Middle manager tells of anguish after office fire destroys pen collection

A mid-level productivity manager has spoken of his anguish after the stockpile of pens, pencils and dry wipe-board markers that he had painstakingly collected over a period of 15 years was lost in a fire that ravaged the Reading branch of his employer, Quality Assurance Ltd. 

By the time fire fighters had the blaze under control a large part of the building had been gutted, including the small first floor office of Gary Wetherall.  ‘The first thing I thought of was my pen collection.’ said the visibly shaken manager.  ‘I had at least thirty Biros of various colours, including one of those multicoloured ones where you click a button on the top to choose what colour you want.  Sadly they’re all gone now.’

Gary is also mourning the loss of his extensive assortment of highlighters.  ‘As productivity manager I’d use these to chart the efficiency of the staff; blue for those who are meeting the requisite standards – in other words working late for no extra pay, yellow for those who work late but have the nerve to claim time off in lieu, and bright pink to highlight poor performers – staff who insist on restricting their working hours to those stipulated within their contracts.’

The loss that Wetherall feels most keenly is that of the showpiece of his collection, his Executive Platinum Easigrip 2000 ball-point pen.  ‘It came in a little case with refills and everything.’ he recalls.  ‘It was personally awarded to me by the CEO last year, in recognition of my services to the company after I volunteered to select possible candidates for redundancy as part of a cost-cutting project.  Ironically the permanent marker that I used to cross off the names has also been lost in the fire.’

Fire investigators are currently examining several possibilities for the cause of the inferno, but are said to be concentrating on the suspected faulty wiring of a small illuminated display cabinet.  They are also investigating why the office’s smoke detection system did not raise the alarm before the fire took hold throughout the building.  ‘It’s a mystery to me.’ says Gary.  ‘and we can’t ask the company’s fire prevention officer because we laid him off in December.’

(Written 17 Apr 2009)

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Published in: on November 23, 2009 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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