Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Happy New Year

It’s not too late to make a New Year’s resolution is it? Good. It occurred to me this morning just how many small things at my workplace irritate me and my hope is that by listing them here I will purge my vexation into remission. Let's crack on.
1. Loading the photocopier
Despite my frequent moaning, I seem to be the only person in the office who realises that our copier paper is not the same on both sides. It has a smooth side and a slightly rougher side. That’s why they write ‘first print side’ with an arrow on the packaging. It’s not just there for a joke. And yet still, like a dropped piece of toast, it invariably ends up face down in the machine when loaded by the others. The extra friction resulting from writing on forms copied like this probably slows down my productivity by anything up to a second per week.

2. Staples that are incorrectly orientated
There is only one acceptable position for a staple – see figure 1. There are a few common alignment errors that are committed by my colleagues which range from mildly irritating (figures 2 and 3) to utterly maddening (figure 4). Presumably figure 4 results from right handed people being far too busy to waste half a second rotating their pages into the optimum stapling position. Worse is when a stack of papers that have already been stapled together are appended by further papers and further staples, resulting in the unholy mess that is figure 5. The worst of all, however, is when people use the ‘open ended’ stapling option by turning round the striking plate. I have yet to fathom why this option even exists – it’s a near certainty that you’ll draw blood by inadvertently ramming the sharp end under your fingernail. I frequently encounter figure 6 – stapling at its worst.

3. Holes punched by guesswork
You’d think that punching holes in a piece of paper was a fairly elementary skill, but no. The correct way, of course, is to fold the left hand long edge and make a small crease to mark the midway point. This must then be aligned with the arrow on the hole punch. It’s not difficult. In our office, though, it is still considered acceptable to skip the folding part and just punch at a point that looks ‘near enough’. The result? Misaligned papers in my lever arch files. The only fix is to re-punch, but then you get either long oval shaped holes or, if a colleague’s guesswork is particularly shoddy, four holes (witness figure 7).

4. People who don’t understand the concept of printer’s proofs
The time to notice that your new stack of 500 business cards contain a typo is not when they arrive in their box. Do you remember that colour laser print that they sent you a week ago? The one that you gave a cursory glance to, signed and returned? Well it had exactly the same typo and you DIDN’T FUCKING NOTICE. Now I have to add an ‘h’ in biro to the email address on all my cards which makes me look like a total div. Thanks.

5. Incorrectly addressed mail
The postal service is a very useful and efficient means of sending information that can’t be emailed, but some people don’t seem to realise that the sorting process is no longer carried out by nice old ladies in between knitting scarves for their nephews. We live in an age of automation. Postcodes are not optional extras. Writing the first half of the postcode because you can’t be arsed to look up the rest is not an acceptable compromise. Writing ‘near ______’ in brackets is more likely to get your mail lost. The address should be written in lower case with no punctuation, apart from the post town which should be in capital letters. In the UK, you do not need to write the name of the county. Human beings don’t read your addresses, machines do. When you fail to adhere to these rules, don’t moan when your post has been delayed because the machine rejected it and some poor sod had to sort it by hand.

That will do for now.  Hmm… I think I’ve broken my resolution already. Still, lasting until the middle of June isn’t bad is it?


editingrequired said...

you're a sick, sick man.
get help, for all our sakes...

Ariane said...

Very funny post! I am hugely impressed by your meticulousness. I vaguely knew about the hole-punching, but only had those hole-punches without the long ruler-type thing, so always had to fold the paper in half slightly to get the middle (not good, hey?)

I didn't know about the post town having to be in capitals, but I do now. So thank you.

Hattie said...

Very funny, and I particularly feel your pain on the staple and hole punch issues. Sadly, people are morons.

Have you seen Office Space? If not, you really should. Trailer here.