Through a link from The Ironic Catholic, I found the Laser Monks from a Cistercian monastery in Wisconsin. In order to support their needs and raise funds for charitable work, they provide printer and fax supplies such as toner cartridge replacements, etc. General mark-up on ink and toner is generally astronomical, so a more modest profit margin allows the monks to make a comfortable living while serving their customers with lower prices and, as they say, "making e-commerce more human".
The fun started for me when I read the "About Us" page. The story of how their enterprise began is an interesting one, but I completely fell for them when I read the section on building relationships with their customers. A sampling:
- We try to make e-commerce more human through personal and truly caring customer service, that reflects our 900-year tradition of hospitality.
- The LaserMonks website offers an invitation for Prayer Requests.
- Thoughtful phrases and quotations are provided that encourage a moment of reflection and growth in the midst of a busy day.
- Handwritten notes of thanks and encouragement from the monks are included in some of our shipments and in occasional correspondence with our customers.
- Our telephone service and auto-attendant are designed to be cheerful, encouraging and thankful, even including our own Cistercian Gregorian Chant for any moments that one must be on Hold.
How can you top the chance to participate in a good work, save money on things you need to buy anyway, and perhaps get a handwritten note from Fr. Bernard?
P.S. The site includes a directory with links to other monastery-made products. It will be my one-stop shop for Monastery Mustard and Trappistine Creamy Caramels from now on.