Wednesday, December 12, 2018

From the supply department: Kleenex

Dear Staff:

Sometimes, over the course of our time working at this library, we begin to take certain supplies for granted. And there is nothing wrong with that when those supplies are essential to the performance of our work duties. Of course you should have ready access to six or seven different kinds of tape. Of course pens should be easily available. Yes, of course you should be able to use staples, so long as you use them responsibly and not profligately.

But some items I acquire in my role as supply procurer drift much closer to the personal. Some items are less essential to us as workers.

I am going to talk about Kleenex.

Yes, we are out of Kleenex.

Yes, I have ordered more Kleenex.

Yes, it should be here soon.

But you must understand this: Kleenex is a perk, not a privilege.

Not more than five weeks ago we received a full case of Kleenex. This was 36 full sized boxes of Kleenex. This was so much Kleenex that it filled two cabinets and we had to form an extra pile of it tucked against the wall in the emergency exit hallway. That is a lot of Kleenex!

I know it is winter, and many people are nursing their way through colds around here. I know that our Kleenex use spikes at this time of year, but I would just like to say a few things to that.

1. We have reasonably generous sick time at this job. If you feel a recurring need to blow or wipe your nose, instead of reaching for a new box of library Kleenex, consider going home. Surely you have stocked your home with Kleenex, what with how you all seem to love it so much.

2. There is nothing appreciably different about toilet paper and Kleenex as an absorbent paper except for this: Toilet paper is not supplied or procured by me and it is always available in any quantities you like. Help yourself to the toilet paper.

3. It is Winter, so your nose may run a little. But you know what else happens in Winter? You wear long sleeves! Don't be afraid to use them.

Yes, we are out of Kleenex. Yes, more is on the way. But when it gets here maybe take it a little easy on it.

What is given so freely and generously can also be taken away.

With happy wishes for the holiday season,

The Supply Department


  1. Dear Supply Procurement Officer,

    Perhaps signage should be proffered so patrons don't help themselves to handfuls of free tissues, however, it is the same issue with patrons bathing in hand sanitizer and wet wipes, that if it's widely available, only a few will help themselves and take it all. Trust, the quality of the tissues is such that many staff only use it in an emergency, and then only a single tissue. But then too, we know how signage is invisible.

    Thank you for your efforts in procuring all supplies that you do. Perhaps you could think of the need to continually order things as sort of a job security ...

    1. I like your way of thinking, maybe a small sign next to the tissues reading "Please don't take any tissues".

      It is my pleasure to order things and so nice that you appreciate it. I'll try your positive spin ala "They wouldn't dare fire me or they'll never blow their noses again! Ha!".


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