If you’ve ever watched the holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street, you’re likely familiar with the buzz created when the real-life Santa Claus (mistaken for an actor playing the role) is put into the throne at Macy’s with the intention to push overstocked toys and instead starts telling parents and children alike where to find the items they just can’t seem to find there at Macy’s.
Sending them to other stores?! Gasp! It sends the head of the toy department into a tizzy but strikes Mr. Macy himself as a brilliant marketing ploy of goodwill to make Macy’s the friendly store, the helpful store.
There’s really something to be said for customer service, isn’t there?
You see, the past few years, an annual tradition has developed where on his birthday, I present our son (and last year at her birthday, our oldest daughter as well) with a custom-made comic book based on the super-hero persona he created for himself one Halloween back in preschool. I try to keep notes of the various characters his imagination develops as he played back then or creates in stories or drawings he makes currently, and incorporate them into these breezy little adventures that are all his own. And I try to have extras on hand as additional party favors for anyone at his birthday who may want one.
As in years past, I had ordered via an online printing service that does great work. Only this time, (through no fault of theirs) I made a mistake in the types of books I ordered, paper used. I admit being a bit obsessive about aesthetics at times and realized that these would stick out like a sore thumb amid the ones I’ve given him in the past. But re-ordering for such a small picky thing like that would’ve been too costly and wouldn’t arrive in time for his birthday.
So I started thinking local.
I stepped foot into a local printing and lithograph company that handles a lot of large scale orders in the area, including several magazines. I explained what I was looking to do, but that I only wanted 10, maybe 15 copies of this gift and party favor. They do large projects, but they told me the printer across the parking lot from them would have no problem handling the job well.
They didn’t tell me no and send me packing. They didn’t turn their nose up. They sent me and my business to someone more suited to it.
It was my Miracle on 34th Street moment.
So across the parking lot I hopped into Presto Print, where I was surprisingly greeted by a classmate from high school. An added bonus! I explained the project, what I needed, and she told me ‘no problem.’ To boot, they had it ready the very next day for me.
Thanks to these heroes, I had what I wanted when I needed it, all in time for my little hero.
There’s really something to be said for customer service.
Although I am admittedly a huge fan of purging and ridding the house of things that take up unnecessary space or has just accumulated over the years, there are still a few things that I know I will just always hold on to. Case in point, a particular piece of comic book art hanging in our home office that my son loves to stare at, reach for, and make noises at.
It’s been hanging on my walls in one residence or another, ever since I was 13.
It’s an image of Batman, as depicted in the never-to-be-surpassed Batman: The Animated Series of the 1990s. In it, he’s holding up a confused Riddler by the scruff, ready to cart him off to prison once again.
This isn’t an eBay or comic convention find. No, this was, and still remains, a large memory of my childhood. I won it, you see, in a letter writing contest in 1993. Yes, back in the day when letter columns were still a regular feature in all comic books. The Batman Adventures comic book would hold a contest each month, where the editor would pick two published letters in that month’s column and award the writers of those letters a piece of one of a kind comic art. It was an amazing concept for a young comic fan.
Well, one of those months, a letter of mine had been printed and chosen, and the result was this one of a kind piece, penciled by the late, great Mike Parobeck and inked by a wonderful artist in his own right, Rick Burchett.
Parobeck, a brilliant artistic talent, whether it be from his work on Batman, or my favorite modern-day run of the Justice Society, sadly died in 1996 from diabetic issues.
The work of Rick Burchett has gone on to have graced many a comic page, including a later Batman animated comic series, Batman: The Brave and the Bold and a slew of other DC Comics over the years. His art is graceful and beautiful stuff.
This powerhouse combination of artistic talents wowed me as a kid when I read their comics, and sent me over the moon when this piece of art arrived in the mail. I’m glad to know that their talents continue to be appreciated by my little guy, and hopefully many others in his generation and generations to come.