Confused Calendar-itis (my first recall!)

UPDATE 2015:  I no longer have an account with Lulu, so I've removed the dead URLs.  Instead, please find the most current calendars on my Shop!

Update: 12.9.08- The Calendar is now 100% good to go! Lulu just got the preview creator fixed and I have verified that it is, indeed, for 2009. Place your orders now to be in time for the holidays! And thank you again for your patience!

UPDATE 12.8.08: I am 95% certain that the printing error (the calendars printed with 2008's dates instead of 2009's!) has been fixed. Unfortunately, until Lulu fixes their website and I can create a preview of the calendar, I cannot verify that final 5%. Please keep that in mind when ordering. Also, this is an entirely new product, so all of the old links or bookmarks are invalid. I have fixed links to the calendar from the shop page and this blog.

A Major Printing Error has been discovered with this calendar. Please hold off on purchasing until we are able to resolve this problem. If you have purchased this item please email me as soon as possible.

Our Editing Process at work

Our Editing Process at work

What, you might ask, would constitute a major printing error? Perhaps the artwork titles are off? Could it be that an image is cropped badly? Mayhaps the color does not quite match my exacting standards?

Poppycock! Balderdash! Amateur mistakes!

No, when we screw up here, we do it with style and pizazz. And tons of collateral damage. Oh yes, we may go down in flames, but we sure as heck are gonna take as much of the planet along for the ride as we can!

These calendars are the wrong year. Yes, now you too can relive the ups and downs, tragedies and triumphs of 2008. Once again, experience the collapse of an economy and the triumphant rise of a new president-elect. And, you know, you get to drop a full 365 days from your age.

Read the rest of this post for the ugly, ugly details and what to do if you purchased a calendar (all the way at the bottom).

All joking aside, this is a big boo-boo. I can't claim all the credit for it, of course. The print-on-demand company I've been using deserves their fair share of scowling at as well. When I used their services last year, their unresponsiveness delayed the release of the calendar by a few months. But the quality of the product was good enough, and the price fair enough that I decided to try them one more time. Just a whole lot earlier.

After all, the whole point of these calendars is to share as much art as I can for the lowest price I can manage. The amount of revenue I make from these calendars is negligible. I realize that buying original art can be daunting. I was hoping to provide a friendly alternative.

And it seemed to work too. The printing is, again, lovely. But the new process of creating the calendar was pretty hellish. I had to re-start the project so many times I've lost count. The help FAQ is downright helpless. I again spent hours chatting online with customer service reps - some of whom were excellent, while others were completely ignorant and counterproductive. Over the course of a few weeks waiting for customer support to fix my problems, the multiple re-starts, the software snafus, and the hours online with a dozen different staff members, the year somehow got reset to 2008.

I don't know where this happened in the process. Perhaps during one of the project reboots, or the browser switches. Maybe it was a computer glitch after the project was set. It's possible that this was something I or the other folks I had look at the project for me could have and should have caught. Instead of, y'know, assuming that the dates on a 2009 calendar were 2009 dates after they had been set to 2009. Chances are, we'll never know for certain.

I do know that, in trying to rectify this situation for myself and the good folks who bought the calendar, Lulu has, once again, proven itself monumentally unhelpful. Their point of view, for both me and other customers, is that we should have seen it for ourselves. Their exact words:

I do apologize for that but we cannot provide replacement for that since you can preview your calendar before you publish it.

I've got a complaint pending with a supervisor, but I have absolutely no confidence that this mixup will be resolved in my favor.

Needless to say, I will not be doing business with Lulu again.

If you planned to order this year's calendar, please let me know. I have yet to decide if I want to go through the process of fixing the calendar. If there are enough folks who want it, tho, I'll hunker down and get it done right for you.

So, what does the future bring? Well, I'm considering self-publishing the calendar next year, in some form. The printing will be better and more easily controlled, and I will be able to talk with a person who lives nearby (albeit in Japanese) to deal with any problems before this gets shipped to customers. Of course, this method requires a much bigger chunk of change upfront from me. I'll go ahead if there're enough folks out there who want one. Chances are, the price will also be lower per calendar, which will be quite nice. Let me know if you're interested. I'll keep everyone up to date on how things are going over the next year.

What to do if you bought a 2009 but actually 2008 Cut Paper Calendar:
As of this moment, Lulu will not refund your money or replace the calendar. So far, Lulu has been unwilling to give me the contact info of the people who purchased the calendar (thankfully, there aren't that many of you yet...I at least know the number sold). So, please email me as soon as possible.

From there, we can work out a plan for a refund or replacement.

I apologize sincerely to everybody who bought a confused calendar. I hope that we can get this mixup worked out quickly and painlessly. And I really am sorry that this happened.

Alternatively, you can hang on to the calendar and hope that it skyrockets in value if I ever get famous. I'll sign any of these calendars to really boost the price ;) . There are only a couple in existence, so these could become a real collector's item! Like a wonky stamp. sigh.