For most office workers, paper clips and other stationery items are just anonymous unexciting objects piled up in an equally anonymous cupboard. They have no idea of the research and dedication that goes into planning the shape of tomorrow's staples. I met Wayne Roolaflicka II, Managing Director of the Office Requisitions Research Group, to find out more...
BOV: They say you put "it" into Requsitions. What's "it"?
WR: Sex, of course! A visit to the office cupboard beats going to a sex shop any day. More people have sex in the office than any other workplace. And 67% of those office lovers use stationery to spice things up.
BOV: I'm sorry, I'm having a difficult time imagining this. Could you elaborate?
WR: Well, just think of the different "non work" ways people use their photocopiers. And then there's string, scissors (blades), tape...
BOV: (interrupting) Okay, I think my imagination's had enough, thankyou. But presumably you're not actually trying to find, er, marital uses for your products. What are you researching?
WR: We're trying to make sure that these items are not only fit for purpose, but that they exceed that purpose. We want people to stop buying "stationery" and instead invest in Office Solutions.
BOV: That's great, but stationery requisitions are always the first thing that companies try to cut back on. How can you get them to buy more and better?
WR: Office Solutions are the tools of your trade. Without them nothing else is possible. Like any craftsman, the office worker chooses tools that will serve him well, won't let him down, will be his trusty companions through thick and thin. I think slowly the corporate world is getting the message.
BOV: But I already have a stapler. How can you make it better?
WR: The Stapler is a perfect example of a product that needs Office Solution Engineering. If it jams too often then it's useless. But if it works too well, or is too safe, then that also causes problems.
BOV: I'm sure most people would prefer something safer and more efficient...
WR: Look, we need to think holistically. Offices can be boring dull places. Those places can kill you, or at least they kill your drive, your thrust, your passion...
BOV: (Interrupting) We've already covered the sex angle...
WR: We all need an element of danger to keep us alert. If they ever invent a "safe" hammer, you might as well send all the carpenters home. They'll not be paying any attention to what they're doing. Same with the stapler. We also need success and triumphs along the route of our office lives, and successfully defurring your mouse, or unjamming your stapler puts something positive into what might otherwise have been a negative failure-ridden day. You go home feeling you've done something right.
BOV: Weren't you responsible for the Microsoft Paper Clip, when you were in charge at the Paper Clip Marketing Board? The one people really hate?
WR: Yeah, well, that didn't quite work out. I think that our willingness to engage with a Corporate Giant like Microsoft in pursuit of Paper Clip Marketing shows how fired up and synergetic we are.
BOV: I'm resisting the urge to get fired up and punch you right now! (takes a moment to calm down). What gives you all this energy? What keeps you going?
WR: The knowledge that tomorrow's world leaders, Captains of industry, future billionaires are starting out in their careers in a little cubicle, wearing a cheap suit, and with a drawer full of staplers, rulers, pens and highlighters. That those humble tools are making future kings. And yeah. That's better than sex. Except when your secretary puts a hole punch...
BOV: (hastily) I think we'll leave it there, thankyou.