Homo photocopius

Specially bred for the job?

A typical feature of any school is the Reprographics Office. Here in China, it means a place where forests, which have been turned into the thinnest, meanest, most miserable paper on Earth, are puked out of photocopiers on a daily basis. These offices are manned by the same species of human, homo photocopius. You make your instructions clear and simple. You show these creatures the pages you want copied. You even write it in Chinese for them. And can they get it right?


I should’ve checked the photocopies of the Progress Test yesterday. I knew that we’d been given the first page of the speaking, but thought everything else was on a single sheet. I got into the office this morning to find that we didn’t have the second page of the listening. For want of a freely available photocopier at school that I can use without going through official channels, I had to go to one of the print shops up the road and get enough copies done.

I then found that Etienne and Quincy were giving the same test after to Class 5 and needed to get another 45 done at short notice. And we need another 60 or so this afternoon.

I know some of you are probably saying to yourselves that I’m disorganised, but my instructions to Mr Photocopy were quite clear. There was both pointing at the pages, and writing in Chinese. But you pretty much have to stand over the person in charge to make sure that they do what you want and not what you don’t. I’m sure Mr Photocopy now hates the foreign teachers because Linda has probably conveyed to him that he made an error. (Actually, his excuse will be that the foreigner made the error, an accusation which seriously irks me every time I hear it; more so this time because I know that the instruction I gave him were accurate.)

2 thoughts on “Homo photocopius”

  1.  This problem sounds very much like the one I had today with State Insurance who sent a letter saying I had not paid the annual premium on the car insurance last month. We checked the original account which recorded payment of 7 Aug and cheque stub which recorded the same date and number of the cheque and amount and my better half remembered posting it. I called the 0800 number and got an inscrutable person who was not born or educated in NZ (par for the course with many Auckland based companies) whose "business speak" alluded that we were guilty before proved innocent – it was never State Insurance’s fault that they might have lost the cheque – the customer is always wrong and they are always right. The onus is put squarely back on the client despite having been with them for 51 years (I took out my 1st policy in 1956). Oh, yes they will send another account, and my cover is continued in the interim, but I have to go to the bank and cancel the cheque then write another and send it or go to some agent to pay as State no longer has a local office here in Bishopdale! So the native kiwi is wrong and the inscrutable immigrant is right I and must do all the work to correct the matter. "State Insurance" is a misnomer anyway as it was long ago sold off by some misguided politician into foreign ownership, just as inscrutable as the person on the phone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s