The Difference Between Copying and Printing








I had to print several documents from a USB drive so I googled “local print shop” and found a store close to my home. Rather than reveal the store name, I’ll instead offer up that it rhymes with poopy-S.

Me: Hi, I need to print a few documents. Are these printers self-service?

Clerk: You’re making copies?

Me: No, I’m looking to print some documents.

Clerk: Okay, so you’ll need a key to access our copy machines.

Whatever, I thought. The clerk hands me a small box that looked like a harmonica.

Me: What’s this for?

Clerk: It’s a copy counter. You insert it into the copy machine and it counts the number of copies.

Me: I’m not making copies. Will it also count the printed pages?

Clerk: We’re talking about the same thing.

Me: I guess I’m just used to other print shops where you can use a credit card at the actual machine to print documents. It’s self service.

Clerk: Yeah.

I insert the box into the machine and then begin my search for the USB port. No luck.

Me: Where’s this machine’s USB port?

Clerk: It doesn’t have one.

I should have known. Any copy/printer that is the same color as the kitchen appliances my parents had when I was growing up was likely a bad sign.

Me: So, this machine doesn’t allow printing?

Clerk: Sure it does.

Me: I thought we were talking about the same thing? And your front window has a huge sign that says you’re a full service print shop.

Clerk: We are. You place your documents into the feeder and it prints a copy for you.

Me: That’s copying, not printing.

Clerk: Why are you so combative, Dude?

Me: I’m not combative. It’s just that printers were invented in like 1899 and here we are in 2016 and you’re clueless about the difference between printing and copying.

Clerk walks over to my machine and lifts the top cover.

Clerk: Watch.

He places his hand on the glass surface and presses Start. The machine lights up and a bright blue bar scrolls across the glass. A second later a sheet of paper emerges from the side of the machine. The clerk grabs the paper and holds it up.

Clerk: See. I just printed a copy of my hand.

Me: That’s still copying, not printing. You know what. It’s okay. I’ll just find another way to do this.

Clerk: So, you’re giving up?

Me: To be honest I sort of gave up when you handed me the harmonica.

Clerk: What’s a harmon–

Me: Yes! I’m giving up. Have a wonderful life. Good-bye.



I recently sent a letter to my local grocery store to protest the sale of swordfish. Studies have shown that swordfish is severely overfished and in danger of extinction. As someone trying to advocate for a sustainable food supply, I wanted to voice my concern. Below is my letter. Spoiler alert: I got bitch slapped:)

To whom it may concern,

I’m not sure if you are aware, but the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Wildlife and Fisheries Agency have published studies indicating that the global swordfish population is on the decline. With significant overfishing, swordfish could be in danger of extinction within the next decade. As a frequent shopper at your chain of stores, I see that you often have swordfish on sale. This practice is actually encouraging greater consumption of an already endangered fish. I kindly ask that you reevaluate your sale of swordfish, at least until populations have recovered. 

Thank you,

David Robert
xxxx Main Street
Providence, RI

This was the response I received.

Dear Mr. Robert,

Thank you for contacting [Blank] in regards to our sale of swordfish. We always appreciate hearing from our customers, particularly our loyal customers. We were not aware of the specific studies you reference but our seafood management team closely monitors regulatory developments in our supply chain. It might be interesting to note that nearly all of the seafood we carry is or has been listed as threatened or endangered in the past several years. With the exception of farm raised tilapia and salmon, most seafood populations are declining. We will continue to monitor any developments specifically related to swordfish and will look to the US FDA for policy guidance.

In closing, we also wanted to point out that after a review of your shopping habits, retrieved by linking your name to your loyalty card, we noticed that you’ve been a significant purchaser of our swordfish since 2008. In fact, you’ve purchase swordfish at one of our locations 19 times during that timeframe. The most recent being less than two months ago at our Warwick location. We appreciate your concern but we, like our competitors, are just providing the foods that consumers like you demand. 


Mike [Blank]
General Store Manager