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Need To Signpost Some Expectations

, , , , , | Right | August 23, 2023

Our sign shop is only open Monday through Friday until 5:00 pm. We aren’t open on the weekends. (Thank God.) Most customers understand when we tell them this and that, depending on when they come in, rush fees may apply.

One Friday afternoon, a customer and his wife come in, and we discuss a sign for their store at a nearby mall. Mall signage is a bit strict, and you have to have a sign. We need the owners of the mall to approve the sign before we can fabricate and install it. The whole process takes several weeks at least from start to finish, so it’s a long process.

Client: “We have a store in the mall, and we need a sign.”

Me: “All right. Our estimator is out, but let me write down the information and jot down your contact information, and I will give it to him when he gets back Monday. We can schedule a site visit then for him to come take a look.”

Client: “No. We want it installed by tomorrow. Can you do it?”

Me: *Dumbfounded* “Uh… no? This isn’t something that—”

Client: *Interrupting* “But it’s just simple letters, right? Your guys can go over tonight and just put it up! We open tomorrow, so we want the signage up before then.”

Me: *Even more dumbfounded* “Sir, even if we could, that’s impossible.”

Client: “I want it to say this and in this color. What sizes do you have in stock? How much is it going to be to install overnight?”

Me: “Sir, I can’t just give you a price, as there are so many variances with something like this. Also, we need mall approval first.”

Client: “The mall already approved us to get a sign. When will you be there?”

This goes on for several minutes. His wife also pipes in a bit during this conversation, but it’s just to ask the same things as her husband. My coworker comes by and chats as well, trying to explain. There must be some disconnect since they both have thick accents, but I start to get a bit ticked.

Me: “Sir, everything here is custom-made. It’s not like we have stock here in person ready to pull and install same-day. It doesn’t work like that for this kind of signage.”

FYI: Our signage is illuminated Pan Channel Letters.

Me: “It’s a process that requires us to get mall approval on the sign directly before we can even make anything. The whole process takes several weeks at least.”

Client And His Wife: “Ooooooh. Okay. How soon can you get it done?”

Me: “I am not sure, but let me get your information, and we can get this process started Monday.”

I finally got their information and gave it to our estimator to do a site visit. They never went through with us.

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