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Megan McArdle

Baggage Fees, Office Theft and Cutting Costs

You can imagine lots of ways to cut costs, but many of them will turn out to be more trouble than they are worth.
That's a lot of money.

That's a lot of money.

Photographer: Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

When I was young and unversed in the economic ways of the world, I temped for an office that was in the middle of a cost-cutting drive. One of the ways it decided to cut down on costs was to strictly control access to office products. For example, you were issued a single pen, and to get another one, you had to turn in the previous pen you'd used up.

You can imagine what happened next. Or if you can't, I wrote it up a few years ago: