There’s a stationer’s shop up the road that must be inundated with students at certain times of the year, printing out their single businesscard, their single letterhead, and single compliments slip for their Multimedia Tools & Techniques projects. It must be frustrating, dealing with these small little jobs that net you as little as 15c. So they did something logical. They instituted a minimum charge of a euro. This is fair enough, so I continue to take my business there and we all live happily ever after.
Actually, they didn’t. They informed me, the last time I went there, that any print job to the value of less than 3 euro incurs a euro handling fee. In other words, instead of the customer saying: “Fair enough, you charge a minimum of two euro,” the customer says: “Oh, really? You’ve instituted a punishment for those daring to spend less than 3 euro on a print job?” Because that handling fee means a print job of 2.95 will cost you 3.95, but a job worth 5c more will cost you 95c less. It genuinely comes down to a fine for needing a print job worth less than 3 euro.
We’re talking piddling amounts here, and I really can understand why they need to charge a minimum fee. I can even understand why they might want to scare away those one-page-please students, who clog the little shop with queues at finals time and probably cause inconvenience for higher paying customers. But give me twenty seconds, and I can think of three better ways to handle the situation, better ways to phrase the minimum charge so it doesn’t come across as a snotty punishment for small spenders. The impression they’ve now created – that they are turning their noses up at small-job-customers rather than just instituting a fair minimum fee, that they are effectively fining those who dare to ask them to print only a few pages – means when I had a bigger job yesterday, I took it to a different printer.
If you don’t want my business, don’t worry. I’ll take it elsewhere.