Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh, What a Day

Have you ever had a cursed project? Some projects just start off on a bad note and seem to get worse as they go along. Glue doesn’t dry fast enough. Smudges on the piece. Smeared ink. Today was one of those days for me and I did something that I have never done before—I refused to sell a project to a buyer.

I have been in the service industry since I was 15. I have always worked for others or have worked at the whims of others. I have catered for brides. I have sewn and beaded wedding dresses. I have performed for countless audiences. Nothing prepared me for what I faced today.

My client ordered a series of 50 personalized greeting cards. The cards were to be screen printed with my Gocco printer. After initially meeting with the client, we designed a religion based card that would feature a modern take on a Madonna and Child. The words “Unto us, a Child is born.” The salutation would be printed on the inside and the names would appear as well.

I email the proofs of three different examples to the client and she chose one. I did a mock up for the client to view and emailed a PDF of the scanned card. Of course, this wasn’t going to be sufficient—she had to see it in person. RED FLAG ONE. No problem. We scheduled a meeting for drinks (my treat) to discuss the mock up. When she sees the mock up, she notices that the names were misspelled. Of course, she blames me. I smile, show her the original order sheet, her listing of the names, and her initials that indicate that this was indeed what she wanted. I also indicated that she had the chance to fix it when I emailed the three original proofs.

No problem. Easy fix. Although wasting two Gocco bulbs and one screen ticked me off but still OK. So, we finalized the project. She initialed the changes. I asked her if she wanted to see the corrections before I massed produced the cards. “No. I trust you.” RED FLAG TWO.

Today, three and one half weeks after our initial meeting, we decide to meet after work for drinks AGAIN. I was excited to be done with the project and to get her out of my non-existent hair. We sit down, order drinks, and she starts to look at the cards. Immediately, she starts placing them in two stacks.

“What are you doing,” I ask.
“I like these but there are problems with these.”
“Really? Like what.”
“This one has a spot on it. This one doesn’t seem even. This one looks different.”
“Well, there are going to be some minor variations in the ink. That is the nature of handmade screen printed items.”
“Well, I’m only going to pay for the ones that I like.”
“Actually, the invoice says 50 cards and that is what you are going to be charged. By the way, this isn’t the Walgreens Photo Department. You can’t just take the ones you like.”
“That’s not fair.”

I collect the cards. Take out my wallet and refund her 50 % deposit. As I leave the table, she incredulously calls out, “What am I going to do about my Christmas cards?” I say, “Go to Walgreens. You can pick and chose the cards that you want. Thanks for the drink. Have a Happy Holiday.”


fingerstothebone said...

Good for you! I'm surprise, though, that since you worked with brides, that you hadn't encountered something similar before. At least you got some free drinks out of her.

Barbeeque4 said...

Bravo!!!!!! OMG - you were way nicer than I would have been - a handmade - wonderful card is a treat and she should get down on her knees and praise the job well done instead of nit pick it to pieces!!! YGG!!!

Have a great Holiday anyway!!!!


Dr. Russ said...

Working with brides is a totally different situation. Everything is approved before hand and they always take the product that is produced. With catering, you simply account for a 20% increase in guests.