Thursday, 4 February 2016

Piles of "important" paper everywhere. A slightly grumpy rant for fun.

Is it just me who is astounded by how many bits of paper a householder can accumulate even in this age of paperless, contactless everything?

I can order and pay for a pizza from my phone without even having to reach for my purse. I can switch tariffs, send meter readings and track my energy usage all online. I can even tax my car without having to hunt for the MOT certificate thanks to Big Brother centralised computer records.

Yet still mounds of paper and envelopes are scattered around my house in files, bags, drawers, on shelves and of course stored in the holding zone of the top of the microwave ready to be sorted.


Lots of them are in brown envelopes which obviously mean they must be important. Some of them actually have the word "important" printed on them so I have to keep those forever.

I'm a bit terrified of throwing things away you see which doesn't help my dilemma. I have bank statements going back to the days when I was presented with a free piggy bank for saving my pocket money. I have wage slips from jobs in companies which have either closed down or merged with other companies. I have ancient receipts, bills and statements going back decades.

I have in my head this vague idea you have to keep such things for 7 years. Something to do with tax records? Not that it would help if we were audited because it would take me 7 years to sort it all out.

This post was prompted after I received a paper form from school which I thought was slightly ironic as it was checking about my children using IT responsibly.  As always I had to sign and return it. The children also have to sign it - I think it's standard practice. But I did chuckle as I searched for a working pen and tried to find a clean and dry patch on the kitchen table to lay the form down to sign - it would have been much quicker to electronically sign an email.

At my daughter's secondary school I am constantly irritated by the fact that I can pay for a trip online but still have to return a paper form to say I give my permission for her to go on it. Obviously if I am paying for it I am happy for her to go on the trip but "rules is rules" and the paper bit has to go back or I forfeit my money.

As an aside at the same school the children have to use electronic finger prints to buy food - I am not allowed to send paper money (or jingly money for that matter.) so they are obviously quite on board with the whole technology thing. It's probably some bureaucrat in the Department of Education who has decided that common sense should not rule and they must demand the paper permission forms.

Not that I carry much cash - I love Paypal, Pingit and other forms of easy payment. If I get cash out for Brownies I tend to spend it three times over before it finally makes it to Brown Owl. I'm trying to persuade her to switch to Paypal payment for subs so I can pay it when I have it or remember it rather than get there once again on Friday night and remember that only moths are in my purse.

*sigh*


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