Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Did you get the memo on the paper?

I work in a government office, and you might have heard something about budget problems in our public agencies lately. My office just got some seriously bad news: we are down to our last box of 8.5 x 11 printer paper. Dude! Printer paper is like the fuel that powers the machine where I work. The place will grind to a screeching halt in a hurry if the supply is cut off, and at least six, no.... seven people will immediately shrivel up and die. We've already had to go to double-sided printing. You would think people would embrace that; it cuts the paper usage in half, so that's like two trees a day, but surprisingly, this has not been a super popular move.

But if we get cut down to zero on the paper front, what are we going to push around? All day long, piles, folders, clipboards, and binders, all cram-jammed with dead trees, get schlepped from cube to cube, from one end of the office to the other. Over and over and over, like a perpetual motion machine. I've been brainstorming ideas for a good substitute, and the best thing I can come up with is old computer monitors on old office chairs. The pushing would be easy, because of the wheels, and it would be efficient because we'd be pushing two things at one time. The scary thing is, I can totally picture this in my mind, and it wouldn't be all that different. Pretty viable, don't you think?

If that doesn't work out, I have another idea to acquire the paper we need: a swap operation with other public agencies. As it happens, we have an ample supply of legal paper, which we don't use very often, and I did an inventory of the supply room. We have:

A polaroid camera, still in the box
4 unopened boxes of 3.5" floppy disks
23 dirty mouse pads
119 pounds of tabbed sheets
47 2" white binders
4 boxes of toilet seat covers
3 cubic yards of desktop organizers in various configurations
14 pencil sharpeners
Large box of fortune cookies
6 reams carbon paper

I'm thinking we can appoint a Swapmaster, which should definitely be a good promotion for someone. Not me, though- I'm not a good bargainer, plus I'm not really ambitious. The new Swapmaster could set up in the supply room on the big table with all the goods and start wheeling and dealing to get the printer paper, and we also desperately need some kleenex right away. I mentioned it at the staff meeting today and they just laughed at me, so I guess that means they all want to try the office chairs and computer monitors first. I'll let you know how it turns out! I might consider putting up pictures but I don't want to get canned. Maybe I can make everyone disguise their identities while they careen around the hallways- we can probably get a gross of masks from the health department in exchange for the fortune cookies. And, just in case that doesn't work out, keep your eyes open for surplus you might want to trade; I'll put in a good word for you with the Swapmaster.


Michele said...

LMAO.... As a former govt employee, I thought I'd fall over laughing at this!

C Mike said...

Except for the fortune cookies (which, when exposed to air, are immediately consumed by "first responders") that inventory is eerily similar to what I'm finding around here. There should be a case of pencils in there somewhere, though.

Helen said...

I'm thinking they have at least one extra employee they can get ride of.