Advantages big selection on every type of product, out of town for loads of parking,
Disadvantages photocopying a bit sloppy
Staples is an uncontrollable out of town monster in the world of stationery supplies. Go in with the sole intention of buying a pen refill and you'll come back with bags more, I'm sure.In Northampton, Office World was, in terms of shelf space, its closest rival (about half the size but having plenty of the essentials). Now a recent deserter (no doubt driven out by Staples success) the competition is a bit pitiful.
WhSmith simply doesn't have enough of any one thing. Its range of pens is good but notebooks and other similar stationery go too far down the designer route, in my opinion, to be a worthy rival. Rymans has all the basics but it's still small. Then it's just Wilkinsons, Woolworths and The Works for lovers of luminous folders, Monet-themed notelets etc. (Fun - but if you don't want to get laughed out of the boardroom what do you go for?)If you're self-employed, run a busy office or an industrious student, it's best to look in Staples first. Because they have plenty of stationery products to choose from and they cover all markets - whether you're satisfying your budget or an executive lifestyle.
Paper is also impressive - available in many different thickness, finishes (for every type of printing) and in lots of colours.Without launching into a long list, what else do they stock? Well, bubble wrap, box files, art and design materials, software, a good selection of business-oriented books, laptops, electronic hardware ( monitors, printers, webcams, fax machines, etc), plush briefcases and filofaxes (yes they still make them), in-trays, bins - to name but a few. They even stock coffee (to save you stopping off at your local supermarket).
At a section at the back of the store they have an area devoted to office furniture - office chairs (from typists to swivel) computer and office desks and filing cabinets (in wood effect finishes or standard metal). Unlike Argos, you can see them for real, perhaps trying out the gas powered lift of a swivel chair and saying "You're fired" (Alan Sugar style) to the manager as you sit at an executive desk.In the corner there are its printing services. On my last visit I noticed that they offer printed stationery from templates, lamination of documents, business document binding and the production of customisable rubber stamps.
From my experience I have found that its basic photocopying service is not as good as Office World. At around a few pence a copy for black and white, you can't grumble but quality could be better. The paper is very thin and sometimes there are occasional black splodges where they haven't cleaned the photocopier glass as often as they should. OK if you are after a cheaply printed document for filing but not quite good enough if you are using it as a presentation piece.
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