The Supply Order


This article is based on an actual incident.

To: – Our printer cartridge has died. Could we please order a new one? The number is JS334455.

To: – I’ve never heard of that number? Is it generic? What kind of printer do you have?

To: – It is a Lexmark W828. The cartridges are in the supply catalog.

To: – The first number you sent me was the printer’s inventory number. That’s another department. If you need something out of our catalog, you will need to fill out the supply warehouse online order form and submit it.

To: – What order form? Where is it?

To: – It is located on the website under Supply Warehouse. Do you even have an account? If you do not have an account with us, you will have to set up an account and get an authorization code before you can order.

To: – Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. The person who issues authorization codes was sick yesterday and no one else could help me as it is not in their job description. Could someone else order it for me using their code – just to tide us over? We are desperate!

To: – That is not correct procedure. Having someone else order for you will cause it to be delivered to the wrong place and to be charged to the wrong account. It will have to be reshipped at extra expense. It is easier and faster to do it right.


To: – That is not our problem. You should have anticipated that you would need a cartridge and ordered it last month before you ran out.

To: – I have set up an account and ordered the cartridge. It has been a week. Where is it?

To: – You are only allowed to order on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. You sent your order on Thursday. You will need to reorder on the correct day for your authorization code. If it is an emergency, fill out a procurement form and send it to the procurement unit with a memo from your supervisor.

To: – The procurement unit said they only order supplies that are unavailable from the warehouse. Besides, I can only order from procurement on the first week of the month unless I have an emergency memo from my supervisor who is on retreat. They said it would be probably be faster to just wait until Monday and order from you.

To: – If you have a complaint, contact personnel. We are not responsible for that department.

To: – I have reordered the cartridge on the correct day of the week using the correct form and correct authorization number. It has been another week. Where is the cartridge?

To: – We are currently out of stock. You should have ordered it sooner. You will need to reorder when we have these cartridges in stock. Try procurement.

To: – Procurement??? I’ve TRIED procurement! I’ve also tried to borrow one, but nobody in the whole government has a printer like ours. Leave it to the state government to make getting a printer cartridge a month long ordeal!

To: – Maybe you should consider getting a different printer.

To: – In the unlikely event that you ever get any more cartridges in stock, would you please deliver one if it is the right day of the week, the right time of the moon, someone else does not order ahead of me, the ordering procedure has not changed, my authorization number is still in effect, my supervisor is here to sign a memo, and I have not yet been committed to a institution for the mentally insane.

By the way, we are out of toilet paper. How can I get more?

©2004 Sheila Moss

This article is based on an actual incident. Has anything similar happened to you?

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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6 Responses to The Supply Order

  1. Edward Wedler says:

    Incidences like these must have been the fodder for Monty Python routines — absurd.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Corporate Life 101 and commented:
    More office quirks ……. for your reading pleasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. George says:

    lol…love the last line. That’s why I want as little as possible to do with govt agencies.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my goodness. “1984” meets the printer supply department. Doesn’t it seem like *everything* is this way anymore? I can’t even go to a fast-food restaurant and order grilled chicken strips on my salad instead of fried. It’s a bureaucratic undertaking that requires management approval and circumventing a predetermined setting on the cash register.

    I’d suggest printing a letter of compliant, but then you’d be right back where you started….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, just wow! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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