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Mañana Man Expands Hostage Assault —DeWese

August 2002
I have submitted this column by special courier since I'm holed up in a secret location with 150 print buyers that I'm holding hostage. I am holding these hostages until all you printers raise your prices by 25 percent. You were all supposed to raise prices at midnight on my 60th birthday, June 30, 2002, but, alas, you let me down. So I've still got the hostages and I've added some new guests—75 bankers.

I got the idea for rounding up the print buyers from my pal Dave, a printer in New York. I got the idea for the bankers from about 50 printers who have called to tell me how hard it is to borrow money for new equipment, sales growth, refinancing or acquisitions. They all told me that it is hard to borrow money, and that the banks have added lots of new loan origination fees. One printer said, "Mañana Man, the banks have turned their backs on our industry."

You see, during the high-flying '90s, the banks made a lot of big and bad loans to companies in all industries, including printing. Now, as you have read in the newspaper and seen on CNN, there are a whole bunch of bankruptcies and bad loans; so banks have to charge extra to make up for their past mistakes. The big banks, for example, are going to write off more on the Enron bankruptcy or the WorldCom debacle than they have written off on the printing industry for the past 40 years.

Instead of turning their backs on the printing industry, they should embrace us for the enormity of our numbers, our need for expensive capital equipment and our hard-working integrity. Generally, except for occasional disasters like the ill-conceived and then poorly implemented Printing Arts America or Master Graphics, we pay our bills.

Standing Alone

So, while the rest of you are having a great summer vacationing at Disney World, Las Vegas, Cape Cod and the Jersey Shore, I'm stuck here, a lone champion for the printing industry, cooking stew for my prisoners. Or, maybe, you are summering in your second home on Martha's Vineyard or the Hamptons while I'm supervising group activities for the bunch of whining, sniveling bankers and print buyers.

They all want to negotiate their release or special treatment. After all, they're great negotiators—they are bankers and print buyers. They are used to holding all the cards as in, "I've got the money you want, so pay our fees and jump our fences." Or, "I've got the purchase orders, so give me the lowest bid or turn off your presses."


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