For something like seven years in a row now my lovely wife and I have made a personalized calendar to be given at Christmas time, one for each set of parents, featuring photos we had taken over the past year. It used to cost a buttload when we had a printing business make it for us, but for the last few years I have printed it myself at home using special software, digital copies of our photos (I'm good at Photoshop), and our relatively decent inkjet printer. The overall cost is half that of having an office copy center print it for us. Unfortunately, I still rely on an office copy center to do the binding.
Now you wouldn't think it a terribly difficult job to bind two calendars: holes punched for the spiral wire on one side, a hole to hang it on the other side, and a clear plastic cover. It only costs a few bucks and should take about 10 minutes for them to do on their binding machine, right? It also requires a minimum of intelligence on their part to set the machine and follow my instructions. I'm not asking them to bind the Guttenberg Bible or anything. And yet, they always screw it up.
The last couple years they flipped a page, requiring me to go home and come back the next day with yet another printed copy of the page for them to try again. One year they punched multiple nail holes instead of one. This year I went to Staples and they said it would take three days for them to do it, *at the soonest.* Now, the place wasn't busy when I went on my way to work, so why the hell they couldn't find a few minutes to punch some pages is beyond me. "No thanks," I said, and was late to work. Later I took off lunch to go to their competitor down the street, OfficeMax. OfficeMax said "no problem" and told me to come back after work, so I left my calendars there. When I came back after work, they had only bound one of the calendars and had lost the other. When they finally found it, the worker said, "It'll only be five minutes." Of course I wanted to scream, "If it only takes five minutes, why the hell didn't you do it while I waited when I was here at lunchtime?" But I didn't, fearing that any disturbance in their concentration might kill off the last of their brain cells. The worker bound the calendar. I gave it a quick look to make sure the holes were there, that it was bound, and that no pages were flipped. Satisfied, I paid and left (of course they didn't offer any compensation for my trouble). Later that night we found that the worker had punched the nail hole on the wrong side of half of the pages (not the first or last half, either, but the middle half!), then apparently caught herself and additionally punched a hole in the correct side. You'd think she would have pointed it out and said, "Oops. Let me offer you a discount." It was too late to redo it, as our Christmas packages were waiting for the calendars before being mailed and would likely already arrive late to my mom.
So what the hell is wrong with these office copy places? Do they only hire morons? Is there a calendar-copy center conspiracy against me? Or is it that the instructions for the binding machine are written in Swahili? You know what, I think I'll finally be looking into binding my own next year!