Ready to get OUT of the business ...

cosmotcat

Member
Okay ... I got word that a 'new' client uploaded over 160 pages as PDF files to our FTP. I downloaded the first couple of files ...

I immediately discovered that there were no bleeds, all pages in all files were (poorly converted) RGB, every page had been rasterized - and poorly rasterized at that. 'Placed' images were low resolution (I found out later from the client that there were no hi-rez images to linked in Quark when the PDFs were created ... Quark FIVE ... on the PC [Windows]), all of the type was poorly rasterized as well. Upon further investigation, I discovered that when the client created the PDF file (using "Print to PDF") there were no fonts loaded and EVERYTHING defaulted to Arial. Being that every page had been rasterized there was NOTHING I could do about that either. What crap.

I went to the salesman/owner and told him "This job is crap. This job is just CRAP."

He suggested that I call the client and explain to her what we need, which I have no problem doing, so I dialed the phone ...

After attempting to explain a very simple and basic prepress beginner technique, the response was "I don't know how to do that."

That was it. I told her to have a nice day, packed up my stuff and walked the #@#% out the door.

Is it just me, or are more and more 'clients' seemingly less and less 'educated' in proper file creation techniques?

I've been in prepress almost 25 years, and do not have TIME to TEACH (and have probably forgotten) beginner techniques.

I think from now on, my mantra will be "Welcome to Walmart, would you like a cart?"

Is anyone else experiencing this aggravating phenomenon?

Arrrrggghhhhhh ....
 

C2C

Active member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

now thats what you call a rough day !

Im trying to think if there was any way you could have received the file in any worse shape.. for print.. nope sounds about as sh*t as it can get.

25 years is quite some time dedicated.. that alone is a feat. (coming from someone who's been in a year and a half now)

Im very new to Prepress but even college taught me about the applications (quark) and hi and low res and output (not necessarily pdf but a little bit of know-how , forums such as this and the web help.

On bad days I think ........at the end of the day.. its just cartons / paper / 0's and 1s. :)
 

JohnS

Member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

OK, so what's new? I too have received such files. Not only that but Word and Publisher files with lo rez, images, no imbedded faces and all the other stuff that makes ones day very interesting.
However, if the publisher/printer does not want to lose a client thay will, in general, do what's necessary to keep the client. Yes, I've called many a client who say just what you intimated, "I don't know how to do that". So I explain once more and sometimes a new file arrives that's good; other times not good. If you have to educate the client, OK,; but, if too much education is given they may just take there work to another place which seems more amiable to their CRAP.
 

PeterA

Well-known member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

John
you are quire right BUT the problem here is that the SALESMAN let someone with attitude get invoved with a client.
We must never under estimate the importance of the Customer Services Team who deals with client expectations. THis is a skill in our industry as important (if not more important) as someone who sorts pre press or print and finishes problems out.
Peter
 

bluskool

Well-known member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

It seems to me that the problem is with the salesperson. They should have provided the client with a spec sheet. If the client did not understand, then they could call pre-press. Obviously if the client ignores your warnings, they are going to get exactly what you told them they would get. However, you, your boss and the client should all know that the fault is with the client.
If your boss expects you to fix the unfixable when you have many other jobs you need to get to press, then, yeah, quit. Maybe you can start a publication company that does the work right for people, like your client, who don't know what they are doing.
I do know that this is a growing problem and I feel bad for you guys in prepress, but from the perspective of a publisher, this stuff just makes our services that more valuable.

Dan
 

cosmotcat

Member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

I appreciate what all of you are saying but, thru my entire career up to today, the major concern with all of my employers has been 'quality, quality, quality'. It is extremely difficult to keep 'quality' in mind when I increasingly see such crap come in and the clients' biggest concern then is merely "when can I get it" ...

By the way , another story - got a file - a WIDE multi-fold brochure. NO indication from the client of HOW it was supposed to fold. I called the client and asked. And get this ... her response to me was "Oh, I don't care how you fold it"

Also, I think I posted this before ... had an image file come in with ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN characters in the file name.

Aaarrrghhh (again)

And I don't mean to sound pompous at all but, at present, I AM prepress ... I am the preflighter, the technician (figuring out what's wrong with hardware/software... call tech support ... inform clients/bosses), the fixer, the teacher (I have designed some fairly elaborate teaching materials), the CSR and schmoozer (been described as 'smooth' on the phone, especially when talking to female clients), the color correcter (which I SUCK at), the typesetter, the designer (conceive and design projects from scratch), the imposer, the proofer the platemaker and the candlestick maker. Also keep jobs tracked so I can inform bosses where they are in the process ... I just don't have time for ALL of this any more.

... "Well that's fine, but what are you going to do for me tomorrow?"

I'm just frustrated and tired and trying hard NOT to be bitter (is it working?)

"Welcome to Wendy's, would you like to try something from our dollar menu today?"

It's just amazing to me how the industry has changed and changes DAILY. I used to be known for my 'multi-tasking' back In the early 90's. I would literally go to work and run 3, sometimes FIVE machines at the same time, and have the time to SPEND TIME with each job. With the speed of today's machines, software and systems, as well as the hourly deadlines, that's now almost impossible. The best we can do is smack the job in the ass, send it on it's way and yell "NEXT!!!!!"

Thanx for letting me VENT.

If I were a drinkin' man I'd be ... oh never mind.
 

cosmotcat

Member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

I appreciate what all of you are saying but, thru my entire career up to today, the major concern with all of my employers has been 'quality, quality, quality'. It is extremely difficult to keep 'quality' in mind when I increasingly see such crap come in and the clients' biggest concern then is merely "when can I get it" ...

By the way , another story - got a file - a WIDE multi-fold brochure. NO indication from the client of HOW it was supposed to fold. I called the client and asked. And get this ... her response to me was "Oh, I don't care how you fold it"

Also, I think I posted this before ... had an image file come in with ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN characters in the file name.

Aaarrrghhh (again)

And I don't mean to sound pompous at all but, at present, I AM prepress ... I am the preflighter, the technician (figuring out what's wrong with hardware/software... call tech support ... inform clients/bosses), the fixer, the teacher (I have designed some fairly elaborate teaching materials), the CSR and schmoozer (been described as 'smooth' on the phone, especially when talking to female clients), the color correcter (which I SUCK at), the typesetter, the designer (conceive and design projects from scratch), the imposer, the proofer the platemaker and the candlestick maker. Also keep jobs tracked so I can inform bosses where they are in the process ... I just don't have time for ALL of this any more.

... "Well that's fine, but what are you going to do for me tomorrow?"

I'm just frustrated and tired and trying hard NOT to be bitter (is it working?)

"Welcome to Wendy's, would you like to try something from our dollar menu today?"

It's just amazing to me how the industry has changed and changes DAILY. I used to be known for my 'multi-tasking' back In the early 90's. I would literally go to work and run 3, sometimes FIVE machines at the same time, and have the time to SPEND TIME with each job. With the speed of today's machines, software and systems, as well as the hourly deadlines, that's now almost impossible. The best we can do is smack the job in the ass, send it on it's way and yell "NEXT!!!!!"

Thanx for letting me VENT.

If I were a drinkin' man I'd be ... oh never mind.
 

margadri

Well-known member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

Mate.
I feel for you
I have the same every day at least once a day.
You get used to it
The company charges extra money to fix the fixable or to redo the job from scratch.
Even big agencies use young unexperienced designer to cut costs.
With new technology you can just press a button and voila, the page looks good
Bleed, CMYK, UCR what are those??
Remember when for a 16 pages booklet you had ad least three days time for the preparation?
Now 3 hours seems an eternity for clients!
Clients are less choosy and don't care anymore about quality
If is cheap and fast is OK
Designers come out from school and get jobs without proper training
Teachers are all "artist" now and have "photoshop" work in Galleries>
Gosh, I hate this job!!!
(not true, I still love it)
Good luck
It makes you feel better get it out from the chest with people who understand how you feel.
Ciao

Edited by: Adriano on Dec 16, 2007 5:53 PM
 

C2C

Active member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

"Also, I think I posted this before ... had an image file come in with ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN characters in the file name."

hahah o man!
sorry to laugh but thats just.... beyond obnoxious.
 

cosmotcat

Member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

Oh I gotta tell ya, once I wiped the tears from my eyes from *laffin'* so freakin' hard (and crying just a bit), I said to myself "What the ****?, I then I asked the client to come in and and let me take a picture of her because people won't believe me that people like her really do exist +(kidding?)+.

I printed out the filename in a nice font and it now hangs next to my Mac in a nice frame - right under the client quote "Oh, I don't care how you fold it."

I just noticed that the tag line under the logo on this webpage says "Learn, Teach, Debate". I would teach. I would love to teach. But who wants to pay for (real, practical) training these days? I asked a salesperson about teaching our 'clients' at my old job. The response from the salesperson was +' I asked them about that, and their feeling is "we+ ( the advertising 'agency' ) +have a lot of money, and that's what we pay YOU for." '+

Gawwwwwd help me. I guess I should just be thinking +*'cha-ching'*+
 

cosmotcat

Member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

FIrst of all ... this 'attitude' never reaches the client. I am very nice to clients and they usually are very happy with me and like me - in fact it was the +salesman+ that, in a different yet similar situation, came back to me and said "Are you always so nice?". Believe me, I know about the 'importance of Customer Service", I've dealt with a lot of clients personally throughout my career.

Not meaning to sound crude, there becomes a point where I just don't want to be a litho-whore any more (sorry if that offends) and have some pride.

I do (despite the complaining) have fun on the job and do enjoy my work, but sometimes I believe I (we) have to say 'come on, give me a break' and draw the line in the sand (so to speak).
 
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

The shame is that this business has allowed this to happen... What other industry allows customers to supply their own materials (paper, etc), hold up the deadline (late/bad files), then make demands at the end (I need this yesterday). Combine that with your stated horrid affair with the files-from-hell and you can have a real winner of a day!

This is much like saying to the carpenter, "hey, here is this pile of wood I got at Home Depot for real cheap. I know it isn't great, but you can still build me my dream house right? Oh, and by the way, I don't have any of the permits or paperwork ready -- but you'll still be able to finish by tomorrow, right!?" Pretty stupid huh?! Yet we all seem to agree to it...

Our business is always been to say 'yes' and fix things up to make them work. Doing this has led the customer to become complacent and thus generate these wonderful files and make absurd demands of our time. Then, when we want to bill them for it, they are insulted -- ask them what they think when the plumber comes and they need that leaky pipe fixed, bet they are a little more accommodating to his charges! I get the argument that if you don't take it, the customer will go somewhere else...

A few people I know have been so bold as to tell the customer 'no' -- something more printers should become aware of when this is appropriate -- and you know what they found? That the customer, being pressed, agreed to the pushback. If you have someone accustomed to pushing you around to get their way, they will continue to do it... If you have a good relationship with the client, you should not be afraid to explain that their files are 'crap' (in not so many words) and that you can offer training, or suggest training, at a separate charge. Potentially more business (if you can accommodate it) or at the VERY least, better files...

PS> I originally wanted to write this in MacWrite, take a screenshot, save it in MacPaint, then place it into a Microsoft Works document... But that'd be too easy! ;)
 

disbellj

Well-known member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

cosmotcat,
I feel your pressure man. It's that way all over, and I for one am in the
process of setting myself up with another career, so I can escape this
madness too.
Don
 

G_Town

Well-known member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

Hey if everyone submitted files 100% correctly we'd be out of a job.

my 2¢
 

dcraig2122

New member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

The art schools don't teach basic print. Too many times have I instructed a "Designer" on the concept of bleed or CMY-RGB; it's pathetic. I worked for a guy who used to brag how he had "Ink in his blood" because his daddy owned a print shop. Unfortunately, prepress isn't genetic and I was constantly fixing his files for the basics like bleed. I once had to explain why he wanted to use spot color for a job instead of 4 color.

The older I get, the more it is clear to me - It's not skill, planning, politics, or even patronage that puts these people in positions of power and responsibility; it's luck. They were in the field of view at the time the decision was made. They were born into the right family. They got along with the boss and he'd rather have someone he liked than someone who knew what they were doing. They were in the right place at the right time and THAT'S IT.

It's the same everywhere, in every profession.
 

kaiserwilhelm

Well-known member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

I do not know if I agree. I have now gone and seen two of my larger clients.
We now have 100 percent of their files sent in as ready to go pdfs. Took about
3 days of my training over two separate trips.
The preflight of these jobs alone used to take 1 person over 10 hours - we are
talking over 100 quark files here.
Now, I get their pdf file and put it through my automation.
The things I used to do I just do not have to do now. Instead, we have adapted
and now we take their pdf and actually use it in another part of the shop for laser.

The problem is that more and more $8 an hour secretaries are now sitting in front
of Word. They design a newsletter with pretty little pictures from Word. Then, some
dumb salesperson sells them the idea that they can print 2/C instead of 4/C.
That is the issue. I do not blame the company for having a secretary create the
newsletter. I blame the salesperson for selling the job wrong. That is their job.
Their only job. To bring in jobs that are efficient and will make the company money.
In most cases, they do not care. As long as the commission check clears, who cares?
 

disbellj

Well-known member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

Chris,

I too have a client that I have done this for, and her PDFs come in and now save a lot of time. If a change is needed, then she makes it and resends the PDF of that one changed page. But having one client do this is one thing. Having everyone do it and correctly, and not minding doing their own changes if need be, is another.

Don
 

DonnaFC

Member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

The basic problem we have is turn over at our clients. We set up training sessions at our biggest clients; have meetings go over the hows and whys and then 6 months later there are new people who are just a clueless. The basic understanding of file management is lacking. Like someone else wrote the secretary creates the pdf and boom we all should be able to print it nice and pretty like...oh ya and can I have it tomorrow printed bound and mailed across the country???

Just my 2 pennies...

donna
 

icenoid

New member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

I finally got out of the production side of the business, and am working in a related field. The company I worked for used to have me teach customers at their sites, and to phone tech support. Unfortunately many publishers hire the the cheapest designer they can get. Just about the time we get them trained up and able to give files that actually can be printed, the publisher fires them for doing such a poor job, and hires another person who knows nothing and the process starts all over again. I think that ultimately the issue is that publishers don't want to pay for quality employees, or their own mistakes. We would get customers who would come in with last minute text changes to a job and expect that it wouldn't cost them anything, in at least one of these cases, the job was already on press. The customer refused to pay for the plates, wasted paper, pre-press time and such. At least that is what I saw in the 18 years I was in the business.

On a funny note though, I had a customer who was extremely upset that he couldn't get on our ftp site. After about 20 min on the phone, and getting nowhere I asked him to spell what he was typing..."ftpdot... he was spelling out the . in the address. After the laughing slowed down, I took him off hold and patiently explained what he was doing wrong. Not a problem after that.
 

cosmotcat

Member
Re: Ready to get OUT of the business ...

Another thing that I have noticed as time goes on (sorry to keep bitching here) ...

It seems that more and MORE we prepress people are the ones RESPONSIBLE for even the most basic file creation and execution, even when created by someone else:

A proof goes out, several people look at it, it gets signed of as "OK TO PRINT" then there is a problem after plates are made and its on press. Something doesn't bleed, a piece of type or artwork fell off someplace, type too close to a fold, a color doesn't match a similar color ...

"Why wasn't that caught? We should have caught that."

As much as I try the argument of "Was the proof sent out? Was it signed off? Then I don't want to hear about it.", it usually doesn't work. Why do we bother to make proofs?

I agree with one of the postings that this is our job but, come on ... if the clients were perfect, they wouldn't need me. if I were perfect, we wouldn't need proofs. If I am expected to be perfect ONE HUNDRED percent of the time, especially with the files we now receive to work with, I want a HELLUVA LOT more money.

I cringe when our proofmaker comes over and asks, "This doesn't look right. Is this supposed to be like this?" ...

Well how the F am I supposed to know? Now I also gotta be clairvoyant?

Wow am I bitter and need a vacation. Is it true that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?
 

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