Office Rat-A-Tat: is it okay to steal from your office?


From our last Rat-A-Tat on typos, we move to lifted office supplies, or, as one of my colleagues likes to call them, "office perks." I'd be surprised if you told me you've never taken anything from your office for your own, personal use. We all do it. The real question is: where do you draw the line? Surely bringing in your receipts around tax-time and making a couple photocopies isn't real theft, is it? Or how about stapling those receipts together before you bring them back home? Is one staple reason enough to put you behind bars--one, little, eensy weensy staple?

But what about those who take home packets of Post-Its? Or a ream of paper for their home printers? Are these part of the perk-package? After all, what if everyone in the office took half-a-box of padded envelopes home every year? What would that cost the firm? Does management just assume this is going on and work it into the cost of doing business? Any senior managers care to chime in?

I have an especial affinity for office supplies. Love them when they're new and crisp, and unused, especially. One of my favorite days at work is the last thursday of every other month when our office manager arrives with all the goodies we've ordered. Just the smell of those supplies makes me smile. Do I have a favorite supply, I hear you wondering? I sure do! A new box of the best red pens on the market: the PaperMate FlexGrip "Ultra" (med. point).

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Lastly, because you should be acquiring some real knowledge from these posts, here are some office supply factoids from the good folks at Wiki:

The office supply industry was estimated to be worth US$ 225 billion in 1999 and is still growing. As of 2006, the largest office supply chains in the United States (in terms of revenue) are Staples (US$16B), Office Depot (US$15B), and OfficeMax (US$8.9B).