The List: The definitive ranking of office supplies

Erica Thompson

With Chris Stapleton playing Nationwide Arena on Friday, Nov. 3, and Mavis Staples visiting the Palace Theatre with Bob Dylan on Sunday, Nov. 5, we should probably do some sort of list on influential, award-winning artists. But instead we're ranking office supplies because … “staples.”

1. Pens

“Where are all the pens?” Jerry Seinfeld once asked in aclassic standup bit. He rightly pointed out that we've bought thousands of them, but we can never find them and are therefore humiliated when we have to ask to borrow one (which is why we always have to whisper the request). Thanks to its elusive and necessary — good luck writing on that notepad without one — traits, the pen is my top choice.

2. Notepads

I don't care about your fancy note app and the fancy stylus that came with your fancy phone. I think a lot of people still prefer notepads at the office, and, as a journalist, I can't function without one. And there are never enough, and God help you if you get wide-ruled.

3. Stapler et al.

Losing a good stapler can drive you to burn down the office building. Even worse is a good stapler gone bad. Worse still is a good stapler without staples. And worst of all is a good stapler without a good staple remover — unless you're good enough to do a rip-out job leaving two imperceptible holes.

4. Paper clips

Sure, it's no staple, but a paper clip comes in handy for keeping yourself organized, or relieving stress as you un-bend it beyond recognition. But stack too many paper-clipped bundles on top of each other and watch order descend into chaos.

5. Correction Fluid/Tape

Wanted to avoid propping up any #brands, but we all know Wite-Out has a stronghold on the market.

6. Post-its

OK, I couldn't think of a generic term for these as 3M has even adopted “sticky note.” BIC also has a line of promotional “sticky notes,” which is what we have to endure in this office. They stick to the edge of my computer monitor for exactly two seconds and then form useless cylinders that inevitably end up on the floor.

7. Scissors

The moment I say I don't need them, I'm going to need them.

8. Envelopes

They come in handy for mailing out copies of this paper, which is the only thing I mail these days. But don't ask me how they get properly weighed and stamped; I trust people get them once I put them in the “outgoing” basket. That's all I'm really capable of doing.

9. Scotch Tape

I don't think I tape anything at my desk except the corners of envelopes because I don't trust the built-in adhesive.

10. Push Pins

I always dream of the ways I'm going to decorate my desk, but the only thing I have hanging up is the map of Columbus neighborhoods my editor gave me when I started here over a year and a half ago.

11. Hanging files

I would use these but I never figured out how to set up the metal holders in my drawers.

12. Pocket folders

A terrible substitute for the above, currently overflowing in said drawers.