A company that frequently orders Sheldon books always places their order by fax machine.
For you youngins out there, that’s a “fascimilie” machine. It’s a telephone-based reproduction system that was invented in, oh, 1924, and really picked up in popularity in, oh, I don’t know, THE 198O’S.
Anyway, I thought I’d share this phone conversation I had with their ordering department, regarding their use of the fax:
ME: Hi. I currently get your book orders by fax, and was wondering if there was any way to migrate that process to e-mail?
THE COMPANY: Ooo…I’m sorry, sir. We can only do it by fax.
ME: You don’t have e-mail?
THE COMPANY: No, no…I do. We all do. But we can’t physically send out this document by e-mail.
ME: Why? Are the documents produced on a typewriter?
THE COMPANY: I don’t follow.
ME: Well, the document is produced on a computer, yes?
THE COMPANY: Yes.
ME: Well, e-mail is also handled by a computer. You can just attach the document. Most e-mail systems from the last decade or two can do it.
THE COMPANY: Ooo…I really wish we could, but…um…you know…
THE COMPANY: We’re stuck in 1985, and don’t really like to do business in your magical future-world of electronic wizard powers.
OK, that last line didn’t happen, but, c’mon, really? A fax machine? That’s the best we can do? Are we doing business in Uzbekistan?