Whatever happened to the paperless society we were promised? I’ve signed up for e-statements and online billing from virtually every institution we deal with, and still the printed material keeps coming.
I just spent two hours filing away all sorts of paperwork that accumulated over the last few months. Receipts, statements, EOB insurance forms, tax stuff, and on and on. I had tossed it into a huge pile atop one of the cabinets in my office until it became a game of Jenga each time I added a new one, so it was time to deal with it before gravity overruled me.
Unfortunately, the inside of the file cabinet was pretty full, which meant I had to clean out the old files before stuffing the new ones in there. Fortunately, I discovered a lot of paperwork that I didn’t need to keep any longer, which meant I could haul out my favorite piece of office equipment — The Shredder.
We bought the thing over a decade ago and use it, ostensibly, to avoid the risk of identity theft. My wife and I never fell for the scares that made other people buy radon detectors or CO2 alert beacons, and I know it’s unlikely that anyone is going to go through my trash to dig up an account number or some other information off a statement I’ve discarded, but safeguarding our personal security seemed like it was worth a $79 investment.
Besides, The Shredder is just plain fun to use. Something about it cranks my Y-chromosomes into high gear, so I happily sit there for 10 or 15 minutes and feed sheets of paper into this thing, thrilled to hear its little blades tearing everything to bits. Even when it jams, the mechanism is so simple that I can clear it and get it munching away again quickly. Today, once I’d gone through everything I’d planned on shredding, I had to stop myself from looking around for more material to feed the beast.
Does it help protect us from identity theft? I don’t know. Somewhere, there’s probably someone with software that can scan all the shredded paper and reassemble the information via some internal algorithm (I’m sure I saw that in a movie once). So we make it even harder for the potential criminal. We use the shredded paper to line the cage of my daughter’s guinea pig, so it eventually gets soaked with the pure ammonia the animal excretes as a waste by-product.
It may not be as secure as LifeLock, but it sure smells worse.