Monday, November 17, 2008


Since our office is closing in a matter of weeks, I do not think it will hurt to tell some of the more benign stories of what happens at work. There are days when things occur which are so bizarre all I can think about is, "I wish I could post about this!" Such is the story of the Kleenex.

I got a new boss last year and shortly after she came on board I had a car accident. My lengthy absence caused a necessary shift of duties. When I returned, the ordering of supplies was no longer my responsibility. Worked for me but it did not take long to realize there was a new sheriff in town and she was tight, tight, tight!

We are not a big office and I had been very careful to watch the budget, have companies submit bids for our business and keep a tight reign on expenses. Or so I thought. It seems that Sheriff started ordering the cheapest paper towels that tore into pieces as you pulled them from the dispenser, a sub par grade of toilet paper that disintegrated upon contact and she openly requested post it notes be cut into strips to conserve. I kid you not!! She did several other things that will have to wait for the telling since they are worthy of their own post.

But the tissue fiasco was the latest straw. I used to make a bulk purchase of tissues and kept the boxes under lock and key in the closet with the coffee, creamer and other staples. The boxes were placed throughout the office since not everyone had the luxury of a permanent station/office and it was not a big expense. No one took advantage. They were an off brand tissue and some folks, like myself, bought our own boxes if we wanted to express our personal style.

Well, when the last bulk box was gone Sheriff would not order any more. This caused a stir in the office as people came to request a new box. They were particularly peeved when Sheriff said, "I will order more during cold and flu season." What the heck?? One of the pharmacists came to me, asking for a new box since he was suffering from an allergy attack. When I had to tell him he was out of luck and why, he suggested he might just use his sleeve or, better yet, use Sheriff's sleeve. As funny as that sounded I offered my Kleenex to him instead.

Fast forward to last week. Sheriff's assistant, who has been delegated to do the actual ordering, placed a supply order and included a case of 20 boxes of tissue. We had recently had our flu shots and many of the office were suffering from various ailments which seemed to be a good indicator that it was cold and flu season. Not so!!

When the order came in and Sheriff saw the packing slip she was furious and royally reamed her assistant for taking it upon herself to order tissues. The assistant tried to explain her reasoning but Sheriff announced, "I am not paying for them! You are sending them back!!" This all happened in our front office and everyone in the department could hear the fallout. You would have thought this $20 item was the tipping point of our financial success or failure so great was the reaction.

But it gets worse.

The assistant put the case of tissues on her desk in her cubicle to be returned the next day and went off to deliver the rest of the supplies to the various departments. Sheriff went home for the day.

Turns out the lead supervisor came through the front office shortly after this, and seeing the much coveted tissues, opened the case and took three boxes for her staff. Assistant comes back and seeing the opened case had a bit of a meltdown. I heard the commotion and stepped out to see what was causing the latest uproar. It seems my staff was offering suggestions to Assistant on how to undo the deed.

Stuff the case with used tissues? Eewww. Wad up toilet paper to fill the void? Naw. It was too thin and would take too much, thus creating a toilet paper shortfall. There was nothing Assistant could do except face the wrath of Sheriff in the morning.

Sure enough, the next morning Sheriff saw the opened case and pounced on Assistant the minute she walked through the door demanding to know why she had not been obeyed. Sheriff was actually yelling and causing such a commotion we all came out of our offices/cubicles to see what calamity had befallen us. It was absolutely the most bizarre scene with a row of heads sticking out of cubicles all looking in the same direction like drivers on the highway straining to see the accident scene. And I, realizing there was no need to call 9-1-1, returned to my desk.

A few minutes later Sheriff flew into my office and essentially demanded that I help her get to the bottom of this inexcusable breach of security. "I want to know who did this!!! I want you to find whoever did this." She was so enraged I actually thought her next words might be, "Off with their head!!" As the kids would say, she was off the chain.

It was so hard for me to keep a straight face. I had taken a walk through the pharmacy the night before and saw where the kleenex had been placed and had learned from the supervisor that she was the "culprit." It was a harmless deed and we laughed that perhaps we were not far enough into the cold and flu season after all.

I announced to Sheriff, "I know who took them." Who?! The look of elation on her face caused me to think I was well on my way to a Detective of the Year nomination. "It was Supervisor and it was an innocent mistake. She saw them, knew they were needed in the back and helped by passing them out."

Well, I have never seen someone shift gears so quickly in my life and I believe Sheriff may have left skid marks on my carpet. The reason? The lead supervisor reports directly to the Big Boss and I knew there was no way Sheriff was going to take this to Big Boss. Even in her state of frenzy Sheriff knew she was out of options. She had to pay for the tissues.

Last I heard there will be a fund raiser to cover the non-budgeted expense. Anyone want to sign up to sponsor me?


Julie said...

Oh My, and I thought our boss was tight, LOL. Every work place must have these type of people. I always bring my own also as I don't like rubbing the skin off my nose with that cheap crap.

a corgi said...

oh my gosh! what a cute story as you told it, but I'm sure not cute as it was being played out! that was a little tight of a sheriff in my opinion; it is good to pinch pennies but not quite like this


Melanie said...

OMG!!!! That was funny!!
Thanks for the laugh!


Leigh said...

You're right, that is a real hoot! Now...
That poor assistant.
I hope the rest of your stay with this company goes smoothly.
:) Leigh

Missie said...

Office stories are always so funny!

Lori said...

Oh my, this is so hilarious! That's taking the term "tight-wad" to a whole new level!