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04 September 2008

Office Supplies: are you a "contract" or "designer" user? [More:]

Today we got the following email from HQ:

Dear [BigPharmaco] Staff:

Due to recent budgetary cutbacks, we ask that you show preference to standard contract items when ordering supplies from [OfficeSupplyco]. Please refrain from indulging in frivolous choices such as coloured Post-It notes and designer pens unless there is an urgent business justification.

Kind Regards,

[The CFO]

So okay, I have a pretty *shrug* attitude about this because as a career temp, I'm extremely accustomed to using plain yellow Highland sticky notes and Bic Stic pens, and could basically care less as long as it gets the job done.

However I don't really want to have to write the justification report for the $100/box green pressboard archival quality catalog files that the Legal Dept is required to use. I also know that a non-trivial population of my colleagues tend to index / paginate stuff using those "frivolous" fancy coloured post-its as references, or have an ergonomic need for better-than-stick pens, and shall be separated from them over their cold, dead bodies &etc.

Which type are you?
We're definitely not designer. We run on the bare minimum.

The only supplies we order from the office place each month are: Folgers coffee, non-dairy creamer, Sweet n' Low (Yay! caffeine, saccharine, and trans fat for our cardiac patients!), generic pens and highlighters, manila folders, paper (some is multi-colored), paper clips, 9 Volt-batteries, labels, and a few other boring things.
posted by LoriFLA 04 September | 18:31
It always cracks me up when there's budgetary issues and stuff like this comes up. An eleventy million, billion, grillion dollar company has financial issues, and the problem is too expensive Post-it notes? To me that's indicative of more endemic issues, and this is an easy target for frustrated, or even inept, management to lash out at. (Not saying this is so in your case, lfr, but it's something I've seen at places I've worked.)

As for me, I'm a knuckledragger at my place of work, so for office supplies it's very basic.
posted by eekacat 04 September | 19:10
For the execs their admins get them the best. We worker bees are to use our best judgement but back when our group had an admin, she stocked up so there's plenty of the essentials. I hate the pens they have so I usually use the free ones I get in hotels.

My only extravagance in three words: Red Swingline Stapler.
posted by birdherder 04 September | 19:24
At work, I was pretty much straight contract, but my home office, such as it now, is usually 98% designer. Post-it brand stickies ARE expensive, even the plain yellow ones. I usually buy a couple years worth when the store brand goes on sale.
posted by Ardiril 04 September | 19:34
I am also a pretty light user of supplies. My favourite thing to write with is a wood pencil.I like how it scratches along, and how it gets dull. In fact, I would almost say that I enjoy each level of the sharp-to-dull road...I use the occasional post it note, and standard yellow is fine with me. Oh, and I use about one spiral notebook every couple of years.
posted by richat 04 September | 19:46
We use very few office supplies in our office. We're mostly, maybe 90%, paper free and if you don't use paper then you don't use too many other supplies. I use a pack of post-its per year and I write in a notebook that I've had since my last job from five years ago. I don't have folders, a stapler or paper clips.
posted by octothorpe 04 September | 19:47
We go cheap all the way at our place except paper. We purchase super bright ass paper and bangin' toner cartridges because they scan better than the super-recycled cheapo paper.
posted by sperose 04 September | 20:14
My last job: We were given a Staples catalog and told we could order whatever we wanted. We had colored post-its coming out our noses.

My current job: I was told that I had to share a scissors with four other people. It took some begging and conniving to get a wrist rest.
posted by desjardins 04 September | 22:03
I love colored post-its. And colored pens, but I always buy my own (the ultra-fine Sharpie collection of 1300 colors).
posted by rhapsodie 04 September | 23:37
I work in IT sales so we don't have to buy most office supplies. Notepads, postits, and pens are everywhere. It's not even uncommon for companies to give out mousepads, staplers, flash drives, and mugs. I even have an HP bathtowel and a Microsoft robe. Pretty much anything you can smack a logo on.
My team is pretty much paperless, and has been for years. Some of the other teams still keep paper files. It kind of twists my stomach to see the amount of paper they use in a month when it's so completely unnecessary.
posted by kellydamnit 04 September | 23:43
oh, and if you need any pens, drop me a line. seriously. I get at least four or five a week, and I just donate most the local Obama office so people can take them on voter registration drives.
posted by kellydamnit 05 September | 00:33
We got almost the exact same e-mail a couple of years ago, but we don't use that much stationery either (except for paper - we kill a decent sized rainforest every couple of weeks or so). If my plan to migrate us to a completely paperless system pans out, we will use even less. I do; however, loooooooove to read through stationery catalogues.
posted by dg 05 September | 03:35
I confess to being an office supply addict. And a post-it note fiend. I buy all kinds and colors. I've got dark black and blue ones that are supposed to be used with gel pens. Giant ones, teeny ones, transparent ones, and even some hexadecimal ones with the glue down the middle.

I'm a wood pencil type too. I love the smell of a newly sharpened pencil.
posted by lysdexic 05 September | 10:01
I like the big Post-it notes that look like a note-pad, cause I can write a bunch of notes on them and stick them above my desk. I also use little ones to leave notes on documents or for other people. The multi-colored part is a plus.

I also use three different types of notebooks - hardbound for confidential/patentable stuff, those brown graph-ruled ones for lab work, and legal pads for meetings.

Of course, three different types of notebooks means I need 3 different types of pens, in 3 colors (black for notes, blue for notes on other people's notes, red for red-line changes).

So yeah, I'm definitely a "designer" user.
posted by muddgirl 05 September | 10:07
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