Wednesday, July 27, 2005


If you've seen "Office Space," you're not even going to believe the following story is true.

Just before lunch, Matt came over and told me that my computer login was all set and that I should now sit at the secretary's desk by his office (which is what I had originally been hired to do). I set up shop in my new cube and quickly finished Matt's first admin task, which was to "pretty up" (his terminology) a memo he had written -- by changing the font colors to official Regis blue and gold shades. (I also copyedited his sloppy writing while I was at it, but he didn't seem to notice). Then I just chilled.

A little while later, this guy meandered over and seemed to be kind of casing out my cube. He retreated to his own cube and then came back a few minutes later and lurked some more. Finally, he approached me.

"Hi...I'm Ken. Where did you get that stapler?" I tried to hide my amusement that Ken, a flamboyant and well-dressed 30-something guy, wore braces.

" was just here when I got here. I'm a temp."

"Ok, friend Clayton over there," (he gestured wildly in the general direction of a mass of cubes), "he's over in his cube crying because someone stole his Swingline stapler...and I happened to notice that you had one that looks just like I was wondering if I could take it back to him."

"Ok, well, I didn't take it in the first place, but go ahead..."

He took the stapler (which was admittedly cool looking -- the outside was blue and kind of rubbery and the design looked ergonomic), and gave me a regular black Bostitch stapler in exchange.

After lunch, Matt gave me my second task. He dropped two 4-inch stacks of paper on my desk and told me to staple each page from stack A with the page it matched in stack B. Stimulating.

After about 20 minutes of stapling, my hand started to hurt. Damn, I could really use that ergonomic Swingline stapler now. I walked over to Ken's cube and asked where I could get one of those special staplers, explaining that my hand was getting raw from a big stapling project I had been assigned. He took me over to Clayton, the owner of the Swingline.

"This is the girl," he introduced me to Clayton, "she has something she wants to ask you." (The girl? As in, the girl who stole the stapler? It was already there when I got to the damn cube!)

Clayton, a skittish 40-something white guy with Jon Stewart hair, eyed me suspiciously as I talked. "Um...hi, I'm a temp. Do you mind trading staplers with me just for the rest of the afternoon?" He regarded the black Bostitch in my hand with horror. "I promise I'll give you your Swingline back, it's just that my hand is getting raw because I have like 800 things to staple." I showed him my reddened palm.

Clayton gave me a dubious up and down once-over, then looked me dead in the eye and delivered this gem of a question: "What can my stapler do that your stapler can't?"

Ok...just forget it. What is it with crazy people and their staplers?


Blogger S.C. said...


I don't know whether to shake your hand and congratulate you, or hug you and give you my sympathies...

Little bit o' triva about the Office Space Swingline...

Swingline has never made a red stapler. The one used in the movie was a black stapler painted red. After the movie achieved cult status, the Red Swingline became the symbol of office revolt everywhere, so Swingline started making red staplers.

July 28, 2005 6:45 AM  
Blogger JLR said...

Last night, I was at school pretty late helping to get the journal ready for publication, and I pulled up your blog and saw the subject line. Then someone walked in, so I had to get back to work, and I didn't get to read about Staplergate until this morning. It was worth the wait.

I say you get there early one morning and take the stapler.

July 28, 2005 8:28 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

That is too funny! Office life is just so strange to me sometimes. People take it WAY too seriously. Sorry to hear about your stapler incident, but hopefully you can manage to pick up the ergonomic one soon!

July 28, 2005 9:01 AM  
Blogger nin said...

keep posting like this...
its really funny...

July 28, 2005 10:13 AM  
Blogger hanmee said...

Have those guys been there for awhile? Just seems that the longer people have been at an office the more possessive they get about their office supplies, territories, etc. As if they have more identity at the office than anywhere else.

July 28, 2005 10:13 AM  
Blogger CM said...

I like jjb's idea. You're a temp -- you won't be there for very long anyway. Steal this guy's stapler at every opportunity.

July 28, 2005 10:25 AM  
Blogger austinizer said...

I'd have kicked that goofy motherfu**er in the teeth.

July 28, 2005 11:09 AM  
Blogger sJea said...

i made the top five!!!

speech, speech...

first, i like to thank god and my like REALLY like me...

it's official...i'm certifiable

July 28, 2005 11:31 AM  
Anonymous War said...

Life is stranger than fiction.

July 28, 2005 11:58 AM  
Blogger shell said...

The lives of these office workers are so plain & uninteresting that the only sentimental experience(s) they'll ever have is/are the (deliberate or accidental) parting(s) with their staplers/scissors/other misc. office supplies.

You're way cooler than them. You're going to have a real future.

July 28, 2005 12:34 PM  
Blogger hanmee said...

Another idea (admittedly one I stole from BBC's "The Office"): steal his stapler and put it in a jello mold like you would a piece of fruit and then set the jello on his desk.

July 28, 2005 12:40 PM  
Blogger Croaker said...

Yes, I've seen a few like that in the various offices I've worked. Including the guy who would save his half eaten food in his desk then eat it again days later.

July 28, 2005 4:09 PM  
Blogger RR said...

Swingline used to make a red stapler. Mine is sitting right next to the computer as I type this. I think my grandmother gave it to me when I was a child.

I had no idea that Swingline had stopped making the red stapler at some point. Learn something new every day, as they say.

Go out and buy an even better stapler than the one Clayton has. Put your name on the bottom in permanent market. Then make sure you staple something everytime he walks by so that he cannot fail to notice the superiority of your stapling tool.

July 28, 2005 8:09 PM  
Blogger JLR said...

I say your write your name on his stapler.

July 28, 2005 10:01 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I work in an office where people write their names on paper and then super-bondo tape them to the end of their binder clips. Not just the jumbo clips, but all sizes. I have a drawer full of them! I just laugh whenever I file something with a clip named "Cindy." Hahahaha!

August 09, 2005 10:22 PM  

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