Keep Colin Busy

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When Colin was upgraded from part to full-time at my company, he was required to start two hours earlier, and usually went out to the ticket counter to read his emails.  In order to justify the additional hours, he, like all other full-time employees, was given a function, which he apparently resented doing.

‘To justify the two extra hours, Columnio, I once attempted to reason with him, using a nickname which matched his mood, “you have to do additional work.”

He just raised his nose toward the ceiling, as if the air were purer up there.

Yet, other than his assigned office-supply ordering duty, which he only performed once per month, he had nothing else with which to fill the two hours until the daily briefing began, which he, in any case, seldom attended, as if all of these aspects of the operation did not apply to him.  Resultantly, I attempted to assign him a second duty, which was possibly more painful than root canal therapy administered in the dentist’s chair.

“But I already to do the Staples ordering!” he spat.

“Yes,” I agreed, “but that only fills one day a month.  What do you do the rest of the time?  Why are you being paid these extra hours?”

“So give the duty to someone else!” he countered.

“They already have other functions!” I pleaded, losing my patience.

He stormed out of the office in that huffy, Colibit-Tibit way.

Well, I’ll show you, I thought.  If you think you only have to make a Staples order once a month, I’ll send you an email everyday instructing you to order something!

And I did: one pen on Monday, one paper clip on Tuesday, one glue stick on Wednesday…

Whereupon he would always storm back into the office, venting steam from his nostrils, and bang the thick Staples book on his desk, feverishly fingering his way through it like a chipmunk foraging through the dirt with its tiny paws in search of acorns until he found the proper page.  He would then lift the receiver, dial the number with brimming rage, and place the order.  I can only wonder if the person on the other end could feel his anger course through the telephone lines.

But not long after I had started my ingenious scheme he must have become wise to it, and audibly said to himself, Now, I’ll show you!

The next day, the Staples delivery man arrived, but he made three trips before he could bring all the ordered supplies into the office.  He could have easily used a cargo pallet intended for the belly of the aircraft in order to fit it all.

“There, Robertum!” he triumphantly proclaimed in a sly tone, barely visible behind the mountain of boxes.  “Now you have enough glue stick for a year!” 

Whereupon he once again exited the office.

What could I do?  Accept defeat?  Absolutely not!  I promptly went straight to my computer and sent him an email, requesting that he return the excess glue stick to Staples—one at a time: one stick on Monday, one stick on Tuesday, one stick on Wednesday…

I dare not tell you where he wanted to stick Thursday’s stick… 

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