THE FACTS OF LIFE - AS I SEE THEM
We had a very interesting e-mail from a customer recently that has raised a couple of very interesting issues. The e-mail in question was from a young lady (I assume the young part, and after reading the e-mai, I'm being very generous about the lady part) who had questions about the delivery of her order. Now I spent four years in the Navy, so I know all of the words, all of the combinations thereof, and don't embarrass easily - until this e-mail that is.
But here's the lesson to be learned from it...be careful what you ask for! In this particular case, the customer ordered online. When she reached the appropriate part of the shopping cart, she requested that the order be shipped complete (as opposed to canceling back orders or shipping back ordered items later).
What does shipping complete mean?
Very simply put, nothing goes out of here until the entire order is ready to go. We cannot, of course, insure that it will all arrive at the same time if multiple packages are involved, but we can control when things leave here. Our normal shipping procedure has packages shipping from up to three different departments - plates and rollers, paper and felt, and the general shipping department that takes care of everything else. If you want us to ship everything that is available, then ask us for one of the other two options. We can cancel anything not in stock, or ship the back ordered item when it's available.
Since I'm on my soapbox again, please understand how the schedule works at places like Graphic Chemical. During the late Spring and early Summer, things are relatively relaxed around here. Our shipping and production departments are not putting in lots of overtime, and we're still building stock for the rush season. In mid-Summer, the art supply stores, both domestic and foreign, and catalog companies begin heavy ordering for the back to school rush period.
Schools generally begin ordering in August when their new budget year opens up- and they all order at once! Individual artists of course order when they need materials regardless of the time of year. You can begin to see why August, September and October are a train wreck in the making!
We do a great job of getting orders out the door, as do many of our suppliers. We are very conscious of lead times and necessity of ordering well in advance of need, but we can't control when our vendors make their deliveries. If they don't get it to us, we have a hard time getting it to you. Also, since many of our vendors are outside the U.S. lengthy shipping times are a fact of life too.
Divining when you need your orders is another lost art. We process orders in the order that they are received. Preference is given for air and other expedited services. In the middle of the rush season, there can be some delay in getting an order out the door, but we will always try to meet you deadline (if you share it with us) or tell you up front if we can't make it.
Our ultimate goal is to get you the materials you need, when you need them - so help us help you.