Muy Bueno Copier - 2/21/06
Note: No, not all of my recent post are vaguely racist, stereotype-indulging (especially Mexican ones) larks. If you'll notice, the wackiness of the following has nothing to do with the fact that the subjects are Mexican, and everything to do with the fact that they're crazy. I mean c'mon, half of Mexico already hates me, and it's not so far away that I could feel content poking fun.

I may have mentioned that my friend Sarah has been helping me with my tutoring business, and one thing she did recently was help me procure a new $500 printer, capable of printing two-sided books of 420 pages each, cranking them out in about ten minutes a book, and doing a little dance for me while I wait. We ended up buying the copier the boring way (at Staples), but the fact that Sarah is bilingual helped with some of the wacky price-shopping along the way.

One of the venders Sarah called turned out to be some kind of Mexican chop-shop of used copy machines, and the contact person there, Maria, informed Sarah that she had the perfect copier for us.
“It’s muy bueno copier!” exclaimed Maria. “Perfect for you business.”
“Well that’s fine, but we’re actually looking for a printer,”
replied Sarah. “If it makes copies, too, that’s fine, but it needs to print.”
“Si, si, it’s muy bueno! It copies 30,000 copies per month. The outside is from 2001. But the inside parts all new. Muy bueno!”
“What? Well… how many pages can it hold? We’ll need to make a lot of books.”
“Si, it holds 50 pages, but it prints 35 pages per minute. It’s muy bueno! You tell us you address, and we come set it up for you.”
“No no, we’re not looking to buy anything just yet, I’m just pricing. Does it print in color?”
“No, but it’s muy bueno! Just tell us where your office is. We have it there this afternoon.”
“I don’t think you understand… we don’t even really have an office…”
“Will you be paying check or cash?”
“I’m hanging up on you now, Maria.”

I watched most of this conversation at Office Depot, where Sarah’s expression on her cell phone swung alternately from hilarity to horror. I’m glad I wasn’t on the phone, or I might have been suckered into a dangerous purchase:

“But it’s muy bueno copier!”
“I know it’s muy bueno copier. But it doesn’t print in color like I wanted, it doesn’t hold lots of sheets like I wanted, it doesn’t scan like I wanted, you won’t give me a price, and you want to assemble it in an office we don’t have.”
“But it’s muy bueno!”
“You make a compelling rebuttal. I’ll buy it.”

It’s kind of an impenetrable argument, actually; saying repeatedly that something is muy bueno is kind of the “Infinity-Plus-One” of copy machine quality statements. I mean… there’s just no comeback. Who am I to argue that the copier is not, in fact, muy bueno? I can picture this strategy applied to other situations in the business world:

"Johnson, this proposal is too expensive, addresses none of the clients’ needs, and goes off on a nine-page tangent about a whaling adventure!"
"But sir, it’s muy bueno."
"Well, alright then, as long as it’s muy bueno."

"So I understand that this car is the cheapest in its class, the safest, and gets the best gas mileage. But is it muy bueno?"
"Well I’m not really sure about that."
"Then sorry, I’m walking."

"Captain, we can’t navigate this route! There’s an iceberg there!"
"No no, it’s fine. It’s muy bueno route."

So as much as this copier was, as mentioned, muy bueno, I must admit I had my doubts. For one thing, what did Maria mean the outside was from 2001, but the inside was all new? Is this some kind of stolen copier with the VIN number scratched off, that somebody pilfered from a copy machine factory while the security guard was asleep? Or did they take copy machine parts and put them back together inside a snowblower or something, where you feed papers in through the augur and get finished copies shot out through the snow-chute? Maybe they just hand you a paper bag full of copier parts and assembly is required.

Second, 30,000 copies per month. PER MONTH? Don’t people usually describe copy speed in terms of per minute, or at least per hour? Does this mean the copier prints faster in February than it does in March? Related to this is the fact that the machine reportedly printed 35 pages per minute, but only held 50 pages. So what, you have to reload it like every 1.43 minutes? And even considering the copious loading time, at this rate, you could theoretically still crank out those 30,000 copies, printing continuously, in about ten hours. Do you then have to wait until the end of the month before the copier resets itself and keeps going?

Finally, “let us come to your office and we’ll set it up!”? And maybe give us a timeshare pitch while they’re at it? Um, we don’t really have an office – I work out of my house. I can picture Noah coming home and finding Sarah and I watching a team of Mexicans setting up a copy machine inside a snowblower in our living room. Also, I feel like a pickup truck must be involved at some point… possibly parked in Noah’s driveway spot.

But it’s cool. After all, it’s muy bueno copier.

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