Reader: Not Everyone's a Fan of Hotcards


We ran a brief article a few weeks ago in our delightful little rag's Arts section about Hotcards, a business some folks are pretty pumped about.

Well, reader (and former Hotcards) employee Matt King wrote in to us to explain the other side of the coin. His dissenting opinion after the jump.

Hello, my name is Matthew King and I am a former employee of Hotcards. I started with the company in April of 2010 and I worked there until the end of April of this year. I read your article on the company and John Gadd and felt I needed to tell you that this story Mr. Gadd told you is 90% false, " Gadd relates the story of a client, the owner of a chain of restaurants in Michigan, who turned in their files for an order of promotional materials late on a Friday afternoon. The literature needed to be delivered by Monday. Hotcards stayed up all night printing, and then drove the shipment to the client's 33 locations throughout Michigan." The true story is as follows.

No owner of a restaurant chain contacted us to print cards for him late on a Friday. The order came into the company on Monday or Tuesday of that week and the order was placed by Nagel Advertising Inc. in Medina, Ohio. The restaurant chain is Nagel Advertising's customer, they have no clue Hotcards even exists. The order for the cards was mistakenly not placed in time on our end and when Nagel showed up on Thursday of that week to pick up his order it had not arrived from Zoo Printing in Louisville, Kentucky, the printing company Hotcards was using at the time to print their orders. As you can imagine the Nagel people were not happy at all because this order was to be broken up into 22 (not 33) shipments on their end and drop shipped via UPS to these locations all over southern Michigan. Since we were late with their order Nagel Advertising was going to have to pay a lot more in shipping costs to have these orders delivered on time to these locations. To remedy the situation Mr. Gadd offered to ship the orders out ourselves on our dime when the order arrived on the truck from Kentucky on Friday. Nagel Advertising provided us with the shipping list and said Ok. On Friday the truck line we were using at that time completely dropped the ball and our skid of orders from Zoo Printing were never picked up and delivered to us on Friday. We had to make separate arrangements with a courier service, had our skid picked up in Louisville on Friday and delivered to our location, at that time on East 23rd Street, early Saturday morning. As you can plainly see there was no all night last minute printing going on. The order had been done for a day and was sitting on a receiving dock in Louisville, Kentucky. Hotcards does not even own a printing press. They are a printing broker, they hire other printing companies to do their printing for them. On Saturday morning I came into work along with Karl Singleton and prepared these 22 orders for shipment and scheduled a pick up with UPS. At around noon Mr. Gadd showed up at Hotcards. He thanked me for coming in on a Saturday and told me I could leave and he would take care of the UPS shipments. At around 4 P.M. of that day I received a text message from Mr. Gadd telling me the orders hadn't been picked up yet. I told him he had to call the UPS hub and see what was going on. He did so and in the end UPS had messed up and weren't going to make the pick up. UPS told John he could drop the packages off at a local hub. It turned out instead of leaving at that moment and delivering the packages to UPS, Mr. Gadd made a number of phone calls, did other office work, then attempted to drop the packages off later in the evening. By the time he arrived at the UPS hub they had closed and the 22 packages missed being shipped. At approximately 10 PM on that Saturday night Karl Singleton and I received a frantic text message from Mr. Gadd saying the packages had missed the plane and we needed to figure out how to make these deliveries by Monday evening throughout Michigan without Nagel Advertising finding out we had dropped the ball on one of their orders again (unfortunately by this time we had made mistakes on a number of their orders in the previous months). The cost of putting something like this together was going to be outrageous using a courier service. Karl strongly advised John against this and told him we needed to bight to bullet and tell Nagel Advertising what had happened and we would have the orders delivered via UPS on Tuesday. John said no to this because he was paranoid we would lose Nagel Advertising as a customer, we had now screwed this one order up for almost a week, and he wanted us to figure out how to deliver it. As it turned out Karl had a family member at his house visiting that evening who had just had his driving privileges reinstated, needed work and was willing to drive anywhere and offered to make the trip. John Gadd agreed to this, met with Karl's relative Sunday morning at the IX Center, gave him the 22 packages and traveling / gas money and sent him on his way. So as you can see, there was no last minute order from a restaurant chain to Hotcards, the order had been placed almost a week prior by another printing broker, there was no all night printing by the Hotcards staff that took place, Hotcards did not own a printing press at that time and 95% of their printing including this order was being printed by Zoo Printing in Louisville, Kentucky and then trucked to our facility in Cleveland, and in the end the 22 deliveries were driven to Michigan by Karl's relative because Mr. Gadd wasn't able to deliver the packages in time himself to UPS that Saturday evening and he was terrified of losing Nagel Advertising as a customer if these deliveries weren't made to Michigan on time. The only true part of Mr. Gadd's tale to you was us having to deliver the packages all over Michigan. Not because of great last minute customer service but to cover our tails because of a week of mistakes on our end.

If you chose to verify this story with John Gadd and ask for clarification as to why he had you print a false story for all your readers to see I'm sure his reaction will be I am lying and I am a disgruntled ex-employee who now works for another printing company. So for full disclosure I will tell you I do work for another printing company now but I am not a disgruntled ex-employee. At the end of April Mr. Gadd asked all of us who worked for the former Hotcards before he bought the company to sign a three year non complete clause and a non disclosure form. I didn't agree with the terms laid out in either form presented to me and chose to leave the company at that time. Mr. Gadd thanked me for my service and offered to write me a letter of recommendation. The following week after my departure from Hotcards I was interviewed and hired by a different printing company and I currently still work there now. I have no bad blood with Hotcards and I wish them the best. I still have some very good friends working there who I keep in touch with and I want them to do well, however seeing your article and reading Mr. Gadd completely lying to you in an effort to make himself look good when in reality it was a low point for the company when I was there was a bit hard to swallow and I felt you should know the truth and what was printed in Scene today was false. Thank you for your time.

Matthew King

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