The village feel of a small market

It’s both a curse and a blessing to do business in a small market like Estonia. This week I experienced the blessing side of things. I was in the middle of one of the busiest three days ever, juggling with organising an ambitious SXSW promotion, rehearsing for my first ever standup comedy compere gig, moving back into my old flat and trying to be a good host for Komeediklubi acts. Oh, and I was scheduled to fly to Tallinn on Tuesday, to London on Thursday and to Austin, TX on Friday. Tricky conditions, wouldn’t you agree.

On Monday I realised I needed 3000 stickers cut out in custom shape for the SXSW thing. I choose to go the ‘bigger fish in smaller pond’ route and googled for sticker companies in Estonian instead of English. Raivo from MR Stuudio was friendly and to-the-point, so I sent the designs his way. All he had was my word, a stranger on the phone’s word, that the invoice would be paid by my UK based client, and he started the machines. This would be unheard of in London or the US, and I speak from experience. And the truly magical moment came when it appeared today that the production is slightly late and Raivo organised the delivery to the departures area of Tallinn airport where I was about to check in. Beautiful orchestration.

Then, Tuesday morning I thought I should print a flag for my comedy night. Angelika from Lipuvabrik said that it can be done if I sent the artwork in an hour, I managed to send it in three, from a train. At noon on the day I realised there was no way for me to have enough time to pick up the flag, so I called Angelika back and asked about courier options. They only had standard overnight delivery which wasn’t good enough. I had six hours to the start of the show, which I explained with some drama, and in the end Angelika offered to swing by the venue herself and drop off the flag. Remember, I was a stranger on the phone who said ‘please’ a lot but who hadn’t even received an invoice at that point, let alone paid it.

So there you go. A company delivering an unpaid order to a stranger that is clearly heading out of the country and another one that goes the extra 2.6 miles to deliver a €25 order after office hours. I’m pretty sure this is only possible in a small market but it’s nevertheless awesome. Estonia, 12 points.

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