RALEIGH, NC—At approximately 2:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday in the offices of Emery & Lane Advertising at 129 Bronson Avenue, Ron Meyer, 34, announced that he was in need of a rubber band.
Meyer, a market researcher at the ad agency, reportedly informed his colleagues that he needed to keep a 22-inch-by-28-inch piece of white poster board in a rolled-up position, and stated that a rubber band would be the best clasping tool for the job.
"I'd use tape, but sometimes when you take it off it scuffs up the paper," Meyer said.
He followed his brief announcement with a 10-minute search for a single loop of sulfur-vulcanized rubber. Office sources confirmed that Meyer initiated the search by looking through his middle desk drawer and—after failing there—proceeded to question his coworkers as to whether or not they possessed, or had recently seen, a rubber band.
Though Meyer indicated to colleagues that he had no preference as to the rubber band's color or thickness, his standards for the rubber band's length were much more stringent. According to fellow market researcher Geoff Freedman, 32, Meyer was offered a "smaller than normal"-sized rubber band by coworker Margaret Cliere, who was evidenty unaware of the circumference and diameter of the rolled-up poster board. Meyer, Freedman said, rejected the rubber band, saying it would not be able to withstand the stretching necessary to fit around the previously mentioned tube of paper.
Meyer then conducted a sweep of the office's supply closet, starting with a small, plastic container labeled "rubber bands," before checking the binder-clasp and paper-clip compartments "just in case."
The search was unsuccessful.
The rubber band was patented in England by British businessman and inventor Stephen Perry in 1845. It is also referred to as a gum band, lackey band, or elastic band. According to production reports from the United States Rubber Company, some 2.3 billion of the commonly used fastening tools are produced each month, making Meyer's inability to locate one all the more distressing.
"I can't believe nobody has a rubber band," Meyer said.
According to office manager Jessica Terry, 28, the rubber-band shortage was likely the result of a company-wide mailing that went out on Monday, in which multiple rubber bands were employed. Following the use of her own last personal rubber bands and two from a coffee mug at reception, Terry placed an order for more rubber bands from the advertising company's main office-supply provider, Staples. The shipment is expected to arrive Friday, however—two full days after Meyer's initial request.
"There's got to be a rubber band around here somewhere," said Meyer, who was seen by several eyewitnesses keeping his poster board rolled up using only his bare hands. "I could have sworn someone at this office had one of those big balls of rubber bands, but maybe I saw that somewhere else."
This isn't the first time Meyer has needed a rubber band. In 2005, Meyer used the pliable binding device to hold together a group of same-inked pens. Also, during the second semester of his freshman year at Wake Forest University, Meyer was able to bind a pack of cards with a large rubber elastic by wrapping the band around twice to give it the necessary tautness. And records indicate that on Mar. 15, 1984, a 10-year-old Meyer learned how to tie a rubber band around his gun-shaped hand and shoot it at his younger sister, Audrey Meyer, 7.
In all three instances, Meyer claimed he was able to locate the rubber bands with ease.
Said Meyer: "I usually just find them in a drawer."
At press time, Meyer stated that he just remembered coworker Jaime Spanish, 37, sometimes wears a hair tie.