Entitled Employee Barks Back at the Boss During a Review

TECHNOLOGY HAS 1,000% changed the way we do our craft, ushering in explosive growth and massive employment opportunities. Nowadays we need employees to grow.

I love having employees, our team culture, the amount of work we can produce, the comradery … but sometimes I also hate having employees. Being “The Boss” is a difficult taskmaster, one that employees sometimes don’t understand.


Last week, we sat one of our 35 employees down to review a variety of offenses: repeatedly not showing up on time, not communicating enough with us from the field and even a couple no call/no show days. In response, that dude looked my business partner Rick Ream dead in his face and said, “Well, I’m not the boss, sitting up in the office making the big bucks. If I got paid more, I’d show up on time.” I swear to God, that’s what he said to him. I’m dead. This from an industry-newbie with barely one year of experience to boot!

I’ve been noticing that some of our new employees, like the guy we sat down, act entitled, that everything is owed to them, and now. Well, I for one, ain’t having that kind of attitude in my company. Many employees here have worked too hard over years to build this business, a lead spot, a reputation, a character. A lifetime of appreciation is gained if you earn it that way, and we are not seeing that trait in some of our newer people.

Couple that with other 2021 economic factors — hiring anybody right now is a challenge — and most shops are so busy, the work cannot be produced fast enough. It’s almost a “reverse recession…” In 2010, we had plenty of employees, plenty of materials, just nobody buying anything. Now it’s the opposite. Plenty of people buying, just no materials, nor enough quality employees to handle the work! It’s maddening, because you need your employees, but you still have to regulate the overall culture of your company in relation to all your other employees who are busting their ass to be successful.

Heavy Lies the Crown

A while back, one of Rick’s good friends, speaking of his one-year-old company, asked: “When do you stop feeling that this can all go to hell tomorrow?”

Rick’s answer: “Never.”

It’s always “Go Time” owning a business, rarely sunshine and lollipops. It’s always hard work being The Boss. But you know, it should be hard work, because there’s always hard work to be done and someone has to make the decisions, hire and yes, reprimand employees when necessary.

Good damn thing we’re sitting up in the office, earning those Big Bucks…

The post Entitled Employee Barks Back at the Boss During a Review appeared first on Signs of the Times.

Published first here: https://signsofthetimes.com/entitled-employee-barks-back-at-the-boss-during-a-review/

Sign at Cleveland Guardians’ Stadium Falls Off the Building, Crashes to Sidewalk

Stadium signage for the Cleveland Guardians has made headlines once again this offseason.

The MLB team, transitioning from its Indians moniker after 106 years, recently retired its famous script sign that hung high above left field for 27 years. A few weeks later, another sign at Progressive Stadium has made its dismount, though not in a way the team intended.

While fans were lining up to buy new Guardians merchandise at the stadium’s team store, newly installed signage broke free from the building and crashed to the sidewalk, the Associated Press reports.

A worker was on a ladder checking bolts, the article explains, when the sign snapped a section of the ballpark’s stone exterior and fell about 15 feet. No one was injured.

If you think this sounds like an inauspicious beginning for a baseball club that’s writing a new chapter in its history, you’re not the only one. “Well, that’s an ominous sign,” an onlooker yelled.

Read more at Associated Press.

The post Sign at Cleveland Guardians’ Stadium Falls Off the Building, Crashes to Sidewalk appeared first on Signs of the Times.

Published first here: https://signsofthetimes.com/sign-at-cleveland-guardians-stadium-falls-off-the-building-crashes-to-sidewalk/

Signarama Commissioned to Recreate Ghostbusters Sign

A Signarama shop was who a local Ghostbusters fan club called to recreate the famous sign from the movie franchise.

Signarama Huntington Station (Buffalo, NY) was enlisted after The Buffalo Ghostbusters club raised funds to replicate the Ghostbusters sign that hung over the New York fire station, Hook and Ladder No. 8, in the movies. For those unfamiliar, Hook and Ladder No. 8 in the Tribeca neighborhood of lower Manhattan was featured in the original franchise as the Ghostbusters headquarters.

At first, The Buffalo Ghostbusters’ plan was to replace the sign with a prop, but when their crowdfunding campaign exceeded expectations, they commissioned Signarama Huntington Station to construct a true-to-life reproduction. The two-sided LED sign has since been completed and is now on display outside the firehouse.

“We expected to raise a thousand dollars for this project,” said Dan Liberg of The Buffalo Ghostbusters. “But once donations exceeded the original amount, we decided we needed to do right by the sign and replace it to its original glory.”

The post Signarama Commissioned to Recreate Ghostbusters Sign appeared first on Signs of the Times.

Published first here: https://signsofthetimes.com/signarama-commissioned-to-recreate-ghostbusters-sign/

A Troubled Sign Pro Breaks His Sobriety, Shaking the Shop Owner’s Confidence

YOUR HONOR, THIS gentleman is not a criminal. He is merely the victim of a fall from grace. Ralph has worked for me for nearly 10 years and has elevated himself to the level of a well-respected craftsman. He works hard and, with rare exception, is in the shop every morning at seven o’clock. We depend on him to get all of our spray painting done and he has never let us down.”

After speaking, Grant Tracy lowered his eyes and looked at the courtroom floor in a moment of thought. He was defending his sign company’s ace spray painter, Ralph Malden, who was facing a mandatory three-year jail sentence for his third DUI offense. According to Ralph, the situation was hopeless, and his public defense attorney had advised him to brace for the worst.

If Grant had never attended college for an engineering degree and then gone to work for his uncle’s sign company before purchasing the place, he felt he could have made it big as a criminal-defense lawyer. He was a gifted speaker — both sharp-witted and compassionate — making him extremely persuasive. And in the courtroom that day, he had to dig deep into his verbal skill sets. However, his motivation was much deeper than that of Ralph’s lawyer because he was about to lose one of Starshine Signs’ greatest assets.


Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories, but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved and should not be confused with real people or places. Responses are peer-sourced opinions and are NOT a substitute for professional legal advice. Please contact your attorney if you any questions about an employee or customer situation in your own business.


LAWRIN ROSEN is the president of ARTfx (Bloomfield, CT). Email him at lawrin@artfxsigns.com

Raising his eyes to lock gazes with the woman in the black cloak behind the stand before him, Grant continued, “Mr. Malden understands the gravity of his crime. He has expressed endless remorse for his careless actions. He has sworn to me that if he is allowed a break, he will never again touch a drop of alcohol and he will attend regular AA classes. Having owned my company for nearly 20 years, I’ve learned to judge character and, therefore, I will earnestly attest to the change I’ve seen in Mr. Malden’s attitude. He has begun a new lifestyle. I stand before you, as his boss and mentor, to respectfully and humbly request an offer for one more chance.”

The judge scratched the top of her head. She looked down at her desk and then up to the court ceiling, seemingly immersed in contemplation. “Mr. Tracy,” she called forth, “Thank you. You can sit down.” Then there was dead silence.

Nearly a minute passed while the judge scribbled notes on a pad. She then focused on Ralph, who looked very out-of-place in a suit and tie. “Mr. Malden, based on Mr. Tracy’s eloquent testimony, I have decided to give you one more ‘bite of the apple.’ I am giving you a break that you better live up to because if I, or any agent of this court, sees you here again, you will go to jail for a very long time. I wish you good luck, and I pray to God almighty that you don’t blow it.” She then took a sip of water before banging her gavel and calling out loudly, “This court is adjourned!”


Ralph’s head fell backward in his seat as he exhaled audibly. To his immediate left, his wife’s head pitched forward with her body convulsing around sobs. Sitting on Ralph’s right, the court-appointed defense attorney uttered two words: “Wow. Unbelievable.”

Later that same day, Ralph contacted the local AA office and enrolled in their 12-step program. Because his license was suspended, he had to arrange for rides. Fortunately, Grant handled Ralph’s transportation not only to the AA group sessions, but to Starshine Signs every morning, and back home every night. Ralph had dodged a bullet and his life was back on track with newly found sobriety, a loving young wife, a baby on the way, and a solid job with a gracious and concerned boss.

For six solid months Ralph attended classes and kept his nose clean and to the grindstone. His performance and attitude, which had always been more than adequate, despite extended previous nighttimes of inebriation, actually improved. In fact, Grant, who had never dwelled on, nor boasted of his amazing court performance months earlier, even promoted Ralph, giving him a raise and hiring him a helper to assist with body work. His workmates were relieved; Ralph was genuinely a good guy and they knew the difficulties of finding a new spray painter.

During this ‘era of good feeling’ at Starshine, Grant turned his focus elsewhere. In the meantime, the shopworkers erected a backboard and hoop in the company parking lot and started playing basketball during breaks and after work. A noticeable sense of calm permeated the shop. All was good.

After work one Friday, Grant ventured outside during a basketball game. The mood was festive and the guys were having a blast. He kept his appearance unobtrusive to savor the moment and to bask in the harmony of his workforce. However, across the parking lot on the step-landing at the side door of the shop, Grant spotted a couple of six-packs of beer with some of the bottles open. Ralph, whose back was to Grant, sank a three-pointer, then took a break from the action to grab one of the open bottles and swig the balance down in a gulp.


The Big Questions

  • Should Grant sit Ralph down right there and have a talk?
  • Does the infraction constitute immediate disciplinary action, possibly even dismissal?
  • Or is there another way to handle this?
David E.
Frederick, MD

This situation needs immediate attention. Ralph should be pulled aside away from [everyone] else to discuss the gravity of the situation. Plenty of time has passed but a discussion with Ralph about honesty and the reality of things needs to happen and [Grant needs to] question him about his future and what he wants in life and the ramifications due to his current actions. Being a mentor in this situation more than a boss is the most important thing to get the person back on track for himself and his family more than [for] the business. Once the person is on track, everything else will follow. No one is perfect but we need to always teach people about learning from mistakes to be able to grow.

Robert D.
South Burlington, VT

Grant should sit Ralph down, tell him how deeply disappointed he is in his behavior and should suspend him, immediately and without pay, for two weeks. Grant should emphasize that Ralph’s actions have jeopardized his continued freedom from incarceration, his job and the reputation of the company. His unforgivable actions are also putting Grant’s good name and reputation at risk.

After two weeks Ralph needs to report back in and tell Grant and the staff how he plans to commit the rest of his life. If he chooses to stay, he needs to apologize to the staff and ask for their help to keep him sober in the future. By making them all accountable for Ralph’s behavior, they might have a chance to change Ralph’s behavior for the better.
If Ralph chooses to leave, he should be told Grant and the company won’t be available as character witnesses should he need them in the future.

John P.
Skokie, IL

Grant needs to snatch Ralph into his office and have a serious discussion. He also needs to get Ralph’s AA sponsor involved immediately. Ralph has fallen and will need lots of help getting back up. Ralph’s family needs to be involved, as well.

A good start, from the company’s standpoint, is to ban alcohol from the work premises. The others will understand. To an alcoholic, one is too many and a thousand are not enough.

Jim F.
Stanley, NC

One more beer for a recovering alcoholic is a clear signal that more DUIs are probable. The boss who campaigned for leniency for his good employee owes it to himself, this offender and all his other workers to confront the employee and tell him there will be a private meeting… to give a final warning that resumption of alcohol consumption and resulting problems will result in dismissal and no future defense efforts.

Bruce S.
Scotts Valley, CA

“Guilty and history. Third time’s a charm. What if he drove drunk and killed someone?”

Skip M.
Albany, CA

Three DUIs means he certainly drove more often than that impaired. He had his chance to clean up his act and clearly failed. I would fire him immediately… ending a never-ending cycle of distraction and disappointment.

Chester K.
Belmont, WV

I believe that Ralph should be confronted but at another time. By all means not in front of anyone. He needs to be told that he is a good employee, that he should not get started down that road again and how it could affect his life.

Steve E.
Foothill Ranch, CA

Fired on the spot. You cannot help people that do not want to help themselves.

Clayton L.
Niagara Falls, ON, Canada

I personally would question why anyone was drinking [on work grounds] and for liability reasons would have to dismiss this particular employee unless he was willing to go to an approved rehab facility. Alcoholism is terrible but what is even worse is if his actions cause injury to others. Seek professional help or bye-bye.

Robert B.
Oakdale, CT

… this was after hours, [so] unfortunately, I doubt that any formal HR actions could be made but that doesn’t mean that a man-to-man talk shouldn’t happen. Maybe if the possible result of going back on his word to totally stop drinking is pointed out in a tactful way, he will continue on the AA program and continue to improve both his personal and work life. Another solution is to make the business property alcohol-free. It won’t stop him from drinking elsewhere but at least the liability to the business will be removed or at least limited.

Willis W.
Lakewood, CO

Coming from someone that has had an alcoholic in the family (who is 19 years sober now) this story hits home with me.

I would immediately pull Ralph to the side and ask him why he is drinking. After so much work, is it really worth it? He has come so far and what if he wound up back in the courtroom? I would tell him that I wouldn’t be there to testify for him this time… I would ask him to reconsider drinking again. If he didn’t want to reconsider then there is no job for him at the company anymore.

Emma L.
North Kansas City, MO

I would smack the beer out of his hand and say, “Hey man! What are you doing?! Get that out of your face!!!” Then I would tell my other employees, “Guys… you know he struggles. Don’t bring that stuff around here anymore.” Then I would kick their butt in basketball [like a] boss.


What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. sign business, you’re invited to join the Signs of the Times Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the sign business. Sign up here.

The post A Troubled Sign Pro Breaks His Sobriety, Shaking the Shop Owner’s Confidence appeared first on Signs of the Times.

Published first here: https://signsofthetimes.com/a-troubled-sign-pro-breaks-his-sobriety-shaking-the-shop-owners-confidence/

New Signage and Digital Printing Products for November


Capable of processing nonferrous metals.

AAG (Burlington, ON, Canada) recently released the AXYZ METALWORKER Router. The new CNC machine processes nonferrous metals, including aluminum, copper, zinc, metal composite and more in low to high volume and large-sized material sheets. A rigid frame coupled to a stress-relieved gantry reduces motor vibrations and the Metalworker uses the company’s MOVE operator control interface to drive all machine tasks.


Mimaki’s UJF-7151 Plus II

Capable of printing up to 1,800 dpi.

Direct-to-object inkjet printer incorporates eight print-heads and eight ink slots for a four-color setup, or up to eight inks including light colors, white, clear and primer. Capable of printing up to 1,800 dpi with a load capacity of 66 lbs. UV Color Gloss function enables glossy finish without need for clear ink.


Roland DGA VersaUV LEC2 S-Series

Available in two UV flatbed sizes.

Available in two UV flatbed sizes (64-in. and 30-in. widths) and designed to maximize direct-to-object printing on flexible and rigid materials. Accommodates up to 7.87 in. of height clearance and offers support capacity of 2,373 lbs. for a range of applications, including product personalization, package prototyping, short runs, and more.

Roland DGA

swissQprint Flatbed Generation 4

New printheads achieving maximum resolution of 1,350 dpi.

Flatbed printer series with new printheads achieving maximum resolution of 1,350 dpi. Oryx model almost 40 percent faster than its predecessor and ultra-high precision-droplet placement significantly boosts print quality of Impala and Nyala models. Tip Switch Vacuum divides table into as many as 256 segments users can switch on or off.


Xaar Irix Printhead

Lightweight and no cartridge replacement necessary.

Combines individually lasered nozzles and Xaar’s AcuDrp technology to provide highly accurate ink drop placement, uniform drop velocity and volume. Gives improved image quality at longer print distances and high code recognition for coding and marking applications. Lightweight and no cartridge replacement necessary.


ProGraphics UV LED XA

Engineered for corrugated plastics and substrates.

High-adhesion UV LED display-graphics inkjet ink now available for EFI wide format flatbed and hybrid roll/flatbed printers. Engineered for corrugated plastics and substrates with adhesion challenges. Does not chip during cutting when used on standard acrylic, corrugated plastic and fluted polypropylene media.


Sihl 3315 Creative Smooth Paper

Compatible with aqueous and latex printers.

Artistic paper produces images for museum and gallery art reproductions, fine art, signature art and more on acid-free soft matte surface with no optical brighteners. Excellent color reproduction and soft transitions on instant dry, water- and age-resistant, 100% cotton material. Compatible with aqueous and latex printers.


Principal LED Qwik Box Slim

Features pre-installed toggle switch, pre-wired ground, and comes with plugs/grommets.

Protects power supplies in dry, damp and wet locations in a slim profile for tight spaces. UL classified and suitable for horizontal and vertical mounting. Features pre-installed toggle switch, pre-wired ground, and comes with plugs/grommets.

Principal LED

The post New Signage and Digital Printing Products for November appeared first on Signs of the Times.

Published first here: https://signsofthetimes.com/new-signage-and-digital-printing-products-for-november/

41-Year-Old Shop Sold to Young Signmaker

Marg McCarthy, owner of McCarthy Signs Co. (Shelburne, Ontario), has sold her shop after 41 years in business, the Shelburne Free Press reports.

She found a buyer in Enos Bauman, a young signmaker who owns Streamside Signs (Maxwell, Ontario). He will continue operating out of McCarthy’s current space and also retain staff from her company, the article says.

After starting her signmaking career out of her garage in 1980, McCarthy grew the business to a high point of 20 employees and two service trucks. It was a difficult decision to sell, she told the outlet: “It’s a bit emotional because it’s a business that I started from nothing and built it up, it is my passion, but it’s time.”

She also recalled how different the industry is now compared to the time of her shop’s humble beginning. “I did everything by hand, signwriting as a hands-on craft, and then when computers came into play, the sign business changed a lot.”

Read more at the Shelburne Free Press.

The post 41-Year-Old Shop Sold to Young Signmaker appeared first on Signs of the Times.

Published first here: https://signsofthetimes.com/41-year-old-shop-sold-to-young-signmaker/

Enfocus Makes Roster Changes

Enfocus (Gent, Belgium), a provider of workflow automation software for the signage and graphic arts industries, has added two new team members and promoted another.

Yves Sanchez | Davy Verstaen | John Dean

Yves Sanchez | Davy Verstaen | John Dean

Yves Sanchez has been appointed as head of sales. He joins the company from Materialise, where he served as the director of channel management. With 14 years of experience in channel management, business development and indirect sales, he’ll be tasked with establishing partnerships and developing channel-supporting programs in his new role.

Davy Verstaen has been named the product manager for Switch. He joins Enfocus from Dataline Solutions, where he was a project manager and solution architect. He has collected a diversity of experience in the printing industry and recently created the Multipress Connect and Google Drive Connect apps.

John Dean has been promoted to product manager for PitStop after spending the last three years as Enfocus’ marketing content specialist. He has nearly 30 years in print production experience, has used PitStop since the early days and built commercial print shop automation using Switch. His industry knowledge and pre-press expertise comes from working in news print, packaging, commercial shops, book manufacturing and workflow development.

A business unit of Esko, Enfocus partners with software OEMs, vendors and integrators to develop workflow-automation software products, including PitStop, Switch, BoardingPass and Connect.

For more information, visit enfocus.com.

The post Enfocus Makes Roster Changes appeared first on Signs of the Times.

Published first here: https://signsofthetimes.com/enfocus-makes-roster-changes/

The Price of the Sign Isn’t Whatever You Feel Like Paying

Things you wanted to say to frustrating clients, but didn’t.

“Here’s what I want to pay for …”

To customers who tell me what they want to pay for a particular sign or service. I always want to tell them that I can’t go to the gas station and tell the cashier what I want to pay for a gallon of gas.

Woulda Coulda Shouldas are collected from the Signs of the Times Brain Squad and shared anonymously.

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a signage and graphics company in the US or Canada, you’re invited to join the Signs of the Times Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute survey each month, you will receive access to some of the industry’s freshest data on sales — including your fellow members’ comments on what’s selling and what isn’t — and can make your voice heard on key issues affecting the sign industry. Sound good? Sign up here.

The post The Price of the Sign Isn’t Whatever You Feel Like Paying appeared first on Signs of the Times.

Published first here: https://signsofthetimes.com/the-price-of-the-sign-isnt-whatever-you-feel-like-paying/

E Walk Retail Complex Unveils LED Spectacular in NYC

Midtown Manhattan’s newest LED spectacular was recently activated on the northeast corner of 42nd Street and 8th Avenue for E Walk Retail. SNA Displays manufactured the two-screen digital display, the largest digital display outside of the Times Square district. Real estate services firm Tishman owns and manages E Walk Retail, a four-story, 200,000-square-foot hotel and retail complex that has recently undergone one of the largest urban renewal programs in the United States.E Walk Retail

Out-of-home (OOH) media company BIG Outdoor owns and operates the new display system, managing all media sales and content scheduling. The massive digital asset is located at one the busiest intersections in midtown Manhattan.

“BIG Outdoor is very excited to bring this incredible asset to market on one of the busiest intersections in New York City,” said Bill Tagliaferri, executive vice president of real estate at BIG Outdoor. “This project is yet another example of great teamwork and collaboration with all of our valued partners.”

Combined, the two faces of the massive corner display make up approximately 7,500 square feet of digital-out-of-home (DOOH) canvas, meeting at a 90-degree angle and providing ample visibility for several blocks along both 42nd Street and 8th Avenue. In total, the E Walk Retail LED display contains almost 10.7 million pixels.

Sensory Interactive led project development efforts on behalf of Tishman for the enormous LED advertising display from SNA Displays’ EMPIRE™ Exterior series. The new LED spectacular, which sports an 8.0 mm pixel pitch and replaces a much smaller, lower-resolution digital, sits directly opposite the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

New York-based sign company North Shore Neon installed the E Walk Retail LED display, evaluating and repurposing existing infrastructure to custom-fabricate attachment points, truss members, and bracing. SNA Displays custom-built 49 large subframe sections to accommodate the building features, which allowed for quick and efficient installation.

“Our partnership with BIG Outdoor, Sensory Interactive, and North Shore Neon has proven successful yet again as SNA Displays continues to dominate the LED spectacular industry in New York City,” said Mikell Senger, project manager for SNA Displays. “The attention to detail we all bring to the table is what contributes to the success of these complex, intensive projects – from the conceptual design phase, to fabrication, to the final result. It makes me proud to showcase everyone’s hard work to the world.”

Analog Way provided Aquilon processing to help deliver stunning visuals on the new LED spectacular.

The post E Walk Retail Complex Unveils LED Spectacular in NYC appeared first on Sign Builder Illustrated, The How-To Sign Industry Magazine.

Published first here: https://www.signshop.com/lighting-electric/digital-signage/e-walk-retail-complex-unveils-led-spectacular-in-nyc/

Smartpress Introduces 6 Sustainable Signage Materials

Online printer Smartpress.com (Chanhassen, MN) has released six new eco-friendly sign substrates.

The sustainable substrates are 100 percent recyclable. They are made with Smartpress’ proprietary styGreen material, which is ocean-safe (dissolves in water), biodegradable and produces up to 80 percent fewer greenhouse gases than its non-eco counterparts, the company said in a release.

In developing the new substrates, Smartpress says it tested various eco-friendly materials to ensure their viability and confirm they provide at least the same quality of less-sustainable alternatives.

For more information, visit smartpress.com.

The post Smartpress Introduces 6 Sustainable Signage Materials appeared first on Signs of the Times.

Published first here: https://signsofthetimes.com/smartpress-introduces-6-sustainable-signage-materials/