Confessions of an Office Supply Employee

Numbered dividers

When I used to work at an office supply store, you wouldn’t believe the kinds of questions people asked me. (Though generally speaking, it was a lot of “where can I find a laser label? Where can I find a spiral bound graph paper notebook? Where can I find a 3 ring binder?” and so on and so forth.) When shopping for office supplies, cover these bases before you stop by the store and start unleashing your questions:

Do your research – If you’re coming by the store to look for a specific kind of printer ink, you should definitely know what kind of printer you have first. Telling the clerk that you need ink is like telling the waitress you need food. They need a place to start. This goes for any kind of printing material too. If you have a laser printer, you’ll want a laser printer labels.

Price check yourself – If you come to the office supply store and ask if you can find a cheaper bubble mailer at Walmart, the truth is that 99% of the time, they have absolutely no idea. The people who work at the store aren’t briefed on the other store’s prices, and sometimes aren’t even knowledgeable about their own! Sometimes you just gotta look it up.

Don’t blame the middle man – If the computer that someone at the office supply store sold you doesn’t work, don’t blame that guy. Blame the manufacturer. It doesn’t help anyone when you come in the store stark raving mad and demand that the kid who sold you the machine pay you a refund personally. He doesn’t know why it broke. But he can definitely show you where to find a 3 ring binder.

In short, the people who work at your local office supply store are people too. So have a little patience next time you’re not sure about which kind of pen you’re looking for. More.