May 27, 2011

Always leave room for error. ALWAYS.

I'm a reasonably time efficient person.  Over the years I've learned that there are some things you really shouldn't leave to the last minute.  Start working on school projects a few weeks in advance.  Don't wait until the night before an exam to study for it.  Don't wax your back the day before a big date (in case you get a rash).  You get the idea.  The same goes for my work.  I ask for at least 2 weeks between the time that an order is placed with me (and shirts get ordered THAT day, or first thing in the morning if the order was placed after business hours) and the deadline for the shirts to be finished.  That gives me 2 days to prep my screens and get ready to print before the shirts arrive, and then I have at least 10 days usually to get the shirts printed.  Because I work this way, people almost always get their shirts earlier than expected.  I get it done in case another order comes in.  I like to keep a clear plate, you know?

Now, I understand that not everyone is going to be able to give me 2 weeks notice.  Sometimes there are rush jobs, and that's fine.  This week I had a job like that.  A large order (over 200 shirts) was placed on a Friday and the deadline was the following Thursday, effectively giving me a 3 business day turnover time.  That means the shirts were shipped on Friday, but then didn't move over the weekend, then Monday was a frickin' holiday, so the shirts didn't even arrive until Tuesday.  That is NOT a lot of room for error. Also, Murphy's Law must be obeyed so of course the shipment was wrong.  The wrong amount of the wrong size kid's shirts were sent (luckily the bulk of the order was correct) so I had to return the shirts, and they sent out a new shipment. 

I did get these beauties printed though.  

It's now Friday and my shirts still aren't here.  The deadline has come and gone.  My screen is still up and inked and waiting to go.  Around lunchtime I started to worry, as the last shipment only took 24 hours and was here at 10 in the morning.  When I finally got hold of the supplier for the tracking number, I discovered that some asshole named "C. Cassie" had received and signed for my shirts.  Um, WHAT? 

The event that the shirts are for is OVER on Sunday, so there is no more time to ship me new shirts, since it's already Friday.  Plus, some jackass is enjoying 24 kid's shirts on my tab.  C.Cassie better watch their self.  They'll get more than a back-waxing if I ever get hold of them.  The worst part is that this all looks really bad on me, though I did warn the client that I couldn't guarantee his shirts on such short notice.  This is why I have my 2 week turnover time.  It allows me to make a promise to my client, and to keep that promise.  I've never not come through in time, and whether it is or isn't my fault (for the record it's isn't) the fact remains that my client didn't get what they wanted.  I cannot convey my disappointment and aggravation at this fact.  Why did C.Cassie sign for a package that was not intended for C.Cassie?  Can I sue C.Cassie for taking my mail?  That's a crime, right?  Arrgh.

I haven't really got a closing solution or gem of wisdom to end this post.  I will say this though, always give yourself enough time to do a job twice, in case you screw it the first time.  I will also say that C.Cassie is in for a world of pain, providing I ever find out who it is....