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Gifts to send to long time customers and vendors. What have you done?

From the late 60's thru about '87, I sourced metric nuts, bolts, etc from AMI in Troy, MI ....the owner's name was Lenny Elk. Every Christmas, Lenny sent me a box, labelled "Metric Nuts" and another labelled "Maple Syrup". The first contained a 5lb bag of pistachios nuts; the second box contained a bottle of Canadian Club.
Sadly, after Lenny past away, and Lenny's nephew, Charlie, toook over for a few yrs, AMI was sold/closed. But those Christmas gifts always made such a nice impression, I still recall them, Lenny, Charlie, and AMI with a warm smile some 35+ yrs later.
We do a lot of machine work for the Harley crowd - so we give our better dealers new Harley big bore pistons, with our logo laser etched on the top.
 

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A custom made tritium key fob capsule. It might seem silly but those things are super handy. Tritium will glow for 20 years.

Dang, I wish I'd seen this a couple weeks ago.

Just ordered a couple, one for me and one for the wife. If they don't show up in time I'll have to tell her that "I don't know, I ordered it a month ago, must just be the international shipping" :rolleyes5:
 
From the late 60's thru about '87, I sourced metric nuts, bolts, etc from AMI in Troy, MI ....the owner's name was Lenny Elk. Every Christmas, Lenny sent me a box, labelled "Metric Nuts" and another labelled "Maple Syrup". The first contained a 5lb bag of pistachios nuts; the second box contained a bottle of Canadian Club.
Sadly, after Lenny past away, and Lenny's nephew, Charlie, toook over for a few yrs, AMI was sold/closed. But those Christmas gifts always made such a nice impression, I still recall them, Lenny, Charlie, and AMI with a warm smile some 35+ yrs later.
We do a lot of machine work for the Harley crowd - so we give our better dealers new Harley big bore pistons, with our logo laser etched on the top.
"Hi Torque Pork" is an awesome name.
 
Small local chocolates store that's considered a little premium. Every year I go in and buy a buy a stack of boxes of chocolates. Bigger customers I can give a bigger box. Those corporate customers that have the dollar limit I can be under. Everyone likes chocolate, if they don't someone at home does.
Gary Stoltzenbeg at F&S Harley in Dayton sent all his resale customers and vendors a 4 lb box of Esther Price chocolates every year. Fantastic chocolates, in a $50+ box there isn't a single one that someone doesn't like. It's very memorable, everyone waited for it every year, "Did it come yet??" was a popular question in December, everyone knew what "It" referred to, and all recipients talked about it.

 
Make sure you know the company policy at the receiving end.
Some have nothing.
Now some have very serious restrictions and you do not want to put your friend/customer into the hot seat if your competitor complains.
We always had a Christmas open house and party.
Shop people, families and customers. Shop tours, Steak, hamburgers, salad bar, open bar.
Great times. Floor guys/gals got to meet the people who use the parts. Customers got to see all going on and meet the people who made parts.
Not just buyers or engineers..open invite to all of their floor guys too. I passed out a lot everywhere. We would get 300 or so show up.
It was fun and I did not think for a second that we where trying to "buy" customers.
Got a call from a customer guy very high up the ladder saying that we should not do that anymore.
 
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Got a call from a customer guy very high up the ladder saying that we should not do that anymore.
US is so messed up. For at least two weeks before spring festival everyone throws big dinners, invites all their workers and customers, has prizes, sometimes gambling, always lots of drinking, sometimes girls ... not only does no one bat an eye, but if you don't you're kind of a lowlife and nobody likes you. If you want to take all the fun out of life, move to the US.
 
Slight OT.
When my crew was a lot bigger we tried a company Christmas party. PITA trying to get a venue and everybody on the same day. Then the worries if somebody had a bit too much to drink and crashed on the way home. So I moved the party to the workday before Christmas and gave them an additional paid holiday to party where ever they wanted. No liability and win win. Because they got squat done when I let them go home a noon that day.
 
Slight OT.
.... Then the worries if somebody had a bit too much to drink and crashed on the way home.
One engineering manger ended up hitting a front porch down the road. (he was fine, homeowner not so happy)
So next year Dad buys a breathalyzer. Then we could show people why we were going to get them a free cab ride home.
(everyone says that they are okay to drive but friends don't let friends.)

We also had a big fishing weekend thing in the summer up in Oscoda MI. Sponsored by a collection of cutting tool makers, some names you would know.
At night on the way back from his own trip to the local bars a shop foreman hit the bridge over the river and died. That was the end of that.
If you fish here you know you have to be on the water at 6am or so. Closing the bars does not work. You are going to miss the fun part.

It is so not the same anymore. Legal worries, lawsuits, rules.
Coffee cups with your logo may be NO. Calendars displayed in a office may be NO. Tap/drill charts with a company logo may be NO.
How did we get here?
 
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Drinking and driving is bad. We all know that.
How did we get to fear of being in a lawsuit?
If I give a coffee cup or tap chart to OX do I think he will buy stuff from me because of this "great big gift"?
If I did stop in and say "Lets go to lunch somewhere. I am hungry and I'll buy". Is this a bribe for a purchase order?
Not in my world and I'd bet not in his.
All this was once just being friendly. Now there are so many silly rules.
A box of doughnuts early in the day at the coffee pot upstairs is NO-NO. Really? Why? (got spanked on this)
The pendulum on gifts or things has swung wide over my life.
I could not ante up to Valenite, Carbololy and others so I felt way short. Now it has gone to the other extreme.

Soo, gifts. What to do? Value of this made? What is a bribe? What is friends and family?
The best gifts are the ones you expect nothing in return for.
 
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How did we get to fear of being in a lawsuit?
You know the answer: it's always somebody who does something stupid. The company had to make up rules and someone out there couldn't figure out the nuances on their own.

Walking through a trade show. Vendor offers you a bottle of beer. How many bottles of beer is acceptable? One? One per day? One per hour? One per hundred pounds of weight? One per hand? Always somebody who wants to push the limits. Next thing you know, some dumbass is staggering around IMTS, smacking women on the butt and wearing your company name on their badge.

Or they let a supplier buy all the uniforms for their kid's little league team. "I didn't accept anything. They were donating to the little league."
 
I am stupid sometimes. Been way, way, way stupid.
Get home and it is good that I found the house and driveway. Now where is the bedroom? Oh couch here.... hey dog, it is me.
This is totally bad and nobody should ever do this.
Yet we do it. Maybe not others here and no understanding of such foolish.
 
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Related to the original topic of this post though: spinning tops or other fidget toys, with your logo and company name on them. Design whatever you think your lathe and other capabilities could handle.

Make a 2" diameter spinning top and a bowl-shaped cup for it to ride in. Back it with felt (home centers sell adhesive felt for furniture). If you have something like a laser marking machine, go to town. If engraving is your thing, so be it. Stainless, aluminum, brass, whatever might be hanging around in your remnants.

Or a fidget spinner, out of aluminum. Those skateboard bearings are dirt cheap. Get creative.
 
My how things have changed.
Remember sitting in the basement wrapping all sorts of bottles of booze as a kid. Some got big ones, some got small ones.
We were the little people.
The competition.... big TVs, all paid for vacation trips to Europe on a corporate private jet, oh and a 40ft sailboat to one guy.
Back when I worked at a large Tier 1 automotive supplier my boss had stories of Big 3 employees taking suppliers to the golf pro shop and straight up telling them what they wanted. Haven’t seen that myself, but am not particularly surprised when I occasionally hear of someone being fired for corruption.
 
You know the answer: it's always somebody who does something stupid. The company had to make up rules and someone out there couldn't figure out the nuances on their own.

Walking through a trade show. Vendor offers you a bottle of beer. How many bottles of beer is acceptable? One? One per day? One per hour? One per hundred pounds of weight? One per hand? Always somebody who wants to push the limits. Next thing you know, some dumbass is staggering around IMTS, smacking women on the butt and wearing your company name on their badge.

Or they let a supplier buy all the uniforms for their kid's little league team. "I didn't accept anything. They were donating to the little league."
I can't remember what brand it was, but i once saw on a frozen pizza" do not consume frozen". Why? because some dumbass probably tried to and broke a tooth or something. Then the company had to put an idiot warning on the box.
 
Growing up in South Africa in the 80s I thought drunk driving was compulsory.

Best party I ever saw. We were laid up in the bush on the main road heading north to Angola waiting for a Cuban assault. The OC of a unit bought in a German oompah band and a few kegs and threw a party in the bush. Luckily for him Ops HQ never found out.

Worked at a big 1000 plus employee company where they cancelled the Christmas party permanently because the bosses secretary showed everyone the scars on her legs from a ANC bomb blast and her husband complained.

Toyota went from drink hampers to food hampers to vouchers.


The best I saw was in Australia. Every time you bought a can of soft drink the profit went in the Christmas party fund. At the end of the year it was a sausage sizzle, prawns and beer. All the Indians complained because they were vegetarians and didn't drink. Answer was eat the white bread for the sausage sangers. Obviously didn't go down well but then again when in Rome.

The problem is no one wants to be accountable for their own actions. I never saw anyone being compelled to drink except in the army and they laid on transport so we could all chunder over each other on the way back to base in the back of the truck. God help us if we were ambushed. SWAPO would have been going shit our shooting has improved meanwhile it would have actually been all these drunk NCOs and officers falling down by themselves because we were so drunk.

So if you are worried about legal liability laser engrave on the base. "Not for use by idiots sole arbiter **** (your name)"
 








 
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