Ok, I just went into a Kinko’s and was blown away.

If you have even the scantest amount of memory, and you’re over 30, you remember that Kinko’s used to be copy machines. I just ended up going into Kinko’s to have them copy and bind a color presentation for me ($800 ugh!) and was stunned.

You can tell the difference between now and a few years ago just by counting square footage in front and behind the counter. In the customer area, it’s almost all PCs, Macs, and prep tables. One or two copiers and a stand of things to buy (paper, whiteout, CDs, floppies, etc) is all that’s in front. The customer area, (practically half the store) is just a big computer lab.

Behind the counter are all the more complex machines and business services (binding, etc.)

This is a complete transformation. Was there resistance from within Kinko’s ranks? Did someone have to make a unilateral decision about this? Did they have workers who were ‘copier snobs’? Perhaps the transitory nature helped.

And the reason I love the free market: In Soviet Russia, they probably at some point tried to roll out computer labs across the country. I’ll bet they weren’t this successful, this ubiquitous, or built places with this much depth. I am in awe.