huge discount - he came back with a "Can't do it... I know it should cost more and I won't take advantage of a friend." So he high-balled me forcing me to split the difference with him.

Luck of the draw I guess - because most customers would rejoice in the great sale - one of my blessings is that I deal mostly with great customers.

Scott Shepherd
10-05-2007, 8:22 AM
Judith, I did repeatedly pick up the phone. She doesn't answer it, it always goes to voicemail if it's an outside call. I tricked her a couple of times and called someone in the company and had them transfer me, and she picked up every time :)

I suspected that others had days and customers like that, so thought I would post it more for fun than anything else.

Scott Shepherd
10-05-2007, 10:05 AM
Just got a phone call telling me that what I did yesterday was wrong and needed to be changed. That coming after sending a proof and being told "perfect- please proceed".

I haven't even delivered it yet. I made it last night!

Not sure which part of "perfect- please proceed" I misunderstood, but apparently it was the "perfect" bit.


Nancy Laird
10-05-2007, 10:35 AM
Scott, this sounds suspiciously like management by committee, and everyone on the committee has a different idea, and your contact is the one who is the go-between and being pulled in about 1000 different directions. I'd call her up and find out who's in charge of this project, stop all work, and get the final "perfect-please proceed" in writing and signed by everyone on the committee. You're working yourself into frustration and high blood pressure! You don't need that.

Other alternative: tell her you don't want the job any more and see what she says.

Nancy (77 days)

Randal Stevenson
10-05-2007, 10:46 AM
Send her a sign that says Perfect, please proceed.......:p

Send her a form to fill out, with the SPECIFIC requirements, to be signed off by the person in charge. At the top of the form label it ID-10-T form.

Seen a lot of this lately, behind the person in the drive through, ordering something "to go", to behind a person asking how many pieces is something cut in 1/2, to someone who thinks that eighteen people behind her, should back up, so she can back up in traffic.

Times like this, I would request her supervisor for clarification.

Scott Shepherd
10-05-2007, 10:53 AM
Hehehe :) I wish it was all so simple. She runs a region, so if I went over her head, I'd never see another job from her (and I do a lot of work for her, as well as her company). All I can do is gently suggest things and just deal with it.

All the other regional people do send the forms out, but she, for some reason, won't use the form and have customers fill it out.

I really can't do anything other than work through it. It's way too large of an account for me to make waves, so I'm more or less eating this one. I won't lose money on it, but I certainly won't make money either. I know you have to have those every once in a while. First real issue I've had like this with her.

Gary Hair
10-05-2007, 10:57 AM
I hate to tell you how hard I laughed, at your expense, but that is tragically hilarious. If it weren't for the lousy week I have had, it wouldn't be quite as funny, but still funny anyway.

My condolences for your loss of brain cells and hair follicles, it almost has to get better from here, right?


Darren Null
10-05-2007, 11:22 AM
This is exactly why I don't do websites for people anymore. At least with lasered goods, the product is either there or not. With websites; the website is in the guy's head and what you have to go on is the chap's description. Even at the outset, you're limited by the chap's descriptive ability and what's physically possible ("No, I'm afraid that you can't have it coming up with the product you were thinking of sir, the state of the art isn't quite there yet"). Then the goalposts start moving; usually in a fashion that require rebuilding the site from the ground up. Double the bugger factor if it's a complicated database-driven site and multiply by 10 for each other person involved.

You're still going to get nightmare customers with lasered gubbins -as you've amply demonstrated Scott- but at least you can say "You asked for one and you're holding it in your hand". So much simpler that way

Judith Halliday
10-05-2007, 7:38 PM
Judith, I did repeatedly pick up the phone. She doesn't answer it, it always goes to voicemail if it's an outside call. I tricked her a couple of times and called someone in the company and had them transfer me, and she picked up every time :)

I suspected that others had days and customers like that, so thought I would post it more for fun than anything else.

I've called those same ones that don't pick up the phone and say something like "I'm so sorry but the system crashed". Please call me.

You want to know how fast they get back on the phone. It's almost comical.

Larry Bratton
10-05-2007, 9:48 PM
You win some..you lose some...some you shouldn't even have showed up for. This is one of them. No matter how hard you work with this customer, she will never be profitable. It's a tough situation too, if you don't try and work with her some way, she may give you bad press. Persevere and RAISE your PRICE. Good luck!

Bill Cunningham
10-07-2007, 8:04 AM
I'm so glad I'm not alone on this one... It is almost like the reverse of "Bait-n-Switch" pulled on the vendor by the customer.

Can I order 1000 of those at a great rate?


(couple days later) Well we'd only like 250, but since you quoted $X.xx for the item, we expect you to stick to that price.:mad:

When ever I quote on a number of items, I always state in the quote
"based on xxx number of items, your cost will be $xxx for the lot.." (or $xxx per piece) This price is in Canadian funds, and does not include any S&H or applicable taxes"
Then, if the quantity changes, you can send them a new quote based on the smaller numbers.. The S&H always includes postage, insurance, a packing charge, and 'some' of the credit card merchant charges. If the customer picks it up in the shop, they prepay by visa, and the c.c. cost is built into the price. If they pay by cash, they get a lower price because my transaction costs are lower

Because I'm in Canada, I bill their visa card in Canadian funds, and visa does the conversion to U.S. funds.. The only bit some of my U.S. customers find surprising is the American Dollar is only worth $0.98 Canadian now, A complete reverse of a year ago..

Mark Winlund
10-07-2007, 11:31 AM
It was fun to read this thread.... I've been in this situation many times. The answer? As has been said: RAISE YOUR PRICE! If they wont pay, say goodbye! I have a number of customers that pay a higher price because of the difficulty dealing with them. (and a number that I won't deal with at all.)


Scott Shepherd
10-07-2007, 11:44 AM
Trust me, they already have paid for the trouble many times over. To be realistic, it's not as if I have spent hours and hours on this. Email responses take only seconds. Only thing I'm "out so far" is the one job that I have to remake and the end client has already admitted he sent the wrong information and has agreed to pay for original as well as the new one, so no material loss either.

No huge loss in time, we have a reputation for turning things around quickly and things like this get under my skin because I can't make it happen quickly, and I know enough about how business works to know that I'm being blamed behind the scenes. Luckily I learned my lesson in that in a previous job and now have to counteract it at this one place.

Scott Shepherd
10-23-2007, 11:35 AM
Update Time :)

I completed 1 sign for this project and sent an email back saying I couldn't do the second sign with two names until I got the files. Got an email back saying that they were waiting on the customer and they understood I couldn't do anything else.

Got an email yesterday telling me that attached was the logo for the "Home Depot" company. I emailed her back telling her there was no attachment, could she please send it. I also reminder her that once I had that, I still needed the KFC logo.

This morning, I get an emailing telling me that attached is the Home Depot logo. They also tell me they didn't do the KFC logo, so they don't have it. I open the file, it's the KFC logo, not the Home Depot.

I email back, telling them I still need the Home Depot Logo and they tell me that I already got it this morning. I say "No, that was the KFC Logo". They said no, it wasn't. I said "Well, then how come the name of the file is KFC_LOGO"?

Next thing said was "I'll have to call you back".

5 minutes later, get an email I'm CC'd on, telling the graphic house I need the KFC logo.

You're kidding right?

Apparently not.

Phone rang, it was person from graphics house, emailed me all the files I needed in 2 minutes.

Barbara Buhse
10-24-2007, 3:34 PM
I'm getting dizzy reading this from you Scott... sometimes its just not worth it, I hope this one is to you. Maybe you should tell her that your form must be filled out and signed offor you can't accept the order.

I have one customer who never spells the names right on their orders... but I already know this and just find out how to spell them myself... (luckily, I know some other people there who can get me the proper spellings). And yes, this customer is aware that he spells them wrong, but never proofreads anyway.

Some poeple just go through life not worrying about the details... but in your customer's case, you gotta wonder how she got to be a regional manager. :)


Bill Cunningham
10-25-2007, 7:39 PM
For products that require names, I request a email with the names in a list 'flush right' in exactly the case they want them engraved, All upper case, gets all upper case etc.. I never second guess a customer on the spelling of a name, because invairably I will be wrong.. I make it exactly as the customer sent it or typed it.. I will not accept handwritten information for anything unless the customer proof reads it before it's engraved. First correction is free, the others cost.. Once the customer has accepted the proof, the order is pre-paid and the job is done.. Errors (unless mine) are re done at the regular rate.. There are many many people out there that think 'their' 50 dollar job should become 'your' life's work.. I give them a good product for a fair or usually under price, as long as they understand that incessant 'tweaking' is done at their expense.. I'm sure anyone here that has been in business for a few years, has had customers that seem to believe 'your' time is never as important as theirs . . . until they get the bill:eek: