The Secret Diary of a Stationery Lover


It has been a busy week for me as work starts to return to normal (I hate that phrase, what is normal? Surely every workplace is different, what is normal to me might be very different to the guys down at the local garage where quite frankly the state of their reception desk has never looked like anything I have ever seen before, how do they ever find anything?).

At our company the return to the office has enabled us to once again welcome work experience students into our environment so that they can get a feel for working life. Last Wednesday young David spent the whole day with me. A bit of a cocky lad, seemed to think he knew everything, but I soon put him in his place. When I returned from a mid-morning toilet visit, I was greeted with: “Tina from Accounts called for you whilst you were away, I left a Post-it® note on your desk”

I looked at my desk and sure enough there was a note stuck to my monitor. But it wasn’t a Post-it®. Yes it was a sticky note and it was yellow and it was posted on my screen but boy, does this young lad not know anything!

“David – come over here” I yelled “what you have put on my screen is a yellow sticky note. Not a post-it® note. Post-it is a brand of notes – they are of a much higher quality and come in a much wider range of colours. Look, see how that note on my screen is already starting to curl at the edges and will very soon fall from my screen? If I had been another ten minutes in the bathroom it will more than likely have disappeared down the back of my desk and I may never have got the message. Pull up a chair…”

For the next twenty minutes I used our Workplace Solutions catalogue to explain the important difference between sticky notes, including the value of the Super Sticky range from Post-it® which are extra sticky and come in a range of different collections. As I started to talk him through the collections – the green and blues of the Oasis collection; the orange, green and pinks from the Boost selection before moving onto the new Playful collection – I could see his eyes begin to roll with amazement. Information overload.
I did smile, when that young know-it-all kid walked through the door, he would have had no idea how much he still had to learn. Even now I have not told him about the Post-it Extreme range which is water-resistant. Some things I choose to keep to myself, well, I don’t want him to come back to the company at the end of his exams and start having his eye on my role as Stationery Supplies Supervisor do I!

The day was not all about teaching, in the afternoon we had a really good laugh and I played a classic work experience trick on young David. When we were sorting through piles of paper I said “I know what we need – go down to reception and ask Steve if you can have a ‘long weight’ for a job we are doing.” Off he trotted, confident he knew what he was doing. How we laughed twenty minutes later when he returned, Steve having eventually explained the joke!

Throughout the day I continued to share much of my experience in administrating stationery in a busy workplace, but to be honest, sometimes it felt like a lost cause.

“Can I borrow your Sellotape?” he asked later that afternoon.
“I don’t have any I’m afraid.” I knew where this conversation was going.
“Yes you do, I can see it there on your desk, right next to…”
Gotcha! I knew I had young smarty pants once again. “That young man is mere sticky tape, a cheap brand bought in bulk by my predecessor. It is not Sellotape. Sellotape is a brand of vastly superior quality; stronger, tougher and lasts longer.”
Again the eyes rolled. He knew he had met his match.

At 5.30pm the cleaners started to gather in the doorway, removing their equipment from the cupboard, including the legendary red and black Henry vacuum cleaner. Wasting no time, David took that as his cue to pack up and leave. “Right, I’m off, it looks like they are about to start to use the hoover…”

“David, that is not a hoover…” My efforts to educate him were wasted, he was already out the door and on his way home. Funny enough the next day he never showed up for work experience, his mum called to say that he was not well and would not be returning. Kids today, they have no stamina.