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Free-For-All Brings Out The "Dumb-Ass" In Some

 On Thursday, Chicago public schools had "Free Things Day," during which teachers could come to the main warehouse and grab everything from furniture to reams of paper -- that is, assuming they could survive the experience. A teacher writes in about what happens when things are free: 

"It was poorly organized and a total zoo - long lines and quite crowded, though the workers kept a cheery disposition and seemed to be doing their best. One of the workers mentioned this free-for-all type of event was a CPS first, so I'm sure they've learned some lessons.

"What was available? General office supplies - hanging file folders, envelopes, printer paper, pens and markers, tape and tape dispensers, staplers, binders, desktop and desk drawer organizers, letter trays, paper clips, etc. Computer gear - printers, monitors, fax machines, keyboards, and a few woefully outdated computers. Furniture - a lot of rolling, mildly cushioned desk chairs, filing cabinets, table tops (most, oddly enough, without legs), a desk here or there. A decent range of stuff that CPS does not or will not purchase for teachers, sometimes because of downtown priorities, sometimes because of principal spending priorities.

"I got a printer, lots of pens, a box of printer paper, a few envelopes, tape and dispensers, a couple of staplers, binder clips, and a few light bulbs. The desk chairs were seriously hot items! I arrived 45 minutes early and lost out to those who beat me to the punch.

"Free stuff always seems to bring out the dumb-ass in people, too, as illustrated by three incidents which occurred during my 30 minutes at the warehouse. (1) I labeled the top of a small 12x12 box with an 8.5x11 piece of paper listing my name, school, and mail info. I turned my back to pick up another box a few steps away and some other teacher, in less than 10 seconds, had removed my label, opened the box, and was placing the items I had selected into her own box. (2) I was selecting reams of colored paper and putting them into a small box when another teacher reached into the box I was loading (and holding!) and took a ream while commenting to me "Oh, this is a pretty color!" (3) I had stacked my boxes in the area designated for storage until shipping time. As I left I noticed that someone had opened my sealed box of paper and replaced my 6 reams of colored paper with white paper. Nice."  [Cross-posted from D299]


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