Surviving Black Tuesday

Skull and RavenWhen it gets so bad that you have to laugh, it’s pretty bad. I can write about it now. It’s a day later and it all looks different.

There are 8 of us at Alphagraphics. That’s a pretty small staff considering all of the stuff that goes through the shop. When one person is out, we can usually handle it; but when more than one are out it gets downright painful.

Rickie, our lead pressman, had told me about a funeral he needed to attend. An old friend in North Carolina had passed away, and he had been asked to speak at the services. He needed to leave at noon. Joe, who runs bindery, had to leave at 10:30 for another funeral. Our other pressman is Jamaal. At around 10:30, his neighbor called to inform him that a tree had landed on his house. (It’s true, I promise).

Sharon’s out making sales calls. That leaves me, Brian, Robert, and Chris. Robert’s got to do deliveries. Chris is getting married. His brain is already on honeymoon in the Caribbean. The phone starts ringing and doesn’t stop. Neither Brian nor I can do anything for talking with people about doing something. Deadlines are looming.

I almost forgot about Rose. Rose is retired, but likes to help out part time when we have extra stuff. She’s working on one of those big copy projects that we hate to do. The customer has brought in a pile of loose sheets, books, manuals, instructions, etc. and needs five copies of each of them. It’s about 10 hours work stapling, unstapling, putting stuff on the copier glass, pushing the green button and putting it all back together again. Rose is confused about it all and has lots of questions. I’m equally confused and am making up the answers as we go.

A customer calls with a problem . . . and it’s one of those that I’m really having a difficult time understanding. But the timing was perfect. There was no way to really make the day any worse.

The phone rings again. It’s a potential customer who has been recommended by a designer friend of ours. She wants us to design some letterhead and envelopes and she’s got lots of ideas. She’s going to send some of them over by email and could we put together a few designs for her? She’s being referred by a designer who doesn’t want to do the designs for her . . . smells like trouble to me.

In the middle of all of it, I’ve scheduled an interview. We’ve been looking for another outside salesperson for about 3 months and I’ve finally got what looks like a good candidate. Of course, I didn’t know that disaster would strike when I scheduled the meeting.

Don’t know how we got through it, but we did. And we actually got a few things accomplished and out the door. And I hired the interviewee (is that a word?). She was great in the interview. I was incoherent and she still wanted to work at Alphagraphics.

I love this job.

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