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Some Days in the Life - NCR Paper

Posted 4/29/99

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Yesterday was a productive afternoon involving far too many pieces of paper. I got that weird "dry fingers" feeling you get from handling particularly absorbent paper, like our school Requisition forms.

Our req. forms are three part carbonless paper. (Which, for reasons that were never fully explained to me when I worked at Kinko's, are called NCR paper. NCR? Non-Carbon Receipt? Not Carbon Record? No Current Relevance?) These are very dry to touch and work with and fill out. Now, I have a computer and a very powerful computer network, so I've rarely if ever written notes on paper since I got here. I just don't see the point of it. I have a computer. Forms are simple to develop on computer, and keep better records. Every employee of this school has access to a computer, generally with Filemaker Pro on it.

But to buy anything, we need to fill it out on NCR paper.

We're putting in the orders for next year's Powerbooks, plus other Apple products and the like. I can't just write the total on a req. and attach the spreadsheet to it, though. Even though it's all one order, and it's all written out coherently there, and all the data is correct, and I can make multiple clean copies of it, that's not the form.

To do the form, I need to rewrite every bit of information on a req. Broken down by "office" that's getting it. So, despite the fact that we're ordering faculty powerbooks and "sustaining" powerbooks for next year, at the same time, in the same budget, I need to fill out two forms detailing all the costs and specs. One for faculty. One for sustaining. In three parts, I'd add.

It gets worse. I need to do a req. for each class of students. Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors/Post-Graduates. So, that's four reqs that all get submitted for things ordered at the same time. In addition to the two reqs for the faculty and sustaining.

We're ordering 20 iMacs. 10 for the Journalism lab. 10 for the Business Office as part of a project. Two reqs.

We're ordering four identical minitowers for four different offices. Four reqs., identical except for the name at the top.

My hand still hurts.