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the alternative document shredder

Office document shredders are fast and neat, but surprisingly there is a more natural new age friendly organic alternative - GERBILS! Although not as fast, they are more efficient! Here's how it works:

Gerbils are small cute gerboalike rodents which grandma might describe as "rats". They are the size of mice and have cute habits such as standing on their hind legs so as to get a good two inches higher vantage point to view into the distance. They run round on hamster wheels and run through toilet roll middles, and most notably they MASH UP PIECES OF PAPER!

It is this latter point which the rest of this article concentrates on, for obvious reasons. Why these desert-dwelling rats mince up sheets of A4 office paper into tiny bits might seem a mystery, after all, stationery is not common in the average desert. Also, gerbils don't really eat the paper, they just chew it into little bits.

If you have never done this, try it. No, not chewing paper! Getting gerbils to do it! Just slide a piece of documentation into a gerbil cage and the gerbils will look at the paper with their beady little eyes as if xmas has come early, and then enthusiastically start mashing it up, and they won't stop until the job is done. It's an instinct, and they probably wonder why they do it themselves. But what they're doing is turning the paper into gerbil-compatible bedding so they can survive the long cold desert night. Not that this will come, in a gerbil cage in a centrally-heated office or home.

So enthusiastic! Gerbils seem possessed by a work ethic! If everyone in an office worked that fast it would be crazy!

But even with such enthusiasm, gerbils are no match for industrialisation, and it has to be said that a motorised paper-shredder is much faster. But this is where the all-important paranoia comes in. Why do you have an office shredder? Answer: To stop spies from reading your documents! See Rubbish Security and Identity Theft. The problem with normal office document shredders is that they turn the paper into nice neat strips which spies can easily piece together and read all the secrets! In fact, I've heard it's even possible to just stuff the shreddings into a scanner with some special spying software and the computer will piece together the documents together on-screen! See, instant spy-o-matic! In contrast, the output of the gerbils' effort, once the gerbils have been tipped out of bed, consists of tiny impty-gimpty irregular bits of paper with little teethmarks in, which has been all stirred up, slept in by warm furry critters, and also includes bits of hair, food, and rodent poo. This all makes the spying much more difficult, and that's what you have an office document shredder for in the first place! At this rate, spies will be asking their boss for a pay rise!

Having animals working for your security is not a new idea. Gerbils are like undercover guard dogs.


In scientific terms, the gerbil-hour is like the horse power, being a unit which has some respectability yet derived from an animal equivalent. It is possible to calibrate the gerbil-hour by seeing how much bumf a gerbil can mash up in an hour. They usually work in teams, incidentally. To that effect, an experiment can be done where a known quantity of bureaucratic material is fed to a known number of gerbils and then timed with a time-and-motion stopwatch to see how long it takes them to reduce it to gerbil-bedding and go to sleep on it. The result is that one gerbil-hour is slightly more than half a sheet of A4. However, it's a useful concept, as it gives a means of scientific measurement of bureaucratic waffle. Plus, like other pseudo-SI-units, it's possible to extrapolate latin prefixed multiples, the kilo-gerbil-hour and the mega-gerbil-hour etc. This is quite subversive, as it's possible to describe such things as the new EEC Directive or the so-and-so Act of Parliament as being a so-many mega-gerbil hour document. Ie, measuring it in terms of how long it would take a predefined number of gerbils to mash the aforementioned legal document into useful rodent bedding, and the implicit floccinaucinihilipilification thereof.

Visitors via search links, to find out more about this crazy website, see [response]

Business customers looking for a less outrageous office solution should see the Business section and the Office Equipment page.

Also see Guinea Pigs - the alternative lawnmower and the licking of stamps as the alternative franking machine

Special safety note: Not all inks are gerbil-friendly! It was ok in the days of pen and ink, and typewritten sheet, and printed documents. But some glossy magazine paper and ink is not good for critters, and on computer printer ink, questions remain. Perhaps some print supply companies would care to comment and say "All our ink is gerbil-friendly!". (There is a company called Eco Hamster, but are they in the ink business?).