Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Tales from the Workplace, Part XV

I am posting stories from my job, because I think they're funny.  I've done my best to disguise my company name, even the industry, and to keep the people I write about and even some details of the situation anonymous.  If you know me, and know where I work, please don't include details in your comments.  I'll have to delete your comment and reconsider posting these stories.

We have a customer who hasn't bought from us in two years, but called up to request an order.  He's in a location we don't normally ship to--far southern Arizona--so we had to get a freight quote from a freight company, and his freight is coming to almost what the actual product is costing him.  Yikes!  But he's willing to pay it, so we got the shipment loaded up and called him with his exact invoice amount (we had to load the truck first to know exactly how much we were shipping) so he could wire the funds.  I e-mailed his invoice and told him the truck was expected any minute and the delivery should arrive to him in two days.

So, other than the fact that the bank transfer would take a little bit and we were kind of trusting that it would come through after we released the shipment, we were all ready to go on our end.  The truck driver arrived and the boss started giving him his instructions on hooking up and going across the scales.

Right then, the phone rang.  It was the customer in Arizona, telling us that we need to get some sort of FDA inspection forms because HE exports them to Mexico.  How that's our problem, I'm not sure--we're only shipping it within the USA.  But he said it couldn't leave our lot without this certificate.  So we let the driver know to stand by (we have two hours to get him on his way, and since the trailer is already loaded, we had some time to play with), and our sales guy got on the phone with everyone he could think of to ask about this certificate.

He couldn't find out what certificate exactly we needed, and what sort of inspection would need to be done, so he called the customer in Arizona back.  He said yeah, he didn't really know either, all he knew is that he had some sort of official from Mexico telling him he needed a certificate, and the guy was like the ONLY official from Mexico who wouldn't accept a bribe!  The Mexican official won't give him or us an example of a certificate, a blank certificate, or a list of what the certificate needs to say, yet insists the certificate is necessary.  Wow.

Without any help, the customer isn't able to tell us what to do (and meanwhile, he already wired us the funds for the product and the freight), so we had to let the driver go, and we'll hold onto the load until he's able to figure it out. 

What's that saying?  "Lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part"?  Yeah.  That.

Amusingly, for once it was us (sort of) making a trucking company's life difficult.  Ha!

* * * * *

Update:  The guy in Arizona still didn't have a clue what the Mexican officials wanted two weeks later, and we still had his money, so we wired it back to him (eating the cost of sending the wire).  Sheesh.  I hope he gets it figured out eventually so we can make a sale, but we sold the product he was going to get to someone else, so it all works out.  :-)

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