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This Is What Keeps Dilbert in Business

A reader we’ll call J.G., an environmental engineer for a consulting firm, tells us what happened in his office lately:

Our office recently purchased two new copy/printing machines and the powers that be have asked that all the employees start using these copiers for the bulk of their copying/printing needs. They have asked this because apparently it is the cheaper copier to use, as the office had a study done on the price per page on many of the other copiers, and we would be saving roughly 8-13 cents per page (depending on which printer we used). I can see this adding up over time for sure, but the new copier is 2-3 times the distance (60-80 feet as opposed to 20-30 feet) as the normal copier/printer me and many of my co-workers would normally use. Not to mention the bog down that happens on occasion when the copier/printer is being swamped by multiple employees.

I’ll assume (perhaps wrongly) that we’re talking fairly high-end or specialized copying/printing if there’s a potential savings of 8 to 13 cents per page (of course, that number may be wildly inaccurate). In any case:

  1. Do we think the powers that be may need a lesson in opportunity cost?
  2. Do we think the powers that be should consider splurging for more of these new, cheaper machines?
  3. Do we think that J.G. or others may sabotage these new, distant machines?
  4. What would Dilbert do?