Monday, September 20, 2010

The Fax Machine

I had to send a fax last week. It should have been a two-minute process, but instead it took me 20 minutes. I hate fax machines. I don't know how to use them, and I don't want to know how to use them. I really wish that they would just go away. But they won't. They refuse to.

Sure, they were neat and new in the '80s. (Aside: just watch someone will post a "Well, actually, they were invented in the 1960s, so neener neener, get your facts straight, blah blah blah." comment. Well, S.U.C.K. I.T.) But now? Now they're just annoying. Here are some of my fax pet peeves:

1. Orientation.
I never know if I'm supposed to put the document in face-up or face-down. No matter what, I'll always screw it up.

2. Dialing
This should be simple, but some fax machines are set up so that you have to dial 9 to get out. Some are not. Some require you to dial 8 to dial a long-distance number. Some do not. On the odd occasion, the dialing instructions are posted on the machine so that I actually know what to do, but then I screw up the number and don't know how to clear the number from the selection. Arrrrrrrgh!!!

3. Confirmation
The fax machine at my workplace doesn't print a confirmation page. My manager said that there's a way to do so, but I think you need a PhD to figure out how to do that. So all I can take comfort in is that if it makes that crackling modem-y sound, I'm about 80% sure that it went through. Still even when a confirmation page is printed, I'm still not confident that it actually went through. So I make sure that the recipient confirms that he/she actually got my fax.

4. Cover Page
If I'm sending a fax over to someone I don't know (e.g. insurance agent), then I have to include a fax cover page. I never know how to set these things up. I usually just print the one out from one of the Microsoft Word templates. But the template doesn't come pre-loaded in Word at work, so I have to hunt around the Microsoft site for the template. (Aside: I have no idea as to why I keep having to re-download that template to MS Word.) As I fill out the template, I never know if I'm filling it out right. I pray (in the atheist figurative sense) that I haven't committed some fax faux-pas by filling out the fax cover sheet incorrectly. I often picture the fax recipient laughing at my fax, because I ended up doing something wrong.

Fax machine, oh fax machine, you are, unfortunately, a necessary E.V.I.L. I hate you with all my heart, and I wish you'd go away, but what did I do a couple of years ago? I bought an all-in-one printer with a fax. Because you know what? I still fax things on occasion, and I have found out that hard way that when you can't fax something from your workplace, it's nice to have to send those pesky faxes from home on a weekend, rather than have to hunt around for one at Kinko's or Business Depot on a weekend. Nice, but sucky at the same time.

1 comment:

Mr. Shiny and New said...

Yeah, fax machines. You'd think that by now people would be ok with scanners and email.

As for your all-in-one scanner/fax/printer... aw, that's so cute! I bet you can even use it as a modem!