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I Believe You Have My Stapler 583

yack0 writes "After three years of demand and countless calls, emails and letters, you can finally buy a Red Swingline Stapler. Hooray! As noted in this wall street journal article and confirmed by this page at the Swingline Stapler web site you can now pick up a Red Swingline stapler for merely twice the price of a plain black stapler. However, a colleague of mine says that the online order form is reading around $16 for his right now. Now all the cubicle dwelling prairie dogs can get one step closer to burning down the building." The red stapler has become some sort of cult icon at this point.
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I Believe You Have My Stapler

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  • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:22PM (#3862070)
    is black and shows up on radar smaller than a pelican. Only $56,000 each.
    • by Bios_Hakr ( 68586 ) <> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @07:35AM (#3863328)
      Did you ever stop to wonder if a pelican (I think it's a sparrow in actuality) traveling at 700 miles/hour would tip off a radar operator? I'm no military genius, but I think small, 700mph birds are a sign that something is afoot.

      • by sugrshack ( 519761 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @12:01PM (#3864693) Homepage
        that depends.... is it an african pelican or a european pelican?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:23PM (#3862075)
    Yesterday he had 4 bosses/managers/etc come tell him the exact same thing --- that he didn't correctly stow away his oscilloscope in the proper location; but he didn't cause he wasn't finished working with it yet! Truly an Office Space moment.
  • by Timmeh ( 555676 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:24PM (#3862076)
    Slydell: So we just went a ahead and fixed the glitch.
    Lumbergh: Great.
    Portwood: So um, Milton has been let go?
    Slydell: Well just a second there, professor. We uh, we fixed the *glitch*. So he won't be receiving a paycheck anymore, so it will just work itself out naturally.
    Porter: We always like to avoid confrontation, whenever possible. Problem solved from your end.
  • by edrugtrader ( 442064 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:28PM (#3862108) Homepage
    i was told i could first post between the hours of 7 and 8 pm... sharon posts while she files, so i don't see any reason why... i'll burn down the building.
  • by wcspxyx ( 120207 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:29PM (#3862112)
    I'll just post a link on /. and burn down your web server....
  • by Paul E. Loeb ( 547337 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:30PM (#3862117) Homepage Journal
    I believe my favorite line would have to be:

    PC Load Letter! What the fuck does that mean!!
    • The sad part is I know what this means. HP printers do that if you picked the wrong size paper when you printed, e.g. A4 when all the printer has is 8.5x11.
      • Re:Ahhh Office Space (Score:4, Informative)

        by laserjet ( 170008 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @12:48AM (#3862480) Homepage
        You are slightly incorrect.

        You have it backwards.

        To be specific, it breaks down like this:

        PC (Paper Cassette) Load Letter (Size paper).

        This happens when you send a print job that requires Letter size paper, but the printer does not, or thinks it does not, have letter size paper.

        This can be cause by having the wrong paper size in the printer, but is more commonly caused by those who insert the paper tray guides incorrectly. Many people mistakenly insert the tray guide for letter size paper in the A4 (our European friend's letter-size equivalent) slots, because they are close in size.

        This causes a different sensor arm to be tripped, and the printer thinks it has A4 size when it actually is letter.

        This is what can cause this error message. Either that, the wrong size of paper, or a broken sensor.

    • Though it's not nearly as nerdy, I've always liked Samir's "I don't want to go to a federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison! I don't want to go to any prison!" It's been the source of many a stupid inside joke.
    • by Bouncings ( 55215 ) <ken&kenkinder,com> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @12:30AM (#3862418) Homepage
      500 Internal Server Error


      at jrun__util__Errorpage2ejsp13._jspService(jrun__uti
      at allaire.jrun.jsp.HttpJSPServlet.service(HttpJSPSer
      at allaire.jrun.servlet.JRunSE.service( 24)
      (it goes on like this)


  • by Bogatyr ( 69476 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:32PM (#3862128) Homepage
    follow the IMDB link to learn about Office Space [].

    'So I was sitting in my cubicle today, and I realized, ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's me on the worst day of my life..'.
  • by GriffX ( 130554 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:34PM (#3862134) Homepage
    Office managers are putting on their O-face. You know: Oh! Oh!

  • Red stapler (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Imagine a beowulf cluster of these!

    (This post is certified by me, Anonymous Coward, and is guaranteed to be a 100% authentic beowulf troll post. The reader is hereby advised that imaginization of a beowulf cluster, in whole or in part, or in any combination, of the items in the story to which this post pertains, is fully sanctioned and endorsed by me, Anonymous Coward.)
  • by stewartj ( 525869 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:35PM (#3862142) Homepage
    I work at motorola. Motorola is undoubtedly a huge source of inspiration for things like Office Space, and *especially* Dilbert. During out "Employee Well-Being" week they showed Office Space in one of the break rooms. It created anarchy when people saw the reality of their office lives!
    • by Peyna ( 14792 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:38PM (#3862154) Homepage
      You would be surprised how much the movie Office Space applies to non cubical jobs as well. While working a factory I experienced many similar things to the movie. Such as, if I messed up, I had 5 people telling me about it and reminding me about it. And there was a lady one line over that would talk on her phone and had the most annoying laugh in the world (and this was a pretty loud factory too!). There's more than that, but it was pretty amazing how it paralleled to even a factor job.
      • by scott1853 ( 194884 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:44PM (#3862181)
        I worked at a Xerox factory after high school. I only had one boss tell me I wasn't doing something right. The next day though, there were posters ALL over the clean room with clipart people showing the right and wrong ways of doing it. Talk about overkill.
      • by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@mon k e l e c t r i c . com> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @01:12AM (#3862546)
        Office Space is really an indictment of corporate culture and to a much lesser extent capitalism. One thing that was disturbingly true at my last place of employment [systems admin] was always the "staying late." My fucking boss would walk in at 1:00pm for his first meeting, get out of that at 2:00, catch up on some work, maybe teach a class, then at 4:30 he'd wander in and ask you "how late can you stay tonight? " To quote brain candy I said, "fucker I've been here for 8 hours already!" but then out loud I said "How late do you need me?" Another just criminal thing they would do to me is, at noon they would they would tell me, "I need to see you at 4:00 its important." And then I'd spin my wheels for 4 hours, and finally they'd drop some shit on me like "I need a webmail system running before you leave tonight."(not exadurating, this was said to me). But most of the time it was shit that wasn't even my job "I need you to convert this journal paper into a PDF" (hardcopy only). One day I had worked 17 hours with no lunck/breaks to help meet a deadline created by my boss not starting a proposal until 24 hours before it had to be fedexed. By the end I had a crushing headache and was having trouble seeing from exhaustion, and at 3:00am my boss had the balls to ask me "What time can you be here in the morning? 10:00? We need you at 10" (knowing full well I had a 35 mile commute each way) ... which brings me to the real problem - respect. Most managers have no respect for their employees.
        • No offense man, but grow some cajones. If they fire you, they fire you. You obviously don't care for this job too much.
          • by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <slashdot@mon k e l e c t r i c . com> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @10:00AM (#3863908)

            No offense man, but grow some cajones. If they fire you, they fire you

            One thing that was disturbingly true at my last place of employment

            I know it's subtle, but "was" and "last" are past tense, indicating I am no longer working there :)

            That story is actually more like enron meets office space. I had wanted to quit for about a year, but I had debts to pay and I wanted to stay at the job for atleast two years to look good on a resume. My boss and a official from accounting approached me one day telling me they were going to have the university write me a check and I was going to write most of the check back to them and that they needed to do this because they had paid me out of the wrong account :) Long story short I dont believe shit my boss tells me and the plan would have gotten me in *UBER* hot water with the IRS and NSF both whom the plan defrauded.

            So I went to the universities Judicial Director (the university interface to the legal system), who hooked me up with a detective and a deputy district attorney, for whom I agreed to setup my boss for prosecution by completing the fraud under the supervision of the police. On two occasions I wore a wire to document the planning of the crime for the police... and now that my boss is either going to be fired, sentured, or jailed, I quit.

            Is that enuf "cajones" for you? You really shouldn't use your +2 bonus for stupid comments.

    • by delcielo ( 217760 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @12:02AM (#3862292) Journal
      You know, the only reason I don't watch that movie very often is that it's TOO realistic. Watching that movie is like going to work.
    • I used to host a weekly movie night in one of the conference rooms for people who had to stay late, and the one night we watched Office Space our new VP of Human Resources popped her head in.

      "What's this? A movie night? What a great idea! What are you watching?"

  • Cultural Icon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HBergeron ( 71031 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:37PM (#3862149)
    being an afficionado of dark comedy, I have long been a fan of Office Space. I may be one of five buyers of the (poorly produced) DVD. The performances, particularly Ron Livingstone (hugely underrated actor) and Diedrich Bader (almost unrecognizable) make it a real gem.

    On the subject of red staplers, why has the post WWII workplace insisted on mono-color conformity? It seems almost a conspiracy to ensure that office workers be isolated from as much visual stimulation as possible. Is it so important that the occasional visitor/client not see a single clash of colors that offends their sensibility? It would not revolutionize the drudgery of the workplace, but more allowances for individuality and color can't help but improve the condiditon of those who must exist in that environment from day to day.

    The whole "flair" concept at the Houlihans type restaurant carries the same theme. Even where modern business allows disorder, it cannot be individually expressive disorder, it must be carefully regimented and designed to communicate the corporate message, not a personal one.

    The dot com bust has given added credence to those who actually advocate this kind of enforced conformity - they point to a free form, more open dot com workplaces as a symptom or cause of the crash, and are using it to crush any new proposal to create a more humanized, comfortable workplace. Just my two cents. Great movie if you haven't seen it.
    • Re:Cultural Icon (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GriffX ( 130554 )
      The performances, particularly Ron Livingstone (hugely underrated actor)...

      No kidding. He was fantastic in "Band of Brothers" [] [IMDB link] as Cpt. Lew Nixon. For anyone who may have seen the show, he was the hard-drinking pal of Major Winters, the noble and heroic leader of the company.

      It was a great mini-series - hell, it was a great film - and Livingston was equally great in a second-banana role. He could easily have played it as the 'drunk heroe's buddy', but instead filled the role with humanity. He made a character who had comparatively little screen-time seem like a real person. I hope the real Lewis Nixon is toasting him with a tumbler of Vat 69, wherever he is.
      • Here's the funny thing about Livingston's Band of Brothers performance. I heard an interview with him on a Philly radio station and he commented that after the first few episodes of BoB aired, his agent started getting calls from scouts asking "Wow, Rob was great in Band of Brothers. But can he do comedies?"

    • it must be carefully regimented and designed to communicate the corporate message, not a personal one.

      Because middle management isn't interested in productivity or the happiness/accomplishments of their employees. ALL that matters is every other Friday. Period.
    • On the subject of red staplers, why has the post WWII workplace insisted on mono-color conformity? It seems almost a conspiracy to ensure that office workers be isolated from as much visual stimulation as possible.
      Puritanism. Anglo-saxon puritanism here is the keyword.

      Colour means fantasy, free expression, fun and whatnot. Definitely not things you'd want to see within an office where you're supposed to work your ass off for the shareholders.

    • On the subject of red staplers, why has the post WWII workplace insisted on mono-color conformity?

      Errr, so the pre-WWII workplace insisted on multicolored objects?

    • Re:Cultural Icon (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gsfprez ( 27403 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @01:24AM (#3862576)
      > individuality and color can't help but improve
      > the condiditon of those who must exist in that
      > environment from day to day.


      how could this get a Score of 4? When Apple did this - they got beaten about the head and neck on slashdot.

      this place makes no sense sometimes.
      • It makes no sense becasue you are attempting to view slashdot as an entity in and of iteself, rather than a large collection of individuals. If you read through the parent poster's previous posts (not a bad tounge twister, that) as well as those of his moderators, I doubt you will find these individuals bashing apples choice of bright colours. If you think of slashdot as a large collections of free-thinking individuals, you will be relieved of the apparent distress that you seem to be suffering from reading different points of view in one place.

    • The Onion:

      Apple Employee Fired For Thinking Different CUPERTINO, CA--
      Brent Barlow, 27, a software analyst and beta-tester at Apple Computer headquarters in Cupertino, was fired Monday for "thinking a little too different." Full Text []

  • by The_Guv'na ( 180187 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:38PM (#3862157) Homepage Journal

    ...merely twice the price of a plain black stapler...

    /me runs off to buy black staplers and red paint.

  • How come /. still hasn't posted a single article about the passing of Gene Kan [], but somehow a red stapler makes it to the front page???


  • by Quarters ( 18322 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:47PM (#3862200)
    Bostich makes the l33t paper fastening devices.
  • When we talk about this as a succesful example of product placement (as the wsj article does) we should keep in mind that swingline never actually bargained for their product to be placed in the movie in such a way.

    Real product placement, ie the one bargained for by marketing execs continues to be really annoying.

    That is because marketing people have specific requirements for placing their product which tend to make movies look like commercials.

  • by idonotexist ( 450877 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:48PM (#3862211)
    Great, I can't log onto the server to read/view information concerning the red stapler. You know what this means? Swingline concludes it has discovered the killer stapler > Swingline restates their expectations for earnings > Analysts upgrade Swingline stock > Swingline stock doubles > Swingline earnings do not meet expectations > Analysts downgrade Swingline stock > Swingline stock tumbles > Multiple class action suits are filed against Swingline > Swingline auditor accused of fraud though it went "over and above the, just sort of the normal by-the-books audit arrangement" [] ;) > Swingline enters bankruptcy > no more staplers.
  • alliwantismyredstaplerwegavenanogaterabeowolfclust erofsgioriginandalliwantismyredstapler....
  • by tunabomber ( 259585 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:53PM (#3862236) Homepage
    I remember read an issue of the Onion, circa 1999, which had a news headline:

    New Stapler Makes All Other Staplers Look Like Worthless Shit

    There was no article, just a headline and a picture of a generic, black stapler.
  • by scaramush ( 472955 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:56PM (#3862254) Homepage Journal
    According to IMDB [] the original stapler was just painted anyways:

    The red Swingline stapler that Milton was so afraid of having taken away was never actually manufactured by the Swingline company; it was instead painted red by a crew member in the props department. However, following the movie's success on video as a cult film, the demand for red Swingline staplers (apparently as a symbol of quiet rebellion among cubicle-bound employees) was so great that the company began to sell the red Swingline stapler on its website..


    So break out that red paint and make your own... ;)

  • by teetam ( 584150 ) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:57PM (#3862264) Homepage
    What I say here might be controversial, but cultural background plays a big role in the office environment.

    Ancient cultures (like China and India) tend to emphasize on hierarchy and obedience rather than questioning and innovation. When immigrant bachelor developers stay till midnight everyday and come to work on weekends, they set the same expectations on everyone else. Anyone who leaves at six because he has a life is viewed as being less of a team player. Also, important technical decisions might end up being taken outside the normal working hours.

    Things only get worse when, after a few years, these same people become managers.

    Some other symptoms are (i) dependence on individual brilliance rather than a good system and (ii) concentration of knowledge within a few individuals.

    I am not blaming anyone and certainly not all immigrant developers fit the above pattern, but there is a cultural aspect to work and I am merely pointing it out.

    BTW, I came from India three years ago.

    • Dependence on individual brilliance is not necessarily a bad thing. A good system seems better when there's a genius working 12 hours a day on it.
      • Dependence on individual brilliance is not necessarily a bad thing.

        When that one individual gets hit by a car and the entire company is fucked, that's a bad thing. Or when the brilliant genius gets headhunted and goes to a company that will pay him 3 times as much and give him a team of people to do all the boring stuff... of course, no one else understands the guy's system.

        Real companies try not to operate that way. They force their geniuses to document their work so if all else fails, they can hire a lesser genius to take the place of the genius who leaves. Even if you're the genius who started the company, it's better if you document things so that you can retire young.

    • by Skyshadow ( 508 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @01:21AM (#3862568) Homepage

      I was one of three westerners in a Chinese office (as in, moved-from-Beijing-a-year-before) for just short of a year, and the place burned me out faster and more completely than I thought possible.

      Nobody, and I mean nobody, ever put in less than a twelve hour day, six or seven days a week. Even when there was no deadline, you were expected to be there. What was really happening was that nobody was really *working* that much, they'd just all adapted their lives around work -- they'd take long lunches and dinners, play at least an hour of ping-pong a day, have their kids would come visit at night, etc.

      As an native American (although only a fraction Native American) with (IMO) a pretty solid work ethic, I looked terrible if I left "early" or said I couldn't come in on a Sunday for whatever reason. My boss called me on it one time, and I pointed out that I *always* met my deadlines and that I applied myself at work more than any of my coworkers. From his reaction, it was clear that wasn't the point -- I wasn't showing the proper dedication, defined strictly as spending time at work.

      Anyhow, I got laid off last year after I told them I was going home to the midwest for Christmas (during a time with no pressing deadlines and using the company's posted holidays and a weekend). It took me five months to find another decent job, but not for one second did I wish I still worked there.

    • word....what im noticing here in Hong Kong is that any sort of questioning of your boss is viewed as sacrilege. i can understand how this practice came abuot, but il be damned if ill keep my mouth shut if my boss does something retarded.
      • by teetam ( 584150 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @02:10AM (#3862717) Homepage
        As I said in my original post, I am an Indian who came to USA three years ago. I am so glad to see replies that have stuck with objective views.

        So let me tell you something - there are many, many Chinese and Indians who feel like you and I do. They tend to be silent because they are in a worse position than you. If you don't like a job, all you have to do is walk off to another company.

        Take me, for example. I am working on a H1 visa. If I am laid off, the INS immediately treats as being out of status and my countdown clock starts ticking. Even if I get interviews (past the citizens and GC only companies) and a job, I still have to wait a few more months for my new H1 to be approved. Under these circumstances, would I risk telling people at work how I really feel? No. I work as late as anyone else and make sure I am always around when people are looking for me, whatever be the time

        The H1 visa is a brilliant form of modern slavery that has the consent of everyone involved!

    • (i) dependence on individual brilliance rather than a good system and (ii) concentration of knowledge within a few individuals.

      in certan cultures where people does not get fired too much (hint hint: asian country starting with "J">, it is actually opposite as what you say.

      the rest is the same, though (the crazy long hours).

      think about it... concentration on knowledge serves one and only one purpose -- job security. however, when job security is a non-issue (or, at least a LOT less of an issue than, say, in the US), knowledge gets shared plenty quick -- because the more you teach people to do stuff, the more they can do and the less (hopefully) you have to do. ;-) pretty neat eh? i think china and india cannot cope with the crazyness because of the cultural situation *and* lack of job security.

      anyway -- not saying that other countries got it all figured out -- but at least it's working out better than you are describing in certain places. US work model has its own problems too -- heh... man don't even get me started.

  • by PDG ( 100516 ) <> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @12:02AM (#3862290) Homepage
    Actually, Milton and the epic of the stapler didn't originate in 'Office Space' but rather Judge's cartoon short from MTV's Liquid Television progam.

    The skit basically showed Lumbherg and Milton having their classic confrontation about the stapler, moving his office down to the basement, and what not.

    Judge made 'Office Space' from this skit.
    • Actually, Milton and the epic of the stapler didn't originate in 'Office Space' but rather Judge's cartoon short from MTV's Liquid Television progam.

      I'm pretty sure that what preceded Liquid Television was Spike and Mike's Festival of Animation -- they were showing Milton clips several years before MTV, I think. Short Milton clips would appear between longer animated shorts. (BTW, those old Animation Festival films were absolutely fantastic; I'll never forget some of the animations they screened.)


  • Umkayy? (Score:3, Funny)

    by di0s ( 582680 ) <cabbot917@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @12:18AM (#3862375) Homepage Journal
    Hell, Lumbergh fucked her...
  • yay! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrP- ( 45616 ) <> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @12:39AM (#3862449)
    yay, now i can get a red Swingline stapler. Now all I need is a Jump to Conclusions Mat.
  • One of the silliest little programs I ever encountered was SimStapler [] from Freeverse software. []

    Staple away to your heart's content with no jams! Sorry folks, this one's for Pre-X Mac OS 9 and under.

  • by TheRhino ( 87111 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @12:56AM (#3862502) Homepage
    Hey, Peter, forget this article, check out what's on Channel 9!
  • and definetly one of the funniest. The more i watch it the less funny it is, but it still holds a place near to my heart. Even today, the Swingline symbolizes the oppression and greed large entities can have upon smaller ones. Then again, it could also symbolize how simple pleasures can keep us from burning down large office buildings. And also that you'll be treated like shit wherever you are. Even in mexico with lots of money.
  • by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @01:34AM (#3862596)
    There's another cool film called, "Way Downtown" which is very much in the same vein, though a little grungier around the edges.

    Shot in downtown Calgary, where the doozer habitrails are so advanced that, between interconnected malls, eateries, apartment high-rises and office blocks, it is entirely possible to NEVER go outside. (Presumably something to do with harsh Canadian winters. . .)

    The film is filled with dark-humor about what happens when a group of co-workers make a three pay-check bet to see who can stay indoors the longest. A rather bent film, with weird-ass hallucinogenic scenes which I can entirely relate to. --Basically, take your time in such fluorescent, filtered air environments, and multiply by 100. Makes you double-think space travel, and that's a fact!

    -Fantastic Lad

  • Rust -Oleum :-)

  • by A_Non_Moose ( 413034 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @09:28AM (#3863756) Homepage Journal
    "Has a case of the 'Mondays'"... .....

    Has anyone ever said to you "Looks like someone has a case of the 'Mondays'"?

    Naw. No. Shit, no, man. I believe you'd get your ass kicked.
  • by mikethegeek ( 257172 ) <blair@NOwcmifm.c ... M minus language> on Thursday July 11, 2002 @11:21AM (#3864406) Homepage +swingline&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

    Here is the text:

    "Swingline The Red Stapler

    Ah, the price of fame. Hollywood took one of our staplers - thanks,
    by the way - and used it in one of their films. Trouble is, they painted it red, a color we didn't offer. Ever since, we've been getting calls from customers demanding to order "that red stapler".

    Okay, okay, you win. We took our industry-leading 747 Desk Stapler and gave it a deep, establishment-defying, I'll- flunt-my-individuality-if-I-choose-to red finish. Without sacrificing one staple's worth of solid 747 reliability.

    The only concession we've made, in fact, is to offer the Red 747 exclusively over the Internet, at least for now. And that's a matter of public safety -
    they're in limited supply, and we'd hate to cause riots in the street."
  • by c1pher ( 586281 ) on Thursday July 11, 2002 @11:26AM (#3864435) Homepage
    so if you could just move that article to the end of the posts, that'd be greeeeeaat, ok. Thanks a bunch /.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"