Saturday, August 31, 2013

An Embarrassment of Barcodes

Erin was faced with something of a dilemma. Because she had taken the three-inch stack of pre-printed barcode sheets in such a public display of awesome, she couldn’t really give some back without admitting she hadn’t quite thought things through.

You see, the barcode sheets corresponded to actual physical files. Depending on the type of files, a three-inch stack of barcode sheets might have been three shelves full of files, or (more likely) ten. In this particular instance, it was closer to ten. It didn’t really matter. Erin was not required to go retrieve all the files immediately and keep them at her station, but the staple people had always kept any files they were working on at their stations before, so that’s what she tried to do. The problem was, Erin had claimed enough work to keep five staple people busy for a week.

Erin’s station was consumed by the files. They leaned in impressive stacks against the wall under and on her table. Others were stacked less-securely against the table’s legs or crammed into boxes on either side of her. Smaller stacks had been arranged on the table’s top so they could function as the work surface they had engulfed. A small hollow had been carved into the front of this file-mountain, and this is where Erin sat, like a spectacular still-shot from an episode of Hoarders.

Not one person suggested to Erin that maybe she’d taken on a little too much, and after several weeks, her station started to look like everyone else’s again. In the meantime, she bragged about how cool it was not having to request barcode sheets. If she didn’t occasionally have to get up to get coffee, go to the bathroom or smoke, she wouldn’t have to leave her station at all!

No comments:

Post a Comment