I really, really, really hate fax machines.
Seriously, why is anyone still using them now that we have scanners and email? I’m sure they came in very useful in that brief period between their invention and the internet becoming mainstream, but they’re vastly inferior to email in almost every way. And yet I’ve dealt with two companies and one individual this month who insisted on conducting our business by fax.
Here’s why I hate fax machines:
Sending faxes sucks
Every machine in our building is different – some require a 9 for an outside line, others don’t. Some require a 1 before even a local number, others don’t. Some accept the original face down, others, face up: some, right way up, others, upside down.
Even assuming that you’ve got the original in the right orientation, and dialled the right combination of numbers, successful transmission is not guaranteed. Sometimes you hit a dual-use fax/phone line, and the person picks up and says hello – so you have to try again. Sometimes you lose the connection halfway through transmission. The machine in our office doesn’t automatically print reports or otherwise indicate its status, so you have to manually go into the various menus to get it to print out a report telling you if your document transmitted or not.
Even when the document sends properly, how can you be sure the right person received it? I don’t know a single person who has their own machine; even friends who have their own business or are otherwise self-employed don’t have a fax machine. So the document goes to the shared office machine, whether it’s work-related or not, where it might get lost, or picked up by the wrong person (hello, security risk?)
Receiving faxes sucks
On the frequent occasions that our office machine has been busily printing spam, it runs out of paper. Since it’s hidden away in the corner and NO-ONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND USES A FAX MACHINE ANY MORE, it can take hours or even days for someone to notice and add fresh paper. And then there’s the risk that someone else will pick up your item by accident, or spot something private (two of my recent faxing escapades were work-related, the other was/is private* – but I don’t have my own fax machine, so the shared office machine it is).
That fax noise really, really sucks
Could they not have come up with a better noise than that (you know the one I mean) to indicate a successful connection?
Please, please, please, let me just scan the damn thing and email it to you. That way I know it’s going to the right person. And please, please, please, if you must fax personal items to me, call and let me know so I can a) put paper in the machine and b) ensure that my PRIVATE correspondence is seen only by me.
A plague of fax noise and invaded privacy upon those who insist on using fax machines!
And let’s not even get started on the fact that I had to MAIL a CHEQUE to one of these people! Forget PayPal, he/she doesn’t even take credit cards!!!
*nothing, like, medical, embarrassing, or career-threatening. But something personal enough that I don’t want my office mates to see it. Inevitably, one of them did, and started to ask questions…