Friday, April 17, 2009

Printing Frustrations

I've been thinking about doing some volunteer work for the local parks department. My physical limitations prevent me from working a regular schedule. I have limited endurance and after a day of photography it typically takes me two or three days to recover. But I've had this burning desire to teach basic photography to kids. I figured doing it as a volunteer, I could pretty much call the shots.

Why do I want to teach children to take better pictures?

Because I see them taking pictures of everything in sight, their parents shell out the dough to have the images printed which are mostly garbage. One of my nieces has developed a keen interest in photography and now has her own camera. During my last visit, her mom let me take her out of school for a few hours in the morning so we could go to a local pond and take pictures. We had a wonderful time and she enjoyed learning a few tips and tricks.

But printing photos is not what my frustration is all about.

Recently when I took a small portfolio over to a local park office in need of volunteers to lead classes and nature walks, I was asked for my business card. I felt like a complete moron for having none with me, and realized later that my current cards have outdated information anyway. My phone number has changed, website is down for revamping and I wasn't thrilled with the design to begin with.

So I've spent the past few days working on new designs and finally got ready to submit for print when...

OMW! Have your tried to order printing online lately? Darn, I really wish I could start my own printing company. Somebody needs to take that bull by the horns and shake it!

The first place I go to, my artwork imports way too small and I can't get it to fit the layout. I know the size and resolution are right-on, so I move on and try site number two in the google list. No preview, can't see what I'm getting. Screw these guys. Onto number three. I go through all the set up process which takes me about thirty minutes because I had two different cards to print and some labels as well. I get to the end and they want to charge me $20 for shipping for two little boxes of business cards (100 in one set and 250 in the other) and a roll of labels. That was only a couple bucks shy of my whole order total. Forget them.

Okay, so by now I'm really steamed up because I've wasted half my day trying to get a print order going and nothing's happening. So I say to myself, "self, you're a member of NAPP and you get a discount at Office Depot which you've never used. Let's go to Office Depot online and start our print order there." Easy enough, right? Well, you'd think.

After I signed up for the NAPP OD account many months ago, I promplty forgot which email address I'd used for the log in and my password. Most websites are pretty forgiving and you get several tries to get it right. Worse comes to worst, you say, I forgot my password and they send it to you, no problem. Right? You'd think.

No, I get an ugly red notice that says I've violated protocol and they're confiscating my birthright and reporting me to the OAORMP (Online Association of Really Mean Programmers.) Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. Actually, it said something more like, "Sorry, you're an imbicile and must contact customer service at... "

Okay fine, whatever. I call the 800 number and I get Tamika. Have you ever spoken with Tamika? I swear, I get her every time I call an 800 number for any business you can think of. I know her name, her voice - hell by now I ought to know her whole family. You know her. She's the one who puts you on hold for ten minutes and then comes back to appologize, she's still checking on that for you, and puts you on hold for another twenty minutes.

Finally she comes back on the line, really appologetic this time, and says she can't help me, I'll have to call this other number and talk to my account manager. So I call this other number and ask for the lady she told me to talk to, and guess who's on the line? You got it, Tamika. She puts me on hold again for five minutes and comes back to tell me that person no longer works there, she'll put me through to the new account manager, Gerald. I wait again for several minutes and sweet little Tamka comes back on (I'll bet her Boca Raton complexion is beet red by now) and tells me he's out, she'll have him call me back.

Gerald calls me back and keeps me on the phone for another ten minutes to tell me he can't help me, I have to call the National Accounts office at another number. Well, imagine who I get on the phone when I call the national office. No it wasn't Tamika, I just wanted to be dramatic. I got Maureen this time, who tells me NAPP has no account with them.

You know what? I won't be printing with Office Depot any time soon. Sorry Tamika, you may be out of a job if OD can't get their customer service act together.

So, back to square one, I still have no cards printed. Sigh...

All this because I'd like to help kids learn how to take better pictures. Go figure.

And my husband is sick to boot.

Hope you're having a better day.

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