Why is it that if an order from either a publisher or a distributor is going to be messed up, it’s always on a Friday? This past Friday found us scrambling for books that should have come in.
A lovely customer who was on the fence about whether or not to get 14 paperbacks of I Stink to give as party favors for her son’s birthday on Saturday made the decision on Wednesday afternoon. This meant we only had Thursday to place our order. We called a distributor and were told they had all the copies we needed. So we placed the order and didn’t think any more of it. In a perfect world, and one we usually live in, except when there’s a deadline for a book, we would have gotten 14 books on Friday.
The boxes came Friday and were unboxed quickly, only to reveal seven I Stink books. Of course it was Friday which meant we had no time to order more from anyone else. So we scrambled. I called all the other indies in town, sadly only two phone calls were made. No one had the book. I spent much of my morning saying, “I Stink” over and over again, it started to just get funny.
We managed to find three copies of the book on the shelves, so we had 10 all together. We called her and explained the situation. There’s really nothing worse than knowing you’re disappointing a kid. Of course, none of it was our fault, but the mom didn’t see it that way at first. She was mad. I understood that, but there was nothing I could do, so yelling at me wasn’t really going to do any good. And I couldn’t really say perhaps a cushion of a week or so for that many books would have been nice. She wound up speaking to everyone on staff and we all apologized. We all felt bad – horrible in fact.
We wanted to make the party a success, so we added enough stickers sheets for every child to get at least three sheets and some temporary tattoos. The mom came in to pick up the books and was touched by the stacks of sticker sheets. We apologized again and she vowed next year to order party favors with more of a time cushion.
All was not lost. We kept a good customer happy. We didn’t disappoint a child and that was a great feeling.