That being said, we run into the same problem every year during peak times. The customer believes that we will start working on their quilt the moment they leave our shop, and will do nothing else until it is complete. Um, no.
Our 'normal' turnaround time is 4 or 5 weeks. Now, that seems like a long time, but that is just reality. At peak times like graduation and Christmas, it definitely takes 4 weeks. But why so long??
OK, let me list just a few reasons:
- The phone. OMG. Yesterday, I had 12 robo calls from the same number. (I re-dialed it one time and it was some foreign voice saying they were Microsoft Support. Really?? Fraud alert..... Microsoft NEVER calls anyone..... ), 3 other 'Private' callers, with no one at the other end, and multiple other phone calls from valid customers either scheduling a drop off or pick up. Just a part of doing business.
- Backlog. When you came into the shop, you even commented on how many tubs/jobs we had going on. We do the jobs in the order they come in. We do NOT move YOUR job to the top of the list. All of our projects are important. Yours is also.
We had one day last November where we received 18 T-Shirt/Memory quilt projects in ONE day.
- Customers. Yes, we love you. You love your shirts. You are excited about getting your quilt. But please, don't call and ask 'how is my quilt coming along?' Unless you have a deadline (that we know about up front), and it is getting close to the date. Rest assured that your quilt is coming along just fine.
We do not work on one quilt from start to finish. For the amount of quilts that we do; that is just not efficient. We do process shirts as they come in, but that mostly means that we get it in the computer, and print paperwork. If the shirts are mailed in, we shoot an email letting you know that the shirts have arrived safe and sound. The rest of the processes are done in steps.
- Your crisis is not our emergency. We try to work with everyone so that everyone is happy. If you call in 4 days after dropping off your shirts because you decided to celebrate Christmas on December 3, instead of the end of month. Well, we might have a problem. The squeaky wheel does NOT get a quilt. (Oops - did I say that out loud?)
- Life. Believe it or not, quilters have (or try) to have a life. Ask my friends. I disappear around Quilt Market time (end of October), not to be seen until the New Year. That is because we are working 12 to 14 hour days on your quilts the last few months of the year. We then take off (as in not even turning on the lights in the shop) until New Years Day, when I generally host an all-day sew-in for my quilting buddies.
So if you are planning on a special t-shirt quilt for someone, try to plan ahead to ensure your quilter has plenty of time to get your gift back to you before your event.