It’s been quite a while since I added something from the Mental Album, and yesterday CJ announced that she had to get some copies of some legal documents made. That dredged up a very funny story from my consulting days that I realized I’ve never told here.
Until the last few years, there was a chain of copy centers around here called Kinko’s that I visited every so often. Kinko’s has since been acquired/merged by FedEx, so I think the name "Kinko’s" is on the way out, and seems to be getting replaced with "FedEx Office". I never really thought too much about the name, though. For me, "Kinko’s" was synonymous with "24-hour copy center".
Several years ago, I had to go to Connecticut to pitch for some new business. My pitch partner and I flew out the night before, and we were finalizing the presentation all the way out on the plane, and in the hotel that night. Our pitch was something like 10am the next morning, so we could afford to take it in and get it nicely printed and bound up the morning of the presentation.
We woke early the next morning and checked out of the hotel. As we were walking out, we stopped by the concierge’s desk, and asked him where the nearest Kinko’s was.
For the next 5 seconds, the look on that man’s face was part confusion, part disgust, and part "I just came on duty, and it’s too freakin’ early for this sort of thing".
It was a long 5 seconds.
When he finally regained the ability to speak, he managed a question. "A what?"
"Um, a Kinko’s?"
Very carefully, struggling only slightly to maintain his composure, replied, "I don’t know what that is."
"Just a copy center."
"Oh!" He visibly relaxed a full three notches. "Well, if you need something copied, the front desk can help you."
"Well, we need it bound, too."
"In that case," he replied, "if you go down this road a few miles there’s an OfficeMax on the right."
"Ok, thank you!"
We managed to make it out to our car and shut the doors before we completely lost it laughing. I assumed that Kinko’s was a nation-wide chain. Apparently it wasn’t, or at least the chain didn’t have a link in Connecticut!
Looking back – and putting myself in that guy’s shoes – if I had never seen or heard of Kinko’s and someone asked me where to find one, the first thing the 6th-grade boy in me would have come up with would be "adult-entertainment industry", which is where I’m sure his mind was.
You know, to that point, I’m just glad we explained that we needed something copied BEFORE we explained we needed something bound.