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Taking office supplies home

This seems to be a common thing among the workplace. Pens, notebooks, binders. Some people even take RAM. I wonder how much businesses lose because of employees stealing office supplies.
Permalink  
March 3rd, 2005
When it becomes a problem you should add a check-out process. A simple book assigned to a staff (probably starting with H.R.) who satisfies such equipment requests. I.T. wise--your staff should be able to monitor system changes. There a programs that can produce complete reports on a system, schedule them to email you a report. Major brands also have alarms you can add to a system to prevent tampering (although it doesn't really have a standard alarm API so I am not sure if you can find software that works with all brands)
Permalink Li-fan Chen 
March 3rd, 2005
Shoot, I'm forever bringing in my own Office Depot supplies. A couple of 12-packs of pads (one white, one yellow) some green Engineer's Pads (Ampad's are the best, avoid 'Tops' if you can, Tops has odd page size and hole placement). A 50 pack of CD-R's every so often.

I figure it adds up to around $100 per year -- no big deal.

And we did have a locking supply cabinet in my old work area, with the admin person holding the key. Again, no big deal, it just allowed SOME control over what was going out.
Permalink AllanL5 
March 3rd, 2005
In retail, less than half of the "shrinkage" goes out the front door (in shoplifting), the rest goes out the back door with the employees. Offices use clear trash bags to prevent folks from loading up with loot and "throwing it in the trash" (or their car, whichever comes first).

The worst outright banditry I saw was working at GM about 15 years ago. Folks with kids would plunder the office supplies starting about 2 months before the start of school. These weren't poorly paid people: $50-100k/year was the range. Those parents were doing their kids a disservice, teaching them to steal and embezzle.

My job is worth more to me than a $2 pen.
Permalink Peter 
March 3rd, 2005
I used the company Kleenex(TM) boxes to blow my nose in, and sometimes to mop my brow when I'm nervous.

Y'know, I never thought about it, but perhaps I should return them to the supply closet when I'm done using them.
Permalink hoser 
March 3rd, 2005
Hell, that's nothing. At one company I worked at I was part of a 50% company wide layoff. People were taking their work computers home with them, and it seemed that no one was stopping them, either...

I've seen a lot of office supplies "disappear" from the cabinets, especially when you didn't see them in sue by your other coworkers. I noticed a few of them putting stuff in their briefcases and walking out the door.
Permalink Anonymous coward 
March 3rd, 2005
I read somewhere some advice about having "closure" on a work relationship[1] -- steal something from the employer, so you've "won". Doesn't have to be anything major, just a token. I think that says something about the relationship most people have with their jobs.

With me it's mostly pads of A4 and pens, and it's not really intentional it's just that I write on the nearest pad with the nearest pen.

Since I also buy my own A4 pads and pens I figure the office gains as much as it loses.


[1] I mean with the company, not people there. And it wasn't "closure" because people in the UK didn't use that word in that way back then.
Permalink Katie Lucas 
March 3rd, 2005
When Apricot laid off so many, there was a pyramid of kit lying in the middle of one office which people helped themselves to.

I think I've still got a reel of Belden cable in the garage from one Apricot office move.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 3rd, 2005
There are some things you expect to take from the office. Paper and pens obviously. The bit of network cable I've got at home is probably a grey area, but taking memory is definintely misappropriation.

Most people bring somethings in from home and take some things out.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 3rd, 2005
I've always used my own pens (a brand I specifically like), provided my own kleenex, and even my own notepads: It just seems easier and less hassle. I've tried to bring in my own mice and keyboards (rather than the shite one normally gets) but have been rejected because it would strangely make other employees jealous. I've used my own computer hardware, such as my laptop, for work related purposes. Why? Because even when I'm a full-time employee sucking at the corporate teat, I still feel that I am my own boss, and my investments enable me to do a better job for my client, and so on. I look poorly on coworkers that piss and moan about every petty thing.
Permalink Dennis Forbes 
March 3rd, 2005
I always use my nw mice and keyboards. If there was any objection, the next day there would be a sick note from the doctor informing the employer that I should not do keyboard work for more than half an hour a day because of the risk of RSI.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 4th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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