You’ll Never Make Copies In This Town Again

Through the lens of a fictional Kinkos, this comedic short illustrates what the general public misconception of our noble consumerism profession.

Actually, up to the point where the lawyer and the employee start throwing money at it each other, it’s a fairly accurate depiction of both the staff and customers we’ve come to expect at the cesspool that is Kinkos.

Oh yeah, and never go to Kinkos if you can avoid it (unless you’re stealing paper from the copier, they’re great for that). Buy a decent printer and a scanner or send your bigger jobs to a place like Jakprints or NextDayFlyers.


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  1. ADM says:

    I agree about pretty much never going to Kinko’s.

    One of them on the Upper East Side is ok, but the other one (around 72nd and Lex) is a total disaster and is now the subject of one of my personal boycotts. The straw that broke the camel’s back came last year when I and about 6 other people were waiting to complete such complicated tasks as buying a magic marker and buying a lamination envelope. ALL the employees in behind the counter were busy working on jobs and NONE of the employees was working customer service, triaging requests, taking orders, etc. Customers were standing around for 10 minutes (and beyond) with no one available to operate the cash register, take a simple order, etc.

    Eventually, after at least 15 minutes of waiting for someone to help me or anyone else, I got the manager’s attention, asking “Do you have a minute?” He curtly replied “NO” but came over anyway, begrudgingly. So as politely as you could possibly say such a thing (seriously), I suggested that maybe he take one employee away from whatever projects they were working on to deal with the increasing and increasingly angry crop of customers. I explained, very quickly, that everyone was getting frustrated, and it might not be a bad idea to take care of the customers who were actually there, vs. the customers who weren’t. (Or, really, take care of them both, i.e., manage your resources, which are what *managers* are supposed to do.) Of course he gave me a cold stare and stomped off in a huff, ignoring me and all the other customers.

    I put down my stuff and left, having communicated to someone in authority why. Was I right or wrong? How do other self-described “consumerists” handle situations like this?

    Sorry if my comment was longer than the post.

  2. Heh. In grad school I used a Kinko’s where the guy was always telling me how I ACTUALLY wanted things copied, because he was quite sure my ideas about how I wanted things copied were stupid.

    Unfortunately it was the only copy shop in town for a while, so I had no choice and I swear, the man worked 24/7. I used to try going at bizarre times to avoid him, but no luck.

    I have all this random stuff he put on 11x17s for no reason. Then when I wanted 11x17s, he insisted I was actually after 8.5x11s with a shrinkage factor.

    When I had to get transparencies for a major project, I actually had them sent electronically an hour away and drove to pick them up. This guy was CRAZY.

  3. DeeJayQueue says:

    I work in a copy center (2 in fact). Normally the quick and easy way to get around bitch ass customers like that is:

    Customer: I need these copied.
    Me: Great, they’ll be done Wednesday.
    Customer: It’s only Monday! I need them now!
    Me: Well, I understand that but in the interest of fairness we work on a first-come-first-served basis, and there are other jobs in the queue. The soonest we can get to your job would be wednesday.
    Customer: That’s outrageous. Why can’t you put one of those jobs on hold?
    Me: Tell you what, I’ll give you the number of the customer who’s job is running now, and you can call him and explain why your work is more important than his, and if he says it’s ok then I’ll run your job. Otherwise, I’ll see you Wednesday.

  4. Kornkob says:

    *shrug* Never had any problems with Kinkos for either my personal or business related needs.

  5. Ben Popken says:

    My biggest beef with Kinkos is how poor the customer printers are. It usually works out okay if you send the job to the ones behind the counter (believe they have some name with the word fire in them). At several different Kinkos locations I found the customer area printers to be unresponsive and poorly maintained, just trying to print out one b&w flyer, the information never seemed to reach the printer, grrrrrrrrrrrr.

  6. tesca says:

    Hmm, I’ve never had any problems with Kinkos. I’ve used myself in the past for various projects with no problem.

    My partner also has worked (in a different town than the aforementioned Kinkos) there for over a year. All the local printers bring Kinkos the hard problem cases. In fact, all of you who think you don’t use Kinkos and who send in your projects to get done by small/independent printers? Joke’s on you- those places tend to bring all or most of their jobs to Kinkos and then turn around and charge you more for the job. Oh, and those printing shops are also what cause Kinkos to be so backed up for the customers who _do_ go directly to Kinkos. Or at least, so says my man, who works the overnight shift that is generally responsible for all the difficult and large jobs.

  7. RogueSophist says:

    I’ve never had a problem with Kinkos, either. And the one near me has a machine that I swear makes hot chocolate made of angels’ tears. Chocolate angels’ tears.

  8. I like this sketch, but I feel a little different than most about it I think.

    Should the guy help the lady even though he is on his lunch break?

    I think absolutely yes, he should. However, most corporate/franchise operations are governed by ridiculous rules and regs that remove the flexibility of the employee to deal with that situation.

    In reality, the worker would have spent 5 of his precious 30 minutes just talking to that customer…if companies had looser policies, it might engender more flexibility to the employee for dealing with customers. Plus, I could totally get way more solitaire and web browsing in my day at the office.

  9. homerjay says:

    I think you’re missing the fact that the law mandates breaks. If this customer were real, she really should respect the fact that not everyone was put on this planet to serve her.

  10. RumorsDaily says:

    If you’re not working, you’re not working. You aren’t obligated to help that woman, especially when she clearly had a LARGE box of work to get taken care of.

    On the other hand, Kinkos does need to staff more people at the front desk.

  11. Smashville says:

    “I think absolutely yes, he should. However, most corporate/franchise operations are governed by ridiculous rules and regs that remove the flexibility of the employee to deal with that situation.”

    The “ridiculous rules and regs” you speak of is federal law. And requiring employers to give an employee a 30 minute lunch break on an 8 hour shift is most definitely not ridiculous.

  12. The point I am trying to make Smashville and HomerJay, is that the reason we have federal laws madating 30 min lunches etc, is because large corporate stores would gladly chain you to a desk for 12 hours a day sans any break whatsoever.

    The result, is that they schedule the mandated lunch as inflexibly as possible.

    What would have happened in this instance if the copy clerk HAD helped the lady? Would the copy place let him shift his lunch to start after he finished with the customer? Or would they use a use it or lose it policy?

    The point is, it is the management’s fault that the employee feels so restricted by lunch hour schedules and keeping to the 30 minute state mandate, that he/she has to refuse service to a customer…