So, after the tragedy of the thank you cards inadvertently turned into postcards, I returned home and reprinted the entire 125 set of cards. The next day, I returned to Kinkos hoping that they would "make things right."
A different clerk took my stack and after hearing me repeat several times that these were cards that folded (and were not postcards) and seeing the comp that I have created as a visual reference, took them away. When he returned, somehow, he had cut them so that they were not square -- when you folded the card, the back was quite obviously much wider than the front of the card, which was not at all a pleasant effect.
It seems really peculiar to me that the cutting machine wouldn't automatically default so that it would cut items on the square, that is, either perpendicular or parallel to a given side. But I don't really know how things work there, so I can't really try to guess what went wrong.
Finally, he got things cut so that the front met the back the way I thought that they should.
Meanwhile, the manager came over and apologized for the problems the previous night and offered to pay for three of my toner cartridges and a ream of the card stock I had used, which seemed quite fair to me (I used probably about exactly half of both of those for this project, so I was partially compensated for my time).
I actually saw the young man (slacker looking teenager with huge glossy black bushy sideburns) who made the fatal cut. He came over and apologized again for his mistake. I let him know how much I appreciated that (I really did). Mistakes happen and when someone has the integrity to own up to it, it makes all the difference in the world to me.
Okay, so they made everything right and you would think that I'm out of the woods, right?
I was babysitting for the neighbors on Friday night (my neighbor, Tricia, and I have a reciprocal arrangement that really works out wonderfully for our two families) and I planned to do all my folding after I got Grace to bed.
As soon as I started to fold the cards, I realized that things were still wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. While the cards did, indeed, get cut so that all the sides were squared with each other, THEY WEREN'T SQUARE WITH THE ACTUAL CARD ITSELF.
This time in order to make things almost foolproof, I added quite a bit of "bleed" all around the print. This is additional print area and it compensates for poor registration. When I cut items myself, I don't need much bleed as I can cut things exactly where I want the cut. In the case of something like this, it is possible/probable that there is some shift in how the image is positioned on the page because of the printer.
I also printed out a special guide sheet for the Kinkos guy so that it would be very apparent where I need the cut to go -- I made the lines very bright pink. If the machinery doesn't automatically create "square" cuts, then the lines should show him where the cuts go. Also, when you begin to cut pieces off, you'll naturally be cutting off your crop marks if you make the traditional type, without a guide like this. The Kinkos guy seemed to appreciate the guide sheet. I actually gave him two guide sheets and told him to split the stack into two, in case the number of sheets I was asking to print at one time was an issue.
I went to a different Kinkos this time and explained the situation to the guy. (I'm sure that if I went back to the original one, they would have made things right for me, but I just didn't want to have to tell them that things were messed up again -- they really were so nice about it the first time) He took a ruler and measured all around my piece to make sure that my piece was positioned square on the page (which would certainly have been a problem for the first two Kinkos employees if they were not). I told him that I'd added quite a bit of additonal bleed all around and, again, this seemed to be appreciated.
He was sympathetic about the issues I'd encountered already and I surrendered my stack of printouts to him with a little tiny prayer.
Anyway, long story short (too late, eh?), he cut them perfectly. Everything was square, the cards folded correctly and all looked great. He affirmed that I'd done everything correctly.
And, finally, on Saturday afternoon, after just about every mishap you can imagine, the cards finally got sent out. I used the half of the cards that had little printing on them as slip sheets (there's so much ink coverage on the piece that the black can rub off if pressed against something), so at least I put those cards to good use. I included the fronts of the cards in my package in case my customer could use them as postcards or whatnot.
Hopefully the cards will please my customer!