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Trash

After cleaning out his office files one Monday afternoon, a federal employee was faced with mountains of old documents and reports. He stacked them on top of his wastebasket with a sign reading: “Rubbish.” The next day, the papers were still there, so he added the words: “Please remove.” On Wednesday, nothing had changed, and therefore a more explicit notice was used. “This is rubbish,” it said. “I do not want it. Please remove.” Thursday revealed the need for still stronger words: “This is RUBBISH, REFUSE, GARBAGE. Get it out of here!” This sign had been heatedly scrawled with a red felt-tipped marker. On Friday, the papers were still not removed. However, a small note in pencil had been written beneath Thursday’s sign.

It read: “Cannot remove unless marked ‘Trash.’“

Feb, 1989, Reader’s Digest