Recently I have taken on an unofficial new role in the office. I am now, in my mind, the Stationery Master, overlooking all stationery orders made from all departments. Some of my colleagues call me a “Jobsworth” – I don’t think they realise that I take that as a compliment! One person even told me that I should get myself a hi-viz vest, “Good idea” I replied, “I’ll order a Beeswift Saturn yellow 100% polyester vest with hook and loop fastening, and retro-reflective tape…” Putty in my hands.
It all started the other week when I spotted Sarah in Marketing looking on the Amazon website. At first, I was going to report her to the boss for shopping in work time, but then I discovered that she was ordering for the workplace. She said she needed a new mouse for her computer and thought she “might as well” order it from Amazon. If I was allowed, I would have rapped her knuckles with a ruler (Helix 30cm, shatter resistant, of course), but had to restrain myself.
“No” I said, “we don’t do that here, we Keep It Local in this company, supporting local businesses that pay their fair share of taxes and have excellent local knowledge and customer service.” I then pointed her to the latest Highlights magazine that features more information about the Keep It Local campaign. I did leave it open on the page that featured my article hoping she might realise that I was the Secret Stationery Lover and she might ask for my autograph. I was there, Sharpie ready in hand (is there any other pen for autographs?), but it seems my secret is still safe.
Although I made up the role of Stationery Master, there is some truth in the fact that I have been made responsible for making sure that everyone that has returned from furlough has everything they need and feels safe. Those that wanted it have Perspex screens between them and the person next to them and every desk has sanitiser and surface wipes to hand, you can never be too safe.
We have also stopped sharing stationery equipment, so everyone has their own stapler, punch and set of pens. I have had tremendous fun helping people to choose a stapler. You would not believe how many people just ask me to order “any old one” – Have they no idea about the differences? How am I supposed to know if they want a half strip or full strip, vertical for ease of storage and use, a long arm version, electric, heavy duty or even mini. You cannot just say “any old one.” That does not help me in the slightest. The last person who did that to me complained for weeks about the 12 sheet Rexel Wizard designed to staple up to 12 sheets with its clear case that lets you view all the colourful working mechanisms inside. “What is that they asked?” “That” I replied, “Is a piece of architectural genius. A stationery lovers dream.”
Before I go I must confess to you one thing. I love this time of year. Everyone in the office suddenly seems to need extra Sellotape for their desk. Well I know that they are actually taking it home to wrap up their gifts and even more of a give-away is that they all seem to order the 6 pack of 24mm x 66m that just so happens to come with a cute cuddly toy.
Well, I really caught them out this year and instead ordered them the new sustainable Sellotape made with cellulose film and naturally based glue, this plant-based tape is kinder to the planet. “What is this?” they asked.
“It is part of our new CSR strategy” I declared, “it is the new Sellotape, with zero plastic”
“Yeah, and zero cuddly toy either!” You really cannot please some people!