(my pet peeves are both worryingly numerous and unusually specific)
Staples can go to Hell. I understand that their paper-securing properties are valuable in our culture of extreme tree-slashing to print pie charts on, but there are so many other ways we could do this, that aren’t as fiddly, obstructive or downright dangerous as stapling.
The fiddlyness (another great nonword) of staples really annoys me, especially when they are designed to make our lives more convenient, by theoretically collecting and keeping our important papers together for us. In reality, we are encouraged to staple everything we can because it’s so easy, so we end up stapling stuff that really shouldn’t be stapled; and then the nail-breaking metal-twisting Olympics must take place, to rectify our mistake.
Refilling staplers can also be a pain, as it involves the placement of rows of tiny bits of metal into a tray that is just wide enough to fit them in; it’s the stationery equivalent of Luke Skywalker’s shot to destroy the Death Star in the first Star Wars film. The difference is, however, that we do not have the force.
Hole-punching and treasury-tagging papers would be one way to fix sheets of paper together, that have all the corner-attaching prowess and relative smallness of staples, with none of the fiddly metal bits. I accept that two pieces of kit (the tag and the hole-punch) are required here, as opposed to the singular necessity of the stapler, but I still feel that the extra ease is worth the extra resources.
Staples are also obstructive, in that they force you to turn a sheet of paper over form the corner. This means you can’t flip from one page to another, without either a table to spread your sheets out over, or doing the weird corner-folding thing you do to get one sheet behind another, which is a great inconvenience for me.
This also means you can’t put a stack of stapled sheets (tongue-twister?) into a ring-bound folder; you can’t turn the pages over, despite them being hole-punched and placed through the rings, because they’re anchored in the corner. Furthermore, you’re encouraged to put a stapled, collective stack of papers into a plastic wallet in a folder, because they’re all joined together, so it’s easy to slot them in there. This is a tragic mistake, as you’ll inevitably end up treating the pack as one page, as that’s all you can see in the front of the wallet, and miss out on the crucial information held behind it. This is why I got an A, not an A*, at GCSE Geography – stapling!
The solution to this qualm is less obvious than the first, as there’s not one bit of kit that can replace staples in attaching paper that won’t suffer the same problem. The only conceivable solution would be to hole-punch the papers and put them in a folder. It doesn’t have to be a large folder or even a ring-bound one; these thin project folders will do the job of holding your papers together, with all of the thinness and none of the obstructiveness of staples.
My final annoyance with staples is that they’re seriously dangerous (IGN knows the score): idiots can staple their fingers to things, sadists can staple other peoples’ fingers to things, and my friends can shoot staples across our form room with the velocity of a nail gun and the accuracy of a bat playing Halo.
They’re not the most dangerous thing in existence, by any means (Football Manager takes that one by a long way), but they are an unnecessary danger for what they are: they offer a ‘minor’ convenience, and so should offer a ‘minor’ or ‘negligible’ threat; I feel that this threat level approaches the ‘just noticeable’, which I would rank higher than ‘minor’.
Either treasury tags or project folders could be used to remove this danger; the former consists of green fluffy felt, and nothing that could be described as ‘fluffy’ could ever be dangerous, which is why the Germans have no word for it, and the latter is made of two pieces of plastic. How threatening.
I hope I’ve shown you the idiocy of staples; they pose a threat to all of us, with their almost undetectable ways of preventing us from reaching information, and subtle threats. Now that I have exposed these horrific instruments for what they are, I hope you will all do the right thing and burn any staples, staplers or staple guns you come across. It’s for the greater good, my friends.