Like a thief in the office: stealing stationery and supplies

It’s the kind of thing that goes mostly unnoticed – an express-post envelope here, a couple of highlighters or a glue stick there. But is the stealing of office stationery really stealing?

In a survey of 2000 employees conducted several years ago by Kelly Services, one in four Australians admitted taking home and keeping minor stuff that belonged to their employer. It’s not as chronic as other parts of the world, such as the United States, where three in four people honestly declare their dishonesty. Apparently, the worst offenders are men with tertiary qualifications.

In a poll released last year by an office design firm in the UK, respondents said pens are the most common item they steal, followed by paper, postage stamps, mugs, toilet paper seriously, and staplers. Other workers had stolen pot plants, filing cabinets, desks, chairs, and even – somehow – floor tiles.

Earlier this year, a 69-year-old man in Germany was arrested because he had nicked truckloads of office supplies from a range of workplaces – 25,000 kilograms’ worth, actually – much of which he kept stored in his basement and attic.

It seems many employers are cracking down on it. I recall first joining the corporate workforce 15 years ago and marveling at the fully stocked stationery cupboard open and available for any employee to use. These days, every workplace I visit has the cupboard locked, with the keys restricted to the reliable hands of only a couple of people.

The other question to ponder is this: what precisely constitutes stealing? Some would say a pen, worth only a few cents, is no big deal – but stealing a box of them is a crime. Likewise, a thin pad of post-it notes might be OK, but a thick wad is probably wrong. Is stealing ‘stealing’ no matter the quantity?

via Like a thief in the office: stealing stationery and supplies.

Strange Random Stealing Quote:

“The thief, as will become apparent, was a special type of thief. This thief was an artist of theft. Other thieves merely stole everything that was not nailed down, but this thief stole the nails as well.” ― Terry Pratchett, Sourcery


Posted on June 26, 2012, in Article and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. As all employers know and as all employees SHOULD know, there is a ‘desk cost’ associated with every employee at a company. This is the cost identified with hiring an employee and providing them with the appropriate equipment to do their work. This does not include salary. When salary and desk cost are added together this is the break even point for an employee. The company must decide how far their employee must exceed this level to be beneficial to the business and then act accordingly. Now this is where ‘stealing’ comes into play: If an employee is performing at a high enough level, as determined by the employer, is it relevant whether or not they are ‘stealing’ a variety of supplies that were allocated for them in the first place?

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