29 Nov 2004

The Important Room

Mary had booked the Important Room that we are never allowed to go in, for the meeting about stationery. I was ready to be publicly exposed as the main culprit for the rising costs in the office. I rehearsed my leaving speech in preparation: “I may be going – but at least I discovered what gridding tape is – how many people can say that?”

The Important Room has a long, narrow table down the centre; like a decorating-paste table, and a big plant in the corner. Brenda loves the table because you can’t help but sit really, really close and breathe on the person opposite. “What’s this? A ‘stare-out’ competition.” Martin said as he sat down.

I laughed (with nerves), but everyone else was far too serious.

Everyone in the meeting was clutching a cup with a cardboard jacket from the Death Wagon. Every time Brenda crossed her legs, she kicked me hard in the shin.

Mary led the meeting and after an hour, six sheets of flip chart paper, six different coloured markers, some blue tac and ten copies of a 10 page report, we came up with a cost saving strategy:

“We pledge to use less stationery.”

It’s a simple but effective strategy I feel.