Thursday, May 3, 2012

Staples. that wasn't easy.

I needed business cards and now. I remembered that Staples has an in-house print shop, so I went to their website to see what they offered. They had a bazillion options. They were also having a big sale, so I could get 250 cards for only five bucks.

While searching for any hint of delivery time on the site, I noticed that they offer INSTANT PICK UP. For $25, I could order the same $5 cards and pick them up in the store right away. Not really right away, as the small print said to allow four hours. Four hours worked for me, so I chose a simple black and white design, typed in my info, and checked the weekly ad for anything else I might need. Envelopes! A box of twenty #10’s, self-sealing, for ONE dollar!

Five hours later I was ready to go get my business cards and #10 envelopes when the phone rang.

“Hi, this is Brian at Staples calling to see if tomorrow is okay for your business cards. We are out of paper.”

“Really? Who is this really? The office supply store does not run out of paper. Is that you John? This is not funny.”

“No, it’s Brian at Staples. Our truck will be in tomorrow and we can print your cards then, or we can print them on regular paper today.”

“Ok, tomorrow is fine.”

“We will call you tomorrow when they are ready.”

I was visiting friends the next evening and planned to pick up my order on the way home. No call came. Staples still had no paper.

Wednesday came, and I was meeting my daughter for lunch and then had to pack for my trip the next day – my trip to a conference that I needed business cards for. I called Staples and asked if they happened to have any paper, as I was in the area and needed my cards. The helpful associate who answered said that she would start printing them.

I arrived at 2:00 and started looking for the envelopes, but kept getting distracted by signs stuck to everything, saying “Staples. That was easy.” An employee offered to help me, and led me to an aisle full of envelopes, ranging from $6 to $50 per box. She was unaware of the advertised sale, but offered to take a look at the ad to find the proper item. When she got to the register and grabbed the flier she also took a phone call. She clearly had only one page of the ad, but glanced at it, hung up the phone, and told me I must have seen an ad from a different city, as they did not have any envelopes on sale.

I went to the print center to get my cards. The saleswoman put the box on the counter and opened it so I could take a look. I ordered a simple black and white card. Easy, right?  There was no black. The part that should be black was twenty shades of gray, like when your home printer is almost out of ink and keeps trying to print anyway.

I asked if I could get the online price since INSTANT PICK UP took three days. She looked at me as if I did not speak her language and repeated the price. I read the business card box to her.

 “Quality. Service. Guaranteed.” Where was the quality? Service? What was the guarantee? She gave me another blank stare and asked if I wanted debit or credit. I gave up and vowed to check out and other companies recommended for business cards.

“Oh, your receipt has a coupon! Good for $5 off your next in store visit.”

Oh goody. Maybe envelopes will be on sale.


  1. I've had really good luck with Office Max. I guess I'm glad there isn't a Staples in my town. :)

  2. I've had really good luck with Office Max. I guess I'm glad there isn't a Staples in my town. :)

  3. FedEx Office. Used to be kinkos. Amazing quality!

  4. Thanks for the tips! I considered suggesting that Staples send someone over to Office Max to get some paper : ) And Kinkos is further away, but probably worth the drive.