by Rich Klein
I think by now just about everyone on the planet realizes what a great tool email can be. The results are usually instantaneous and the message can travel the world in mere seconds. However, when the wrong information is sent out or goes to the wrong people, sometimes bad things can happen.
After getting one this week at my day job that should have gone to someone else, my mind drifted back to a couple of the most embarrassing situations I ever went through at Beckett. The first story was when in the midst of doing market information I came across some card being sold by a dealer who had good contacts with someone who, at the time, was a card company executive.
My email to one of the other guys at Beckett said something to the effect of "Well, it was good to see the back door opened again" and "how did so-and-so actually get this card?" Well, the person I sent that email to, instead of sending me a note back, just forwarded my "off-the-cuff" email to the card company exec.
Needless to say, I got hauled into my manager’s office and basically had to spend most of the rest of the week doing all sorts of damage control. We did agree that the person who forwarded the email without reading also deserved some of the blame but since those were MY words, that was MY skin on the phone apologizing.
Needless to say, after that, I was very careful and still am to this day about anything I say in an email or on a chat board. A good lesson learned and that is frankly one reason when I tell the Beckett stories, I usually just focus on my mistakes, since I can defend myself instead of talking about others who may not be able to defend themselves.
The other faux pas which caused me several days of working with dealers to apologize came as a result of our annual football card price guide annual. Our football annual at Beckett was responsible to two of the classic mistakes in Beckett history.
The first one was when we forgot to print the sets that started with the letter "S". We could not figure out why the book did not gain any pages that year until we saw what had occurred with the missing letter. Since we still had a few days before the book was released, we called the printer, sent in the missing pages and lost any profit we would have made but at least the guide was complete.
The other mistake was with our system in place, our book contributors who we used each year, would run the same ad on occasion. However, the way our system was set up, I never saw the pages with the ads, and thus never realized until too late we had forgotten to include them. Talk about trying to make dealers happy after admitting you screwed up. Needless to say, that was also not among my two favorite days during my term at Beckett. After that adventure, we adjusted how the annuals were proofed and never ran into the issue again.
So bad emails and terrible proofing on my part led to many long days of phone calls. And all because of some misplaced or not property sent emails. Consider those good lessons for the rest of my life.
Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]