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LaserMonks Offer Prayer, Printer Cartridges 404

Minnesotan writes "According to a article: If you need discounted inkjet- or laser-printer cartridges, Wisconsin's LaserMonks say they'll give you a doozy of a deal while you 'support prayer for the world'. The Cistercian priests - yes, they're actual Catholic monks - oversee a novel e-commerce enterprise out of their rural abbey. Proceeds go to maintain the monastery and finance charitable works around the world."
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LaserMonks Offer Prayer, Printer Cartridges

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  • by drenehtsral ( 29789 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:25PM (#7957856) Homepage
    This is an updated verson of a very old (middle ages) tradition of monastaries doing some specialized task (and doing it well) and using thier product to sell or barter for needed supplies, food, etc...
    This practice kept a lot of trades and information alive that might have otherwise died out. It would take a reel jerk to sue them for DMCA violations too =:-)
  • Re:It gets weirder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by a-aiyar ( 528921 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:33PM (#7957937) Homepage
    Not that weird. Trappist monasteries have been brewing beer for centuries. They've been making cheese as well. Perhaps the best known Trappist beer and cheese are from the Scourmont abbey in southern Belgium -- can you say Chimay [] :-)
  • no affiliation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chocolatetrumpet ( 73058 ) <slashdot@jonath[ ... m ['anf' in gap]> on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:33PM (#7957941) Homepage Journal
    I have no affiliation with Trappestine Quality Candy [] except that Mom orders it every year around the holidays and it's really good. Just sayin'.

    Ok, so I have an affinity. Check my nick. :sigh: Yum!
  • great organization (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:46PM (#7958044)
    You mean they can give me a reason not to buy from them two times ??

    1. inferior refilled inkjet cartriges AND
    2. supporting a church

    I for one do not EVER willingly do business with any organization or entity that has a religious component.

    No boy scouts, no Christian Childrens Fund, no Salvation Army, nothing fishy. .. and this isn't just about christianity ,. it's any religion, just happens that the majority religion in my area is christian.

  • getting slow so... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by hellish products ( 624704 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:57PM (#7958134)
    this may or may not get modded to hell based on you're personal religous and spiritual orientation. Monk e-business BY JULIO OJEDA-ZAPATA Pioneer Press More photos JIM GEHRZ PHOTO The Rev. Bernard McCoy heads up LaserMonks -- when he isn't praying, of course. SPARTA, Wis. -- Phone calls to LaserMonks' rural headquarters are sometimes tinged with caution or outright suspicion. Those are awfully good prices for generic inkjet or laser-printer cartridges, a caller might remark after checking the offerings at What's the catch? And, c'mon, you aren't really monks, are you? A recent caller lost seven years of savings to an online scam artist after trying to book a cruise for herself and her daughters. She vowed never to buy anything else on the Internet. But with three printers churning out student papers in her Pennsylvania home, she couldn't ignore discounts of up to 90 percent over name-brand cartridges. Look, she told LaserMonks, she had trust issues. She needed the firm to set her mind at ease. LaserMonks' response helps explain why the two-year-old e-commerce venture based at the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank -- yes, with actual Catholic monks -- appears to be on a stratospheric business trajectory. At a time when online printer-cartridge vendors can trigger mistrust because of some questionable offers clogging inboxes, LaserMonks has seen its gross revenue soar from about $2,000 in 2002 to about $500,000 in 2003. Projected 2004 sales are three to four times higher still. To pull off this e-tailing feat, LaserMonks has had to win over disbelievers with high-quality products and top-flight customer service along with rock-bottom prices, not to mention small but meaningful gestures its clients don't expect. The skeptical Pennsylvania mother, for instance, got four cartridges on speculation. Try 'em out, LaserMonks said. If you like them, consider sending us a few bucks. No hurry, take a few months to think it over. The company soon got paid in full for the shipment, along with a second order for four cartridges. ORA ET LABORA The 75-year-old abbey, which has been at its current location about 130 miles southeast of St. Paul for 19 years, isn't the sort of place that screams "e-commerce hotbed." Perched on a wooded hill, just up an unpaved road and through a decorative gateway, the low-slung composite-stone structure seems bereft of life -- until Gregorian chanting tips off a visitor that white-and-black-robed inhabitants are somewhere about. Inside a small chapel, a few Cistercian priests melodiously remind themselves of the Latin dictum ora et labora -- prayer and work, always in that order. Only then does the 36-year-old Rev. Bernard McCoy trod through a carpeted hallway to his modest office -- the LaserMonks nerve center. From there, he oversees a nationwide network of people and facilities in his practical role as the abbey's "steward of temporal affairs." McCoy's key role: generating cash to support the abbey along with its complex array of charitable causes around the world. That also means overseeing a modest portfolio of real-estate holdings. One recent day, he haggled good-naturedly with the local tax assessor over one property's perceived value. Before LaserMonks came about, McCoy obsessed over other ideas for turning his perennially cash-strapped monastery into a money machine. Until last year, he sold spiritual books and other religious items on the Web. For a while, he oversaw a program to move and renovate homes due for demolition. He has considered cultivating shiitake mushrooms, building a golf resort and breeding Christmas trees. This is a common issue for monasteries, convents and other such communities, which typically must support themselves. Trappistine nuns in Dubuque, Iowa, make candy. Nearby Trappist monks build caskets. Oregon Trappists warehouse wine. Massachusetts Trappists make jams and jellies. Belgian Trappists brew beer. Filipino monks and nuns make fruit concoctions dubbed Food for the Soul. Greek Orthodox monks in Resaca, Ga., sell han
  • Re:It gets weirder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steeef ( 98372 ) <> on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:08PM (#7958215)
    The best alcohol made by monks comes in the form of Chartreuse:

    Only three monks know the identity of the 130 plants, how to blend them and how to distill them into this world famous liqueur. They are also the only ones who know which plants they have to macerate to produce the natural green and yellow colours. And they alone supervise the slow ageing in oak casks.

    (text from

    Wonderful liquer. Tastes like drinking a Christmas tree, but one made of 55% alcohol.
  • by gerardlt ( 529702 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:32PM (#7958379)

    Actually, copyright did not begin to form as an idea until the 17th - 18th Centuries.

    The huge cost of reproducing a book meant that it was not a problem until the movable type printing press became popular at the end of the fifteenth century - which ultimately put the monks out of that kind of business.

    Interestingly, the way that reproduction happened in the middle ages (and before) was was very similar the way that people copy music now. Essentially, a monastery would swap works with it's "friends" (other monasteries, generally).


    • middle/bluedot/print.html
    • The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco (Fiction).
  • Huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by devphil ( 51341 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:36PM (#7958401) Homepage
    Since I'm pretty sure those ancient monks never had permission to copy any of the works they did,

    Citations, please?

    I'm pretty sure they did. Because many of the copied manuscripts have little line-counts in the margins, called stichoi, noting how many lines the scribe copied that day, so that the person hiring the monks to do the work knew how much to pay him. Perfectly legitimate job.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:47PM (#7958500)
    This is an updated verson of a very old (middle ages) tradition of monastaries doing some specialized task (and doing it well) ....

    And a particularly appropriate task. After all, one of their primary functions was copying books.

    And those scribe monks got very pissed when the printing press made their skills obsolete. Maybe this is their revenge: undercut the overpriced inkjet sinners.

  • Re:It gets weirder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xenographic ( 557057 ) on Monday January 12, 2004 @11:15PM (#7959226) Journal
    "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities."

    1 Timothy 5:23, New King James version.

    Only the Mormons are against all drinking, really, though a few other denominations (e.g. Methodists) did participate in Prohibition, ages ago. The Bible only really condemns being drunk (not just drinking) as parent says.

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. -- John Kenneth Galbraith