A few days ago my printer broke down. Since I will be moving to Australia in a few weeks, I decided not to fix it. Anyway, yesterday, I needed to print a document urgently so I saved it as a pdf file and went to a copy-store close to my house.
As I went into to store I was not sure where should I put my disk-on-key, so I asked the owner how do I print a document. He asked what I needed to print and how many copies. I told him I have a 2 page document and that I will need about 5 copies. A total of 10 pages.
He said no problem. But we have a minimum of 10 Shekels. I thanked him and walked out of the store. I walked another 3 minutes to another store and printed my document there for 2.5 shekels.
My question is why the set a minimum at all? What did the owner have to lose by printing my document? It doesn’t cost him anything to reach the file and send it to printer. So, why make it difficult? I know he did not lose a lot of money by not servicing me. I actually might have understood it if the store was full and he needed the computer for costumers who had bigger documents and were willing to pay more for not waiting. But it wasn’t. The store was empty. I was the only costumer.
I really felt cheated (even though I did not pay anything). I would never return to that store. This might not be a substantial lost to the store owner, but he could not have known that. With no cost at all for him, he could have made me happy and keep me as a costumer.
Many times you see such policies. Usually, they don’t make sense. If you create rules that hinder your costumer you only hinder yourself. Even if your rules do make sense some of the time, they should be bendy enough to allow you to serve the costumer under the right circumstances. As Seth Godin says – Service is marketing.