Monday, September 28, 2009

Dear Anonymous Production Assistant ::STOP:: We're stumped ::STOP:: Please help us ::STOP::

I'll admit it. The Anonymous Production Assistant is one of my heroes. While facelessly (hey, he's the one who guards his anonymity) toiling in various Production Offices out there in L.A. he also takes the time to solve the problems of newcomers and veterans alike. Look, here he is, altruistically solving peoples' problems. I ask the guys from NASA help their neighbors launch rockets in their free time? Do the Border Police help keep kids off of old peoples' lawns on their day off? Do the 12-year-olds in your neighborhood sweat shop spend their 3 hours between shifts sewing rag dolls for charity? I think not!

But TAPA is tirelessly fielding questions from his loyal readers and seeking to enlighten them with perceptive and educated answers.

Well, it's my turn now, Mr. TAPA! Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to tell us how this damned piece of office machinery works.

Witness, The Office Depot, Heavy Duty 120 Page Stapler. We can't get it to staple anything. It refuses to force any staples at all to pierce any sheets of paper at all. We haven't actually tried, but I'm confident in saying we wouldn't be able to get it to staple a single sheet of one-ply toilet paper.

This is extremely disappointing to us. I mean, just look at that sucker! This bad boy is just chock full of X (and Y) Chromosomes...not a single Y in the mix just tons of mixed up X's and Y's. This is one testosterone-laden, macho beast of a stapler. It's Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Seagal, and The Rock all rolled up into one piece of mean paper uniter. I'd bet it could even drum up a little Will Smith eye-twinkle if it tried. What it can't do is staple.

I've tried. Our POC has tried. Our APOC has tried. A veritable trail of broken-hearted Office PA's have tried. We even let a Producer try. (None of us really had any expectations from that, but he does sign all the checks, so who was gonna tell him No?)

We've gotten this little doohickey to swing out, but you're looking at its full extension. That seems particularly useless.

We know how to put staples in and we know how to get them back out -- just not through the firing mechanism. We actually, quite like pulling out the little spring-loaded thing in the end -- that's as close as we come to successfully operating this thing.

Look! It releases.

And then it comes all the way out.

And then, we can put staples in or take staples out. We even attempt to make it staple something each time we get this far. I don't know why we expect a different outcome. It just seems worth we do.

Looking at this thing, it seems like you ought to be able to pull something up know, the way you can with a regular old wussy stapler. But you can't. Or, at least if you can, we haven't been able to find the release that allows that. (We've tried forcing it too. No Joy.)

Please help us Anonymous Production Assistant. We just want to staple the way the kids at the big shows do.

P.S. If you can solve our problem for us, I promise to create (and send to you) some sort of crappy Certificate of Appreciation that you can frame and conspicuously display near your desk. That's gotta be worth something.


WendyB_09 said...

OK, questions:
1- did it ever work?
2- did anyone ever see it work?
3- Are you using the correct staples?
4- more importantly - do you still have the receipt?

But I think I spot your problem in the first's the OD brand, known to those toiling in the legal industry as being pretty wimpy.

Run, don't walk, take the sucker back and get an electric stapler (Swingline or other national brand) rated to do the same number of pages. Yes, it will cost more. but it will work!! Your hands will thank you, as will the rest of your production staff.

Trust me on this one. Manual staplers for over 50 pages are highly overrated!!

Nathan said...

Wendy, answers:

1.-I have no idea, but probably.
2.-I have no idea, but probably.
3.-Yes, duh!
4.-Not a chance.

See, here's the thing. Everybody who works on movies becomes a pack rat, gathering up their "kit". Office folks take home Office-y things if nobody else wants them at the end of a show. (The valuable stuff gets shipped to the studio, and I imagine somewwhere, they've got a closet filled with thousands of staplers and tape dispensers that nobody wanted.

I'm sure somebody brought this in with thier other "stuff" inherited from some previous job.

What's in my "kit"?

-1/2 dozen power strips
-a bazzillion foot-candle "deer light" that plugs into a cars 12v socket.
-at least 50 Sharpies, markers and highlighters (all suitably dried up and useless.)
-other various useful and useless stuff.
- (and best of all), "the big yellow key" (a really good bolt cutter, suitable for chopping through the biggest padlocks. I'm constantly renting vacant lots and such from people who tell me at the last minute that they haven't seen the key for the padlock in years.)

Random Michelle K said...

I second Wendy.

When these things go bad, they just.... stop. And then they sit around for years because no one is brave enough to thrown them away.

Go get a new one. And ditch this one.

Nathan said...

Sorry, but your recommendation is rejected.

1.) We're encouraged to go "green" and you want us to just add another 10lbs. of metal to the landfill?

2.) We're determined. This sucker was inherited and we DEMAND that it work.

3.) Truth be told, we really don't staple all that much stuff that's more than 2-3 pages. Scripts and stuff all get 3-hole punched and held together with brads or binder clips.

But we must be able to staple massive quantities when the situation does arise. 'Cause we want to dammit!

WendyB_09 said...

Well, yes.

If the only thing the 10# of metal is good for is boat anchor or door stop as opposed to the purpose for which it was purchased, yes, get rid if the stupid thing.

Non-functioning equipment just adds to clutter & confusion, and becomes a risk management issue. Why? At some point someone is going to get pissed at it and just throw it. You don't want to be in the line of fire!

To make it greener, recycle it, looks like it's steel or aluminum.

Or do what everyone else in the world does, take it back to Office Despot anyhow, sans reciept, tell 'em the damn thing doesn't work and see if they'll exchange it for one that works.

Steve Buchheit said...

Well, I can tell you what's wrong. All "X" chromosomes means genetically female. If there's no "Y" in there, it ain't as testosteroni as you think it is (insert obligatory statement of genetics don't exactly delineate gender so easily, but for rough comparisons we should be good).

Carol Elaine said...

Do the guys from NASA help their neighbors launch rockets in their free time?


Nathan said...


In some quarters, you could be severely reprimanded for correcting your host...especially when he's got it so wrong.

I plead "writing in a hurry after a long day at work". Does that get me off the hook?

Abby said...

Can you push the handle down all the way and it's just not stapling, or can you not even get it to the point that it SHOULD staple? If this is the case, take a look at the underside where the staples come out. Right in front of it, there should be some kind of button/plastic/metal piece that pushes in when it reaches the paper. If that piece isn't there/doesn't work, then you're out of luck.

And if that's not the case, well... that's all the wisdom I have on staplers.

Jeri said...

If at first you don't succeed, pound on it harder.

It'll make the decision to recycle more straightforward, in the end.

Hugo Fuchs said...

I'll put a bet that someone put regular office staples in it just before it stopped working rather than the heavy duty ones or just the wrong brand of heavy duty staple and there's a staple or two jammed up in the head. I've seen that mistake alot of times. It requires good eyesight, a penlight and a pair of long skinny needlenose pliers, brute-force and patience to fix. The question is, not whether or not you can fix it, but how many $ of labor are you going to spend screwing around with it to fix it and is it more than just going and buying another one. It's usually cheaper in to just buy a good compound one that is rated at 50%+ more than you expect to staple. Check the reviews before you buy though.

Nathan said...


What anyone might have put in the thing in the past is an unanswerable mystery, but we're pretty sure there's nothing in there now. Then again, the thing may just have memories of being mistreated. Who knows?

What we do know is that nobody can get it to do anything but look macho. So it gets a place of honor on its own shelf for a while where it can sit and preen. Then, that shelf becomes desirable for something useful and Mr. Macho Stapler gets moved a little further out of reach.

Nobody's got the heart to just shitcan the thing though.

Nathan said...

Update 10/24/09

That heartless bastard Dan shitchanned the thing yesterday!