Welcome to Kinko’s! (2005)

Dear customer:

Welcome to Kinkos! We hope to take full advantage of your desperate need for office services. We have ensured to eliminate all competition in your city so that you may not be likely to find any other possible business that may give you what we have to offer.

And what do we have to offer, you may ask? A perfect, chaotic and irritating environment, with trash and food smeared on the dirty carpet, homeless people sleeping in our computer cubicles, broken Xerox machines, overpriced office supplies, and a staff with a real attitude. All you really need to feel at home in your bureaucratic life! It is an ideal marriage: You, the middle-class struggling worker without a Xerox machine. We: the ultimate spa for office masochists.

It is true that our research shows that the more desperate the customer is, and the more we make you wait, the more it benefits our company- so who could we blame us for our prices and inefficient business? People who need to get a resume or a report Xeroxed on time before their interview would give almost everything they have sometimes, and someone has to be there for them. However, in order to give back to you, our customers, we also seek to educate you on the basic ideas of immediate results, while always providing a consistent product- a key aspect of modern business.

Our logic is as follows: if you were to get everything you wanted all the time in an efficient and professional manner, wouldn’t it be traumatizing if you didn’t get it one day? In order to prevent such a potential shock in your life, we have ensured to provide a consistent climate of absolute ineptness, so that you always know what to expect when you come through our doors.

For this reason, our staff is carefully screened to not care in the least what your urgency may be. In fact, we encourage them to hang out and socialize with each other for periods of half an hour, behind the counter, in full view of our long customer lines, in order to exasperate our clientele. So, next time you are in line and see two or three Kinko’s office workers doing nothing, that’s exactly what they are being paid to be doing. We also encourage worker’s initiative, so we ask our staff to feel free to modify your job somehow, omitting pages, shrinking others, cutting in the wrong places, or Xeroxing at an angle (we are so amazed about how creative our staff has become at making mistakes!).  It is our company’s philosophy that no one should ever expect to get any job done immediately, efficiently, or accurately. If we all expected such perfection, where would the humanity be then? It is important to always include a significant dose of incompetence in our daily lives. Kinko’s makes sure to fill this uncertain vacuum in your life. We find that by offering you this service you will inevitably feel better about yourself, and feel a better person in contrast to those who work for our company.

We ensure not only that our staff is illiterate and rude but also possess a strong sense of entitlement (usually our workforce is constituted from people who worked previously at INS, IRS, or the U.S. postal service). Our hiring criteria fully conform to our employee compensation program. Our workers, who get paid next to nothing, are given the opportunity to take their frustrations against you, the customer, so that they feel at least a sense of empowerment. So, by accepting their hostility, letting them waste your time and money, and even letting them ruin your copy job, you greatly contribute to support the challenges faced today by the American workforce.

We have another, very successful, supplemental program, known as the Virtual Do-It Yourself Initiative. It consists in announcing that we have many self-service copiers. These, however, are pre-programmed to jam at the third copy, regardless of the care you may invest in creating your job or pressing the right buttons. Once the jam has been repaired, the Xerox machine will change modes without notice, making unstoppable amounts of copies of the document with different specifications from the original request- and sometimes unexpectedly making copies in color mode, forcing the client to spend hundreds of dollars. (Thanks to this lucrative system, we are able to charge customers approximately $75 million dollars a year for copies that they really never wanted to make).  After this experience, most of our customers will give up and go to make a line our inexperienced and rude staff, who will take the job and are instructed to calculate an hour per page- so that 10 copies will take 10 hours to make.

Our clients now include the Pakistani government, who are modeling their torture chambers in the form of Kinko’s offices, forcing detainees to collate hundreds of triplicate documents in record times with dysfunctional Xerox machines, under the threat of receiving electric shocks in case they don’t complete their tasks. We are proud of many other alliances we have created, such as the KAFKA project- a staff training program for the U.S. Homeland Security security workers, implementing the Kinko’s philosophy of incompetence that we are so well known for. We are proud to be leading America into the third, and maybe the fourth- world. And it is not an easy task, to be sure. If you think it is hard to get a job done, it is even harder to ensure to never get it done at all. This is what Kinko’s strives for. We sincerely hope you join our philosophy. If you don’t, we will understand, but at the same time we also know that sooner or later you will have to recur to us. And we will always be there, eagerly waiting to embrace you in our cozy black hole of office hell.



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