Office Supplies


Some things get antiquated pretty fast like the horse and buggy or the cathode ray tube TV. Others stick around for a long while before their use wanes. I am thinking of the ubiquitous, and once practical, humble Bostitch stapler for one invention as I sit staring at its loneliness presence. It has not gotten much attention of late. But frankly it is not an office item I am going to miss. It takes up too much room on my desk and is forever running out of its innards.

There are better ways to store documents than binding pages and pages of them together and stashing them in some hard-to-find files. (We don’t even have file cabinets anymore!) Rest in peace, you metal wonder, the stapler, long live the PDF. It is so much more modern to keep documents in your computer or on a cloud. Retrieval is faster and more efficient. Okay, you can delete them by mistake, but you can rescue them at will from the trash. Literal bundles of stapled paper can get dog-eared pretty fast. Pages can fall out if the binding was not done proficiently. All in all, you have to move along with the times and discard old habits.

Storage aside, we do not distribute documents in person anymore. No one wants paper. We email them or send a link. This way recipients can download them at will and read them at a more convenient time. They don’t get lost at the bottom of someone’s inbox underneath a myriad of memos and snail mail.

There are office supplies that I am going to miss by contrast. I love the three-hole punch. You feel manly exerting enough pressure to make them work. Believe me, it took some effort. But three-ring binders have gone to the wayside along with staplers. I am going to miss going to the copy machine directly where I can run into friends for a quick conversation. Now we send our documents electronically for reproduction, or we just don’t copy them at all. What is a copy machine sorter tray you ask?

I am going to miss magic markers on white boards for office presentations. We have much more advanced ways of doing this with PowerPoint. I am also going to miss the phone receptionist routing calls and the mailroom clerk, whose job has been steadily dwindling, what with the high cost of postage and all.

I am going to miss erasers, paper clips, butterfly clips, and highlighter pens. I am sad to see memo pads and Post-its go. Let’s say goodbye and farewell to manila folders and hanging Pendaflex files. A shout out is merited by perforation machines, Dictaphones, and tape decks. Remember when everyone had a dual TV/cassette player machine? I see, you don’t know what this is.

The office is a sparser place. You can see what you are doing without all the unnecessary supplies. You don’t have to feel guilty about taking the last staples from the communal electric device because you are too lazy to fill it. Plus, you always seem to jam them up. It is a time to cheer electronic advancement and the absence of clutter.