Staples Doesn’t See Anything Wrong With Preying on Stupidity

Earlier this week I stopped by Staples at Union Square (Manhattan) to make some copies of two documents for a project.  The black and white copies were 11 cents apiece, which I thought was reasonable enough, considering the fact that I saved time by just making my copies there.  Home scanner/printer all-in-ones are fairly slow to scan and slower to print compared to a commercial machine.  The process is pretty simple too.  You put your debit card in a slot, like on an ATM, and when you’re done making copies, you press a button and your card is charged and ejected.

Today, when I was thinking about the dozen pdfs (each 10 –20 pages) that I need to print, my first thought was to go to Staples.  It would be faster, less of a hassle and I have an unlimited MetroCard.  So, off I went.  Unfortunately, it didn’t go quite as smoothly as making copies.

When I walked into the Staples I started looking at the black and white copiers.  There was no spot for a USB drive so I went to the counter to ask about having files printed.  The girl at the counter told me I could leave the files with her and come back and get them in about two hours, or I could rent time on their desktop computers and just print them right away.

Ok, so I went to the desktop computers.  20 cents per minute.  That wasn’t too bad, so I stuck my card into the slot and waited for it to start up.  I plugged in my thumb drive, opened the first pdf and clicked print.  A new box popped up and told me that to print 10 pages it would cost me $5.33.  Wait, what?  I did the math real quick in my head.  11 cents x 10 = $1.10 plus tax.  Uh?  What’s going on?  So I just logged off and went to the counter again, and this is the conversation I had with a male employee.

“I just wanted to double check something with you.  I tried to print out a pdf on your computer and it told me that the total cost would be 5.33.  That seems a bit expensive.”

“Oh yes, to print it’s 99 cents per color page, or 50 cents per black and white page, plus tax!”

“But, the copiers are 11 cents per black and white page.”

“Oh, well on the computers you’re getting the extra services of using the INTERNET and you’re able to print documents!” [If I could make hearts and rainbows appear around the word “Internet” there I would.  He said it like it was a powerful and beautiful magic, the likes of which a fool like me had never seen.]

“But, I’m already paying an extra 20 cents a minute to use the computers.  Why am I also paying more for the same thing as a copy, just to print?”

“Well, it’s a special extra service.”

“What’s special about it?  The end result is the same thing as a copy.  It’s a paper with text and images printed in black and white ink.  Why does it cost so much more?”

“You’re getting the extra service of being able to use our computers.”

“Yes, I get that, but I’m paying 20 cents a minute to use the computer, so why am I also being charged so much more to create the same black and white page as I could on your copier if I’d come here with a hard copy of the document?”

“Well, that’s just the way our pricing is.”

“So, you want to charge me 4 times as much to print as to make a copy and you don’t see anything wrong with that?”


So, I left.  If I print a document to their copier and the copier prints it, or I put a page on the glass and copy it, it still uses the same amount of materials to produce the new page (copy or freshly printed from a file).  So, I can see paying the 20 cents a minute to use their desktop computer to open the files and send them to the printer.  Sure, why not?  But why should I pay 50 cents instead of 11 cents per page?  Hell, if you think about it, you’d only have to print about 40 pages before you’d already spent so much money you could’ve bought your own home printer, or in my case, a new black ink cartridge.

Staples, how about some better pricing on your print services?

Reason’s Why Globe Telecom’s Customer Service Sucks

Continuing right along with my problems with Globe, I’d like to give a few examples of why Globe Telecom sucks horribly when it comes to customer service.  As a service provider, customer service is an area that Globe should be excelling in, but they obviously don’t know the first thing about taking care of customers.  I’ll just give my examples in order of when I experienced them.

Example 1

When we were using Globe Tattoo’s USB sticks for Internet access, there were times when the network would go down or it would be so horribly slow that it literally couldn’t load pages, even though it would connect you and debit your account.  This would lead to lost money either way, because even if you registered for all-day surfing, how can you surf all day and get what you paid for if the network is down?

So, we would call up the Customer Service hotline and ask for a refund since we weren’t able to use the service.  WITHOUT FAIL the CSR we talked to would always tell us that they were going to put us on hold to check the status of the network in our area, then come back and tell us the network was working fine, as if they were trying to say the fault is somehow ours and they don’t want to take responsibility for it.

I mean, hello!  The network isn’t fine!  If it was, we wouldn’t be wasting our time calling the hotline over 5 or 10 pesos.

It usually required an epic amount of arguing to get that small refund.  Every, single, time.

Example 2

When we wanted to sign up for WiMax, we went to the Globe store at SM Taytay and talked to a CSR there.  We agreed that we wanted the service and we were asked for contact details.  We were told that they would check to see if there was coverage in our area and then get back to us.

My first problem with this is, why can’t they check on the spot if an area has coverage?  Shouldn’t that data be on hand?  Should a person have to physically go out to a location every single time someone wants service and check?  How inefficient is that?

My second problem is that they never did get back to us.  After waiting for 3 weeks we wound up using an authorized agent and distributor to get our WiMax.

Example 3

Why is it that the CSRs never update account notes?  If I have an ongoing problem, even after they pull up the account and say they’ve reviewed the details, they never know what’s going on and I have to re-explain something to them from the start.  On top of that, I have to explain it multiple times in multiple ways because they never seem to understand what I’m talking about.  I get the feeling that I understand their services better than they do.  These CSRs really need to be retrained, or to get some training to begin with.

I’m mostly referring to my on-going issue with WiMax here, which still isn’t resolved by the way, since the technicians that were supposedly coming out to make a house call never bothered to show up.  I’ve made multiple calls to their office about slow speeds and every single time I talk to them I have to start from the beginning.  Looks like I’ll be doing it again shortly, and now in addition to have to re-explain myself, I’ll have to complain about how the technicians blew us off and didn’t show up for the appointments that they set.

Example 4

Globe CSRs will always try to make you feel like a liar and a thief.  In some cases, they’ll even tell you an outright lie to try to keep from having to refund money.  They even quote things that have no bearing on what the issue is.

A few days ago, on the 18th, I registered for a text promotion called SULITXT 15.  Basically, you pay 15 PHP and you get 100 text messages that are available for 24 hours.  After 24 hours, the unused portion is forfeited.  This is a good deal because text messages are typically 1 PHP each.

To register, you send “SULITXT 15” to 8888.  To check your balance, you send “SLTX BAL” to 8888.

So, after registering and using it for a while, I decided to check my balance.  I accidentally copy / pasted the registration code instead of the balance code and sent it.

Instead of returning an error and letting me know that I was already registered, it double registered me, giving me an extra 100 available messages that I didn’t want or need and debited my account for another 15 PHP.

I called the Customer Service hotline to try to have the 2nd registration canceled and have my 15 PHP returned.  It took me about 20 minutes to get the CSR to understand what I was saying and then after that, he started quoting the Fair Use Policy and saying that SULITXT and my situation falls under it.

Globe’s Fair Use Policy:

What is the Fair Use Policy?

The fair use policy states that text offers are applicable for person to person transactions only. They are not intended and should not be used for spamming. Globe reserves the right to suspend promo subscription/s of accounts suspected to be engaged in such activities.

Just what the hell does this have to do with my problem?  I was asking for a cancelation of the service that double registered since I didn’t need it, and was asking for my 15 PHP to be returned.  What about that has anything to do with spamming?

It seems more like he was trying to blow smoke up my ass to get me to stop trying.

He also lied to me, directly.  He tried to tell me that I hadn’t registered for SULITXT services since early July.  I told him that I was using it then and had been using it almost every day for the previous few weeks.  He told me that I was lying to him and that “the system” didn’t show that I’d used any services during that period.  I told him I had proof, the reply messages from the automated service, and that I was definitely using the service and I told him to stop trying to bullshit me.

Here are screenshots:

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 9 40 45 PM

This is the screenshot of when I accidentally resent the registration code instead of the balance code.

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 9 41 01 PM

This is the screenshot showing where I checked the balance after accidentally registering again.

In fact, here are screenshots of all the times I’ve registered for SULITXT from August 3rd through this incident:

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 34 13 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 34 28 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 34 42 PM

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 34 57 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 37 30 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 37 44 PM

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 38 01 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 38 21 PM Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 38 39 PM

Mobile Photo Aug 23, 2010 10 38 55 PM

I guess the concept of smart phones that can take screen shots hasn’t quite dawned on people here.  So, which one of us is lying, huh?

I don’t like being lied to, especially about something that’s easily provable, and especially over 15 PHP.  That’s 33 cents USD.  Why the hell would I call and try to fabricate a story for an amount that can’t even buy a pack of gum?

After arguing with this guy for quite a while, he finally said he would submit a report and gave me a reference number, but I never got my 15 PHP back and the reference number probably isn’t even real.


Seriously… what the hell is wrong with Globe?