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APRIL 2003 A Gentleman attended a Home Show and saw our large display of signs. While we've taken great effort to accurately display our signs on our website, they always look so much more impressive in person. People fall in love with them everytime we do a Show!

The Gentleman spent a great deal of time looking at the shapes, designs, and different color combinations offered. He spent time looking at our website that we have set-up on a computer at the show. After lengthy consideration and many
questions, he took our literature and placed an order for a 10" x 13" rectangular Black Slate Sign with Copper/Ivory Paint and NIGHTvision coating. He asked for a scroll at the top, his street number in the middle, and the street name at the bottom.

His sign was completed and shipped in less time than he expected. He called to say how pleased he was.... One week later he called to make an appointment to discuss "severe problems with our sign". Here are his complaints and our (signs From ABove -FAB) responses. This really is exactly how the conversation went:

Customer: We paid for NIGHTvision but our sign cannot be seen at Night. How do you explain that?

FAB: How is your sign lit at night?

Customer: There is no light, that's why we asked for your NIGHTvision coating.

FAB: Sir, I know we discussed this at the Show before you ordered the sign; remember… you must have a light source in order to get the NIGHTvision to work. It does not glow in the dark. NIGHTvision will only reflect light back to its source the same way highway signs work. They light up as you approach with your car's headlights.

Customer: Why would you sell a sign that needs light to be seen in the dark?

FAB: I'm sorry if there was any confusion on this matter. We thought you understood from our conversation, our literature, and our website. We can refund you the money you paid for NIGHTvision. How’s that?

Customer: O.K. but, regardless, the sign can't be read from the street even in daylight.

FAB: Really? We’ve never had that complaint before? How far away is the sign from the street?

Customer: 18'-20'

FAB: That is strange. There certainly should not be a problem. Here, hold onto this end of the tape measure and I'll walk away from you. Tell me when you think I'm 20' away.

Customer: O.K., keep going, not yet, right there, that's about right. Give or take a couple feet.

FAB: Sir, I'm 53' away.

Customer: Pardon, I can't hear you.

FAB: I'M 53' AWAY ! That's why you can't read the sign.

Customer: Why would you sell me a sign that I wouldn't be able to read from the street?

FAB: Because you never told us you were 53' away.

Customer: Listen, you guys are the sign experts. Why would you sell me a sign with my number and street name that can't be read by a passing car at night?

FAB: If you had told us that’s what you required we would have suggested a totally different type of sign. But, if you had told us you were 18'-20' away you would still be very disappointed because, by your own admission you are 53' feet away which would require a much larger sign.

Customer: Why would you take my order and make my sign without coming out to see if I was ordering a sign that could be seen and would satisfy my needs?

FAB: Should we have suggested you hire us to do a site survey of your property that would add $65/hr. to the cost of your sign?

Customer: No. It could be included in the price of the sign!

FAB: We ship signs all over the world. Are you suggesting we should travel internationally at our expense to do a site inspection every time someone orders a $100 sign?

Customer: Of course not! But, if the customer is located within a 10-20 mile radius it’d be nice if you offered it as a courtesy.

FAB: I guess you’ve given us something to think about. Since we've never encountered this type of complaint before, how about we refund your money and you keep the sign?

Customer: O.K. But, I want you to make me another sign that will be big enough to do the job. I, of course, would expect to pay for it.

FAB: Sir, based on your requirements you would need an illuminated sign approximately 18” x 40” with 6" letters and numbers. It would cost about...

Customer: That's not going to work. There's only enough room above the garage door for about one the size of your biggest sign. What’s that, about 12” x 24”?

FAB: Yes, 12” x 24” is our biggest residential size. After that you’re looking at a commercial sign and considerably more money than most homeowner’s wish to pay. But, It’s impossible to meet your requirements or expectations with a sign that’s only 12” x 24”. Not to mention the fact that you’ll also need a light to see the sign at night.

Customer: So you're telling me you can't do it or you won't do it?

FAB: Both.

Customer: I’m shocked. It sounds like you don’t want to make me another sign. I’m asking you nicely to make me a 12” x 24” sign. If it turns out after you make it that I can’t read it, and I think you’re telling me that WILL be the case, then you can tell me to get stuffed.

FAB: Sir, we would never tell a customer to get stuffed. Now that we both know that you require a person in a passing car moving at 25 mph in the dark to be able to read everything that you want on your sign from 53’ away, we can say with 100% certainty that your goal is impossible with a 12” x 24” non-illuminated sign. Therefore, it would be a complete waste of your money and our time.

Customer: I can't believe this is your attitude. You don't even want to try it. Here I am practically begging you to make me another sign that I WILL pay you for and you're basically telling me you don't want my business. I'm sure there's another sign company out there that will appreciate my business and work hard to get it...Can you at least tell me where to go?

FAB: I’d love to Sir………. but as far as this sign thing goes I can only suggest the yellow pages.

Customer: O.K. If you won’t make me another sign I certainly wouldn’t want to keep this one. Maybe you can find someone else that can use it.

FAB: It’s unlikely we’ll find someone that would have any use for your custom sign but you never know. What I’d like to do is post this entire conversation on our website someday. Your complaints are unique and who knows, maybe if someone reads about this they’ll avoid the disappointment that you encountered. If you don’t have any objections, I’ll tell you what we’ll do. If you can find a non-illuminated sign from any other sign company that can achieve what you want in a 12” x 24” or smaller space, we’ll buy the sign for you. How does that sound?

Customer: Seems strange. You want me to find another sign company so bad you’re willing to pay for me to go away. O.K. I guess I’ll go. I’ll let you know how I make out… you’re sure you won’t try and make me another sign?

FAB: Absolutely impossible.

This is the most extreme case of a persistent “unsatisfied customer" we have ever had. The customer was given a full refund and he still wasn't satisfied. We still have his sign and hold out hope that someday, somebody orders this exact sign - What a deal we'll give them!

UPDATE !!!!!!

APRIL 2004 Almost a year later we still hadn’t heard from the customer. One day when we were in his area, out of curiosity, we went by to see if he had ever found a sign that suited him. Yes, he did! It was a cast aluminum sign, slightly larger than the one he had ordered from us but certainly no bigger than 12” x 24”. The number and text were really not much larger either but we noted that he had installed a small light (available at Home Depot) above the sign. Unfortunately, the customer was not home so we didn’t get the chance to ask if he was happy with his sign. Given it’s size and the distance to the road it clearly did not meet the requirements he laid out for us but maybe the little light had made a big difference to him. After all, we can all agree, it’s a lot easier to read anything in the dark - if you have a light!



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