Remember Staples? Are They Still Making Things Easy in 2013?

Staples

Staples

Much has changed in the world of gadgets, electronics and computers in the past 10 years.   In addition to now carrying around phones more powerful than the computers we owned a decade ago, there are endless online ways to buy and research gadgets.  Social sites, auction sites, group buying sites – clearly even buying gadgets has gone high tech.

Surprisingly, some of the “old” ways to buy gadgets are still around – like buying from Staples.  Yes, Staples, the office supply store that opened way back in prehistoric times (AKA 1986) is still around and selling plenty of cool gadgets in interesting ways.  Feeling nostalgic?  You can actually walk into a Staples store, ask questions, touch the gadget you want to buy and purchase it on the spot.  I know, crazy stuff.  You can also shop online and do mixed versions like shopping online and picking up at the store.

Is Staples Still Easy in 2013?

Rather than bury our disclaimer at the bottom of this post, let’s explain things right up front.  We were contacted by Staples to see if we wanted to receive a tech product and honestly write about our experience with Staples.  We did receive Microsoft Office for Mac at no charge, but received no other compensation from Staples.

In addition, because we are sneaky, hard core review nuts, we also purchased a Nexus 7 Tablet from Staples.  We used our own money for this and in fact never told Staples we were making this purchase.  We wanted to make sure we got a real consumer experience, no special treatment.  Our goal in all this – to find out if the Staples catch phrase of That Was Easy still holds true in the 2013 world.

Microsoft Office For Mac, Because Some Of Us Still Use Spreadsheets

Here at Dad Does we have made the switch to Macs, after many years of living in the PC world.  The Mac is a wonderful computer, but we still do plenty of documents and spreadsheets and for ease of sharing with the rest of the world, we knew we had to go with Microsoft Office for Mac.  A quick search at Staples.Com and we quickly found the MS Office for Mac Home and Business edition, which quickly arrived in the mail –

Staples MS Office Mac

While that might look like the box a CD would come in, not in today’s world.  No, you get a product key and instructions on downloading the software.  Easy enough, a few clicks and we had Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook installed on our Mac.

Somehow Microsoft Office Seems Less Boring On The Mac

We are not going to do a full review of Microsoft Office, that has already been done by countless technology blogs.  Microsoft Office for the Mac is pretty much what you would expect – Word and Excel are clearly the market leaders when it comes to a word processor and spreadsheet.  There can be some debate about PowerPoint vs Keynote, but it is nice to have PowerPoint just for compatibility with PC users.  MS Outlook gives you the email program you are probably most familiar with if you are coming from the PC world.

I will say, that somehow all the Office Software just looks better and less boring on the Mac.  That is a completely unscientific and subjective statement, but somehow the programs have a more Mac feel and just seem to be more friendly.  Doing spreadsheets is never going to be as fun as editing a movie in iMovie, but at least it feels less torturous.

I Need a Google Nexus 7…Yesterday!

Our next test for Staples was one that any Dad can appreciate.  My wife’s birthday was Friday and somehow it took me until Thursday to decide that I should get her a Google Nexus 7 tablet.  To complicate things, we were vacationing in NYC.  No time to order from Amazon or direct from Google.  I needed it right away and didn’t have time to go store to store to try to find it.

A quick visit to Staples.Com and a search for the Nexus 7.  I then found that Staples has a Reserve Online, Pickup in Store feature –

Staples

I just enter my name and email and in a moment get a confirmation email –

Staples

Less than 30 minutes later I get an email telling me my item is ready for pickup.  I simply go to the customer service desk (skipping the line) and pickup and pay for the Nexus 7.  Birthday gift purchased in time (at the lowest price I found as well) and disaster diverted.  Procrastinators everywhere rejoice!  The ability to use the Staples online site and their brick and mortar stores really does bear out their tag line – That Was Easy!

What’s That… Amazon Lockers In Staples?

While picking up my Nexus 7 at a Staples in NYC, I noticed a whole bunch of Amazon Lockers.  I did a quick search and you can learn about Amazon Lockers here.   Basically, if you want to order from Amazon, but no one is home during the day to receive the package, you can select an Amazon Locker at Staples.  You then get an email with a code to unlock a locker once your package arrives, just head to Staples, unlock the locker and get your goods.

The whole Amazon Locker thing is more about Amazon than Staples, but I thought it was interesting to see that Staples is participating in this program.  It really shows that Staples is forward thinking and trying to find ways to make the whole Staples experience as easy as possible.  It seems odd, but you can now shop online, order from Amazon and pickup at Staples.  The line between competition and cooperation in shopping has really been blurred.

Conclusion:  Yes, Staples Is Still Making Things Easy in 2013

At first glance it is easy to dimiss Staples as a relic of the past.  An office supply store that started back in 1986, back in the day when people still worked in offices and the Internet was still a thought in Al Gore’s mind :)  However, our experience with Staples has proved that they have adapted well to the way we all shop and research today.  Order online, buy in the store, do a combination of both – tons of choices when it comes to how you shop with Staples.  The one thing that seems to be at the heart of all the Staples shopping experiences – keeping it easy.  I guess sometimes tag lines are not just marketing hype!

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