I Went to Staples Yesterday, and all I got was a run-around.

When you live on public benefits you spend a lot of time maintaining those close relationships with government officials so you can prove that you’re not cheating the system. It was time to prove that we are still eligible for SNAP benefits, and part of that means providing documents proving our major assets haven’t changed. We live in a motorhome, and even though its our home it’s counted against us as an asset, we each have a motorcycle and even though they are our only means of transportation outside of the motorhome, the motorcycles aren’t counted as vehicles so they are counted as assets. We could live in a subsidized apartment at greater public expense and that’s o-kay. We could own a car and not ride motorcycles in the rain and that would be okay. But we don’t so we had to e-mail copies of our current vehicle registrations.

So I went to Staples in Manchester with three NH vehicle registration slips and a thumb drive in my hand. In my mind was a mental image of walking up to the counter, maybe waiting in line, asking politely, and then waiting while my documents were scanned an copied to my thumb drive. At the time I didn’t think this was unreasonable. Still don’t.

So Michelle, the Staples “that was easy” Certified Print Pro in the Staples Copy and Print hears my request and responds with “I can’t do that until tomorrow.” So I thank her and walk out to our home. I use the Staples wifi connection to search for another copy center and they’re all gone it seems. Small copy shops really can’t compete against a national chain like Staples and the small shops have suffered the creative destruction so essential to change. Which doesn’t help me right now because my next option is driving over to Bedford, NH and the FedEx-Kinkos copy center. So I walked back inside Staples just to be sure I didn’t miss anything in our previous exchange.

“I’m sorry but we’re in a production run and all of our machines are busy.”
“So you don’t take walk in customers anymore?”
“We still do walk ins but we need to assign your job a production number and then we can do it tomorrow.”

You get the idea. I drove over to Kinkos.

I sent a complaint to Staples and received a reply”

February 27, 2015

Re: Case # 00486549

Dear Art Joly:

Thank-you for taking the time to write Staples concerning your attempt to have printing done in our 1189 – Manchester,NH. Please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience we may have caused you.

Whenever possible our Copy and Print staff will try to accommodate on demand requests. However, due to our completing orders in the manner in which we receive them, our stores may not be able to complete you order while you wait.

For your convenience our stores offer a number of self-serve printing options such as color and black and white printing/copying, and a self-serve design kiosk. Additionally we encourage our customers to submit their orders at www.staples.com/copyandprint. You can elect to have the order printed at your local store and arrange for a convenient pick up so that you can avoid a wasted trip to the store.

Your comments are greatly appreciated as they allow us to improve upon our current and future policies and procedures. We hope that you will remain a valued Staples customer.


Kayla Barber
Office of the President
Staples, Inc.

Kayla? Clueless Kayla? If I could have self-serve scanned my documents and been on my way I would have been happy. But I can’t and it wasn’t offered. But I see that you have managed to assign a task number to me!

About Art

55 years old. By training, ability and experience I am a master toolmaker. My most recent projects include designing and building a process to grind a G rotor pump shaft with four diameters and holding all four diameters within plus or minus 4 microns of nominal. This was an automated process using two centerless grinders refitted to my specifications using automatic load and unload machines plus automatic feedback gauging. I also designed and built an inspection machine to check for the presence and size of a straight knurl on a hinge pin using a vision system for non-contact gauging.
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