Thursday, March 19, 2009

The sights and sounds of fax machine traffic jam

There is an old fax machine in our office suite. It’s reliable, but it slow. It’s stained, but is slow. It’s got character, but it is slow.

Right next to it is a new fax machine. It’s fast. It has gadgets and doodads. And it occasionally throws a hissy fit. But the point is that there are two fax machines right next to each other.

Now, I tell you this to discuss the fact that there is a smattering of attorneys in my office, both seasoned and nubile, that come hell or highwater who will only use the aged fax machine. The new fax frequently is left idle while a line forms to use the old one. I’m not joking. “But I don’t know how to use it!” is a common retort when I sarcastically question the user’s intelligence meekly point out in passing that a functioning fax machine is two steps to the left.

My comments, asides, scoffs and ad hominem attacks have changed nothing as this is a daily snapshot from my office life. Adding to the entertainment is that the old, trusty fax is painfully slow at sending faxes and its faithful array of users is incredibly impatient to make sure that their fax has been sent. They wait. They complain. They wait more. They question those around about what is wrong. Then they storm off back to their office. Only to return 38 seconds later to find that their most important fax ever has yet to fully send.

“Did I get a confirmation page? Did I? Where is the confirmation page???”

Meanwhile, I saunter over to the unused fax machine, I slip in my 50 page such and such, punch in the number, hit send and walk away. This occurs simultaneously with an attorney hitting the stop button on the old fax machine (because obviously, if it has taken this long, something must not be right), redialing and resending their fax that they’ve already waited 10 minutes to go through, and starting this process all over again.

Hey look, my fax went through.