Warm Wine and Making Things Right

I felt my friend’s hand on my arm. “Let it go,” she whispered. But…“No, really, let it go.”

We were enjoying a nice summer evening at a local Italian restaurant (I don’t want to mention any names, but it’s a chain beginning with “il…” if you get my drift.)

I had ordered a light Chardonnay. When our drinks arrived, I took a much anticipated and well-deserved sip only to find my wine was anything but cool. It was, to be blunt, disgustingly warm.

It took me some time to catch our server’s attention on this busy night. She promised to rectify the situation immediately. Fifteen minutes later, I received a fresh glass of wine, which was warm. Again.

Believe me, I’m no wine snob, but this was an insult to the Chardonnay. And twice! Really.

Now, I’ve been around the printing block long enough to know this can happen in any industry. Sometimes things just go wrong. A typo sneaks in after the proofing process. The PMS color doesn’t match perfectly. The binding is out of sorts.

And just like the waitress, a printer should have the opportunity to fix these mistakes.

But—and this is where I need your help—when is enough enough?
How many times do you have to reprint a project because of legitimate errors? How many times do you offer a discount to a client who agrees to keep the piece as is (and everyone is happy)? And how many times does the project seem jinxed (you fix the first mistake and a new one pops up)?

In my case, it was just a glass of wine—not the cheap kind, but still below the cost of any print project. I admit I bit my tongue grudgingly. But will I gladly go to that restaurant again. Nope. Not if I can help it. The experience and the way it was handled left a bad taste in my mouth, and that’s definitely not what you want with your clients.

Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.

Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.

Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge. 

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  • DGR

    In my opinion, if the job is good enough to be used [at a discounted price], the job should be good enough to be used at the original agreed to price.

  • Shopgirl

    There are times when the customer is "insistent" on his way or the highway. We’ve had 2 customers this week with concerns – the first, a very good customer with custom shirts for a very special event. Three of the 15 were imperfect, good enough for the office but not for their intended purpose. We gave a discount. The second customer, first time in the shop wanted to have a very small project done to standards FAR above industry standards, or ours which are higher. We tried to produce to his specs, but couldn’t. We gave him a refund. Sometimes it’s just easier to know your limits.