A typical email exchange

OK, I am just going to post the email chain I endured yesterday, names changed, of course.  This is what  I put up with all the time. Seriously, 2 or 3 times a week, minimum.

You have received the following estimate request from your Web site:

his Is An Estimate Request
Your Name Ken xxxxx
Company Caterers r us (made up name)
Address 3403 Harris Drive
City, State, Zip/Post Code xxx
Country United States
Phone Number xxx-xx-xxxx
E-mail Address xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Preferred Response E-mail
Artwork Provided Online File Transfer
Project Name Catering Business Card
Project Due Date 8/24 or 8/25
Additional Details Need business Cards – price for 50 and for 100
File Upload card.docx (78 kb)


There is a link also provided because he uploaded the file in question.  I download the file and it is a catering business card that is multi-color, looks like it is supposed to have bleeds where the ink goes off the edge of the paper and has what looks like a logo on it.  It is also an image of some sort that was pulled into a Word file.  So nothing I can do to the file. Not putting a lot of work into 50 or 100 cards unless he wants to pay for it, so he can fix the file.

My replies will be in red, his in blue.

Good morning Ken  and thanks for the estimate request.  We can print cards in that quantity for $26 for 50 cards and $30 for 100 cards.  However I can’t print the cards from the file you sent.  On your file you have the graphic elements that bleed, which is where the print goes off the edge of the card.  I can do that, but the artwork has to be set up for that and this isn’t.  The card dimensions are 2″ x 3.5″ and the graphic elements that are to bleed need to extend at least .125″ past those measurements. And we can’t just enlarge the card a percent or two as that would push your text, already dangerously close to the edge, even closer. I have attached a template that may help explain it. So yes, we can do the cards but we would need different artwork.

So I attached a graphic I have that very clearly explains what bleeds are and how to lay out your art to avoid losing information you want to keep.  Perhaps 20 minutes later I get this:

Perfect do what you need to and I’ll take the 100 for $30

Ken, thanks for wanting us to do the work, however I can’t do anything with the file as sent.  It is all one locked image.  Any changes made would have to be from you.  What did you originally create it in?

Can’t you just crop it?

Really?  Can’t I just crop it?  Can’t you just read the damn email I sent to you?  Maybe then you would know the answer.

Ken, the only thing I can do with the file right now is print the cards with a small white border, meaning your graphics won’t go all the way to the edge, otherwise I can’t edit the file as it is. What program did you originally do this in?

Send me how it will look in a card

Demanding little shit, he is.  But I take 1 minute and throw his crappy file into a business card template and make a PDF.  Now is when I find out that even this won’t work.  The file is super low resolution and when I printed out a test you couldn’t read it.

Ok Ken, first, here is how the graphic would look when made to fit.  However after making it into a PDF you can see that the resolution on this is terrible.  You would not like that at all as I can’t even read the printed sample. What program did you originally do the card in? 

Note, this is the third time I have asked what the hell he did to get this file.

Hold on I am going to try something else and send it to you

2 hours later I get a new email with the same card in it, also in Word, still crappy resolution, but now looks slightly smaller.

OK I am using a online LOGO image service and taking a snip and putting it into paint and sending it to you.  I moved some of the text, tell me if this is better.

So, the little shit is using some online service to design his card, and is too cheap to pay them for it so tries to copy and steal it and send to me to have printed. And he really didn’t move the text any, just shrunk the whole card some and now the graphic is not even to the edge, and still crappy low resolution. And by putting it into paint and THEN putting it into Word, he made a crappy file even crappier!  Then he sends:

Or maybe you can just use the logo and write in the rest?

OK, yeah I could do that, if you actually HAD the logo and would pay for the design.  I may be cheap but I don’t work for free, beyoch. Time to nicely lay some truth on him.

Ken the problem is that you are taking what is essentially a screen shot from a website and the dpi of that is 72dpi.  Looks great on your monitor most of the time but looks like crap when printed.  They make the resolution so low so you can’t take it from them without paying or using their service. I can create a card similar to that but I would need the logo from you, not in a Word file or downloaded jpeg from a website, but a true high resolution jpeg or an EPS file.  There would also be a design charge of about $20 to set the card once we have the logo. We could recreate something close to the logo as well if needed, but that would probably take another 30-45 minutes which would run about $45. If you had uploaded the logo to the site, you can send me that file instead and I can tell you if it is a high enough quality to print or not.  Usually you can look at the file size and tell.  If it is a jpeg it needs to be at least over a few hundred k in size.

Did you get that you jerk?  Don’t steal others work!

Are you able to create one very similar?

Am I?  Sure, but like I mentioned before, I don’t work for free.

I am sure we have a font that can pass for whatever Caterers r us’ is in (although if you know the name of the font I may be able to get it), we can find the little scroll-things online that are close.  The hardest part is the girl in the circle, hence the extra $45.  We can get close, but it will not be exact.  If it needs to be exact then we need that part from you.

This getting costly.  Maybe we just need to go with something basic. A similar woman chef outline.  So for 50 and a 100 cards how much?

A basic layout with a woman chef clipart, circle, text and scrolls would run $20 to set up plus the copy cost. It would still be similar but not exact.  And once we get the art where you like you wouldn’t pay that again, unless you made substantial changes to the card.  Changing a name or a phone number we don’t charge for. 

I am making sure nothing gets done for free.

Ok so $50? Let’s do it.  When can I pick them up.  I left be right around the core we from you. Can come today about 5:00

5:00?  WTF dude!  It is now 3:30, You think my world revolves around your 50 business cards?  No, it doesn’t.  There are 3 people who have jobs in here before yours that get my attention first. I have to set it and you have to approve it and then I have to run it.  Why does everyone think these things are like magic?

I won’t be able to get them created until some time tomorrow.  Once you OK the artwork it would take about an hour to finish.

Ok cool then I cannot I up after work.  Probably 4:30ish  (He CANNOT?)

Ken, I’ll have a proof for you before noon.

Finally, normal conversation! So the next day I have a business meeting that keeps me out of the store until about 10.  I get in and check emails, and I have these:

Any word on the layout yet?

Are they ready?

Just checking on the cards?

All three of those were before 9 AM.  I decide that I have to get rid of this so I sit down and do his card first.  I find a graphic that is pretty close to his, set the text, lay it out and get him a proof around 10:30.

Hi Ken.  Please see the attached PDF for your business card layout.  The only female bake silhouette that I could find was this one but it is pretty close.  Please check the spelling and numbers carefully and let me know what if any changes are needed or if OK to print.  Thanks.

Hey, I was just wondering.  The file you sent over has your logo on it.  That isn’t going to print is it? 

Hahahaha!  No you thieving idiot, I added it so you couldn’t steal MY layout.

No Ken, that is just automatically added to proofs when we generate them,  it doesn’t print on the final piece.

Can I get a copy without the logo?

Once you PAY for it!!! Not ripping me off, asshole.

Yes, once the job is done I will be happy to forward one for you.  Are the cards good to print?

OK cool, I will be there at noon. Go ahead and run them.

(It is now 11:40, so not QUITE an hour, whatever)

So I run the cards.  They actually look pretty good.  I then get an email about 1:00 saying he can’t get here until 4:30.  Once he shows up at 4:30, he arrives in a brand new Cadillac STS, and walks into the store talking on his cell phone.  He pauses talking just long enough to say “picking up business cards”, then went back to talking on his phone.  Bossman, seeing my immediate frustration grabs the catering cards and holds them up, where Ken just nods and we ring him up.  Never once did the rude SOB ever say anything to bossman like thanks or anything, just signed his credit card slip and kept talking as he left.  What an asshole.

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