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These Christmas Greetings Are Not Very Cheerful

, , , , , | Right | December 27, 2018

(I’m the print shop manager, working during the holiday season. Our print shop offers an inexpensive, custom photo greeting card printing service where the customer supplies a ready-to-print photo, specifies the template they’d like the photo added to, and pays for a number of cards. They come in one size, the greeting message on the inside is a default greeting, and the cards are printed on one type of stock only. This is all specified in our sample book, order forms, etc. One day, we receive an emailed order from a customer.)

Customer Email: “Print me [number] Christmas greeting cards with this picture.”

Reply Email: *from shop employee* “We have printed you a sample card. Please come in to proof the card before we run the whole set.”

(The customer arrives a day later and asks to see the proof.)

Me: “Here you go! This is what your cards will look like when they’re all finished. Please review everything and make sure it’s all correct. If it is, we can print the rest out for you and they’ll be ready for pickup later today.”

Customer: “It’s all fine. I don’t see why I have to proof them! Just print out my cards!”

(She signs the proof, which says something along the lines of, “I have reviewed this order and signify that it is correct. I understand I will be charged to reprint if I find errors later,” and leaves, so we run the order. When the customer returns later…)

Customer: “These cards are all wrong!”

Me: “What’s wrong with them, ma’am?”

Customer: “My dogs have red-eye! You should have edited the red-eye out!”

(The dogs’ eyes were fine; they had just reflected some of the camera flash. They weren’t glaringly-obvious laser-beam eyes or anything that would have made us feel they needed retouching.)

Me: “Well, ma’am, do you remember when I showed you the proof of your card, and told you that it was exactly how your finished cards would look?”


Me: “Well, I can do that for you now and reprint, but since you signed the proof on the first card, saying that the card was fine as-is, we have to charge you for both sets. Photo retouching has a minimum fee of $5, as well.”

Customer: “FINE!”

Me: “So, we’ll do the retouch and have another proof ready for you in—“

Customer: “I don’t want another proof, just print the cards!”

Me: “Ma’am, I really recommend we do another proof so that you can be sure the red eye is removed to your liking.”

Customer: “No! I already made two trips down here, and I won’t do it again!”

(We’re so swamped with other business in the department that by now I’m just trying to get the woman out of the shop so I can carry on helping other people. I tell her fine, we’ll email a proof. She leaves. When she comes back to pick up the second batch of cards, we’re still so busy that I’ve called in two more employees to help with the rush, and there’s still a line and a backlog of orders. The woman cuts in line to shout at me across the counter.)


(I’m trying to run a large-format print through the laminator, which requires most of my attention to ensure nothing jams, goes crooked, etc.)

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, ma’am. What’s wrong with them?”


Me: “Ma’am, that’s the same paper the proof was printed on, and that the first batch of cards was printed on, and it’s the same paper we’ve been using for these cards for years.”

Customer: “I want these reprinted now, while I wait!”

(I can’t help it. I stare at her, speechless, while the department is a cacophony of noise from other customers, machines running, employees taking orders, and so on. There is a line at the counter, our self-serve machines are all in use, and four employees are all working with customers. The little print shop is crammed with people, I am currently in the middle of an order, and she thinks we are all going to drop everything to serve her.)

Me: “Ma’am, I can reprint for you again, but that’s the only greeting card stock we have, and you approved it with your first proof. If you’d like something heavier, or a different size, we can order custom cards for you, but they take about two weeks, and at this point, you wouldn’t receive them in time to mail them out for Christmas delivery.”

(She threw the cards on the counter and stormed out.)

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