My introduction to printing was first as a buyer of it. I worked at a furniture factory running the office and we had all sorts of pinfeed forms that we used to process our orders and invoice them, along with the usual business cards, letterhead, etc. So I bought a ton of stuff and got to know some of the terms of the business. I bought them from a company that I still deal with today, both as a purchaser and a supplier to smaller jobs that he can’t or doesn’t have the time to handle. He informed me that he reads this stuff and laughs because it helps him to know that he isn’t the only one dealing with some ‘challenging’ customers from time to time. This is a quick story involving Matt (the printer) which he reminded me of a few weeks back.
Summer 1991, the furniture factory is booming! We are going thru our forms fast. Matt was stopping buy every week to check our inventory for me so I didn’t even have to reorder. There had to be about 10 different forms we used and we just gave him a minimum quantity based on usage vs how long to get them when ordered. When he saw what we were low on he would just let me know and order it. Easy peasy!
One day I saw that we were almost out of one of the forms. Usually they are here by now so I place a call to Matt who assured me that he ordered them on time and that I should be getting them tomorrow. We have enough to get us by for 4 or 5 more days so that should work, I thank him and hang up. Next day comes, their truck usually shows up around 9, and no forms. Uh oh. This isn’t good. So I make a call to Matt who is as confused as I am and says he will find out where they are at and call em back. he says he knows they are done, he got the tracking number when he checked on the for me the other day.
A few hours later Matt shows up at my office with a sad look on his face. I am thinking that this is not good. He then hands me a newspaper. I look at him like he is crazy and then he points to the picture on the page showing. I see a picture of a truck fire on a bridge on I-57. Then I notice his company name, or part of it at least, on the burning trailer. He then points to the truck and says “Your forms are somewhere right here…” So my forms were in a delivery van, by the river, on fire.
This story has a good ending however, because Matt, being the true professional that he is, had already reordered the forms and had them rushed. We got a box overnight the next day that held us until the rest of them arrived. It pays to know good people who care about their job. Helps you be pissed off less often.