Paula-Loves-Marla's Blog

Observations about Art, Movies, Books, etc.

Office Supply Availability at Work

I love back to school shopping (as weird as that sounds). All those piles of blank paper and row upon row of pens represent such vast possibilities to me. I wish I could draw so that I could create with all those colored sharpies & gel pens, but alas, it is not to be.


Over the years I’ve worked in a number of offices as a permanent employee and on a temp basis. Every office manages their supplies differently. Some have a very open door policy with a central, unlocked storage area where people can take what they need. Some offices lock their stuff up and have one or two individuals in charge of distributing the supplies.

I think the worst situation I was in was a few years ago when I was doing some temp work for a company that did some government contracting/consulting work. The job was really interesting, but office supplies were scarce. Only about half the people in the company had staplers. I was working on a project where I needed to paperclip stuff together and ran out of paperclips. There were no more to be had and I literally found myself crawling around on the copy room floor looking for clips that had fallen under furniture and copiers.

The thing about scarcity is that it causes people to hoard stuff. In spending some time at that office, I found that people had tucked things away because they would need them later and knew that they would not be readily available. The bottom line is keeping too much control over supplies or limiting availability backfires in a big way. There was also creative borrowing and outright stealing that went on in that particular work environment and that type of situation isn’t good for anyone, including the company as a whole.

I am not currently (nor do I expect to be) in charge of purchasing office supplies at my current job. I kind of miss it. Multicolored post-its™ make me happy. We do have an open cabinet policy though and remarkably people are responsible enough to take what they need for work and leave the rest there for others. Go figure!

And here, for your viewing enjoyment is an article about a guy who decorates cars with Sharpies!

Way Cool!

P.S. This is my 100th post! Yay for me!!!


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