Although inanimate, office supplies are not passive objects simply caught in their daily slavery, they are part of the torture and, in some cases, significantly intensify hardship. Every day, 16 people in the US are sent for psychiatric evaluation after becoming entangled in a paper jam or trying to replace an ink cartridge, and 21 people are seriously injured by paper clips. Neither of those statistics is actually true, but I have no doubt that similar figures exist. Below are 5 of the worst culprits for conjuring extreme office rage.


It goes without saying that paper is an incredibly useful resource and whether you want to jot down a few notes, print an important document, or build an epic paper airplane complete with designed wingtips, it may suit your needs. Where it gets annoying though is when there never seems to be enough. When you don’t need them, they pile up on your desk like a whispering mountain and new packages sit on the shelf above the printer in all their pristine glory. But as soon as you decide to print a long document or need a whole new part for a colleague’s cartoon drawing, the printer will always run out of paper and each new sheet of paper will have a file path printed on the back thanks to someone. that you didn’t bother to remove the blank lines at the end of your Word document and thus added an unnecessary extra page.

I think we should all use portable whiteboards and be done with it. Just hang one around our neck and then when we need to write something, we have a canvas right there. It would also have the added benefit of saving the environment. After all, forests are cut down all over the world just so you can take note to remember to book an eye exam. Proud of yourself?


I guarantee that if you walk around the office and ask each of your colleagues for a pair of scissors, no one will be able to wield a pair (unless they’ve had a troubled past). I am convinced that scissors are sentient and sneak off to secret scissor bars at night, leaving offices devoid of cutting implements. Either that or someone in my office is picking up sharp objects, which can’t be a good thing.

How else am I supposed to make paper snowflakes when I should be writing important reports? You just can’t get that satisfying sliding/cutting motion, you know what I mean, when you’re ripping instead of cutting. I have often considered creating a stationery belt and attaching a pair of scissors, permanently ready to deploy at my waist, but then remembered that if I fell down a flight of stairs, I would be killed.

Printer ink

Probably the most ridiculed office supplies, printers and their precious ink are hated for good reason. More expensive than diamond cuts, new ink cartridges run out as soon as something with an image is printed. There’s nothing quite as infuriating as printing an important business document only to have it come out faded and riddled with weird CMYK lines. Or that half of a document turns out perfect while the other half looks like a poorly preserved ancient parchment.

Replacing cartridges is just as annoying as shelling out the cash for new ones, and despite the supposed lack of ink, there’s always enough to coat your fingers in deep black and splash droplets onto your crisp white shirt. Samir, Michael and Peter had the right idea when they brought a baseball bat to their printer in Office Space and I’m pretty sure millions of people fight the urge to do the same thing every day.

paper clips

Who really needs clips? When I need to keep sheets of paper together, I staple them together or place them in a plastic sleeve. At no time have I thought “Where are my paper clips? Where are my damn paper clips!?” Using clips to hold sheets of paper together is about as effective as licking the back of a new flat-screen TV and trying to glue it to the wall.

Also, they seem to get everywhere. A seemingly small can of clips is actually an endless source of annoyance, and you’ll find them sitting around the office for eternity. Even in places no one has ever been. If you open the basement door, which has been locked since 1905, there will be at least a few clips lying around. They are like wiry rats. Each office also has a serial paper clip bender that twists them into ridiculous shapes (fish, people, letters, etc.) and leaves them in front of your computer. The only rational response to seeing a screen like this is to sweep everything from your desk to the floor with a quick wave of your arm.

expensive pens

People with expensive writing implements covet them like swords and become lyrical about their superiority. Let’s get one thing straight here: no one cares about premium grip, resin barrels, or any mention of titanium. Nobody. The only time you need an expensive pen is when signing an important document on film. Give me a cheap biro any day. Giving £300 for a pen is crazy. Why not spend £200 and give the rest to a homeless person? With £100 they could turn their lives around and go into the office supply business.

Whats Next?

My advice would be to ditch the traditional office supplies and bring in new and exciting alternatives that are less likely to give you a heart attack. Expensive pens? Replace them with laser pens. Paper? Give everyone an engraved sketch. Trust me, everyone in your office will be happy and more productive as a result.

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