FedEx Follies

I recently needed to fax a single page Word document to someone that didn’t have a computer or fax machine. I know, they need to get with the times, but they’re grandparents and they just don’t get that Internet thing. Anyway, I looked at my available options and found that FedEx/Kinkos offers a Word plugin where you can print directly to any FedEx/Kinkos location from your PC. That sounded great. My grandparents could just go to the local FedEx/Kinkos and pick up the document.

First step was to download the application at The file was actually 11 megabytes and it required me to reboot my computer after install. Made me wonder what I was actually installing at that point and I didn’t have a good feeling that they could manage my security, especially after reading about Sony’s rootkit debacle.

Once my computer rebooted, I opened my Word document and noticed I had a new FedEx icon in my toolbar. Clicking the icon launched the FedEx application where I was able to select the document to print and which Fedex/Kinkos location I wanted to print to.

This is where it got ugly. FedEx Kinkos has a minimum charge to use the service. The charge was acceptably low for my purpose, but my 1 page document failed to meet the minimum $ requirement. There was no option to send the page and just charge me the minumum. I had to create a new Word document with 3 blank pages to see if it met the requirement. Nope. I tried 5 pages. Nope. I tried 6 pages and the system finally let me continue. Once I got past that it went fairly well; however, I wasn’t entirely confident that the FedEx/Kinkos location would receive the document and know what to do with it.

The first 2 trips to the Fedex/Kinkos resulted in a dumbfounded rep that had no idea what my grandfather was asking for. Once I called the location and gave the order number and explained that they have an online print tool called File, Print, FedEx, Kinkos, they still couldn’t find the document, but said they would call me back. I received a call within about 10 minutes saying they located the files but wondered why 6 out of the 7 pages were blank.

I can imagine the developer’s conversation during the development cycle. “who would print a one page document? We don’t need to write code for that.”

On another note . . . I just tried installing the application on another computer and found the following error message.
FedEx error message
An error message like that just means “I didn’t want to use that program anyway.”

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