Behold the Fastenal 5000!!!!!


The very latest in corporate micromanagement. Why trust your employees with such vital and costly resources as Post-It notes, and mechanical pencils, when you can manage the inventory with cutting edge vending technology? Better to treat your employees like inmates in an maximum security correctional facility, than responsible adults, and run the risk of someone taking a spiral notebook home for their kids. And who let them procreate? I bet that cost us some lost productivity.

These little beauties began appearing around the offices of my Dark Corporate Overlords last spring. The way they work is that employees are given a special card that they must use to remove an item from the office supply dispensing machine. The machine then records who removed what supply, and saves that data to a file that our building operations team can then analyze.

This is how we are going to grow our business to 2X it’s current revenue, and increase the value to our shareholders. By reducing the annual expense budget for Post-It notes through micromanagement, fear, and intimidation. Try it, it works!

My department has yet to receive one of these machines. Instead, we are somehow managing with an old fashioned file cabinet like Cro-Magnon’s used for storing their clubs. It’s been tough, what with the recent manilla folder scandal. I’m sure you read about it in the news. So we had to resort to locking the cabinet, and placing the key on a hook outside of the Administrative Assistant’s cube. This has deterred thieves from breaking into the cabinet after hours to stock up on 3.5 Floppy Disks.

Yes, we still have 3.5 Inch Floppy Disks in our file cabinet. The stock has been holding steady for quite sometime. In fact, I believe I am the only person who still uses them, as I keep a stack on my desk for use as coasters.

This reminds me of the “Great Supply Cabinet Lockdown of 2002”. Our department was suffering through a difficult patch when the General Manager extended emergency powers to his management staff to reduce our expenditures and save the fiscal year. The result was the immediate lockdown of the supply cabinet, and elimination of the office supply budget. Within weeks we were reduced to foraging through the office in search of pens, and pencils. Paper clips became a new currency, and sexual favors were being exchanged in the broom closet for stapler refills.

I never sank to such levels of depravity though. Instead I organized my team and performed late night raiding parties into rival departments where we plundered and pillaged all the hanging file folders, and highlighters we could carry. It was a difficult time, but there was a certain exhilaration that came from our exploits as Robin Hood and his Band of Merry Men, running wild through the Sherwood Forest of our cube farm. Sigh… how times have changed.

Soon we no longer need to worry about protecting those old 3.5 inch floppy disks from roving bands of Highwaymen. Soon they will be secured in the climate controlled vault of a Fastenal 5000! Where they will presumably remain until they are either donated to the Smithsonian, or unearthed by archeologists in 2250. I wonder what they will make of the coffee rings?

11 thoughts on “Behold the Fastenal 5000!!!!!

  1. You know, I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only person using the broom closet for that purpose.
    How am I ever going to be able to finish that cocktail dress fashioned from post it notes if corporate keeps a stranglehold on the supplies?

  2. We have one of the 5000s in our home to protect the cookie and chocolate supply.

    Back before The Great Retirement, I began each workday by getting a cup of coffee, then sharpening three Ticonderoga #2s and laying them neatly beside a 8 1/2 x 14 yellow legal pad for my design doodling prior to beginning computer modeling. Some kid in Purchasing started saving money by buying Chinese Econo-Pencils, which broke faster than I could sharpen them, and discontinued stocking my yellow legals, which were “obviously unnecessary”. Thankfully I was at the point in my career where I had a big enough hammer to bludgeon both him and his boss into submission and I got my tools back in stock.

    What does this have to do with your posting? Nothing. I just haven’t written anything for a while and I needed a short memory lane outing.

    • The first time it happened, we started bringing back hotel pens from business trips and putting them on the boss’ desk. He took the hint and unlocked the cabinet.

      I don’t think the Fastenal 5000 will show the same human weakness.

  3. Yeah, in our 10 person office, the boss had new custom cupboards installed, with locks, to keep tabs on the supplies.

    10 people.

    He has a Porsche and a BMW.

    I have to beg for two sizes of post it notes, and my GOD, what it takes to acquire a gel roller pen (I HATE ballpoint pents).

    The 4-inch-square graph paper pads are harder to come by than Gold Olympic hockey tickets!

    Actually, I got the hockey tickets, and never did get the damn graph pad. Hmph.

  4. My store is located right next to a gun store, one of the “good” ones where they sell semi-automatic weapons to soldiers who just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.These same soldiers bend to my will with no effort from me whatsoever. Needless to say, when I want gel pens or additional jumbo sized paper clips, I get them.

    I will not worry about such petty things until they start castrating soldiers or move me away from the guns.😉

    • I have an image in my mind of a long yatch being rowed up the Nile by strapping young soldiers, stripped to the waist, while you sit in the shade on deck, fanning yourself, and being fed grapes.

      Who needs paper clips when you got that?

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