Wednesday, March 4, 2015


When I grow up (or retire, whichever happens first) I want to be a Kinko's girl.
Ok, so they don't actually call them Kinko's in my part of the world any more, but you know what I mean, right? One of those people who works at the copy places. I have lots of experience.

Take yesterday, for example.

It is 4:30 in the afternoon. Our school gets out at 3. It is starting to snow. Lots of people are leaving to try to avoid rush hour.

But not me.

I am standing at the office counter. With one of my teacher friends. We have spent two weeks designing a magazine for a Civil War unit that he is starting today.

Our finished product is beautiful. I think the kids are going to love doing the research in this way.

All that was left was the copying.

We just needed to figure out how to print out the 24 page magazine. With the pages in order. And no pages upside down or backwards.

But not to fear. Because I am Kinko's girl wanna be.

My friend does some final proofreading while I figure out the logistics. I have made lots of pamphlets and magazines before. This particular magazine, though, seems a teeny bit complicated because we want it to have a landscape layout, so kids can compare charts, etc, from the north and the south, by having one on the top and one on the bottom.

As I think about it, it seems like unless we lay it out right, half of the pages could potentially turn out upside down.

But not to fear, because I am a Kinko's wanna be.

I grab six pieces of paper ,  old fax transmittal reports out of the recycle bin.  I fold them in half. Number the pages. Realize that when I take them apart, I still won't know where the tops have to be. I go back through the pages and write the word "top" on the top of each of the 24 pages.

My friend is ready. We head to the copy machine. But not the little copy machine I usually use.

This is a big project. I want the big Kahuna. The office copy machine. It makes the best copies. And it makes them faster.

I lay my mockup on the counter. I am a Kinko's wanna be. I know how to do this.

My friend looks a little dubious, but I assure him I know what I am doing.

"Hand me the front and back cover," I say authoritatively. I feel a little like a surgeon. Scalpel please.

My friend hands me the pages I request. And then the next two.

I attempt to make them back to back. One side is upside down.

My friend again looks a little doubtful. "It's ok," I assure him. "I can figure this out."

I turn the pages around. This time I get it right.

Our booklet has 24 pages. We have four done.

I start again. Consult my template. Copy two 8x11's. Make one 11X17. Consult my template. Copy two more 8X11's. Copy the two 11 X 17's back to back. Lay them on top of the last back to back 11 X 17. Repeat.

I am going strong until someone interrupts me to ask a question. And then I get a little confused and want to copy out of the finished pile.

"I think we already did that one," my friend says. I consult my template. Check the pile. He is right.

I try again. Copy two more pages. Am momentarily confused when I realize that someone has sent another job to the printer, and someone's behavior report is now included in our Civil War magazine. We have to back up and recopy those four pages.

Finally we have all 24 pages transferred to six back-to-back 11X 17's.

"I didn't think we could do it," says my friend.

I give him a teeny stink eye. How could he doubt me-- a Kinko's girl wanna be?

I make a trial copy of the document. I want to fold it and make sure all the pages are right side up. They are. I lay the document on the printer and prepare to copy fifty Civil War magazines.

I discover that the machine is almost out of toner. I know how to change the toner, or at least I think I do, but I don't have the key to that cupboard. Fortunately, the secretary is just leaving. She is used to my projects and rolls her eyes. I promise Starbucks if she will help me. She  would have helped anyway, but the Starbucks is a nice incentive, especially when it's after five and she is trying to leave to go pick up her baby.

We start to copy. Our machine is not as fancy as Kinko's  and we don't have the automatic fold and staple feature.

I direct my friend where to the long handled stapler.

The machine starts to copy.

He comes back with it, but it is empty, and we don't know where the staples could be.

We decide we can probably use a regular stapler. Not ideal, but we can make it work. Kinko's people have to be a little flexible.

The machine keeps copying.  I start pulling the copies off, one magazine at a time.

"I'll fold," I say. "You staple." (Kinko's people have to have that take charge attitude."

Thirty minutes later, the machine is on the last magazine. Three more pages and it runs out of paper. I hunt down a package of 11X17 paper.  I refill Tray 4. Hit start again. Unjam the machine when it pulls the first page crookedly.

And then we are done. Or almost done. There is one page sitting on the counter. It is the middle page. Somehow it got left out.

"I'll just let the kids help me find it," says my friend. I cannot live with this. Kinko's people have to produce high quality finished products. They do not leave out pages. I begin opening magazines to see if they have a middle page.

"The kids can do this, Carol," protests my friend.

I persevere. Halfway through the stack I find the magazine with the missing pages. Find a staple puller outer.  Take the magazine apart. Insert the missing page. Restaple.

And then we are done. Fifty Civil War magazines. Ready to use.

"I didn't think we could really do this," says my friend.

I give him the stink eye again. After all, I am a Kinko's wanna be.

Now if I could just get the code to make color copies…


Rebecca Gomez said...

I'm a little jealous of your skills.

Michelle said...

Impressive! Way to stick with it and persevere! I could picture the obstacle course and you in your apron ... And don't you hate when you are interrupted at the copy machine! I cannot multi-task at the copier! Bravo on your Kinko girl wanna be skills. I see evidence for your portfolio that you can share when you apply. :) Oh! What a fabulous idea -- the magazine! And, yes, that should be in color!! Get the code! A real Kinko girl can do that. :)

Stacey Shubitz said...

You need that code! The question is, how will you get it? ;)

I have some taxes and other documents that need to be copied. Wanna help, Kinko's girl?

elsie said...

You are a master copy person. Any office supply store would be thrilled to have someone of your caliber. Be sure you save one of the magazines for your portfolio of fine copying you have done. They should be impressed, after all schools have the worst equipment.

Judy said...

Love the refrain and your perseverance!

Nanc said...

The 'stink eye' is what got me the most. Is this the same guy you were trying to help yesterday and hurt your computer? How did that turn out. I love the can do attitude of today Carol ! xo

Ruth Ayres said...

Spent a little time catching up with your "corner" of the world. I'm glad you are still spinning your stories -- you have such a beautiful handle on craft. I'm glad you write.

Tara said...

"Aa staple puller outer" they have these at Kinkos? :) I would love to know more about this magazine, Carol. But, again, I am most impressed by your patience and perseverance.

Linda B said...

Very.good.problem-solving! I think we could work together. I know how to do those projects too & it works! But it does take a lot of thinking, just like you showed us. Great work, Kinko's girl!

Mindi Rench said...

Copiers. The bane of my existence. You can come do my copying if you want! :-)

Unknown said...

Loved the "stink eye"! Don't we all have one- especially when people doubt our super-hero teacher skills? Great job!