Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Support Local... Most of the Time

I had to send a local fax last week and so I went to a local shop that offers those services. It was a 10 page document which I had printed on my laser printer so they were perfect originals. I arrived at the unnamed shop at 4:40pm and began scanning my document through. By 5:05pm, it was only on page of the send transmission. I couldn't believe how long it was taking and had I known beforehand, I would have gone elsewhere.

Finally at 5:25pm, my local, 10 page fax transmission was complete; a full 45 minutes after I had started. I was now late for another engagement. Mrs SudsMuffin had to leave without me to go pick up MiniMuffin from her day camp and then come all the way back into town to pick me up. What an inconvenience, to say the least. Then even with the painfully slow sending fax, this business charged me $1 per page (yes, for a local fax). I couldn't believe it. It's not the cost that I had an issue with so much as the fact that their fax machine was so slow that it caused me a fair bit of inconvenience. I would have been embarrassed to charge my customer for that fax, had I been that local business.

The next day, I met with the person I had sent the fax to. I couldn't believe what I saw. She had received 10 pages of a streaky mess. Every pages had streaks all the way down and across the entire page. When I asked her about it, she told me that the issue wasn't even on her end since she has "fax to email" from the local phone provider and that my streaky document is how she received it as the pdf in her email, before even printing it.

Later that same day, I went back to the business where I had sent my fax from, with a copy of my original and a copy of the received transmission. I went in very friendly (if you know me, you'll know that I'm pretty calm and low-key with things like this) and as soon as I started to show the business owner what their fax sent to my recipient, he got all defensive, with a fists on hips stance. He started sputtering that it was the phone line that sent it that way, that he has no control over the quality of the transmission, and that there was nothing he could do about it.

I didn't even get to the part where my recipient receives faxes electronically day in and day out. I just left. Mrs SudsMuffin is not pleased with that business at all. She has given them hundreds of dollars in business in the past year (they sell items there that we use), and even though they aren't the least expensive option, we have given them our business because we support local over big box stores. Mrs SudsMuffin has a list of things that she wanted to get from this business, but no more. I can't believe that a small business would risk so much in this economy over an $11 fax. Crazy isn't it?

7 comments:

Particles of Stone said...

Don't blame you for not going back. Perhaps it would be a kindness to the business owners to point out how and why they lost your business...and that you even blogged about it. That might change their attitude. ;-)

Mrs.Kwitty said...

Grrr. Stuff like that just makes me sad (and mad). Don't people realize anymore how important customer service is? I can't believe that he treated you like that, especially considering what an important customer you are to them...Wow. He should have given (or at least offered) you free use of that fax machine. That's what I would have done if it was my shop.
I guess they are going to have to learn the hard lesson on that one--how foolish.

Smiles, Karen

Strycher said...

At the rate they are charging, you'd think they could buy a better fax. That sounds like a scanner issue inside the fax, which is easily remedied by repair or replacement. I'm assuming that you're not the only ones that used them for faxing, so this is one of those deals where I too would have to agree that they are putting themselves at a lot of risk for no apparent reason.

Of course, I then would have to ask, why aren't you using something like eFax to handle your faxing, so that you can go electronic and not print the pages to carry elsewhere to fax them out? Cheaper, easier, more convenient, yadda yadda.

mysaintjohn said...

Can you send me a direct tweet? I'm curious to find out where this was.

Burnt Mill Candles and Soap said...

wow that is crazy!

SudsMuffin said...

Thanks all.
Strycher! Nice to see you here. :)
I'm definitely looking at options. This was just one of those things where I had a hard copy to send out and no scanner at the shop. Investigating eFax though. Thanks!

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