Saturday, June 27, 2009

what happened to customer service?

Normally here at LocalShops1, we come across awesome business people. Occasionally, a not-so-nice one comes along. So we thought we'd share a recent e-mail conversation between me and the Tampa Bay-based printer we decided not to do business with ...

Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 8:32 PM

I just wanted to send you a quick e-mail because this does not happen that often and when it does, it honestly hurts my feelings and upsets me. I take pride in what I do and I love my job. Going back to the first time we spoke, it was a Friday night @ about 8:30 or 9:00 at night, how many printers do you know would answer their phones on a Friday at that time?
Ah, NONE!!! My company just rolled out the plastic cards, they were a brand new item, I remember I was nervous because I still did not know a whole lot about the product. That was almost 3 months ago. Now, (your intern) starts to call, she would like a quote for this and a quote for that. Oh well, I told her: please go out and shop around, I promise you will not find anyone cheaper or easier to work with (Polite, friendly, and easy going) I am under staffed and over worked, so yes I do become scatter brain from time to time.
Anyways, she called back and said she had a friend or her brother help her shop around, guess what no one could beat my prices, no one! I take that back, one company in California could, however they wanted like $300 dollars for ground shipping, so in the end I still was the cheapest. One other thing Ester, honestly I am not in this for the money, because believe me, if this was for anyone else the price would be much higher. The reason is because you seemed like very nice and down to earth people, how were doing this for a good cause. Again, see if other printers give a sh@t what your cause is or how nice you seem to be. Also, see if they tell, not ask, TELL you to shop around, because I know our prices can't be beaten. Other printers won't do that, I promise. After nearly 3 months or work, e-mailing, calling, sending samples, explaining what some printers will do to hide their hidden charges and guess what I was right.
For all that, I made NOTHING, NADA, ZERO, and that my friend doesn't pay the bills or put food on my 15 month baby girl's plate. But, that is my fault. I'm too damn nice. So, thank you, I learned a lot for this experience. The nicer you are to people the more likely it is that you will get treated the complete opposite! OH Yeah, Good luck finding someone to print your magazine for $1,300.oo.. You won't find that in a million years!!



Sent: Friday, June 26, 2009 6:12 PM


I'm sorry this didn't work out.

Of course we were shopping around for low prices. But more importantly, we
were looking for someone we could establish a longterm relationship with,
because we know we'll have more printing projects in the future, and want
someone we can rely on.

Your prices were not the lowest (check out, in
South Florida). But when it came down to it, we had decided to still go
with you because you seemed honest & nice.

But it felt like we had to chase you down to place an order. And we simply
can't do our business like this. Placing an order should be the easy part
... (if you recall, we had to remind you to send samples; then our
original pdf was misplaced; and then you weren't around when you said you
would be. That's just too much chasing around for us.)

We contacted you back in mid-April, about the same time we started calling
other companies. They all sent samples & quotes. That just seems like
standard procedure for getting new customers. We certainly didn't ask you
to go out of your way for anything.

And we certainly don't mean to question your work ethic. From our one
experience, it just seemed more scattered than we'd have liked it to be. I
totally understand staffing issues, and perhaps this was just a bad time
for us to try to work with you. We'll keep you in mind for future
projects, if you're interested.


Ester Venouziou
Find out how we won a $250,000 ad campaign. Details on


Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2009 12:43 AM


At any point in this business transaction, well whatever you would
like to call it. You say you had to chase me down. My webpage is fully
operational, a e-commerce store (on-line store) having said that most online
printers do not put their prices on their site for the world to see.
Everything I print is on my site with a price right next to it and you can
order right then and there. A two year old could do it. I do not know how
much more reliable I can be. Do, I always answer my phone? No!!!! I run
three other sites. Honestly Ester, I hate to say this but you are making
excuses, you could have placed your order anytime you wanted to, bottom
line, you wanted me to do it for you, just like you wanted me to lower the
price on this item and lower the price on this item. As a business owner, I
have to decide what I should spend my time on; should I spend my time on a
client who spends thousands of dollars a month, hassle free and is very
satisfied with the way we do business. You might have heard of them, it's a
small Collage, the University of South Florida. We handle all print media
for the Athletic department, posters for basketball games, programs,
schedules, T-shirts for Football, and yet not one compliant. Why? They just
order... No talk about "what we are going to order in a few months". TALK IS
CHEAP. If you need something, just order it. I mean, have you even seen my
webpage or is it common for someone to hold your hand while you perform even
the easiest of tasks. In closing, just for shits and giggles, this website
you speak of. I will promise you right know after all is said and done, they
are not cheaper. You will be charged for separating the artwork into 2
separate files, also charged for numbering the front of the cards in
ascending order, and then shipping is where they will get you the worst.
Your loss, my gain (of time). Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please do not keep me in mind....... PLEASE!!!!



Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2009 1:13 AM


I couldn't help but notice you said you had to ask over and over again to
receive a sample pack. B.S. you receive your 1st sample pack back in April
right after you created an account. Actually, I probably did that for you!
And then you requested a second one, so you could see the plastic cards.
Again, we have a website and an office. The website believe it or not is
open 24/7. And my office is open from 10:00am to 7:00pm. What stopped YOU
from going by there, that seems pretty easy and effortless. Nope, I will
just call Todd and ask 50 more questions and then after completely wasting
all of his time, we won't order from him. Very classy Ester. Very Classy!

NOT Sincerely,



Anonymous said...

The saying is, 'two wrongs don't make a right' and this is an example of wrongs making more wrongs.

The printer made the mistake, as do many independent businesses, of concentrating on price first and customer service second. The aspect of his shop being small is not relevant; no one picks a place to do business by way of a sympathy vote.

Ester states that price is an issue. Adding price to the mix by way of the Internet printer seems rather odd for a group that focuses on LOCAL and INDEPENDENT businesses. Why wasn't a printer selected by asking the membership to suggest their own printers?

Another concern about the focus of this group is the clothes exchange that was twittered earlier on Saturday. If I were a clothing merchant that was a member, I would not be happy about this. The exchange does not seem consistent with the stated goal of the group. said...

Thanks for your comments ... we did in fact ask our members for suggestions, through Facebook and Twitter. And we're going with local, independent printers for all the projects.
We searched online -- and through the larger, printing chains -- purely for price comparisons.

There were definitely lower-priced options available elsewhere, but we are still ordering from independents around here.

As for the clothing swap, it's a way to bring together the community, and that's definitely one of our goals. The event also raised a lot of donations for local charities ... and several clothing stores participated, too. The two main sponsors, in fact, sell clothes: Spinderella's Steals in St. Petersburg and the Outpost in Gulfport.

Anonymous said...

I can not believe a business person wrote this email

How long this company has been in business ? is this person the owner ?

definetely they are not customer service oriented ....... let see for how long they will be in business ....... said...

Yeah, I was totally shocked by the e-mails. So unprofessional!

The guy's title is "director of sales," according to his e-mails. Can't tell how long they've been in business ... Web site looks professional, but doesn't have staff list or history in its "about us" section.

Toni said...

I'm wondering Ester why you won't publish the name of the company. It seems to me that your name was bandied around in a very bad way here, and you still posted. I think because you know the words used by this company do not reflect you as a person or as company as does anyone that knows you. We trust you and genuinely like you Ester.
So why not let us know who this company is? They wrote this tragic email string at their own peril, oblivious to the impact that it might make on it's business if other folks saw it. If they truly think that they have done good business here, they won't mind you releasing the name of the company.
If you still do not feel comfortable releasing the name of this company, let's chat. I personally would like to know the name of the company to protect myself from ever using them for printing services for my TWO local companies that I run.
Thanks Ester for having the courage to post this and for being a nice person.
Toni Spagnoli
Florida Lifestyle Pools said...

Toni, thanks for saying such nice things about me! You're so sweet!

I thought about including the name of the company -- and actually did so, when first writing it. But I removed it before publishing the blog. Felt that including the name would be a bit too vengeful, too much of a "ha! watch who you're messing with" kind of thing.

Also, I'm not sure if the guy who wrote the emails is the sole owner, or if there are others involved. I'd hate to start a public campaign against a company based on my limited dealings with them.

Of course, I would not refer anyone to them. And Toni, I'll message you the name of the company, since you asked for it. But posting the name in a public forum seems wrong ...