Day’?s Verse:
Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10

Yesterday we ran out of printer paper. This in and of itself is something of a feat, as we receive a half-dozen boxes of paper at a time, which weighs in at about 5,000 sheets per box, or 30,000 sheets total. Running out of paper counts as a major disaster in our group, since we print easily 500 or 1,000 pages per day. Not being able to print will eventually shut down all operations.

Seeing disaster looming, I emailed the person who I contacted previously when I needed things: Barb. I said,

Hi Barb,

We’re out of printer paper in the reporting group on the 2nd floor here. Could you see about getting us some more?


She replied:

The paper supply is stored in the vault on the first floor. Feel free to take as much as you need.

This reply puzzled me, since in the past somebody from Shipping & Receiving usually came up with a dolly loaded down with our six boxes of paper. After some discussion with Janice, I sent back another email:

Hi Barb,

I will go get us some for now. I only ask because usually we get six boxes or so delivered to us at a time, since we use so much paper.


I did go downstairs and successfully retrieved seven reams of paper, which filled our printer and left one ream over as an extra. This forestalled any immediate disasters, but the underlying paperlessness issue remained. I left for th day, and came back this morning to find this in my inbox:

Not to sound rude, but I was just informed that we are no longer responsible for ordering or supplying your groups’ needs. From this point on you will have to see Sarah for all future needs (this includes paper, cd’s, etc). This was news to me also. Supplies were always taken care of by our group but sometime this year your group broke away from Lab Sciences so you will have to get your own supplies from now on. Sorry for the inconvenience!

News to me! Just a few weeks ago Barb had supplied me with a box of special paper, and I obtained small items such as pens, paper clips, and bulldog clips from the Lab Sciences group as a matter of routine. Before I even had time to stop my head from spinning, the Associate Director of the Reporting Group sent me an email:

Katie C. has been ordering supplies for Report Services.


Oh. Fine by me; I resolved to talk to her when I found a minute. By now I was starting to feel a little tired out by the relatively simple task of ordering more paper, which I had never even tried to do before. But before I could catch my breath, Katie C. emailed me:

I take care of ordering supplies for all of Report Services. S. C. was the contact in Worcester (I would order and have it shipped to her). Since she is now here in Shrewsbury, if I could have a contact person in Worcester, I can place and order and have it shipped to you in Worcester.

I can place an order anytime…do you just need paper?
Katie C.

I wracked my brains for anything else we needed, and in addition to paper, I remembered that we often ran out CDs. Every report we ship requires at least one CD, and at times we have sent out up to three or four CDs for just one report, depending on who all needs to receive it. So I said:

Hi Katie,

Yes, we need lots of paper, please. Generally we get about 6 boxes at a time. Also if you could order us a couple boxes of CDs, that would be excellent. I can be your contact person for the next few weeks.


Whew, I thought to myself. At least we got that all sorted out. I settled down to get some real work done, but then another email popped into my inbox, again from Katie C.:

Will do. I will order some CDs for now, but generally you need to get the CDs from the IT department (they take care of ordering all CDs).

Katie C.

WHAT?! What? Order everything you need through Katie C., except for CDs, which come from IT? What the heck?!!1 After this, I have resolved to wash my hands completely of ordering ANYTHING, which had been my previous policy (and that policy served me well) anyway. If we run out of paper, CDs, or any other supply, I will sit idly by because goodness only knows what convoluted process I will accidentally bypass in my simple, earnest attempts to obtain printer paper. Gah.

KF quality

2 thoughts on “Diversionary Tactics

  1. Wow. That is messed up. My group gets all of our office supplies, forms, CDs, DVDS, even USB memory sticks through our administrative assistant. Maybe she has to order them through different groups, but the engineers don’t.

    I would have totally made Darrell the contact person.

  2. These are the kinds of daily surprises that test our mettle. May you be shockingly patient and cheerful as you make your way through the morass of office procedures. It will be an amazing witness to those around you!

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