The good, the bad, and the ugly

When I started writing this “what’s new” blog thing, I figured it would be all about advances in technology, new proceedures and the nuts and bolts of Reno Type. It seems, though that when I feel like writing, it’s always about someting else. I was looking forward to writing something “good,” (and I will), but a phone call I just had rolled up “Bad and Ugly” into one package so neatly, that I have to share it, too. Here goes.

The Good
Reno Type just re-did a complete print job for a client… beacuse of a bindery error made by that client. We had no involvement in the bindery whatsoever, but the error was large enough that the whole job HAD to be reprinted… and reprinted INSTANTLY. We did this reprint at no cost to our customer, even though all parties agreed that we had absolutely no responsibility for or even involvement in the error. We absorbed this cost beacuse the client is a good one. There are lots of things that make a client “good,” of course, but the BIG one — the one that mattered today — is that this client does a reasonable amount of work with us, and ALWAYS pays within their terms. It’s unfortunate that this behavior is so rare that we make a big deal abiut it.

The Bad and Ugly
A C.O.D. customer came to us requesting a scan. The original was a small and very poor quality color photograph, and there was an unusual request that came along with the order: “Don’t proof it, just let me see it on your monitor.” An unusual request, but the customer is always right etc., so we complied.
For the record, we worked hard on it. We scanned it three times in an effort to do the best work we possibly could. When the client arrived to look at his scan on our monitor, I was proud, and confident, as it was excellent work. Mr. client sat with me for an about half an hour asking for specific and additional edits. These edits were not simple: they required skill, and our shop rate for this sort of image editing is $125 per hour.
When the work was completed to his satisfaction, the file was burned to a disk (in the industry standard TIF format). We were unable to create an invoice on the spot, so we agreed to send him an invoice, and he agreed to pay it when it was received. When we generated the invoice, it was ONLY for the scan (once) and the disk: i.e. A GREAT DEAL, considering the amount of work that was done.
So today I get a call from the client. He tells me that he can’t use the image, so won’t pay for it.
“Why?” I ask.
“Beacuse you gave me a TIF, and InDesign can’t use it. I needed a JPEG.” was the response.
Those of you familiar with software and file formats used in the graphics industry know exactly how ridiculous this is, but I responded in a reasonable way.
“Considering that the people who MAKE In-design pretty much created the TIF file format [Adobe bought Aldus], I think you’re mistaken,” I began.
“We could also turn it into a JPEG for you, though I wouldn’t recomend it, as the JPEG will be a lower quality than the TIF.”
“I called your shop and was told that the only solution was for me to buy a new computer.” He said.
I’ve worked with the employee he spoke to for over 17 years, and am pretty certain that nothing like that that was said.
“I paid someone else to scan it so I could have it as a JPEG, and that worked fine,” He finished.
What could I do? I explained that our work was good, that in conformed to all commercialy recognized standards, and that we charged a more than resonable rate. We’d be glad to turn it into a JPEG for him, or help him figure out how to use it in InDesgn, but that we expected payment. He refused.
Obviously, I’m not going to sue someone over 50 bucks. I did tell him that his choice to not pay us was also a choice to not do business with us again.
Feel free to give a call to find out who this bozo is so you don’t get burned trying to help him.

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