For Staples, that really was easy

Steve Gamlin needed to make only one more copy of his seminar. Just one more. But no dice.

With a deadline looming, his last-minute rush job to the closest Staples for this self-employed author and speaker from Goffstown, N.H., landed him at a store with, of all things, a malfunctioning copy machine.

But before Gamlin could figure out what to say to a client expecting the document as promised, a Staples rep went way above and beyond for a quick rescue.

Not working in an amply-equipped office with a four-figure workhorse of a color copier machine can leave some at the mercy of third-party vendors for bulk office tasks usually taken for granted. And working hours can be any time of the day or night.

“After hosting an educational webinar on Thursday, I promised all my clients who preferred hard copies they would have them shipped to them by Monday,” says Gamlin. “Then I realized I was one copy short. Sales exceeded supply — a good problem. But now what?”

Being able to upload your copy job online to retrieve it later at a local Staples store is as slick as it gets. When did that happen? I still remember sniffing the mimeograph (look it up and do the math) stencils of hand-cranked machines reluctantly spewing out damp copies of quizzes in elementary school.

“The next afternoon, I began uploading the gargantuan files onto the Staples website before heading off to an evening event,” Gamlin continued.

But slickness is only as effective as the human behind the technology. Enter Keith of the Bedford, N.H., Staples, who cradled and carried this baby all the way home.

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“In the middle of the night shift, I received voicemails from Keith saying he was unable to open one of the key files and asked if I could resend it,” Gamlin went on. “I was stuck 50 miles away without Wi-Fi, so it had to wait until next morning.”

Next day, another voicemail from Keith revealed good news and bad news. The good news is he was able to access the file.

Copy that.

The bad news? Their color copy machine was broken and would likely delay delivery of his document to the remaining client past the promised date. With Gamlin’s integrity at risk, his frantic call to Staples the next evening to check on the copy machine revealed a shock.

Keith was gone.

But it was because after he ended his work day, he drove over to the nearest Staples copy center in Manchester with Gamlin’s work on a thumb drive to finish the order there, ready for next morning.


Let’s digest this. Keith was not expected to be back to work until the next day — and Gamlin would have understood. Yet, after what surely must have been a long day, Keith drove to another Staples in his own car entirely on his own personal time to help Gamlin out, for no other reason than to be nice.

“Wow!,” said Gamlin.

That is my line, but will let it go this time.

What about Keith’s backstory at the end of that day? Maybe he had plans? Maybe he had his own urgencies similar to Gamlin’s to attend to? Or maybe he just wanted to veg? He was probably hungry, too.

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One thing for sure, Keith is as modest as Gamlin is on-point.

“We rarely hear words of praise, and when so many people are desperately seeking a reason to complain, Keith became my customer service hero,” added Gamlin. “Next time I saw him at the store, I exclaimed ‘Dude, you are a rock star!’ Deflecting credit, he shook my hand and said he was happy to be able to help.”

Gamlin even posted a video about his experience on his YouTube channel, sharing it on Staples’ corporate Facebook page. “Thank you for your efforts way beyond expectation that made me look great in the eyes of my client,” Gamlin concluded.

That was easy.

Andrew Der

Der is an environmental consultant and travel journalist specializing in water science, nature, eco-travel, and cultural destinations

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