Bent out of Shape by Staples

Steve Rubel posts an interesting quiz for us on his website. Staples has apparently been charging customers for virus scanning on files that people come in to have printed. $2.49, Rubel reports, and it’s creating quite a stir in the blogosphere. Check out Steve’s post and we’ll create our own discussion here.

FOLLOW UP: Steve Rubel now contends that Staples is a blog winner. Recent developments indicate there was some confusion about what the fee was actually for, as Beth notes in the comment section of this post. Excellent work, Beth. Rubel notes that BoingBoing posted Staples’ response. My favorite part of this whole fiasco was what Jeremy Pepper wrote on Rubel’s follow up. This has been my complaint of the blogosphere since I started paying attention to it. And guess what? I fell into the exact same trap that I’ve been complaining about. I’m going to add “Lessons Learned” to the categories of this post…because it was a HUGE lesson for me. Pepper’s comment indicates the lack of professionalism in bloggers’ methods. Attacks are made with little fact or research and it is allowable. We’d never allow a traditional journalist to get away with this without being flayed. Somehow the electronic medium makes us forget to think or have consequences. I posted something similar in response to Tom Murphy’s Blog in his December 12th post titled Crossing the Tortoise.

I’ve learned something valuable here. I actually thought about calling my local Staples to verify this, but didn’t. The rumor mill sucked me in and I got ground up. Lesson learned.

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4 Responses

  1. I don’t think that Staples is charging people directly for virus scanning files. If you read the response and other comments on Boing Boing, it says the service is ‘raster image processing’ allowing Staples to take the file directly from a customer’s disk or whatever and then print, copy etc.

    If Staples does charge for virus scanning why shouldn’t they. Anyone can go into Staples with a virus on a file and cause potential havoc at their local Staples, putting the Staples computers out of commission and in effect losing business.
    However, if anyone wanted to protest Staples they could bring in a virus purposefully and cause a mini-crisis for the local Staples.

    Staples needed to respond immediately to the blogosphere and public. They also need to ensure that employees, such as the one who did not know that Raster Image Processing is not virus scanning, are informed about the services provided to customers.

  2. There are approximately 300 blogs on PR out there right now, Luke (and Beth), and the stuff being discussed out there is more than just repeating what is being said out there about blogs and new blog tools, but pushing the industry forward with new thinking and ideas.

    As for the Staples issue, this is the same as the BS issue with FedEx, and bloggers being up-in-arms and calling for boycotts and trying to start another meme that would inevitably lean to … PR sucks.

    When I did my post on FedEx … I actually spoke to FedEx!!! I know, a total suspension of reality (or maybe common-sense) on that one, but what you are seeing and reading are some people trying to create memes to push themselves as the voice of an industry, and how every company in the world needs to blog. No, they just need to pay attention. And, heck, Staples did pay attention because they responded in a timely manner.

    Check out those 300+ other bloggers, and the students at Auburn who blog at PRBlogs.org – they are the ones that will move the industry forward, and move into that so-called 25 percent.

  3. Jeremy,
    Thank you so much for posting. Yes, your stats are interesting and the lesson here is well received. This was an excellent experience for me and hopefully for my fellow students. Thank you for your insight and contribution.
    Readers, check out Jeremy’s blog on the blogroll link on our main page.
    Thanks a lot!

  4. Thanks – but I didn’t do it for the link love. 🙂

    I really believe we are all in PR for the same reason, and see where it needs to be improved. It’s altruism versus self promotion, and I think we’re all better off with altruism.

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