Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Curse of the Print House

I am cursed.

That is the only explanation that I can come up with.

As a graphic designer (and a bit of a control freak) I like to be highly involved in the printing of my creations. But every effing time I take a new project to the printer I cringe. I cringe because I know, that somewhere, no matter how carefully I tread, the whole thing is going to go to hell.

Two Christmases ago I had a brilliant idea for this amazing die-cut greeting card. I slaved over the file and blistered my fingers cutting out my own die cut to make sure it would work. I brought it to my printer and asked him, "are you SURE you can do this?" I was willing to simplify if he told me it was too intricate. But he said it was fine and we proceeded. After the piece was printed and out to be cut...I got the call. "Umm...we can't do it. Oh and by the way, we are going to delivery on December 20th." (plenty of time to have 900 people sign them and have them mailed to people before they leave on holiday). Ugh.

Then there was the direct mailer of early 2008. A very unique concept with a accordion fold unlike anything you have ever seen. Once again I asked if this was doable and suggested that maybe we would need and envelope to mail it. I was assured that it was fine, that two little tabs would hold it all closed. When the piece was delivered it had two of the most ginormous wafer seals you have ever seen. They were 4-inch diameter stickers with no perforation. They were so violently sticky that the entire piece was literally impossible to open. Awesome.

My most recent story involves a new printer that came highly recommended by a fellow designer. The idiot took a month to print my job (it was supposed to be a week) and then shorted me 700 pieces and sent all of it to the wrong address. Roar!

What the hell did I do to deserve this? Hmmm? What?!?!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

An Open Letter to the Postmaster

Dear Postmaster,

With a title like yours, one might assume that you take responsibility for the actions of your workers...but not me. I know better than to assume...because to assume...makes you an asshole (or something like that).

I have always been kind to the postal workers of America. I give chocolates to my mailman around the holidays. I write my addresses as legibly as I possibly can. I even subscribe to the USPS magazine for goodness sake.

Monday was a tedious day for me. I carefully formatted, double- and triple-checked my mailing labels while my helpers diligently stuffed these cute little cardboard coasters into 1250 even cuter envelopes. Then boyfriend and I spent hours affixing the labels to the envelopes. The tiny pieces were posted and sent out yesterday, lifting a great weight off my shoulders. I was happy, knowing that people would get their happy little invitations well in advance of the March 9th event.

But then...today...the horror.

The letters were returned for inadequate postage. WTF?!?! Seriously, you raised prices again? Because OMG, soon it will be cheaper for me to jump in my personal jet and deliver each piece of mail my damn self.

But no. A trip to the Redwood City Post Office proved...um...informative?:
Us: (holding up the returned letter) What is wrong with this?
Grouchy Postal Employee: Um...nothing.
Us: Then why was it returned?
GPE: (taking the letter from us) Ohhhhh...well it is a CD (please note assumption).
Us: No it isn't.
GPE: (feeling up the envelope) Yes it is (notice the reassertion of the afore-mentioned assumption). So you have to put 75 cents more on it.
Us: But it isn't a CD.
GPE: Yes...I feel a CD (ok...u are an ASS).
Us: No...it is a coaster. Look (we fold it in half).
GPE: How am I supposed to know that?
Us: We are showing you...can we mail it now?
GPE: No. Not until you put 75 more cents.

So our choices were...just suck it up and cover the effing thing in postage...or fight. So...this evening we are planing a guerrilla attack of post boxes across the bay area. They might have been able to stop our giant crate of invitations, but if we spread out and sprinkle the things from San Jose to San Francisco...they won't have a chance.

I think the reason that people "go postal" is that occasionally a person (like a real one...with a soul and a brain) falls into this dreaded career path and when they realize that they are surrounded by zombies who have already snacked on all their coworkers' brains and they decide to take them out.

So postmaster...master of all post...please...I don't even know...don't hire stupid people?

Thank you.