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Graphic Design...there's so much to learn
Monday, 31 March 2008

Mood:  sharp
Topic: Business Practices
Today I decided I would rant about what happened last week when I went to upgrade my McCafrey Anti Virus software. Once a year I renew my subscription for this moderately affordable, apparently easy to use mainstream virus protection software however it is a bit of a ram hog. I ususaly do it online with a credit card and never had a problem before. I signed up to protect my 3 computers with various OS.  I went through the whole process took about a half an hour (thinking this is great my system will be protected, I don't have to go to a store, they will send me the cd for an additional 12.95 plus the additional 10$ per computer and I can get to work). I was having problems accessing the files for download...fooling around took another half an hour. Meanwhile I had lots of design work to do and I was starting to get really frustrated. Then I'm routed to the trouble shooting area through a url. I wasted oh about another half hour there.  I call their customer support which clearly instructs you to go to the trouble shooting page prior to speaking with tech support...been there done that. I wait...listen to the 9 or 10 options having to listen to it twice because I forgot what the first few were. I  press the appropriate option...a voice recording on the other end  lets me know that I am in cue for the next available representative yada yada yada...thankfully the wait wasn't as long as I expected. Ran through the whole problem with the respensentive...wait while I check your file, gave them the pertinent information took another I'll say 7 or 8 minutes (I'm sure they have an accurate up to the second of that on record somewhere). The problem is apparently fixed. I get off the phone and  go back to the download area to get the program. It finally downloads and that's when I find out that not only is the anti virus software no longer compatible with window 98(my oldest operating system) but it wont install on my XP. So now I have waisted almost 2 hours. I call up again and it takes a little longer this time to get the next representative. Of course I'm getting all worked up about this.  I remind myself that the rep shouldn't be blasted for something that isn't really their fault. Finally I get to talk to a sales rep they transfer me to tech suport. I ask them why doesn't my software install(that's because I have to go and remove the old version in order to install the new one and he sends me 2 pages of instructions for the removal process-not easy to follow reads like stereo instructions from the 60's. My next question is why is it only for xp and vista?- he says please hold and  I will ask my supervisor. The reponse was there are no longer any options or update downloads for my older OS...And finally I ask what am I suposed to do now without anti virus protection on 1 of my 3 computers that are sharing a network? A few seconds go by, no response...Doesn't that defeat the purpose to getting virus protection?. The rep finally came to his senses and remembered his training when in doubt apologise for the inconvenience and then very politly told me that McCafrey no longer supports that OS(windows 98) anymore. Apparenlty older operating systems are not worthy of virus protection. They are being phased out by the sotware developers-I don't think that they are making this decision based on supply and demand. There's alot of people out there with older OS and it would be in the best interest of the software deveolpers to cater to them. They are missing out and loosing customers.  What has happend to making the consumer happy?. Just keep producing and producing till we're buried under a pile of electronics and plastic. Nothing should be built to last anymore. It not about consumption. It just cheaper to throw it away. I also have a beautiful lazer color printer that 's more expensive to order a part for than to buy a new's a 30lb paperweight. I asked the rep what am I suposed to do?...He didn't know nor did he make any suggestions(that's not customer service). I told him I was very disapointed with McCafrey (he apologised again) and I asked for him to please cancel my upgrade and remove the costs from credit card which will not be applied till the next bill so they are making intrest on something I didn't technicaly buy(isn't that like stealing?). I informed him that MCafrey lost a client, he didn't seem upset at all.  I filled out the questionaire of why are you discontinuing the use of our software...I told them very nicely;  I want my 2 and half hours back with intrest. If the site had the operation specs and instalation information readily available I never would of waisted all that time. And that's something you can't get back... Now I'm getting the same protection with a Sharewear program at a fraction of the price and quite glad to be done with a company that clearly does not care about it's consumers.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 6:02 PM EDT
Monday, 24 September 2007

Topic: Business Practices
It has come to my attention that apparently I am only dealing with the 15% of the business population that are not mature or do not conduct business fairly. I shouldn't let those ruin it for the rest. At this time I find myself slightly disturbed by this small percentage as it seems to make up at least a small portion of the companies I deal with. So what do I do? Look for other companies and keep plugging away and try not to be bothered by thier lack of immaturity or thier inability to take responsibility for thier actions and move on. I try to pick my battles carefully. Somtimes it's just easier to give in even though I may be right. I guess It's all a matter of persepctive, somewhere in the midddle is the truth and you can't make everyone happy.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 9:30 AM EDT
Friday, 21 September 2007

Mood:  quizzical
Topic: Business Practices

Is there anyone out there that practices fair business practices anymore? Or does everyone pass the buck? What happen to common courtesy, conducting business on a professional level, with respect,  honesty, keeping agreements even if they are verbal, being paid your worth, taking constructive critism without taking it personally and owning up to your mistakes? Is it that people are worried about  how it's going to make them look? Are they affraid of being thought of as weak or imperfect? Have people forgotten that it takes a bigger person to admit that they are wrong and it's better to be a part of the solution instead a part of the problem? Unfortunately it's all about the all mighty buck. Doesn't quality count? Pride in a job well done? It seems that today most people are operating with a huge chip on thier shoulders. I know society isn't going to be fixed in one blog.

I had someone the other day solicite me  for business a second time when originally I said no thank you but I will keep you in mind. His marketing approach was that he changed his website and asked what I thought about the changes. I responded to his request. I was honest,  professional and constructive in my opinions. He wrote back and told me where to go; hey his right not professional behavior and me being a persepctive client (maybe I had a little too much time on my hands that day). What happend to the client always being right?

HEY DUDE Note to self: don't ask for an opinion if your not really ready to hear it.

Dreamy expression on my face "What I would give to work with companies that belive in fair work practices."

No games, no bullshit, just, honest, and reliable work for a reasonable price. In this day and age it's tough enough just picking up clients never mind the dreamy ones. Even though it has been quite the rocky road with some of my less reputable clients who shall always remain nameless (that's another practice that I don't agree with, is name droping period especially in the name of discrediting, very infantile). I usually deal with it by saying we had a difference of opinion and leave it at that. It solves absolutely nothing by bad mouthing someone. Those bad apples still haven't changed how I do business. Some might think I am an idiot; but I sleep really good at night. Yes I am more careful about the contracts that I pick up but everything is upfront and there is no small print. If a perspective client does not want to give a deposit or negotiate to some kind of consensual agreement for work, chances are you don't want to be doing business with them in the first place. I know you're the starving designer living off of kraft dinner and your thinking it would be nice to eat steak for a change. It's a $150.00 more than what I am making now. What if you don't get paid it's a $150.00 worth of time, effort aggravation and stress that you didn't bargain for.
What ever happen to a polite phone call, sorry we are not interested?
Some of these companies have been in business for over 25 years. That's 25 years of shody business practices and why? Because people let them get away with it.  I will not stand for it! If more people stood up for a little business integrity companies would be forced to change thier practices. But I am just a lowly graphic designer what can I do? We are the ones that design for those who have the buying power ... now let's take it back.

I know not realistic but it was a good thought.

Posted by eclipsgraphics at 12:27 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007 2:20 PM EDT

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