Today I found myself needing to fax a signed contract. Typically, this would be no big deal. I would simply turn 45 degrees to my right in my office, put the pages in the machine, type my email address and 5 seconds later I would have a PDF attachment in my email that I could send it anywhere my little heart desires. Unfortunately, I am on maternity leave and do not have access to my office. So, I had to find an alternative. Turns out Staples offers business services including the ability to fax. Their motto is the “EASY” button, right? So, I packed up my newborn baby and high tailed it over to the nearest Staples to do exactly what I would normally do from my office…email a signed document to myself (and then forward it to its final destination). Some variation of the following is what happened when I got there…
Me: Hi, I have some documents I need to fax to email please.
Cashier: Oh, sure! We would love to help you. Silvia over at the scan & copy station can help you with that, have a great day!
Me: Thanks! (I walked over to fax & scan station to find Silvia)
Me: Hi, Silvia. I need to fax some documents to an email address, can you help me with that?
Silvia: No, we do not do faxing to an email…
Me: Okay…what do to you do as far as faxing? I have a contract I need to send out today.
Silvia: Well, we can send a fax to a fax machine. (Points to an antique grey thing with a dial pad and a phone receiver with a curly cord like Sue Ellen Crandall used in Don’t Tell Mom the Baby Sitter’s Dead, “I’m right on top of that Rose!”…wow, how vintage.
Me: Okay, I guess I could do that…and the fax will just print it out in the office I’m sending it to and I suppose the recipient could then re-scan it and email it back to me so I also have an electronic copy for myself…uhm, do I just pay you when I’m done, or…?
Silvia: Yes, it’s $2.00 for the first page and $1.50 for every page after that for long-distance and you pay after you receive a confirmation print out that the fax was sent.
Me: Ok, well it’s not long distance I just have to fax it to Tennessee (Where does she think I’m sending this? China?)
Silvia: Tennessee *IS* long distance, if you’re not faxing within the Charlotte metro area, it’s considered long distance….
Me: Well why would someone drive to Staples just to send a fax in Charlotte? Wouldn’t it be easier to just drive the document to its destination if it’s local?
Me: Okay…uhmm…well, I have 60 pages here…so, it’s going to cost $90.50 to send these documents via fax…uhm….via wireline fax?
Silvia: Well, no, it would be $90.50 plus tax so actually that comes to $97.06.
Me: (Laughing) Wow, okay…and you offer no other more cost-effective way to do this?
Silvia: Well, I guess I could scan the documents for you into this computer here and then you could email them?
Me: *phew* YES! Yes, exactly! That’ll work! Let’s do that. (Why didn’t she say that in the FIRST place?)
Silvia: Okay, it’ll be 25 cents per page for me to scan these for you onto my computer here and then you can go rent a computer over there for 45 cents a minute and send yourself the email. Do you have a rewards card?
Silvia: A rewards card…it’s…
Me: No, wait…what USB card?
Silvia: It costs 25 cents for me to scan the documents for you here and I will put them on my USB drive (holds up USB on a lanyard around her neck) and then you have to go over there to use the computer…you can rent the computer…it’s $0.45 per minute…
Me: Wait, okay…so you want to put my private documents onto YOUR USB drive…with one computer and then send me to a different computer to upload the file and send it via email? That doesn’t sound very efficient or secure.
Silvia: Well, I will delete the document from the USB when you are done.
Me: Do I get confirmation of that?
Silvia: No¸ but it’s my policy and I will delete it.
Me: Wow, okay well I guess paying you $15 to put my documents on a USB card is better than paying almost $100 to use that relic over there…
…..This is ridiculous but whatever I NEEDED to get these documents sent and I didn’t have any more time to waste so I decided to pay the $15 for Silvia’s expert scanning services and then head on over to the pay-per-minute-PC. I fired it up, gave it my credit card and logged on to icloud.com to access my email and to my *shock* I got an error message that said, “This browser is outdated”…you would think that at $0.45 cents per MINUTE these bitches could keep their shit up to date but then again my other option is a fax machine straight out of Dr.Huxtable’s home office. The clock is ticking (literally…there’s a little clock ticking away up in the cents it’s charging me) so I shout out to Silvia just to make sure, “How much per minute to send a telegraph?”…and she ACTUALLY says, “We don’t offer those services here”. How surprising. I used my Gmail account instead of iCloud and $6.00 later was able to attach my document. When I went to the removable drive to retrieve it, what did I find? About 15 other attachments from previous customers stored to the USB drive that my confidential document was ALSO stored on. WTF Silvia, I thought you said you deleted personal shit post use? Obv not. Clearly protecting customer information is not a concern around here. I sent my document and then accessed the USB drive again and deleted my document permanently. I contemplated deleting all the other customer files that were saved but instead decided to just let Silvia know that they were there…
Me: Silvia, just so you know there are other customer files still saved to this USB. Honestly I could have sent them anywhere…or read them…or used Mr.Wilson’s W2 that you have stored on here and stolen his identity…
Silvia: (Smiles smugly)
…….Okay, WTF? I just spent over $21 to send a FAX in the most inefficient way possible that not only compromises my security but also that of at least 15 prior customers. To illustrate just how ABSOLUTELY MOTHER EFFING RIDICULOUS this is, I would like to share several alternatives that I thought up during the 10 minute road rage drive back to my house (I was a passenger but I bitched a brain storm while my husband drove).
10 ways to send a signed document in either a more cost-effective, time efficient or secure manner that Staples “Business Services” offered me today. Staples, you’re welk.
- You know those three big huge copy machines Staples has in their store for customers to use? Those have the function to scan and email a document. It’s that easy. Hook them up to the internet just like your out of date PCs. Charge me per minute if you want…it takes like 1…ONE MINUTE. The machine does not save or store the information thus not inadvertently compromising my security by giving customers and employees access to my personal documents
- I could have BOUGHT a printer/copier/fax machine FROM Staples for around $80 and sent the documents myself from my home…or ordered it from Amazon for $20 less with free shipping thus eliminating the entire need to use Staples service center or retail store (as if the terrible experience wasn’t enough to never return, ever)
- I could have driven to Nashville in a fuel efficient vehicle and signed the documents in person and spent less money in gas than Staples wanted to charge me to send a friggen fax
- I could probably find a plane ticket and fly there for less than Staples wanted to charge me to send a friggen fax
- I could have hired a COURIER service to deliver the documents for less than Staples wanted to charge me to send a friggen fax
- I could have bought an e-signature software application and signed the documents electronically and sent them via email for less than Staples wanted to charge me to send a MOTHER EFFING FAX
- I could have taken a photo of each signed document individually and saved them all to my iPhone and then attached them to an email and sent them to myself one by one (time-consuming, but FREE)
- I could have taken a picture of my signature and used an app on my phone to paste it to each document and then saved & emailed the signed contract
- I could have unlocked the original PDF contract and inserted a signature to sign the document and then locked it back up and emailed it as a PDF
- I could have emailed a letter of power of attorney to a friend in Nashville and had THEM sign the documents in person!
I realize only AFTER seeing red in Staples how many alternatives there are to having to ever step foot in that store again. Pardon me for thinking it would be easier than all of the above to just pop over to Staples and scan and email a document to myself.
“Easy”, my ass.