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Office Depot Print Test

Office Depot Failed!
The Office Depot "Print-On-Demand" Failed!  "Taking Care of Business" My A**!

I finished re-formatting one of the QAC large templates for the Q-2, and decided to have it printed out so that I could verify that it matched up 100% with the original QAC drawings.  I did a quick search on Google earlier this morning to see if I could find a service that could do some "on demand" large format printing.  A couple of recognizeable names with local locations came up including Office Depot and Fedex Kinkos.  Both of these places allow you to upload a document for printing, and then either have the finished product shipped back to you, or you can have it printed locally so that you can simply drive over to the store and pick it up.

I decided to give Office Depot a shot, since I had never used their service before.  At any rate, one of the formats that they offered was large format printing on "bond paper."  Bond paper is apparently the cheapest paper they have, but it's good enough for what we're trying to do.  It's the paper that R/C model airplane plans are printed on, if that gives you a point of reference.

The large format paper size at Office Depot online is 36" x 108" which is more than enough room to print any of the large templates which I have reformatted to fit on 36" x 60" paper, and you pay 49 cents per square foot.  The only trouble is that you pay for the entire sheet of paper even though you might only need half of it.  So for 27 square feet of paper you pay just over $13.  It would be nice if they only made you pay for the printed area of the page, so if this becomes an issue for some people, perhaps I could combine two templates per page and you could save a little money that way.

At any rate, I uploaded my file, selected my print size, and paid via credit card all online.  I also asked that the print be made at a store that was just a few blocks from where I work.  The whole point is that I would be able to verify the print against the original QAC Templates before making them available for sale on this site.  So I was in a hurry.  It was all actually pretty easy. . . until I went to go pick it up.

After work, I drove over to the local Office Depot to pick up the print.  The person behind the counter had no record that I had send the print request.  So I went back out to the truck grabbed the reciept and brought it back in to show them, and they used the transaction ID from the receipt to track the order. 

Apparently, the order never made it to the store, because that store doesn't even have any large format printers!  Hmmm?  Well then why did the order complete online at all then? I received no communication from Office Depot via e-mail or phone all day, to let me know that my order wasn't being processed.  To the contrary, I actually got an e-mail from Office Depot that said it would be ready to pick up well before the time I arrived.  I'm glad I wasn't depending on this print to win my next big client or something!

So to make a long story short, the Office Depot print test is a bust.  They were unable to complete my order locally.  However, I have to give them kudos for the ease of use of their online "print-on-demand" software.  It's pretty easy to figure out, the only problem is that the software obviously doesn't know what stores have what capabilitites. 

I have little doubt that if I had selected the option to have the print shipped to my home, that the order would have been completed successfuly.  Then again, I can't be sure.  The shipping option costs another $10, and it might be worth it, if you were printing all of the templates at once.  I just didn't want to spend the extra money, or wait the extra time before being able to make the templates available for other users.

So for now, I can't really recommend "Office Depot" for their print-on-demand service, until they work out a few bugs.  If someone has better luck with them please post a comment below.  In the meantime, I'll give FedEx Kinko's a try (probably tomorrow) and let you know the results.

Wish me luck! Undecided