Avery Dennison and Stamps.com Debut Complete Internet Mailing and Shipping Solution

PRNewsWire uploaded an announcement that Stamps.com will be teaming up with Avery Dennison, makers of the popular Avery line of labels, to provide an all-in-one internet-based mailing and shipping enterprise. From the press release:

Avery Dennison Office Products and Stamps.com unveiled the Desktop Postal Center as part of Avery’s Mailing Center service, a comprehensive set of tools and services for mailing and shipping needs. Together the Avery Dennison and Stamps.com alliance provides the most convenient and cost-effective postage solution for small businesses and home office professionals, helping them accomplish all their day-to-day shipping and mailing projects. By transforming a computer/printer into a shipping machine, the Desktop Postal Center can save time and resources by accurately calculating exact postage with a postal scale, automatically verifying addresses through Stamps.com, tracking packages via e-mail notifications and eliminating the need to ever go to the post office again.

So basically, Stamps.com provides the postage, Avery provides special labels. Simply add money to an account, print out shipping labels, and leave the packages for your postal carrier. All in all, a cool idea brought to you by a trusted brand. I might be taking it for a test-drive shortly; I’ll let you know how it works!

Treasures for Teachers receives $11,000 from Discover

EVliving.com has reported that Treasures for Teachers, a non-profit organization that helps provide struggling teachers with much-needed school and classroomsupplies, has received an $11,000 gift from Discover Financial Services.

“This gift comes at such a crucial time for us and for education in Arizona,” says Barbara Blalock, Executive Director of Treasures 4 Teachers. Just last week the Governor’s office announced a $144 million budget cut to education directly affecting classroom supplies.

The funds will be used to provide scholarships to teachers and help offset the costs of operating the 10,000 square foot facility in Tempe, Arizona,” says Barbara Blalock.

Heartwarming! It seems not all big corporations are heartless jerks. According to Jim Phelps, vice president of Discover’s Phoenix Operations Center: “Treasures 4 Teachers directly ties to Discover’s mission of supporting educational initiatives. We are glad to make this donation that will help support continued operations of their facility and help teachers further their education.”

Good on you, Discover.

Article: Can a Big-Box fix your computer?

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting quasi-investigative piece on whether or not a big-box store can adequately fix your computer. They basically take in a bunch of computers with various maladies and provide anecdotal evidence of how well their issues are addressed:

Our first stop was Staples, where a repair for a problematic desktop dragged on for about a week and involved four visits to the store. When we first brought in the machine, which was essentially not running, we were told by one of Staples’ “EasyTechs” that it shouldn’t take long to evaluate. True to her promise, the tech got back to us that night with word they needed to do an operating system restore, and that we needed to bring in the system disk to proceed with the repair.

But after that, things went awry: A different tech said repairs were delayed because they were very busy. And when we came to pick up the supposedly fixed computer, we were told it was now on the fritz again. A day later, we got the final verdict: The computer was hopelessly broken. Although the desktop could now boot up, it still had problems shutting down, and a bad motherboard was the suspected culprit.

The article goes on to list tech tests from Office Depot, Best Buy, and a mail-order company called IResQ. Not exactly hard-hitting, and nothing new to anyone tech-savvy, but overall, a very interesting read.

Work Smarter, Not Harder (At Home)

Over at readingeagle.com, there’s an interesting article on how to make sure your home-based business is running smart and lean. There’s no reason to work yourself too hard; that’s what not-from-home jobs are for! Check out some of their handy hints:

Rational use of time

Since we can’t control time, we can use our time more efficiently by first, reducing the activities that require the use of time. Second, we can learn to do things in less time. The next time you are experiencing time pressure, ask yourself two questions: 1. Should I be doing this activity, is this a waste of my time, is it really important? 2. If it must be done, how can I do it more efficiently?

Other hints on the list involve tips for clarifying intent, organizing, and solving problems. I must say the only thing I find fault with is there example of sending someone out to buy paper and not telling them what kind (leading to confusion and lost time). You know, I have an idea how you might be able to make sure you’ve always got the supplies you need. Try a reliable, low-priced, quick-shipping online retailer! See how much time that saved? That one’s for free, Reading Eagle.

Big Box News: School District joins Office Depot investigations

News from Florida: the Lee County School district has announced that they, too, will be starting an investigation into potential overcharges by Office Depot, making them the fourth governmental agency in Florida to seek a refund.

The most interesting part of the whole thing, to me, is that officials from Lee County were contacted by none other than David Sherwin, former Office Depot accounts manager and all-around crusader for those who were taken in by the company’s fraud. To see his name keep popping up warms my heart; he said he was going to fight OD and he’s been sticking to his guns.

As is tradition, I remind everyone that the lesson to be learned from all these Office Depot mishaps is to find a reliable vendor that you trust for all your office supply purchases. Stick with the little guy; he’s got more incentive to treat you right.

Article: There are still Typewriter Repairmen

Just for a neat little just-for-fun article over at The Ledger.  It details the lives and times of some of the remaining typewriter repairmen, who apparently still do quite well for themselves:

Jerry Hatfield, 53, owner of Typewriter Service Center, agrees that business has changed over the past decade but says he won’t be leaving the field he enjoys working in anytime soon.

“We don’t get as many calls, but I still make a good living at it,” he said with confidence.

Overall, a really interesting article. Be sure to take a look; some of the information may surprise you.

Article: Better Posture Means More Energy at Work

The always-darling folks over at LifeHacker have linked me to an interesting article that says that, among other things, slouching or otherwise holding poor posture can deprive the body of up to 30% of its oxygen.

Next time you you’re feeling a little down in the dumps or need a little boost at work, check to see if your chin is up and your shoulders are back (or try other methods to fix your PC posture). It could mean the difference between making your workday frumpy or fabulous.

Check out the rest of the energy saving tips from Real Simple, and of course, thanks as always to LifeHacker.

OnTimeSupplies.com Selected to Prestigious Inc. 500 List

So cool to see us in the news! Over at PRNewsWire, there’s a press release about our parent company, OnTimeSupplies.com.  Now normally I try to downplay that relationship and stay focused on the latest in office supply news, but this is a pretty big deal. Plus, it came through my inbox from one of my various news aggregators! This is news, people! Below, the release in its entirety:

Atlanta-based OnTimeSupplies.com credits its customer service and competitive pricing for being recognized by Inc. magazine as one of the nation’s fastest-growing privately owned companies.

(PRNewsChannel) / October 23, 2009 / Atlanta, Ga. / As the country tries to pull itself out of one of the deepest recessions of the last century, it’s hard enough for business owners to keep their companies afloat. OnTimeSupplies.com, based in Atlanta, has done more than that, however; culminating a fantastic fiscal year with a selection to the distinguished Inc. 500 list and recognition as one of the country’s fastest-growing companies, the company announced today.

Working with everything from small and large businesses to charitable organizations and government state agencies (GSAs), OnTimeSupplies has serviced more than 70,000 customers nationwide in a little more than four years in business. According to Miles Young, president of OnTimeSupplies.com, the secret to his company’s remarkable growth has been its pledge to “make every customer a reference customer.”

“We thrive on referrals and that all starts with our customer service,” says Young. “We’re not satisfied with just making our customers ‘happy.’ We want them to be so excited that they will tell other people about our business. We’re driven by our customer service and it’s really paid dividends for us.”

In fact, the online office supplies outlet has built upon that customer philosophy to enjoy its most successful fiscal year in company history. OnTimeSupplies grew by more than 830% and saw its revenue increase by more than $2.3 million to earn a spot on the prestigious Inc. 500 list.

“We’re excited to be recognized,” says Young. “It’s a tremendous validation of the consistent hard work that we put in to ensure the best possible experience for our customers.”

Young and his company were officially recognized as one of the country’s 500 fastest-growing privately held companies by Inc. magazine at the Inc. 500|5000 Conference and Awards Ceremony held in National Harbor, Md., in September.

About OntimeSupplies.com: Founded in 2004, OnTimeSupplies.com is a full-service office supply store that prides itself on its customer service and fast, reliable delivery. The company offers everything from GSA office supplies to office furniture and even offers creative pricing options on bulk office supplies and discontinued clearance items to help in this tough economy. OnTimeSuppiles.com has serviced more than 70,000 customers and experienced remarkable growth in 2008.

Phone:  (866) 501-6055

Just an fyi, getting selected for the INC 500 is no small deal. This is just one of those things that makes me happy to work for a reputable, reliable company that takes care of its customers: you guys take care of us, too. Thanks for the support, and look for more exciting changes in the near future!

Opinion: Skip the Black Friday Mess by Shopping Online

We all know Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, long-held to be one of the best times to get great deals) is almost upon us. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with this tradition, though, and it boils down to one statement: “PEOPLE ARE FREAKING CRAZY.”

You might remember the Wal-Mart worker who was trampled to death during a Black Friday “doorbuster” rush. Maybe you chuckled over people physically fighting each other over the last Xbox 360. All in all, it seems our deal-hunting culture sometimes trumps our common sense.

So here’s an idea: why not stay home? Find yourself a nice cozy computer and cuddle up with some every-day great deals from your favorite office supply company. All of the major office big-box stores are going to try to tempt you with dubious deals to get you in the store on a chilly November morning. Either you camp out in the cold to save a couple bucks on pens, or heaven forbid show up late to find all the good stuff cleaned out, and resign to pay their overinflated prices on regular goods so you don’t feel like you “wasted a trip.” I say SKIP IT.

How does reliable service, huge inventory, and free shipping on orders over $75 sound? It just so happens I know some guys…