You Can’t Make This Stuff Up! (Crazy Job Requests)

By | August 12, 2013

Every once in awhile, I run across a great discussion in an online discussion group that I just have to share. Here is one that is currently thriving on Deborah Corn’s Print Production Professionals group on LinkedIn. What is the craziest job request you’ve gotten? Here are just a few of the priceless answers. Once you reach the end, chime in with your own!

While preparing for a pitch for a Russian vodka, we had our concepts translated into Russian. Besides the syntax issues, which changed the entire campaign since expressions don’t often translate from language to language, somehow I became responsible for proofing the story boards and comps… in Russian. No, I don’t speak Russian. But I did play enough Tetris to call upon my shape recognition powers to match the Cyrillic from the translator to the Cyrillic in the layouts, never of course understanding a word of it.

— Deborah Corn, Print Media Centr

Had a customer tell me he’d wait on the phone for a folding carton quote. I laughed at him when I realized he was serious. The year was 1988. Quotes took a week and involved samples from InDesign, estimating, and then production review to verify the layout and specs.

— John Woods, Triumph Packaging Group

Had a customer ask for custom packaging that needed to be in Paris by the end of the week for machine testing. I’m in Southern California, as is the plant. This was on a Wednesday afternoon. We got the product manufactured, but Air France didn’t have enough available cargo room for the 17 skids of product. Imagine that!

— PJ Hays, Staples West Los Angeles

I had a boss tell me that Canada looked bigger than the U.S. on a map that we had in a catalog. I said, “Canada is bigger than the U.S.” They requested I make Canada smaller on the map.

—Laurie Sawyer, ATD American Co.

Pre-Internet, a potential customer came to me with a “special project” he was having difficulty getting produced. I told him to bring it on—[we] handle all kinds of difficult projects. I quickly discovered the difficulty he was having was not getting his A** kicked–or thrown in jail. I quickly discovered the difficulty he was having. It was the sleaziest thing I have ever seen in my life. I was tempted to ask him to give me the art boards so I could “review” them with my prepress team then “accidentally” destroy them. But, I figured someone in his line of work had probably become accustomed to litigiousness so I just decided to leave the meeting . . . and shower.

— Dave Flach, Bassett Printing Corp.

Truly funny stuff. What’s your story?

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4 thoughts on “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up! (Crazy Job Requests)

  1. Ralph Irwin

    Not a job request but after quoting a job with photographs in it based on the customer supplying camera ready material, they showed up to place the order all dressed up “ready for the camera” to get the piece ready to go!

  2. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    As I said, you can’t make this stuff up! It’s funny to us now, but I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to be the client standing there in fine array and realizing their mistake . . . !

  3. Katherine

    These are hilarious! I asked our CEO, Nick, if he had any funny stories. He said back when he had the Hollywood office there was a crazy guy who hung on the streets in the area. One day he came in saying that he needed business cards printed. When they asked for his design, he handed them a blank rectangle that said, “My Card” written with a sharpie. They weren’t sure what to say, so they went ahead and printed the cards.

  4. Randy Herron

    Back when Reagan was president we had this lady order money. She wanted us to print and ship twenties to President Reagan, a couple of Senators, a supreme court justice and her. It was a total of about 450 million dollars. I told her we could do the job but it was very expensive to print money. I told her it would cost 451 million and it had to be paid upfront. She told me it was Ok she would authorize me to print that much more for myself. She wouldn’t stop calling so I finally called the secret service. The calls stopped.

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