Thursday, September 13, 2007

Christmas Come Early

Being a government agency, my office is scarce on supplies. In particular, the person in charge of supplies tries to reuse everything to save every dime. Ever since my first day there, I thought that it was a little bit over the top in stinginess. When I asked to order a stapler, I was told they would check around the office first and I ended up getting a janked up one that barely gets the job done. When I wanted folders with the prongs built in, they had the receptionist punch holes in regular manilla files and put clips through them as makeshift pronged folders. It was great when every time I opened the clips to put something in, the clips fell out and all the papers went scattering. Or, every time I tried to file in my filing cabinet, one folder would get stuck on another and I couldn't get anything in the drawer. I also didn't have any of the standard office supplies such as a staple remover, tape dispenser, or scissors. When a coworker left, I immediately ransacked her office and upgraded and took over the dispenser. But every time I have to cut something, I track down a pair of scissors from a coworker.

The other day, I ventured to the supply closet to get a notebook. I've asked for yellow, letter sized notebooks with 2 holes punched at the top. It's been 2 months and I still haven't seen them and have been told that since they are not on the approved order list, I can't get them. Instead, in the bountiful supply closet, I found one half used white pad of paper buried under mismatched folders. In the entire closet, there was one half empty box of paper clips, 2 binder clips (not boxes, single clips) 2 pads of post-its, 3 boxes of pens, 2 boxes of staples and a bunch of the mismatched folders. For 18 people in the office. That's it. It's really pathetic.

Today, I was at my other county which I visit less frequently. I'm the attorney in 2 counties, but I spend 90% of my of my time in County A. Today, while in County B, I was jumping between offices (because I don't actually have a station there) and ran out of paperclips. The staff directed me to the supply closet and told me to help myself. (Incidentally, they're already working on getting me the "special" notebooks, even if they have to stop at Office Max and pick them up). When I opened the closet, I thought I had struck gold. There were stacks and stacks of staples, boxes of binder clips (in 3 sizes!), pads of paper, 4 different kinds of pens, 6 or 7 extra staplers (new in the boxes), 5 scissors (new in the box), post it notes of every color and size, and much much more. They even had 30 bottles of white-out, as opposed to the 1 half used tape white out in our office. I literally gave a yelp of happiness at all of the stuff.

Then of course, I proceeded to stock up. I checked with my secretary at that office just to be sure, and she said to help myself. She also told me that if there was anything not back there that I wanted, she'd run down to the store and get it for me. How lucky could I be?

Later in the day, I was sitting at a coworker's desk using her docking station with my stash of stapler, scissors, post-it notes, white-out, pens, etc, when my director walked by. She looked at me over my towering stack of supplies, shook her head laughing, and walked on.

I'm now going to have to make sure I find the key to my desk so that I can lock up my stash from the jealous coworkers in my other county.