let’s discuss sacred office supplies — Ask a Manager

here are the 10 best questions to ask your job interviewer — Ask a Manager

Oh, have I ever got a story for this one.

I previously worked at a small branch office of a large company. One quirk of the team I worked on was that we would print and bind most of our hard-copy reports in-house, using a (large, clunky, and kind of difficult to use) manual binding machine to punch and bind all our reports. The other team that worked out of the same office (but weren’t really connected to the work my team did), generally just paid to have their things printed at Staples or wherever, and in fact refused to learn to use the binding machine because they didn’t want to use it.

Fast forward a few years, nearly everyone at this branch office has quit – we’re down to literally just me and one guy from this other team. Corporate decides that it’s not worth continuing to lease the office space for just the two of us and they’re going to close the office and push us full-time remote. (I’m on my way out by now too and have already put in my notice, but I’m basically staying to help close this office location.) At this point, I’m told that I’m free to take whatever I can use in terms of office supplies/equipment, and to find takers for anything I can, because our corporate overlords aren’t interested in keeping things, so anything that doesn’t have a home by the end of the month is getting thrown away/recycled/donated. I spend a decent amount of time finding homes for headsets, 3-ring binders, surplus paper, whiteboards, and other office miscellany.

Everything except the binding machine.

Other Guy’s boss (who is not onsite) has suddenly decided that since he has access to this binding machine, he should really be binding his own documents instead of paying someone to do it, and so he will be keeping the binding machine, which he hates and does not use. He spends several occasions complaining that this is going to be So Much More Difficult than the way they’ve done things before, why can’t he just keep going to Staples, it probably costs more to pay him to bind a report than it does to pay for copies, etc.

Until I, quite selflessly, offer to make the binding machine Mysteriously Disappear so he doesn’t need to learn how to use it and he decides that actually, he’s going to dig in his heels on keeping this binding machine that he absolutely does not want because I’ve threatened it. He WILL be keeping this binding machine, and if anyone else tries to lay claim to it, my boss (also offsite) needs to talk to his boss, and he’ll handle it if it needs to be shipped somewhere, don’t worry about it, he definitely needs to keep this thing he doesn’t even want.

I guarantee he’s never once used the damn thing since I left.

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