Please don’t treat the stapler like you treat your farm animals

November 1st, 2011 · 51 comments

This brilliantly understated little note comes to us from a campus library at the University of Auckland, where submitter Louise says the staplers do seem to get jammed into disrepair on a fairly regular basis.

This stapler is now in perfect mechanical condition. It works just fine. Please do not abuse the stapler. Remember: This is just an ordinary stapler, not a rocket powered attaching device. It will NOT staple together half a ream of paper. Unlike a plowing mule, hitting it really hard will not make the stapler work harder to accomplish your goal.

(I have to admit that I kinda love this one. Hat tip to you, librarian!)

related: (Insert Office Space reference here)

extra credit: A rocket-powered detaching device

FILED UNDER: fed-up librarian · most popular notes of 2011 · New Zealand · office supplies

51 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Smokey

    I hope they are not condoning hitting a mule really hard to get the job done. I usually just throw a stapler at the mule.

    Nov 1, 2011 at 6:26 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   Boomshine

      Silly Smokey…. Throwing the stapler really hard will not make the plowing mule work harder to accomplish your goal!

      Nov 1, 2011 at 6:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   Nunavut Guy

      Really Smokey,that would never work.Now stapling two mules together will get some results.

      Nov 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   aliceblue

      Can the mule staple half a ream of paper?

      Nov 1, 2011 at 10:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   Grant

      Really, a simple note indicating, for example, “max. capacity – 10 sheets” would do the trick. Unless they’ve tried that and are fed up repeating themselves, I mean, trying to get people to respect the stapler is like flogging a dead horse, really.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 4:28 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.5   Nunavut Guy

      More like flogging a dead mule actually.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 5:23 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.6   Mel K

      I disagree slightly. I think the plowing mule imagery helps. The hard part would be getting them to actually read and adhere to a note on its own.

      No one on my office reads notes (or emails I suspect). They use notes like “max. capacity – 10 sheets” to practice doodling or being a smart ass. The stapler would still get abuse.

      Can a rocket powered stapler explode if someone attempts to staple more than 10 pages or abandon an empty stapler? It doesn’t have to really hurt them, just a pin-prick to bleed a little over the papers the were trying to staple.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 5:27 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   techno

    fair enough, but does anyone know where I can get a rocket-powered attaching device? That sounds awesome!

    Nov 1, 2011 at 6:34 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   Somebody Else

      I recommend that you ask the librarian. Seriously. Librarians know amazing facts and are vastly under-appreciated, IMHO.

      Nov 1, 2011 at 8:21 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.2   park rose

      techno, maybe in your spam mail? The kind of rocket-powered attaching device which, with ploughing, evokes a mewl?

      Nov 9, 2011 at 7:07 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   shwo! bang

    …and if you hit a rocket powered plowing mule really hard, it will just explode, spraying staples everywhere.

    Nov 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   Trin

      Well, your comment just made me spray coffee everywhere. My monitor may not be impressed, but I say well played, my friend!

      Good joke you!

      Nov 2, 2011 at 8:44 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.2   infanttyrone

      When the phrases rocket powered plowing mule and spraying staples everywhere were found in chatter traffic between New Zealand and Venezuela, a veterinary Seal team was dispatched to bring back one of these possibly ballistic-capable living pinatas-of-death in a mission entitled The Carcass from Caracas.

      While the lion’s share of the operational details are still highly classified, we have been able to tease out some of the facts by employing a legal eagle who is well versed in the cat & mouse tactics of FOIA work, and he has assured us that we will not be thrown to the wolves by predatory DHS authorities for releasing the following.

      Clearly the mission was based on the (at the time, oh so reasonable) interpretation that the mules were some new sort of terror weapon designed to deliver lethal levels of microshrapnel to farmers in the USA heartland.

      Chavez was known to be clever as a fox, and this sort of Trojan horse technique was just the type of peacock play that could catapult him to the top of the adversarial foodchain, which spot, with the withdrawal of the Russian bear as cock if the roost, was as wide open as the jaws of a python wrapping itself around the front end of an adult deer entree.

      But the mules turned out to be a horse of a different color, as it was determined that they were actually more or less regular pinatas. Chavez had been currying favor with the governments of neighboring countries by supplying the mules free of charge for their use in various local festivities. The pinatas had to be built to an enhanced strength specification because their contents were far from ordinary. Chavez could not run the risk of losing his market share among the politically correct demographic by filling them with the traditional payload of sinful sweetness, and so the megastructures of industrial-grade papier-mâché were crafted to withstand the internal forces brought to bear by gravity working its eternally effective seduction on hundreds of kilos of grain and legumes. Like rice…and beans…you know…staples.

      Later sigint analysis revealed that the word rocket was actually a typo for roquet, which had been used to highlight the need for the prize-bearers to be struck with something having a long handle and a small face…ideally an anteater (
      Anteaters usually being none too easy to come by, a croquet mallet was the obvious Plan B tool. The questions of whether a salmon-colored mallet was actually found to be technically superior and what might possibly be the explanation(s) for this rumor…let’s just say that we have had it up to the gills with speciesous speculation and that the odds against our giving any hints about this are gastronomical.

      for ‘glo…and any other long bomb enthusiasts

      Nov 2, 2011 at 2:08 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   Brittany

    LOL this reminds me of the movie Office Space!


    Nov 1, 2011 at 7:45 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   The Elf

      No way! I bet the admin didn’t think of that at all, which is why she didn’t include an Office Space reference immediately below the PAN!

      Nov 2, 2011 at 7:37 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   Nick

    It scarred me as a child when I found out that Mario hits Yoshi in the back of the head to get him to shoot out his tongue. This note brings back painful memories.

    Nov 1, 2011 at 8:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   litchic

      OMG. Somehow I never knew that and now I’m *really* bumming.

      Nov 1, 2011 at 10:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   The Elf

      …. Wait, that’s not how you treat a riding dinosaur? Next you’ll tell me that mushrooms don’t make me grow to twice my size.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 7:41 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   K

      ha ha Nick! I found that out too. You find out alot by pausing video games.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 10:25 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   Somebody Else

    As someone living on the other side of the puddle, I have to say that some of the notes on PAN make me suspect how different life must be over there.

    Over here, we learn about farm animals in nursery rhymes, and then pretty much forget all about them. It is rather surprising to see such a reference to a farm animal with an expectation that the author expects the reader to be highly familiar with the attributes of said animal as a means of making their point. It comes off as quite provincial. Was that part of the joke? I have no idea …

    I enjoyed the note, but rather feel sorry for the mule …

    Nov 1, 2011 at 8:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   Adam

      Well, where are you referring to with “other side of the pond” exactly? This note is from the University of Auckland, which, I presume, is in Auckland, New Zealand.

      Nov 1, 2011 at 9:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   Bec

      Maybe Somebody Else meant the other side of the ‘ditch’, which is what we colloquially call the body of water between Australia & NZ, not sure. I found the whole comment by SE a bit hard to decipher *shrugs*.

      Nov 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.3   litchic

      I thought he was doing an impression of Sheldon Cooper for a minute.

      Nov 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.4   Somebody Else

      I’m from California, thanks. And checking the map, there is indeed a small mass of water between me and New Zealand. I believe it’s called the Pacific Ocean.

      Sorry you found my note hard to decipher, Bec. Librarians – and nobody else, for that matter – in these parts don’t refer to farm animals in their PAN’s, that’s all. I know, it wasn’t funny, sorry about that.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 12:33 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.5   Adam

      California has more farmland than urban centers, even if it does have some huge urban centers. I’m not sure what argument you’re trying to make, but if it’s that the mule is some exotic creature that only those strange people from New Zealand know anything about, I think you’re in a minority, even within your own state.

      Also, it’s funny that you accuse the notewriter of strange etiquette for using a colloquialism you found odd, and then got a strange smug attitude when I asked for clarification of “across the pond,” a phrase I’ve never, ever heard used to refer to Oceania relative to the US, only to Europe relative to the US.

      Just to avoid being called passive aggressive myself, what I’m saying is: Drop the unwarranted sense of superiority, hypocrite.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 1:54 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.6   Adriana

      To be fair, the farmland and rural areas are mostly what we Californians drive through to get to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.7   Somebody Else

      Wow. I wasn’t trying to be superior at all. I was surprised to see a reference made with the assumption that I had expertise about plowing mules, and so I shared that. Life is different here. I used the word provincial, yes, it was not intended to be an insult (Beauty and the Beast, is getting a lot of play in my house these days, that word is in a certain lovely song that I admire).

      And yes, CA has lots of farmland, but I hail from suburbia, as do most Californians, I believe. You might want to check your facts on that. Or not.

      But your suggestion that I “Drop the unwarranted sense of superiority, hypocrite.” is giving me a few chuckles. Number 1 because you have made a ton of inaccurate assumptions about me, and number 2 because of who you choose to pick for such a comment when this entire site is full of much more relevant comments than made by little old me. Rather like hitting a poor plowing mule when the stapler doesn’t work, I think. That might make sense where you live, but it still makes me feel sorry for the mule …

      Nov 2, 2011 at 1:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.8   Tanya

      As a Kiwi I have to add we don’t really use mules here… we have a *lot* of sheep, dairy herds, some deer/alpacas/chickens and sometimes pigs. Mules are rare… I’ve never come across one on a New Zealand farm. But it’s an analogy that is pretty much universal, I thought; surely everyone would ‘get it’? After all farms these days are largely mechanised, but the mule is the traditional ‘beast of burden’ (along with the ox). And I assume that is why the librarian used it – because it *is* something that everyone from any culture that rears animals would understand.

      (BTW city kid here, born and raised)

      Nov 8, 2011 at 8:32 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #6.9   park rose

      Ah, rest your hackles. Somebody Else’s original note @6 was self-deprecating in its own way – I would put it into the eloquent, sophisticated and charming bracket. I felt his/her question was genuine. The bristling does make us come off as provincial (if all the responders are Antipodeans), but that’s like my hometown, Perth – small enough to be parochial, big enough to be proud, an oftentimes dangerous mix.

      Nov 9, 2011 at 7:22 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   Adam

    I have to disagree with the implication that hitting a stapler harder will not make it staple together a greater number of documents. It’s not fool-proof, as there is of course still a finite limit to how many pages can in fact be stapled together, but sometimes hitting it harder DOES work, dammit.

    Nov 1, 2011 at 9:00 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   The Elf

      It certainly does. It also makes me feel better.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 7:42 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   Rattus

      It’s true. And standing up to really wail on it will double the amount of pages stapled by just plain old hitting it will. Mules I don’t know about, though I think I’d prefer the carrot on a stick method with them – that method does not work with staplers.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 9:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   Heathir

    This whole comment string is making me LOL.

    Nov 1, 2011 at 9:05 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   Paully

    Was this written by Dwight Schrute?

    Nov 1, 2011 at 10:12 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   Ashes

    If a similar note had been attached to my Nintendo as a child, it might still be alive today.

    Nov 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   Anon

    Hitting a stapler harder does help most of the time. Hitting a mule does not.

    Nov 2, 2011 at 12:40 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   The Elf

      Yeah, they’re known to be a little stubborn.

      Staplers, I mean.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   Dr. Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

    Team Stapler Abusers. Maybe they should use some of the vast wealth they derive from enormous tuition fees to buy some better staplers. Perhaps the football team could wear the same design of shirts they wore last year to free up some money. It’s a pretty shitty way to speak to paying customers, which is what students are.

    Nov 2, 2011 at 5:19 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   Dr. Chalkwitheringlicktacklefeff

    • #12.2   Gwan

      I get your point that students pay a lot for an education and deserve good service, but at the same time viewing it from a purely service provider-client perspective seems kind of depressing to me. I’d like to think you can have a more humanised level of interaction at a university – of course I don’t mean that one shouldn’t treat students with respect and courtesy, but surely they can cope with a slightly sarcastic sign?

      Besides which, you seem to have missed that it’s not a US university – as an alumnus of the institution in question, I can tell you the tuition fees are not that enormous (at least by US standards) and there is, to the best of my knowledge, no football team (or rugby team, which would be the local equivalent) that get paid-for-by-the-university shiny new shirts every year.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 10:45 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   pegolasgreenleaf

    This could be solved if they just shelled out for a Swingline.

    You smack one of those puppies, and it simply says, “Please sir, can I have some more?”, and then staples a stack of bibles together.

    Nov 2, 2011 at 5:27 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   emcd

      You talking about that huge a** stapler that used to sit on top of the Swingline factory in Long Island City, Queens, right? That thing was the mother ship of all staplers.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 8:26 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   K

      Simple solution. Have your regular staplers, and one or two master staplers. That’s the really big one with a long handle you have to press down. The staple itself is alot bigger of course. It can be used as a substitute for book binding; that’s how good it is.

      The need for hitting, banging and stomping (and making the staplers in poor mechanical condition) will therefore be eliminated.

      Nov 2, 2011 at 10:39 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #13.3   Gwan

      I used to work in a library at the University of Auckland, funnily enough, and I had a big stapler out the back for stapling (small) books back together. My pride and joy, that was. No way I’d let the students get their hands on it, although I did sometimes staple stuff together for those who asked. (I agree it would be a good idea to have *another* one out there for general use, although I suspect that would eventually fall prey to people trying to staple even bigger things in it.)

      Nov 12, 2011 at 10:39 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   divaandwriter bang

    There is a simple solution to this problem. Don’t put out any staplers. Anyone who wants to use a stapler will have to politely ask the Stapler Keeper. The Stapler Keeper will then stare at the user intently and make sure that said user realizes that they are not back on the farm and that the stapler is not a work animal.

    The user will then return the still-functioning stapler to the Stapler Keeper, who will put it back in the safe for the next user.

    The job of Stapler Keeper, of course, will have a huge turnover, because the stapler will become a popular murder weapon.

    Nov 2, 2011 at 9:06 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   juju_skittles

      Isn’t this system already implemented? Oh, I know, I’ll see Casey. THX BARBARA

      Nov 2, 2011 at 8:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   The Elf

    Stop Stapler Abuse!

    Nov 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   C

    I would believe the electric stapler in the office here is actually rocket-powered. Thing sounds like a nail gun. I jump a mile every time.

    And it’s totally automated: it instantly staples anything placed in its jaws. Whenever I use it, I’m terrified that I will somehow staple through my entire hand or something.

    Clearly, this library needs one of these staplers. Except for the lawsuit potential when some genius does actually manage to staple his thumb.

    Nov 2, 2011 at 4:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   Louise

      I submitted this picture – the library actually used to have one of those electronic staplers, however that too sadly died a horrible death!

      Nov 7, 2011 at 3:46 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   videophotog76

    Do Not Abuse The Stapler

    This Will Damage The Elevator

    Nov 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   meh


      Nov 3, 2011 at 11:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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