“I have a change…”

That phrase can strike fear into a printer.  If you did everything correct, and the customer has a change, you get to charge them for it.  Usually.  Sometimes they are a big enough customer that even though you have a signed proof saying it is OK to print and that any changes are the customer’s responsibility, you have to suck it up and eat it anyway.

So I get a customer who needs a program printed, trimmed, folded and stuffed into an envelope with an insert.  We are also printing the envelopes and sending out for the mailing/stuffing part.  We don’t do enough of them here to get all that software and equipment, and I have a good vendor who works with us for a fair price.  Piece of cake job.  Until “I have a change…’.

They call me on a Monday and say they will have me the address list on Thursday and they want it in the mail on Friday.  We haven’t even PRINTED their stuff yet as they haven’t OKed it, and I remind them of that.  I also remind them that i told them right upfront, bot in person and in writing, that the mailing would take 3 DAYS once we got the list certified and a postage check.  So they say ‘sorry’, OK the printing and we go forward.  On a whim, I don’t start printing that day.  Sure enough, the next day I get a call, “I have a change…”  Good thing I didn’t start printing yet.  So I get their change and send them new proofs, which they OK around 2PM.  So I wait.  Sure enough, the fateful call comes the next day around noon, just before I was going to start. Another round of proofs and OKs. I tell them on the phone, and followup in person, telling them that at 9AM the next day, the job was going to press (we are all digital, but who cares) and any changes not made by them would result in a huge additional cost to reprint. We make it all the next day with no calls so I start printing on Friday at noon (I waited a bit just in case).

While doing the printing I remind them that I need a postage check before the post office will even accept the mailing. You would have thought it was for a million bucks with the difficulty in getting that check.  meanwhile the job is finished printing and all the needed bindery work on Wednesday.  I call them to get an update on the check and she says hopefully tomorrow but have we started printing yet, she found a typo!  (FYI, they created the piece, I just made changes as they discovered them). I reminded her of our conversation and of the $600 cost to reprint the part with the change, and they wisely decide to forego the change.  But about that check, still don’t have it. Friday is coming up, still no check. About 3PM on Friday she calls me to tell me the check is on its way to her but might be closer to 5.  This is just before Labor Day, mind you. I tell her it is too late to do anything today and I will just pick the check up from her on my way into work Tuesday morning when we reopen.  She says “Oh, I was hoping these would go out tomorrow”.  I soooo want to reach thru the phone and slap her! After a deep breath I remind her that 1) it is Labor Day weekend and neither me or the mailing house work weekends or holidays and 2) like she was told more than once, 3 days once we get the postage check before it gets to mail.

The check arrives about 4:30 so I pick it up on my way home instead so I can take everything to my vendor first thing Tuesday morning.  8 AM Tuesday (we don’t open until 8:30) she is calling the store asking me when it will be at the post office.  3 days, I tell her.  She sighs, as if it was somehow finished over the holiday weekend and she was hoping it was in the mail today.  Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh!  Oh well, at least she didn’t call this morning and say “I have a change…”

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