Teachers’ “Free” Business Cards
Rather than buy that Zoot suit I’ve always wanted, I used my last paycheck on cheap business cards. I had figured that having a cards would play better at my job fair than being extravagantly and colorfully ostentatious.
I had decided some time ago that I wanted to get some cards, if only to ape my master teacher. The way she saw it:
When I go to conferences, there are always companies giving out free samples of textbooks. I know some teachers will come with empty bags and on the first day have them filled with textbooks and free stuff.
I don’t like lugging all that around. Instead, I’ll give those companies my business card and say, “Why, I’d love to have a copy of this book, but I don’t have the room for it. Why don’t you just ship it to this address?”
So I decided to get some business cards, and that once I got them that I would spread them around the faculty and staff at my school, interviews and job fair. I turned to Google.
Google, in turn, landed me at VistaPrint, the first site first in the search results for “free business cards.” These cards weren’t all that free — they tack on $10 shipping and handling — but I didn’t know that at first.
Designing the card was a breeze and inputting information was easy to figure out. While I was able to choose between a wide variety of templates, only one looked all that professional. I accepted it as the trade-off for getting free business cards.
Though I was given the choice, I opted for the my cards to come with an unreasonably tacky advertisement on the back. There’s an option to upgrade your cards to get rid of this it, but I decided against such a marginally pricier-than-free option; I couldn’t afford it. Of course, I might have been able to afford it — if I had a job.
I can’t stress this enough: Though this Web site and others advertise their “free business cards,” it turns out that they really mean “free except for inordinately pricey shipping and handling.”
My first set of 500 cards cost, all told, nearly $10 including all appropriate surcharges. For a small trial run of business cards like that, I decided that $10 was probably worth it.
Once you place your order and have it finalized, you have the option of participating in a number of silly, annoying promotions. You do not have to participate these promotions once you’ve paid, so ignore them and go on with your life. I did, and I still got my cards.
Within three weeks, the cards came. My first order was printed on not-too-shabby cardstock and without a misprint in sight — overall, I consider this acceptable quality for cards from the business community’s equivalent of a dollar discount store.
I imagine other Web sites work just the same way. This business model seems to work: suckering wanna-be professionals into buying what’s advertised as free.
Take these business cards for what they’re worth. Apparently, that’s $10.