We’ve been making graphics for a long time, and while I’m not naming names, of course, together with my wife, Lorena, we’ve heard some things crazy things from our clients, or just passersby inquiring about our cool decals or custom lettering graphics
I wonder what they’d say about me—probably crazy too! I mean, who else sets up at an event in 50-mile-per-hour winds, or freezing rain. As vendors, we had some great camaraderie and competition, lots of hardworking teams! Without further delay and from the top of my head, here’s number one.
- “It must be nice!” Things were tough in the early days, but business was really insanely, fantastically great, before the crash of 2008, before the healthcare nightmare that sent the middle class crashing, and well, before a lot of stuff. Back in the day when Clinton was Prez, and we had a line of customers out the “door.” Yep, we sold vinyl graphics at flea markets, shows, festivals, you name it. And did they, once upon a time, sell like hot cakes! Thinks are a little slower these days—more competition perhaps, and as always one can blame the economy, but, things are still rolling along.
I remember one particular customer, a regular, and one we would usually see coming from quite a distance. He always wanted whatever he had in mind, right then and there. It was a Sunday and we were beat, totally, 100 degrees outside and I just had to say, “Sorry, we’re off on Mondays.”
We worked six days a week, then, and for years earlier, the whole seven! But Monday had become our day—no phone calls, no decals, no nothing, a total day off. Upon telling him, “I’m sorry, man. I can get to it first thing Tuesday, we just can’t do it on Monday, it’s our day off.” He replied, “It must be nice!”
Well, Lorena and I just looked at each other, exhaustively from working at the market since 5 a.m., and we both grinned. And since, well, we have retained this one, every once in a while still letting out a: “It must be nice!” And it brings a memory of hot days (or freezing, windy days), hard work and good business, but good times.
- “There was a balloon in there!” We ship our decals in a box, wrapped around a balloon so they don’t get squished. Anyway, one day I had a question from a customer about the order they’d received, nothing bad, although I can’t recall exactly what it was. The customer was surprised to find a balloon in the package, and I hope to this day, and think just maybe, that the balloon may have gotten deflated, or had become smaller—rare but it could happen I suppose. Every once in a while, just like the phrase above, I say it to keep things interesting in the shop, or while I’m blowing up a balloon and packing a decal, “There was a balloon in there!”
- This one is a little long, and a little unbelievable. Not naming names of course, so you’ll never, ever, know who wrote it! Muahahaha!
Anonymous potential customer:
I am not a huge fan of the stick figure family and take pictures of other people’s stick figure families and call it the serial killer’s checklist, then I post them on Facebook. I just think people shouldn’t advertise who is in their family, and what they are interested in, especially their kids.. It’s a safety thing, I’m a mom you know. My question is that I recently saw a stick figure family sicker murder scene. Now THAT’S something I could get behind. Can you make something like that? It seems like a strange question, but they they have stickers for everyone… Lol
Now this was a tough one to respond to, but the messages I get many times keep me on my toes. As for the names, don’t use them! If you are using the family sticker for another purpose, perhaps, and there are myriad personal in-house, creative uses for these family stickers, not just car windows, then by all means, the name option is there. As for making a murder scene family sticker, I don’t think that would be in good taste. We do have some crazy decals that’s for sure, designed by many artists around the world, and many times customers order decals and modify them later, but a murder scene family sticker might just be going a tad far. But then again, it’s a crazy world, and everything can be found online now!
- Shipping dilemmas. It’s been a good run, really. There’s a lot of peeves about the graphics business, and I have many friends on my social media accounts and we go around from time to time with our tales. Since transferring to a strictly online seller one of the things we have to deal with are issues arriving because of faults with the shipping service—or other things that are out of our hands.
When ordering online buyers most times come back to the sellers, first, although we both rely on a third party service, usually the USPS, to do the actual shipping part of the deal. Often sellers take the hit and USPS gets off scot-free without so much as an email. Here’s one I recall when a package got returned to us because of an incorrectly entered shipping address during checkout:
Me: “You item was returned to me today, marked ‘undeliverable as addressed.’ If you would provide the corrected address, I’d be happy to resend.”
eBay customer: “Never gotten item… Don t need it now. Please refund my money.. Sorry for the delay, but I forgot about the item I ordered.”
Another, item not received (shipped during the holidays, and this item was marked as delayed at the USPS website tracking service).
Customer: “I was supposed to get my item today and I dint get anything.”
Me: “Hi, I checked the tracking and it’s marked delayed by USPS. I hope it will arrive soon. Likely today or tomorrow.”
Customer: “No you didn’t send me anything I haven’t received nothing. I just want a refund”
Again, this second one was from an eBay sale. Funny, I do seem to get more issues when dealing through eBay. It had gotten worse after, years ago, eBay halted the ability for sellers to put anything else than good, bright green feedback for customers. However, these customers are extremely rare, such as one per six months maybe, or less. But like a blooming Colorado apple tree, so are the apples with little green worms in them!
Both seller and buyer rely on third parties to handle the actual shipping process. We must all try and realize that sometimes delays are out of sellers’ hands. We all must be respectful and patient. Over the years I’ve learned, it is true, and must remain true, even for those rare customers that might try to ruin your day: the customer is always right, do the best your can, send the refund, take the hit, and move forward. Of course there and always will be exceptions!
- Crazy stuff aside, here’s what we mostly hear, and it really keeps Lore and I going:
Hi John and Lore,I just received my Decals from you and I must say I am very pleased with the work you did and decals I received. Thank you very much! You guys are fantastic! And thank you for the little bonus decals too, that was a really nice unexpected surprise. I even received my faster than any Canadian company over. I know where to go for my decals from now on. Once again thank you for the great work and fast expedited service!
I want to take a moment to say thanks! Ad thanks for reading this ramble of a random post. Sometimes I wonder what to write about in this blog, but it usually doesn’t take long to come up with some ideas! Your feedback is highly welcome and it sends our mood flying. We are honored to have served the decal and graphics needs of so many over the years and your business is humbly and graciously honored! And although this post had a couple dabs of rare negative experiences, we’ve run into almost every type of client, most good, very few bad, we want to continue to be your one stop shop for vinyl graphics!