O! Newsletter #105


Administrative Phobia

Imagine for a second a client entering your store to buy a handbag, a pair of shoes, a jewelry piece, or a specific service, but asking you first, and 3 times in a row, using various ways to phrase his or her request, to re-state your first name, surname, date and place of birth, then, in a reverse format, only your year of birth, then your month of birth, your tennis ranking, and finally requesting a document only delivered by a sworn entity certifying that you do recycle the cap of your plastic bottles within your company. ‘Beware’, says the client, ‘that this last document shall be printed on a headed paper, stamped and signed, then sent only through regular postal mail… and I will unfortunately only be able to buy such a pair of shoes after all these pieces will have been registered’. Well it is exactly what happens to matériO every day, summoned to answer absurd requests from several accounting services, in an pseudo-reassuring escalation of redundant documents. Have you ever noticed how the Company Registration, the Commercial Registration, the EU VAT numbers look alike? Aren’t they variations of the same company identity number anyway? Even so, it is not so rare that on an ill-formated Excel form we are requested to give all of them, one after the other, box after box. 
You, dear members, like us - modest however without-comparison-global-strange-materials-library - are the victims of the demands without foundations some accounting departments, under the cover of rationalization and childish procedural therapy, are imposing on us. Worse thing is that once this long and fastidious task is done, we are unfortunately not done with our efforts as, out of concern for optimization, said accounting services may be reorganized during the year, the same requests therefore being made again next year, with a different form, a different invoicing address, and still the same compulsory delivery of the sacrosanct less-than-3-months-company-registration-certificate-excerpt. 
Admittedly, matériO could make it simple and comply, answering as a good student each of those requests, periodically downloading its less-than-3-months-company-registration-certificate-excerpt in order to check all the boxes, without questioning further… But we are alerted by a dull tiredness Sisyphus style, and above all an inexpressible feeling of lobotomization. Wouldn’t it be dangerous to fulfill those ‘obligations’ without preliminary reflection? Is it healthy or judicious to blindly answer to the accounting services diktats without questioning two seconds the legitimacy of these requests?
matériO just wonders if it should adopt again a slightly immature Don Quixote posture, as it seems salutary to us to not answer such useless administrative injunctions, otherwise we will all crumble under tons of abstruse constraints without even noticing it, just by sliding and successively compromising. We will not go as to compare such requests to the Milgram experience and its enlightening teachings on fascism… We do not wish to be like the Saint-Exupéry's lamplighter, who repeats as a mantra ‘instructions, those are the instructions’, in a mission devoid of sense. Accounting services are at the service of the driving forces of a company, not the contrary. Besides, you subscribe to matériO to discover thousands of specific materials, to be able to touch them and use them in your projects. Our job should therefore be fully concentrated on such a research, in order to enrich our database, increase the number of samples in our showroom, make animated demonstrative GIF to understand what we index, organize rich, varied, inspiring frühstücks… Any distraction, any useless on-the-side activities are to be banned, or at least are to be limited as they all do us disservice.
However, as this slightly psychorigid matériO position could potentially, for some of you, generate frictions, or even some blockages during the subscription or re-subscription process to our service, we are requiring your assent before starting this arm-wrestling with the ayatollahs of the forms… to simply remind us all that there is a life outside the less-than-3-months-company-registration-certificate-excerpt and that said life is short…