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Tales of Poor Customer Service

…or How Logic Confounds the Common Consumer

Some time ago I announced I was employed. And, for the past year, I have learned a new skill – holding my tongue. I had to hold my tongue about the buying public, and I had to hold my tongue about my corporate overlords.

Well, a year to the day I was hired, I found out that my store is closing. So, my restraining bolt has come off and I have decided to no longer be a loyal droid for the “good” people at Office Max, makers of the inane Rubberband Man and bone headed business decisions.

That day my friend decided the same, and as a result send some consumers home crying. Never one to be out done, I too wanted to make that a new sport. My first target – the inane consumer. They’re all over the place; the herd needs thinning.

It should be easier for me. I, unlike my fellow associates, have a more one to one dealing with customers over in the copy center. They need something, we discuss it, I make it so; all the while they’re chattering on in the background how I’m doing it wrong.

Let the Professional Do His Job

It was a half hour to closing. Business that day was bad (on par for a doomed store). Then, over the horizon, a pair of consumers charged my counter. They had… a photo. A grainy photo. A grainy photo printed from an inkjet. A grainy photo, printed from an inkjet, on gray copy paper. A grainy… well you get the idea. A SHIT PICTURE.

They explained to me with thick accents that this was a picture of their mother who just died (sob, sob). The wake was the next day and they would like it enlarged on nice paper. Still feeling a shred of compassion, I began to oblige.

However, there was on caveat. She was centered (grr) in the 4×6 picture, with apparently their entire neighborhood’s laundry in the background. “Could you crop it to just her?”

Thanks to the miracles of modern technocraft, push a button and a 4×6 is 11×17 in seconds. However, to do the same with a 1×1 requires a degree in mathematics and a leprechaun whizzing in the toner bottle. For you Xerox aficionados out there, we have a Doc12 without an editing panel – the equivalent to a monk with a pen.

So I do the print, which because of the 1×1 dimension and the fact the machine can only do 300% at most, is square and in the middle of the page. Consumer not happy. Being the fool I am, I explain the principles of proportion and aspect ratio. It’s hard enough to explain when they understand English, even worse when the only words they apparently know is “do it!”

I managed to savvy “well we can do it at home, so why can’t you.” The real answer: its a Doc12. The other real answer: you’re lying. My preferred simple answer: then go home. My actual answer, after getting pelted with the label “lazy American” – If it were at all possible to do it, don’t you think I would get it over with rather than take a half-hour of my life to explain why I can’t?!

One would think that grieving daughters, blasted by a simple copy-jockey, would break down into tears and call for a manager (which is cool, since they’re all fed up as well). However, there was comprehension in their eyes, thanked me and rather gleefully paid for their now very grainy, very gray yet glossy picture.

I’ll take it. Sure, it would have nice to ruin some rude consumers’ night and give them a nervous breakdown. But, spreading common sense has always been a goal of mine. Print-monkey: 1, Consumers: 0.

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Written by

Ryan Livingston

Ryan Livingston

Artist / Writer / internet disk jockey / retail wage slave / carbon based lifeform. Founder of the New World Otter and RML Studios

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