'If you faxed it wrong you didn't get paid': horror stories of the 1990s office

GEN Z colleagues not taking their job seriously? Sit down and terrify them with tales of a primitive time when the working conditions were as antiquated as the haircuts: 

The reliance on fax machines

You think the photocopier’s insanely large and impossible to reload? Once we had a device called the fax machine, the Satanic spawn of a cantankerous printer and a vengeful, screeching demon trapped in a landline. Everything important had to be sent over the unreliable monster including your timesheet. Sent it wrong? No money for you.

Endless paper

Where do arriving faxes go? Your in-tray. And once you’ve laboriously entered their data? Your out-tray. What about the ones that are a bit hard? Someone else’s desk. Where does this leave your working environment? As choked with paper as the scene in Harry Potter where a million letters come down the chimney.

Cubicle servitude

Hot desking is the modern hell, but being fenced in with furry corkboards was a more taunting torture. No amount of faded family photographs pinned to these barriers could replace the longing for the world outside or stop hours dreaming of the scent of grass, the feel of sunshine, the memory of any colour other than grey.

Tippex was real

Amending a form? There’s no delete in this world. Instead, open yourself up to a lifetime of substance abuse by cracking open the potent biohazard called Tipp-ex. Nearly the worst of all the white liquids, it fixed imperfectly, took too long to dry and made it look like a pigeon had shat on your suit. But combined with a photocopier made forgery easy.

No personal phone use

Not your mobile phone, they didn’t exist. The phone that sat on your desk all day, that you spent all day making calls from, was as closely monitored for personal calls as your internet is today. Make one quick call to your bank and you’d be given a verbal warning and made to pay back 45p.

Territorial stationery wars

In the bygone land of analogue, every paperclip was precious. Feeling emotionally attached to a specific stapler was normal, as was the need to label your own personal hole punch and stroke it lovingly. Until one morning you came back and it was all gone, raided and scattered across a floor’s worth of desks and you never trusted again.

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Fans worried England might be quite good

FANS of England have admitted real concern that the team they are supporting may actually be decent. 

Following Saturday’s game, in which Switzerland were dispatched with minimal fuss and goals, critics of Southgate have accused his team of being much better than he led us to believe.

Nathan Muir of Hitchen said: “Come on. We’ve shipped four goals all tournament. Their shocking baseline competence is plain to see.

“They’ve never settled on a formation, players are in and out, Kane’s palpably too tired but, slapping their fans in the face, they’re in the semis with a minimum of fuss. In a major international tournament. Some of them for the third time.

“I can’t be feeling hope at my time of life. The Labour win’s already got me looking up to the sky, thinking life might not be so bad after all. What if optimism spreads throughout all England? What of our national character?”

Nicola Hollis of Braintree said: “I’ve been supporting England since Graham Taylor. If we reach the final I shall stick a flare up my arse but in a sad, resigned, empty way.”

Southgate said: “I understand the fans’ worry. I’m considering letting Declan Rice take corners for no other reason that he’s good at them.”