Last week, some North Texas students were still waiting for their caps and gowns days before graduation.

NBC 5 Responds spoke to a Southern Methodist University grad who had three days to find his badges before walking across the stage.

The company supplying the caps and dresses said supply chain disruptions and labor shortages were to blame for the delay.


Three days before Dylan Rafaty’s graduation from SMU with a master’s degree, he told NBC 5 Responds he needed to know if the graduation badges he ordered on April 11 would arrive before the graduation ceremony. May 13.

“I just want to be reassured. I want to be able to take my badges and walk. As a customer, I expect this assurance. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen,” Rafaty told NBC 5 last Tuesday.

Rafaty showed us an email dated May 4 from the company providing the badges. He said the company was working to fulfill the order and directed customers to a link to check the status. Last Tuesday, Rafaty’s status showed that his order was in progress.

“They weren’t thorough. These were just general statements that it would happen,” Rafaty said.


NBC 5 Responds contacted the company, Herff Jones.

Sue Crumpton, Senior Director of Corporate Communications, wrote: “Herff Jones is working diligently to minimize delays in the fulfillment of graduation badge orders caused by supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. Unfortunately, these factors have caused us to fall behind.

Crumpton added that the company is working to ship all remaining SMU orders before graduation weekend.

A day later, Rafaty said most of his order had arrived. He received his cap and robe, but his balaclava was missing. Rafaty said he was able to get an extra balaclava from the SMU bookstore at no extra cost in time for the start.

An SMU spokesperson told us that they were assured that backorders would arrive in time for the launch ceremonies and that SMU had received a bulk delivery of additional caps and dresses.


In an email to NBC 5 Responds, Crumpton wrote, “Everyone at Herff Jones is committed to delivering caps and dresses to each school in time for their ceremonies – middle school and high school. This commitment is reflected in the extraordinary efforts of our team members to ensure that every student can celebrate their graduation. »

Crumpton added: “We are currently working multiple shifts, seven days a week, at our facilities to complete the delivery of our graduation engagements. As with so many industries, a combination of global supply chain constraints and record labor shortages have created downstream effects this graduation season, and we are truly sorry that these delays have disappointed the students, parents and teachers of the schools we serve.

We contacted other suppliers of caps and dresses and Jostens got back to us. Company CEO Michael Burgess told NBC 5 Responds he has enough badges for graduation season.

“We had all the graduation materials we needed, caps, gowns and tassels by February of this year so we could ship them to schools whenever they wanted,” Burgess said.

If you are concerned about an order, contact your school. If you need help finding the status, you can also connect with the NBC 5 Responds team to try and get some answers.

NBC 5 Responds is committed to finding your concerns and getting your money back. Our goal is to provide you with answers and, where possible, solutions and resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our customer complaint form.

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