10 ways to act like an adult with the office photocopier

Going “Office Space” on the copier, although therapeutic, clearly violates rule No. 5.

In her new book, “How to Behave,” Caroline Tiger spells out the appropriate way to handle a wide range of everyday scenarios, from carrying an umbrella in the city to saying “I love you.” While her playfully proper tone certainly contributes to the book’s subtle humor, part of the fun is realizing just how ill-equipped we humans are at navigating the most mundane of tasks with the slightest bit of poise and class. Case in point: her photocopier etiquette rules, which we’re excerpting here — and violate almost hourly.

Tiger’s rules:

1. Never leave the copier without first attending to a flashing icon, which usually indicates a paper jam or misfeed or the need for a new toner cartridge.

2. If you cannot resolve the copier’s distress signal by yourself, notify your office manager or machine serviceperson immediately.

3. Never leave the copy machine empty of paper.

4. If you used color paper or letterhead or any type of paper besides white, remove it before leaving the machine so that others don’t use it by mistake.

5. If you become frustrated with the copy machine, do not kick it, punch it or become violent toward it in any way.

6. Do not eat or drink around the photocopier.

7. Do not smudge the platen glass with your oily fingertips.

8. No matter how funny it looked in the movie, do not attempt to photocopy your own or another’s body parts.

9. Remove staples, sticky notes and paper clips from whatever you’re going to copy.

10. Little jobs trump big jobs. If you’re making five copies of a 250-page report, you should
interrupt the job to let in the person who needs to make a one-page copy.


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