Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Oh, you want that Unibound?
So yesterday, I entrusted my freshly printed thesis (now approaching two weeks past due) to the hands of the employees of a particular nationwide chain of stores, who advertise binding as one of their services. When I asked the couldn't-be-more-than-sixteen year old girl if she could bind it, she took the document quickly and mumbled something to the effect of Sure.

No questions asked, and so I assumed, that they only offered one type of binding, and hoped it was the type that I needed - unibound, like a book.

My sister and I waited for a moment, fingering through really pathetic father's day cards and super-sized permanent markers, while the teenage girl spoke to someone in the back about problems with the binding machine. Could you come fix it?

Now, here is where I should've stepped in. Should've made certain that they were attempting to do the type of binding that I needed. Should've made sure that things were ok.

Instead, I asked if my sister and I could come back for it in a few minutes - so that we could go and browse around a nearby store looking to spend gift certificates we each got for Mother's day.

Forty-five minutes later, we returned to the store, the manager was there this time, and I saw my plastic-spiral bound thesis sitting on the counter. My heart sank a little, knowing that they'd poked holes through the sides of the entire document, but it couldn't be that bad. I would simply take it, as I didn't specify that I didn't want spiral bound to begin with.

The manager apologized, said that he could photocopy the entire thing and unibound it for me on the spot. And so I flipped through the pages to show him the one particular page that couldn't be photocopied - the page with the signatures of my faculty advisor and my reader, with the final line blank and awaiting the signature of the program director.

To my surprise - it was photocopied already. Then I realized, the entire thesis was. And the original I had brought and handed over to the teenage girl? Well, the manager, now visibly flustered, embarrassed, upset, went to ask the teenage boy who had helped to fix the binding machine. Oh, we threw it out. And the trash is gone.

Apparently, they had punched the spiral binding in backwards the first time, thus decided to undo it, photocopy my entire thesis and then just hide the evidence - I thought we could get by with the copy. He said.

At this point, my sister and I can both see the restraint that the manager is taking to stop himself from tearing the kids head off - he points to the useless, photocopied, spiral bound book and tells me that of course, they're not going to charge me for it.

And so, we left. Disappointed, obviously. A bit aghast that they would've thrown away the original document I brought in - even if they had damaged it, it was still mine. I'm pretty sure that the director of the program won't fail me for the lack of the two original signatures, but I'm certain that a photocopied signature page is not what's expected from me.

Then - my sister and I decide to stop and get soft serve ice cream on our way home. (Ok, we'd been planning it all along - we're ice cream fiends...) And my first cup of coffee soft serve of the season - which cost me a whopping $5 - was bad. I mean, bad. I didn't realize just how bad until we were in the car, almost back to my parent's house. It was tangy. Icky. Not coffee-flavored at all.

My mother took one bite, and spit it out over the sink - Oh, that's spoiled milk.

And then, as though my day of disappointments couldn't get worse - I bought some blueberries on my way to my evening job. Something sweet, but manageable while working. Of course, they too were bad. Mealy, dry, disgusting.

But, at the end of the day - at nine-thirty last night - I came home to a husband who helped carry my sleeping children from the car, and we sat together and unwound. And I thought, what a nice day.

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Blogger TrappedInColorado said...

What a wonderful trait. You do not let the positive get overshadowed by the negative! I KNEW this was going to have a happy ending. :) Nice post. Thanks.

Blogger Owlhaven said...

oh, the turkeys!!


Blogger zhoen said...

Mamas tell us the'll be days like this.

When we can still savor them, we don't need mamas to tell us no more.

Blogger Katherine said...

Oh, Mella! My heart was sinking as I continued to read your post. What a shocking thing to happen to such a labor of love, sweat, and tears -- and the most important document for the completion of your degree! You handled it much better than I would have.

Blogger Novice said...

I would have gone total kick ass on the manager.

What was this chain? I'm never going to use it.

Blogger LJ said...

Oh sweet mother. Don't you hate when the universe rains poop on your entire day - not to mention several years of your heartfelt work? Gotta be better the next day. Take heart, Mella - and stick to carrots.

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