The Riddler

The RiddlerAfter a decade in the Promo business, there isn’t a situation I haven’t encountered—volcanic ash delaying a dated event delivery. A shipping crisis I haven’t faced: “We will have to ship this to the Starbucks closest to your conference center! I’ll call and let them know a box is coming for you to pick up. And a Venti Cappuccino will be waiting too!” A manufacturer defect I haven’t heard of: “Help! This wireless mouse says ‘Mama’ each time I slide it across my desk.”

I can’t make this stuff up.

Yet what riddles me sometimes are the questions I get from our awesome customers. In particular, it’s the new folks who have the best queries.  I can’t tell you how many times similar thoughts have run through my mind – especially with a lack of sleep and multiple need-it-now deadlines.

And I have to find a way to provide the gentle let-down that gives them time to reach that moment of understanding on their own. But, still these inquiries make me smile. Here are some of my favorite unfiltered questions, where I promise to protect my peeps and not reveal names.

Question: “If it’s a pen and pencil combo, how does the instrument know if I want the pen or pencil function to be used?”

Question: “I really like a stainless steel coffee mug, but the description says they’re not microwave safe. Can you provide some stainless steel options that are microwave safe?”

Question: “The power is out in our office and I can’t get e-mails. Can you fax the quote to me?”


Question: “Can you have your fulfillment center inflate all of the latex balloons before you ship them to me? I really won’t have time to do that before my event.”

Answer: “We cannot ship air-filled balloons.”

Follow-up Question: “Why is that?”


Question: “I really like the leather journal option, but need something that is eco-friendly and recycled. Can you print on the first page “Recycled leather from dead cows?”

Question: “My boss wears a large, but insists she wears a medium. Can you re-label her shirt?”


Question: “Can I order a sample of an iPod?”

Answer: “Really, you’ve never seen an iPod?”

Reply: “I have; I just wanted a sample so I could have one for free.”


Question: “Is express shipping less expensive if it ships during the daytime hours?”

My Reply: “What are you asking?”

Follow-up Question: “I just wasn’t sure if the order was shipped “During Day” and not “Overnight” if it would be less expensive because the FedEx driver isn’t paid overtime wages during the day.


Question: “Can your designer rework this logo? I’d like the center circle not to be round.”

My Reply: “Ok, so you’d like square?”

Client Reply: “No, I like the soft look of a circle, but want it to be open at”

My reply: “I think you are buying the first round this time.”


I love the industry. And I love our clients. And it’s a tad cathartic to be able to have a little fun and share some of the hilarious, off-kilter questions I get. I hope you enjoyed!


Share your own favorite questions, comments and responses with us.