i don’t mind doing paperwork. i’m a list-maker, so that’s a form of paperwork. i take the minutes at our meetings, and i enjoy it. i taught English for 3 years, which meant a ton of student papers to grade, record, comment on, and keep track of. teaching in general requires much paper-schuffling and paper-trailing. you call a student’s house about a discipline problem: record it. you attend a curriculum meeting: sign in and log your hours. if you write a multiple choice test, you should make at least 60 copies, file the master copy, and run a few extra copies, just in case. teaching involved too much paperwork, even for me.

at my current job,there is much paperwork. a great example is our primo Bicycle Maintenance Agreement Form (a fancy way of saying “repair form”). this baby has four copies,corresponding stickers, numbered tags, a diagnostic checklist, and lots of room for making notes. it is a marvel to behold. or it is a major pain-in-the-ass, depending on your take. as long as you know the procedure and what to do with those four copies, stickers, tags, etc, you are golden. it saves us time in the long run. if you don’t know the process, at least you can ask, right? yes you can, and should! at the REI bike shop we manage the paper load pretty well. bikes are fun, but there are inherent safety issues, and there are forms to file that deal with those issues :)

so, mike asked a good question when we were working last night…should we make a list of our wheels and inventory them? ken said no. i said, not necessary as long as the wheels are easy to get to and check. but, maybe we should write down what we have. i certainly don’t know all the wheels or even how many. necessary? unnecessary? safety concern? efficiency issue? to create paperwork? or not? good questions–ones that we probably haven’t completely answered yet.


  1. On one hand, it makes sense to just treat the parts inventory like a kitchen pantry. We run out of shift cables, make a note of it and pick up some shift cables (that reminds me, we need some shift cables).

    If we gain official non-profit status, though, we may have to keep track of stuff, particularly if we’re getting a lot of valuable parts donated or at cost. The IRS will probably want to make sure we’re not just using the group as a means of funneling lots of cherry stuff into our own garages. But I’m not 100% sure how that all works.

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