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,


Thursday, June 25, 2009

An airing of daily grievances

Occasionally, things that happen in this world aggravate me.

I know, it's hard to believe. But in the bliss of all the shopping, and blogging and working and such, things crop up that really poop in my cornflakes. And if I don't sound off about them, I will explode, and it won't be pretty.

So here's a tentative list of what's under my skin today (in no particular order):

That commercial where it's raining shies from the sky in the perfect size. Why can't that really happen?

Road rage. O.K., I'm in the left hand lane doing 80 mph and people are on my bumper. Honestly, where's the fire?

Michael Jackson. A pedophile dies. Hmmm, seems like karma to me.

The fact that NO ONE will admit that the damage that happened in St. Pete during Tuesday night's storm was from a tornado! I was on duty, I was there! Debris was swirling! Hello?

Gas prices. They lied when they said they were going down.

Hav-A Tampa Cigars' demise. A Tampa Bay area landmark becomes the economy's latest victim.

People that breed all of these poor animals and then can't take care of them. Two cases this week alone in our area of animal neglect and abuse.

More empty store fronts, standing like tombstones.

The expression, "At the end of the day, (fill in whatever here)." If I hear it again, I'm running away.

The new Lexus IS-250 C series convertible. I'm aggravated that I can't have one.

There! I feel so much better, now. Thanks for listening! Tomorrow, I'm going to check out the Ellenton Cafe. A little birdie told me they have great coffee and homemade pie. I'll let you all know how it is!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

No bailout for small businesses

The bad economy is choking all of us lately, but small businesses are definitely taking the brunt. Just a short drive up any of Tampa Bay's main arteries tells the story: blank storefronts and "For Lease" signs.

In Florida, small business accounts for more than 80 percent of the economic engine. But in the skinnier days of late, the shoppers dedicated to spending their money locally have tightened up their belts. Unemployment rates just rose to 10.6 percent this month in the Tampa Bay region, translating to about 140,o0o folks without a job.

Local small business have seen their customer base shrink, and some have turned to banks for loans and credit extensions. Problem is, the money's just not there anymore.

So where is it? The government gave the big banks $700 billion in bailout cash to free up credit. That's billion with a "B." But the rescue money did just the opposite; instead of freeing up credit for flailing small businesses, banks are using it to buy other banks. Lack of credit has become an agonzing hurdle for local businesses needing relief to survive, much less grow.

But lending institutions are tightening their standards, lower credit lines and hiking up interest rates. The trend lately has been to deny loans to small business unless they can back it with commercial real estate holdings and the borrower is asking no more than 70 percent of the value.

Impossible standards. Where's the bailout for our local businesses? If we drive 80 percent of the state's economic engine, why aren't our voices heard? Since the credit crunch is propelling this recession, then more relief is needed downwind here where we really feel it, unstead of padding the big banks.

These indeed are scary times. We can pitch in by spending locally, buying locally, and keeping our jobs local. Until small businesses get the chance to grow, our economy unfortunally is going to continue dragging.