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Staples Copy & Print Center: An Illustrated Guide To Your Waking Nightmare

Having to deal with the Staples Copy & Print Center can be one of the most frustrating experiences a human being can endure. If you have experienced this exercise in patience for yourself, these observations will not be able to console you, but may bring you some small comfort in knowing you are not alone.

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Emily Niland

First, allow me to dispel any misguided notions that one "stands in line" at a Staples Copy & Print Center. There are no formal lines, but instead random clusters of people that gather at various points on the wrap around counter, desperately awaiting service. This is not unlike people at a bar trying to order a drink.

Emily Niland

You will never encounter a Staples Copy & Print Center where all of their printers, computers, and binding/lamination machinery are all functioning at the same time. The computer system will be hopelessly fucked, unable to process transactions or retain print files that have been submitted online. If the computers are working, one or more printers will not be. If both the computers and printers are working, there will be someone looking to bind and/or laminate something, a desire which will cause those machines to malfunction out of sheer spite.

Emily Niland

In theory, the act of printing and copying pieces of paper should be a fairly streamlined process. Even if, hypothetically speaking, all of their machines were in working order, the act of selecting a file and printing it does not take very much time at all. However, the majority of the clientele at any given Staples Copy & Print Center are not exactly what you would call "tech savvy". Without fail, there will be a constant array of middle aged to elderly individuals who need their hand held to operate a copy machine that is intended for self service. The question "what is a flash drive?" is an actual question I heard come out of a person's mouth at a Staples Copy & Print Center.

Emily Niland

The best thing that can happen while waiting at a Staples Copy & Print Center is the arrival of someone who is apparently unfamiliar with their customs here. This person will serve as your outrage puppet. With every roll of their eyes, bewildered shoulder shrug, and sharp exhalation, you will feel vindication, but also swelling pride in your stoic patience.

Emily Niland

With the wonky machines, lack of organization, and surplus of unnecessarily time-consuming customers, you would think that Staples would have the forethought to put enough staff behind the counter to deal with such demands. You would be mistaken. At the most, there are going to be two frantically overwhelmed employees behind the counter trying in vain to meet the demands of an increasingly large and surly crowd. In my experience, there will be one poor bastard saddled with this responsibility. Be nice to these people. They are literally saints among humans.

When you leave the Staples Copy & Print Center with your task completed, and walk past the trees that were but saplings upon your entering the establishment, you will be overcome with relief. Pat yourself on the back, pour a stiff drink, and thank your lucky stars you aren't the one on the other side of that counter.

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