Printing pleasures

There’s lots of things to love about living in a country like Croatia. And one of my favourite things is printing.

Yes, printing.

No one likes to own a printer. They’re expensive and they die after about 45 minutes, and the cartridges never really work, and they are just in general a great big pain the arse.

But relying on Office Works is out of the question because they’re so damn expensive. So most of us resort to doing our personal printing at work. This is not just normal but, frankly, expected.

In these days of paperless offices – ha! – many workplaces might not even have a big fancy laser jet, leaving you to the mercy of the PA’s bubble jet.

Croatia gets around this problem in the most elegant way possible. There is a printing shop on every street. Like, seriously. You’d be hard pressed to go 500 metres without running into another printing shop.

My printing shop of choice is Žuta kopiraona – literally, Yellow Copier. It’s actually not my closest printing shop, but it’s on my side of the centre of town, on my way to work, and… Well, I just love them!

This is how it works. I send them an email with my documents – usually a story I’m working on, but sometimes also my Italian lessons, or a short story that I want to read on paper – and I say, hello! Can you please print these by such and such a time?

And at such and such a time, I walk down there, and there are my documents, all printed out for me. And the cost for this wonderful service? Like, practically nothing. A handful of kuna. A couple cents per page.

I’m not sure if I can ever properly convey how happy this transaction makes me. No USB stick, no doing the printer dance at work, no having to buy cartridges. “Please print my documents” – “here are your documents” – It’s divine.

As a mark of my appreciation, a few months ago I gave the two young women who work there – it’s always women, and they are constantly busy, with uni students printing out all their readings, etc – a pair of little clip-on koalas. Hideous things, really, quite ghastly. But a token of affection. And they loved them!

Then last week, I sent a perfectly normal email. “Hello lovely ladies!” I started. When I came in an hour later to pick up my documents the young woman beamed at me. “Your email made me so happy,” she said.

Evidently, ours is a two-way relationship.

I’ve just sent off some documents to be printed tomorrow morning. I’m taking seven Chupa-Chups as a small gift. I hope they are enough to keep them happy through the week.

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Nat Newman

Nat Newman is an award-winning writer of short stories, content, podcasts, feature articles, drunk text messages and, soon, a novella.

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