July 15, 2014

Just the facts, ma’am

Sometimes when people ask me what I do, I say, “I order pens.”

That’s a simplification, but an accurate one. I manage the “outside” items AB&C buys for our clients: printing, billboards, displays, giveaways — that sort of thing.


I’m that annoying person who insists on facts: when, where, how much, what color, what size.

Pens, anyone?

Pens, anyone?

Don’t say to me, “Whatever you think is good.” That is not my world. And don’t ask me to make crap up: “You don’t have to get an estimate from the printer — just ballpark it!” No. I’ll find out the actual price, even if it does take a whole 24 hours. I am in the creative department, but I’m not creative. And, really, you don’t want me to be. What if I decided to be “creative” and order 3,000 notebooks for a 150-attendee conference?

I am often the bearer of bad news. You may want a particular giveaway in purple, but it only comes in red, blue and green. You want a shiny look to your printed piece, but it has to be on uncoated paper so people can write on it. Or you need something in four days, but what you want comes from China and won’t be here for five weeks — we’ll need to find a substitute. It’s the real world I live in.

I am also the asker of questions. The client, Hasenpfeffer Incorporated, orders 10,000 Frisbees® and wants them shipped to their main office. I ask you whether Hasenpfeffer has a receiving dock so when a tractor-trailer pulls up to unload 20 pallets of Frisbees, the client doesn’t call screaming, “We don’t have room for all that.

You may find me (euphemism alert!) a huge thorn in your side. But once I have all the information I need, I will steer you clear of anxiety and drama: all the details will be right, from initial estimates to delivery information to making sure the invoice matches the quoted price. Your project will go smoothly. And then maybe you won’t think I’m so annoying.