(Monday, 9:36am, I walk up to Lenore. Her back is to me. She is hunched over her desk eating Saltines and peanut butter. I'm holding a sheet of office letterhead.)
Me: Lenore, would you be able to order us some more letterhead?
Lenore: (slowly turning around) Wha--who needs it?
Me: Alumni Relations. Can you order us some more? We ran out, or are going to soon.
L: Oh, you ran out of paper? So you need some more?
Me: (handing her sheet of letterhead) Yes. Here's a sample of the letterhead we've been using. Just order, like, I don't know, 20 reams of this. Just like this one.
(I go back to my desk. Later that Monday, 9:45am, Lenore trundles into my office carrying the letterhead I gave her earlier.)
L: Excuse me, mister?
L: (handing me letterhead) You said you need paper but you gave me this. What's it for?
Me: Oh. Yeah, this is the letterhead we need. Can you order 20 reams of it?
L: This is the paper you wanted, with all this stuff at the top?
Me: Yeah, that's our letterhead. We send official letters on it.
L: You can't just use plain paper?
Me: We could, well, no, we couldn't. It's more standard and official to use letterhead.
L: Okay. I'll order it. Thank you.
(Lenore leaves. Later that Monday, 10:10am, Lenore trundles back into my office with a sheet of paper with a hand-written chart breaking down paper costs.)
L: Excuse me, how much of this letter paper do you need?
Me: (patiently) I guess like 20 reams to start. That should last us awhile.
L: (holding up her paper) Well, if you order more paper, the cost goes down.
(Lenore shows me her chart. I quickly examine the chart in her hand, uninterested with its content.)
Me: That's fine. Whatever you order, I'm sure we'll use all of it.
L: See, if you order 20 it will cost $30 but if you order 40 it will cost, uh, where is it...it will cost $24 per bundle.
Me: Great. Let's order 40 then.
(Lenore smiles and hands me the chart. She leaves. Later Monday, 1:31pm, Lenore trundles back into my office.)
L: I talked to Susan about your paper order and she just wants to confirm that you want 40 bundles of this paper. It's a lot.
Me: Yes, order it.
(Lenore leaves. Next day, Tuesday, 2:20 pm, Lenore trundles into my office. She is carrying a sheet of paper.)
L: (handing me paper) Here, I typed up that chart with all the paper prices for you.
Me: Is this the same chart you gave me yesterday?
L: Yes, but this one is typed and you can keep it too.
Me: The other one is fine.
L: So you don't want this one?
Me: Uh, sure, I'll take that typed one too. Thanks.
(Lenore leaves. Next day, Wednesday, 9:30am, Lenore trundles into my office.)
Me: Stop. Is this about paper?
Lenore: I was going to order your paper today.
Me: Uh, huh. But something happened and you can't, right?
L: No, I need you to just read a sample before, to make sure it is what you want. Just look it over and say, 'yeah, I want that'.
Me: Okay, do you have the sample?
L: It's at my desk.
Me: Get it and I'll proof it.
L: No, I need you to read it.
Me: Sure, I'll read it.
L: Okay, then. I have to go get it.
(Lenore leaves. Later Wednesday, 9:33am Lenore trundles into my office.)
L: Did you see the orchid on Ellen's desk? It's so pretty!
Me: No, I didn't see it.
L: Oh, you have to go over and see it right now!
(Lenore leaves. Next day, Thursday, 3:35pm, Lenore trundles into my office carrying a piece of letterhead.)
L: Excuse me, mister? Here's that sample of the paper you have to read and approve.
Me: (examining paper) This is the letterhead I gave you Monday.
L: (looking at letterhead) Oh, this isn't the new sample from the paper place! Where did it go?
(Later Thursday, 3:50pm, Lenore trundles into my office carrying a sample of new letterhead.)
L: Here, this is it.
Me: (taking sample and examining it) Great! This looks great!
L: Oh, did you read it?
Me: (hurried) Yeah, it looks the same as our other one. Perfect!
L: Read it backwards.
Me: Read it backwards?
L: That's what I do. Then you don't miss a word.
Me: (reading the address backwards) That doesn't make any sense to me, but--oh, wait, the fax number is different.
L: See? You found something. (looking at paper) Well, that's our old fax number from 2007, I think. That's when you ordered last.
Me: Oh, can you put the new one on there?
L: You want a different one?
Me: Well, the old fax number doesn't work, does it?
L: I don't think so.
Me: Then we should change it to the one that does work, right?
L: Okay, I'll change it.
(Next day, Friday, 3:46 pm, Lenore trundles into my office carrying the sample letterhead again.)
L: (smiling, handing me letterhead) Can you sign this so I know that you've looked at it?
(I sign paper.)
Me: (suppressing severe irritation) Can you order these today? Please. I tired of talking about this.
L: Well, yes! It just takes some time. It's not that easy you know.
Me: I know.
Originally posted March 19, 2010