Dealing with the photocopiers
Office professionals handle duplicate problems over the years

by Nancy Gardiner
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 23/97) - For secretaries week, one cannot help but acknowledge the role office professionals have played in dealing with photocopiers over the years.

For instance, I've seen some front-desk staff suggest wheeling it outside and losing it in a crowd.

I prefer to see it careening off a cliff, crashing into the frolicking waves below.

Or losing it at a checkout counter.

You see, the photocopier can be a source of aggravation in many an office.

It can be finicky. It will take paper on the glass horizontally, but not vertically. Should you forget, "L6" will start flashing. Open cover, close cover. "L6" again.

What the heck is L6, anyway?

Like how about: "I'm overheated, you're the 500th person today -- go away." That I would understand and reluctantly accept.

How about tying a boulder around it for an anchor and tossing it off the deck of HMCS Yellowknife?

The only problem is, the fish would send it back.

One federal government office that I worked in had the deluxe-stacking, sorting, tilting, rotating, formula-racing speed (the more features it has, the more things can go wrong with) photocopier.

This baby had it's very own room with a keylock.

Once in, you stuck your "auditron" into the machine and it would start clicking.

Once it jammed (not long into the process) you couldn't figure out: a) where the paper came from or went to; b) if there was a front cover to open; and c) if you were going to get out of there in one piece.

My personal favorite is the fast-speed intake device.

This is where you put your copies on top in a neat little pile, and the machine automatically grabs them (supposedly one-by-one).

What usually happens is that it grabs five at a time, gnarls them, then spews them out like a baseball through a quarter-inch gap.

If you are the poor sucker who forgot a staple in any of them, you will have to entertain the photocopy repair man for half a day.

Actually, in one office I worked in, it appeared the photocopy repair man worked there, too. He was always there. In fact, we thought about getting him a desk and an office assistant.

You could always recognize him coming. The rectangle briefcase. The long tie dangling over the machine.

The black toner-encrusted knobbly fingers. A pleasant soul, with the patience of a saint. Personally, I would have attached a sail to that contraption and sent it in a barrel over the Virginia Falls.

So for all those office professionals out there (formerly known as secretaries), here's to you, for managing to get that thing working -- no matter what it says, L10-11, A-pain, URIT.