Today, Staples invaded my office.
Not staples, lowercase. That would be hilarious, though, all these tiny staples, flying through the air, people shielding their eyes, all the staples demanding equal desk space with the tape dispenser or they'd create their own independent Stapler Province.
If it was big staples from a staple gun, that would be even scarier.
No, this was Staples, the multibillion dollar office supply empire, which has quietly become what Office Depot, Office Max, Office Guys, Office Hangers-on and Office Big Ass Warehouse of Office Stuff for Your Office only wish they could be: our supply supplier.
They sent an intra-office voice mail to everyone in the building who has their own phone line. Those of you who work from home or have your own business, I bet you don't miss that at all. Our intra-office voice mails of the last few months have included:
This one, though, actually held my attention past the, "Attention employees" greeting. It said that Staples would be on the third floor, demonstrating products and giving out samples.
That's all you have to say. "Samples." You give out samples, I'm fucking there. I grew up in a house where we didn't eat out a lot because we couldn't afford it. (At least that's what I was told. I'm beginning to suspect my folks just really, really liked to eat at home since the restaurants don't typically have TVs at every table.) So any food obtained outside of my own home is automatically going to appeal to me. And free? You've got me by the yoke, my friend.
If I go to Sam's or the grocery store, I take any sample I can get, even if it's nothing I would ever pay actual money to eat. Shrimp dipped in a lemon cantaloupe sauce with a spam-juice glaze? Hand it over. Tuna-flavored ice cream? Gimme a spoon. Beef jerky chutney? My mouth, she is watering.
So I took part of my lunch to go upstairs and check out the warez. The first thing I saw was that there were about nine tables crammed into this little former conference room and a lot of the people here were total office supply geeks. You can just tell. They don't care how they dress or what their breath smells like or whether the color they dye their hair is an orange that actually can be produced by the human body. They're about finding the finest gel pen that our budget can buy. They're about finding a Post-It Note that complements the color of copier paper they special ordered. They are about seeking out that elusive overhead projector pen that will not dry out, even if you leave it uncapped for an hour by mistake.
They were in luck. The little tables were littered with delicious free samples, from really really good gel pens to, no exaggeration, a quillion varieties of Post-Its. There were see-through Post-Its, Post-Its made to look like lined legal pad paper, Post-Its that come in a clear plastic dispenser and that, after hours, will come to your house and give you free blowjobs. People were fucking ecstatic about the Post-Its, as if each different kind of Post-It pack was an individual disciple of Jesus, and was each worthy of its own special brand of consecrated prayer.
There was also the poor lady who had no samples to give at all. All she had was little color brochures stuff you could order from them. Not with your own money, of course, but with company funds. It all seemed like a dirty, wink-wink secret. Nobody wanted to talk to her because she was giving out no pens and no Post-Its, blowjob-giving-kind or otherwise. I asked her for some brochures, just to be nice, and she lit up. "We have a variety of desk organizers for both the home and office," she said.
"Well, that's good, because I'm really disorganized," I told her.
"Really?" she asked.
"Last week," I told her gravely, "six hikers lost their way through my desk. Only three of them came back alive."
"Why don't you take two?" she asked, handing me another brochure.
There was Pen Guy. He had a variety of pens, markers and highlighters laid out on a bare table. He was displaying them like Ginsu knives.
"Sharpie!" I cried. There was a black Sharpie, but it was thick and, get this: flat. I'd never seen a flat Sharpie before.
"Yes, that's new," he said.
"It's... flat!" I told him, breathlessly.
"Wanna try it?" he asked.
I felt like somebody was offering me a ride on their Harley.
I opened the Sharpie, and sure enough, it had a nice, thick, flat tip, perfect for doing large posterboards. Like "Union!" or "Free Mumia!"
He also let me try a highlighter, and then a marker that I really liked and opened. "That's a dry-erase marker," he said, with obvious disdain. Dry erase markers, he said with his tone, are for pussies who don't have the balls to make their marks Permanent.
On my way out, I signed up for door prizes that included a three-ring hole punch, a gel wrist rest and of course Post-It products. The woman who had organized the whole thing, Lisa, was watching the people filing in and out with what looked like amused bewilderment.
"The Post-It booth was definitely the best!" two women from the Orange Hair Club for Women said as they were leaving. "You make sure you tell your bosses that! They put on the best booth!"
Lisa and I exchanged a look. I shrugged my shoulders.
"This is like office supply porn for some people, isn't it?" I asked.
Lisa looked around before speaking. "All I know is you don't want to mess with the Post-It people. They came to play."
Hey, look at this! Stuff to buy! Haaawwwt-Damn!
Have a happy, bulbous-spermy Halloween!