Mad Fax

I absolutely love my fax machine. How I could have lived without one for so many years is incomprehensible. It has got to be one of the greatest little items to come along in a while. But it absolutely infuriates me when people who have one, have no idea what it is or how to use it.

My biggest hate is someone who lists a dedicated fax number and when you call that number someone says, “Hello!”. This is usually followed by “What?” and then by “Oh, ok just a minute!”

Another great one that is beyond me is someone who has a dedicated fax line and it rings 10 times before the fax answers. What’s going on here? Is the fax using the bathroom and can’t answer immediately?

How about this one. The fax rings, and you get a taped message saying, “The number you have reached is a fax number. If you wish to send a fax, please do so now. Otherwise please check the number and dial again.” Why would I want to send a fax to a number that wasn’t a fax number? So why do I need to be told it is a fax number when I know it is because it says so in the information, I have from the person who faxed me.

My Own Experiences

I received a fax once from a doctor with a question so I replied immediately to the fax number listed. A receptionist answered and was rather flustered at someone saying they were trying to send a fax. After a moment of thought she replied that there was a fax machine in the basement and if I could hold, she would turn it on. Ah yes, the things that make us slam phones down!

The answer/fax/telephone machines are nice but how much more can a dedicated fax line cost, especially if you are in business? I called one of these things once and got a recorded message, which after 2 minutes of advertising, told me I could send a fax now, so I tried to send the fax. The machine at the other end must have been in its microwave oven mode and refused to accept the fax. I called back and left a not so pleasant, recorded message. Not long after I got a call from that business that said they were sorry and send the fax now. So, I did. It still didn’t work. I called back and got someone live this time who said call back again and they would switch the machine to auto/fax only. So, I called again and now got the recorded message only. After far too many calls I finally got my fax through. And this was a high-tech computer company! No dedicated fax line? Come on!

Perhaps this is one of the best ones to date. I received a fax asking a short question so I replied. The phone rang about 4 times and a female answered. The conversation went like this:

She – Hello?
Me – I am trying to send a fax.
She – Sorry, what?
Me – I am trying to send a fax.
She- Oh uh – pause – can you wait a minute?
Me- I would rather not. I am trying to send a fax. She – Just one minute. Wait. (Now I hear some muffled conversation in the background and a male answers continuing the conversation by starting with “Hello.”)
Me – I am trying to send a fax.
He -Uh, oh. Ok, uh can you wait a minute?
Me – No. I am trying to send a fax.
He – Uh ok. What is it about?
Me- You sent me a fax and now I am trying to answer it.
He – Uh, oh yeah. I wanted to ask you about…

That about did it for me and I simply gave my short answer verbally and hung up.

Sending Faxes From A Computer

I also send faxes from my computer. This makes for some interesting one-sided conversations when someone answers the fax number with that all too familiar and very irritating “Hello?” All I can do is stare at the computer screen hoping the beeping noises will jog the memory of the person at the other end into hitting the start/copy button on their fax.

There are those who have only a fax card in their computer. I have sent many faxes to these only to be told later that they didn’t receive my fax. In telling them that I had tried for 2 days, I hear the reason is that they have to turn their computer on to receive so can I send between 7pm and 8 pm only when they usally have their machine on? Considering they live in a time zone 4 hours different than mine, NO!!!! If your going to use a fax and want to answer then have one working all the time.

Nothing, though, beats the time I got a fax with a dedicated fax number listed in bold letters right on top and I immediately sent back the reply. Someone answered with “Hello?” again. I said I am trying to send a fax. She said call right back. I did and she answered the phone. I said I am trying to send a fax. She said OK, call right back. (This is all true!) I did and she answered the phone. I said, “could you please push you ‘start/copy’ button”? She said, “No”, because she was not trying to send a fax. I said again that I was and please push the button. She said she couldn’t because she was not trying to send a fax. I said, “listen, you sent me fax and now I am trying to reply, please just push the start/copy button”. She said she was not trying to send a fax so why should she. I was in my back office with the door closed and my employees could hear me scream down the receiver, “push the freaking start/copy button now”!!!!! She did and the fax went through.

If you have had some experiences with faxes and would like to tell me, just call on my fax. Please allow time for me to unplug my telephone line, plug it into the fax machine, plug the fax machine into the wall and then turn it on. One other thing, let me put some paper in it first. Make sure you use my dedicated fax line number!!!!

Bruce Bowker

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