Copier 14: Faculty 0

Those of you who follow Overheard in the Halls, the joys and winces of life at St. Angus in the Grass School, are familiar with The Copier. This is the enormous machine in the main teachers’ work-room, the source of 90% of our copies and print-outs. When it works, it is a marvel of technology and speed.

Due to… well, I suspect a combination of stress, illness, gremlins, and the Fickle Finger of Fate going “flick!”, no one ordered toner. Unlike my little HP in my office, one does not just saunter down to Office Despot and buy a Can-o-Toner. No, this is a gourmet, single-source, shade-grown, Fair Trade—

Sorry. That’s chocolate and coffee. This stuff has to come from out of town. By slow boat.

The Faculty are Not Amused. There is weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth, and long lines at Copier Junior. We are counting the hours until the Brown Truck of Happiness* appears with the proper toner.

*Marko Kloos coined the phrase, and I have used it ever since.

12 thoughts on “Copier 14: Faculty 0

  1. In the case of St. Angus, the slow boat is a prairie schooner? Known elsewhere as a Conestoga wagon. I was picturing the initial response to be like the abbot and his secretary near the end of “A Canticle for Leibowitz,” where they are mystified and overcome by the Abominable Autoscribe.

    Thou shalt not purchase a non-OEM toner, lest thy warranty be voided, and thy people be left to wail and gnash their teeth among the demons and false hopes of Inkjettia.

  2. In a previous life, in addition to the work I was actually getting paid for I was the designated office manager. We were just starting the office so purchasing a copier was a priority. I became aware of two things, One the purchase price is largely irrelevant, the local retailers make their money on supplies, parts and service. Two, buy the service contract. The copier companies have it figured out to the page, how many pages a Can-o-Toner will provide, how many pages before the imaging drum fails how many pages before the drive gears strip, etc. Having the service guy come in periodically will preclude having the copier of doom fail in the middle of making the required number of reports for the final deliverable on a contract with draconian late fees.

  3. I suspect there will be a sudden but vast reduction in class handouts, playbills and posted notices, and quite possibly in quizzes, until the toner arrives.

    • No. Instead we’ve started hiding the nibbles normally found in the secondary workroom. Because the coaches will eat everything they can see as they wait their turn in line.

  4. I think copiers are some sort junior devil associatel beware their emanations.

    As a major I once exited a meeting to find a serious-faced lieutenant waiting for me at the door with “Sir, I really need to talk to you.” This preamble never introduces good news.

    It seems my secretary and one of the civilian engineers were in a screaming match over use of the copier. My secretary (who we were trying to fire and had numerous “issues””) had dropped some papers in the feeder, hit “COLLATE” and “COPY” and wandered off down the hall to find coffee without checking to see if the copier was actually copying.

    The engineer arrived, and knowing that the collator was not working so that the copy job would just sit there, cancelled the job, pulled her stuff out of the feeder, dropped his in, and hit COPY just about the time that my secretary came back.

    She lit into him at high decibel, he barked back, and it was on, with plenty of witnesses. People reported that at one point she yelled something like “YOU BOAT PEOPLE, MY CHINESE HUSBAND WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU!!” Now, the engineer was in fact a “boat person”; he had told me the story of how he and his brother had escaped — three times — by boat from South Vietnam after the communists took over. Once their boat sank and they washed up back in Vietnam, once they made it away from shore but were beset by pirates, barely surviving to make landfall in Thailand, which promptly sent them back to Vietnam, and finally the third time they drifted around until a passing ship took them to the Philippines. I was impressed by his story and his bravery and perseverance, but I don’t think my secretary was expressing admiration. Also not sure about the Chinese husband part — he was Chinese, she had just married him, and I was unlucky enough to find out they were already suspicious of each other for adultery. I guess she thought he was mean or something.

    Anyway, another afternoon wasted while I investigated and documented this nonsense.

    Copiers can bring out the worst in people. 🙂 Be happy you seem to be in a more controlled environment.

    • We try to be kind, since students wander past the open door(s) and the administration prefers that we serve as good examples instead of horrible warnings.

    • I’ve had numerous discussions with managers about the economics of having engineers stand by a copier making ten copies of a document so that all potential reviewers can ignore their copy vs.having the secretary make the copies. The answer was always that the secretary is too busy, so there I stand babysitting the copier, while the secretary gets coffee for the boss.

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