The Cavalier Daily
Serving the University Community Since 1890

Copying the success of Kinko's

There are those who argue that a liberal arts degree is worthless. Those "in the know" will often declare that a B.A. from the University will leave me no more job-ready than a common correspondence school graduate.

I scoff at such nay-sayers, for I know that my future is indeed secure. If, in years to come, a degree from this institution loses its prestige and I am unable to find a well-paying job based on the Good Ol' Boy network alone, I won't despair. All it takes to make a quick buck in this country is a clever gimmick and an eye for suckers. In short, all I need is a Kinko's franchise.

I can think of few other institutions that appeal to laziness and frivolity as much as Kinko's. The genius of Kinko's is that the employees are specially trained to be experts on all the things that the customer could do at home, if only he or she were a bit more industrious and a little less pressed for time. The average American will spend money just thinking about all the laminating, color copying, and binding that can be achieved in the 24 hours a day that Kinko's is open. It's of little consequence that the same average American can perform the majority of Kinko's overpriced services on their own, without fees. Eighteen dollars for stapling? Sure! Twenty-five cents per fold? Heavens, yes! Why, I've even seen hardworking citizens plunk down $20 a page for a Kinko's employee to type a letter for them.

Until recently, I had almost forgotten the cleverness bound in the duplication industry. After having spent nearly $800 and much of my high school experience in my local copy center, I turned to University Services last year for my printing needs. Then, as if fate had a hand in it, I found myself back at my old stomping ground while visiting home this week.

The smell of toner and cardstock took me back to my junior year of high school, during which I acquired my very first line of credit; a Kinko's charge account, reserved for the company's most frequent customers. Between various extracurriculars and school projects, I racked up such a bill that Kinko's gave me a 15 percent discount just for walking in the store.

While visiting this weekend, I recalled those nights spent basking in the glow of the copy machines. I would stumble into Kinko's around midnight, clutching the final printout of some flyer or memo that absolutely had to be copied right then.

"Good evening, Abby!" the employees would chorus. "How can we rob you ... er, serve you, tonight?"

Frantic, I would thrust papers at them as they jotted instructions on brightly colored post-its. "Rocket Red," I'd shout. "Lunar Green!" I'd scream. "And hurry, please! This must be finished by 12!"

At that hour, I was more than happy to pay $24.97 for two dozen copies, no matter their actual worth. Five cents each to staple 200 booklets? Sure! Kinko's may be pricey, but no other establishment has mastered the art of the seller's market like they have. I certainly could have paid $10 less and folded my own letters, but why bother? Let the man behind the counter do it. Better yet, let the man behind the counter let a machine do it, and charge me $10 for labor. Why the hell not?

No, I'm not too worried about my future. There's a great job waiting for me when I graduate. If you need to find me, you won't have to look far. Just head down Route 29 around midnight and turn left on Seminole Trail.

"Good evening!" you'll hear me say as you walk through the doors. "How can I rob you"