I work at a small print center. A customer came in and wanted an image the size of a bookmark printed onto a double-sided postcard flyer (cut full bleed, and with a squashed image due to file proportions similar to a bookmark), sized 3.5 x 5 inches. I printed a proof for him, but did not cut the proof out.
He wanted 1000 copies printed and cut by that evening. I got them done at the expense of putting off doing some other projects which I could have done ahead of time.
Me: Here’s your project. Does this look okay?
Client: They look small.
Me: I can assure you these are 3.5 x 5 inches. I input the settings for 3.5 x 5 on the printer and then cut around the edges as requested.
Client: They cannot possibly be 3.5 x 5 inches. I am certain the proof you printed for me earlier was larger.
Me: No, I printed the proof with the exact same settings… here, I’ll get a ruler.
I find a ruler and measure the postcards. They are within a millimeter accuracy, due to the cutter having a slight angle when cutting.
Client: I knew it. They are smaller. See, they do not meet the 5-inch mark. I will not pay for these.
Me: Sir, they are the closest possible I could make the cuts without the chance of a white border. Our cutter has a slight angle so very minor size differences are common, and not something we’re really able to control.
Client: This is amateur work. I asked for 3.5 x 5. Please reprint them, at the size you printed the proof.
Me: With all due respect, I printed with the same settings as the proof. The results will be the same if I reprint them.
Client: I will not pay more than $100 for this. They are too small. I want to speak to a manager.
I call my manager over. The customer explains the issue, and then I explain to my manager that it’s a cutter issue and not something I can fix. I demonstrate this to both the customer and my manager by printing a copy with the same settings as before and cutting it, and lo and behold–the new copy is also within a millimeter smaller on all sides. But the customer holds firm, so my manager ends up giving him 50% off the entire order (and with that, my chances of meeting sales goals for the day vanished). The customer then says he will be taking his business somewhere else.
One week later, the client returns.
Client: I want 500 of these, with this other file on the back, and the same file as before on the front. 3.5 x 5 inches. I’d like a proof as well.
Me: Sure thing. Let me get your file set up, and then we can get it done for you.
Client: You won’t mess them up like last time, right?
Me: …I will do my best.