Just the Fax, Ma’am

This Dilbert strip (remember him?) reminded me of a bothersome trend I’ve been seeing at my day job. Seriously, is there any excuse for intentionally wanting to use a fax machine to do anything these days?

The first occasion was for a restaurant looking to spur sales online by creating a website to receive orders. What a great idea… until the owner asked if we could have the state-of-the-art website direct the orders to a fax instead of to email. Apparently the computer is in a dungeon-like back office room and he didn’t want to have to go to the back to check for orders. My question was, why don’t you bring the computer up front to where your business is going on? Turn it on, load up Firefox, link your email to an extension with an alarm and POOF! Instant computerized order alerts.

This was followed soon after by a supply company that wanted to assess the costs of adding products for them. They needed the fax number so that they could send us sixty-three pages of catalog entries… wasting ink, paper, money (if it isn’t their fax machine) and who knows how much time when we tell them how many thousands of dollars it’s gonna cost. Why thousands? Because they will then want us to retype those catalog entries into the computer individually.

To put this in perspective, imagine someone insisting that you must fill a gasoline tanker truck by dipping individual cupfuls of fuel from a barrel with a shot glass and pouring it in rather than use a pump hose. The only consolation? Charging $100 an hour to do it for them.

I may be able to retire if I ever finish.

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