From time to time, I share with you pearls of wisdom learned through the school of hard knocks.
We all do it. We look for the best price on things from hotels to rental cars to stuff. Consumables like food from reputable sources you might do better at a big box store. When shopping for groceries, I pay attention to coupons vs., the added luxury of services that are offered.
Some stores are pushing the industry of shopping for groceries on-line. They do this by one checker open while ‘nudging’ you to take your selections to the self-checkout, which rarely work correctly.
Sam’s has probably one of the better systems. Using the bar code reader, one can efficiently facilitate their purchase, and I would add a giant asterisk to this statement. I know few people who want to price, bag and pay for their things, only to be stalled exiting the building, waiting in a long line for some person to take forever to do an inventory of your items, and all of those people in front of you. This, to me, is a bridge too far, especially when I already pay a membership fee. All things considered, I will not renew.
While big-box stores killed the mom and pop businesses, so too will the likes of Amazon and other online services, kill bricks and mortar establishments? The impetus for doing such things comes down to the P&L and morons seeking 15 dollars an hour salaries for entry-level jobs. They obviously have stopped teaching economics in school, and they surely have stopped teaching critical thinking.
In my line of work, I provide several services. One of them which is the reason for this blog is File Date Stamps. I also offer other legacy products to municipalities and other businesses who use such things. I serve a dying industry, as we move to do everything electronically.
Leaving forensic computing and disaster recovery my next items to push, those two are also outsourced to other countries who can exploit people without unions and protestors to raise hell.
The Rapidprint and Widmer products have been around for well over thirty years. Both are robust machines that serve many customers. With minor attention to replacing ink ribbons and not knocking the things on the floor, they require little maintenance. Some customers who use these hundreds of times a day, however, cause wear and tear that at some point needs to be addressed.
The year wheel last ten years and I have replaced year wheels in the same machines three-times and counting. Where else can you purchase a machine that lasts over 30 years?
As a highly trained engineer, my company handles thousands of these clocks in a service capacity. The catch is this. Companies must make a profit, or we will not be around to service them. I could teach someone how to repair them in hours, what takes decades is knowing from the very feel of the wheels if they are right or not. From the look and sound of the imprint, I can tell you what is going on. That expertize takes years.
I know of a customer through one of my vendors who purchased a machine online, at some cheap price. The dealer is responsible for the warranty issues per our contract with the vendor. That is part and parcel of how this all works. They allow us a discount, and we must absorb the cost incurred with warranty issues… from the machines we sell!
This customer purchased this machine from some internet-only dealer and had an issue and was told to deal with the vendor. Nope… not the way it works, and they were not happy. I don’t blame them but… they looked for the lowest price and not reputation. Sending it to another vendor for repair, eating the cost, the machine broke once again sometime later.
Without going there to see if it is something they are doing, vs. a botched repair job, the vendor would have little way of knowing. Offering to repair it for them at no charge, the customer balked at the cost of shipping it back to them.
Contacting me, who is in Texas, I told them I would provide the service at no charge, even though I did not sell the machine. The idea behind that decision is to take care of the customer, and have that customer from then on. Word of mouth is how I grow my business. Can I do that for everyone… no?
Doubling down on the $20 shipping charge to get it to me, they are now in some stalemate. The vendor offering to assist them did not sell it to them, and it is not even their brand of equipment. This vendor goes well out of their way to help customers with the same goal in mind, turn them into their customers.
The original seller is who they should be contacting, but of course, they don’t provide any service, so the customer’s ‘good deal’ has backfired, even though another vendor and I have offered to rescue them from their dilemma.
Is it wise to purchase a machine from some internet vendor that does not provide service?
“Do you feel lucky???”
A word about shipping…
Having intimate knowledge of the different carriers, your package, whether it is diapers or light bulbs, is dropped up to six feet several times during its voyage from the dealer to you. The heavier the parcel, the more likely it is to be damaged.
As a rule, I insure packages sent by me. I have had them crushed in the process. One machine which was packaged in the factory shipping box, had the metal casting broken. The problem is most customers are not aware of the claims process.
If you get a packaged that appears damaged, take pictures of everything before you open it, and then through the process. If there is damage to the ‘item,’ you will need those pictures along with the original packaging to file a claim and get reimbursed.
On rare occasions, the jostling of the machine through the shipping process can cause internal damage. If your new or repaired device does not function straight out of the box as intended, there is a good chance that in the process the ‘500-pound Gorilla’ got too exuberant. Machines sent from my shop are bench tested for two weeks before they are shipped. My percentage of warranted returns is less than 2%, and in every instance, it was due to shipping and handling issues.
In known bad areas of the country, I will double box the machine. Please let us know if you suspect your postage, UPS or Fed X handlers employ the proverbial gorilla. The cost of double-boxing is minimal, considering the frustration of getting a broken machine back from a sale or service. We have all seen the video where the delivery person launches your package toward your door from over twenty feet away and leaves. Those warehouses are hot or cold, and those people don’t have too much skin in the game. Much like the baggage handlers at the airport, they don’t seem to care.
If you are in Louisiana, you probably remember this event from the picture above.
We very much enjoyed meeting those of you that were there and look forward to serving your needs without pestering you.
We are planning a tour of your state in the upcoming months. Please take a look at my site for products and or services and let me know if you would like a visit. www.timedok.com Unlike most, I will not bother you if you don’t need what I offer. As a businessman, I too have to screen calls and ignore the 866 numbers.
Most of my customer base is word of mouth, and that bodes well for what I do. I will go the extra mile for my customers… If you would like that kind of service, check us out… It is DOK with a K!.