“You put them in the bin, Mr Collins”

It is difficult to avoid pinning all of the blame for shoddy delivery on the IT department. Of course, everyone should take their share of responsibility but I am reminded of the problems I used to have as an IT manager, due to the complex and bureaucratic procurement systems in place. No order could be under a few hundred pounds, as it cost at least that to get a purchase through; even when successful, it would invariably take weeks unless it was rubber-stamped at the highest level.

Still, it could have been worse, had the bureaucrats had it all their own way. I remember when I started in the job, I stared in trepidation at the forms I had to fill in on recepit of even the simplest of orders. They were long, complex and – worst of all – they were in sextupulate, each of the six copies having to go to different departments, most of which I had never even heard of.

Having struggled to work out what to do on my own for a few days, I eventually plucked up the courage and called up the accounts department.

“What do I do with all these forms,” I asked, in my pidgin French.

“Ah, Mr Collins,” came the all-very-understanding answer. “The first, yellow copy you keep; the green copy you send back to me, and the red copy, you give back to the people in goods-in to confirm receipt.”

“Thank you,” I said, “but what do I do about the other copies?”

The accounts manager became even more understanding, as if she could detect my suppressed panic over the phone.

“You put them in the bin, Mr Collins,” she said.

It was a small victory over bureaucracy, but distinctly pleasant nonetheless.

“You put them in the bin, Mr Collins”

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