© 2003 Jamie Zawinski <>

How to be a dumbass, by Jamie Zawinski, age 12:

Yeah, I could go back to the store and spend half an hour fighting with them over it, but I have just now discovered that I would gladly pay the price of the shredder merely to not need to have that fight with someone.

That's the end of my story, such as it is, but it inspired some other folks to send me their own shredder stories, which I will share with you here:

sungo wrote:

Last time i bought a shredder, i got one of those big industrial "body disposal" wood chipper kinda shredders. Yeah, I shredded the receipt too. But i needed to prove that it actually could process large quantities of paper AND staples. So I shredded the manual. With this shredder, I discovered if you held the manual still, the shredder would lift itself off the floor and climb the manual in its hungry attempt to EAT my HAND.

I like shredders a lot. my current job outsources it shredding to make sure it gets done properly. Is it a sign that you work for THE MAN when you can't be trusted to shred sensitive documents by yourself?

jackbrinks wrote:

When I was working for the gub'ment in a former life we had to shred about 100lbs of books a month. Way too much for any office shredder I've ever seen. Onsite there was a small building about the size of a studio apartment that housed only a shredder. The official name was "The Destruction Facility."

The machine was a permanent fixture, bolted to the floor and weighing easily a few thousand pounds. It had a main shredding chamber that was fed by a 10' long conveyor belt like you see in the supermarket. The chamber had a central axle which contained a spindle of 2' long metal... claws? That would get going fast enough that they'd just tear apart anything that came their way and keep churning it around until it was small enough to fit through the filter and pass through the ducts that went up through the ceiling and fed out to a dumpster behind the building.

One person had to hang out by the dumpster as the end product, which was the size of fine dryer lint, came out of the chute and hose it down so that the wind didn't blow it away.

Inside the building you had to wear flightline-quality ear protection. Way too loud to talk in there when the machine was going.

The best part was how much you could feed into the machine. We threw 100+ page soft-bound manuals in there as fast as we could lay them on the conveyor belt without stacking them and the machine never even coughed. You could seriously get rid of bodies ala Fargo with this thing -- or so I'd speculate.

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