I Can't Understand How Fax Machines Are Still Apart Of Office Life
This isn’t some manifesto about how I’m going to destroy my pesky fax machine because it’s always broken. My name isn't Dilbert and I don't live a middling life as an engineer at a micromanaged office. It’s also not the mid-90s, despite what my clothing choices may tell you. I'm not mad at fax machines. I'm just confused.
I once clerked at a law firm for a few months, and when I wasn’t sitting in an asbestos-filled broom closet sifting through dusty boxes for old legal documents, I was sending faxes to other offices.
I’ve had a lot of office jobs over the years, and the one constant (outside of shitty complimentary coffee) was that each and every one of them had a fax machine. Fax numbers are still listed on most people’s business cards. In 2018! That's insane.
In a weird way I admire the fax machine and its staying power in a world that is ever-changing. Through years of technological innovation, the fax machine has somehow, someway remained inside offices everywhere for no other reason than the simple fact that it would be too difficult to remove.
I can already hear the cries from the peanut gallery - “But...but...but I still use a fax machine!” And that very well may be true, but for a majority of Americans I have to think that they see no reason for having a fax machine in this day and age. There simply cannot be people who are using one of those things day in and day out unless they're working for a law firm in some capacity.
I remember my first day at that aforementioned law firm. That place fucking sucked and so did the people. Lawyers (most of them, not all of them) are just awful people. They're cynical, rude, unkempt, and strange. I talked myself out of law school in the first two hours of being there.
Anyways, I stood there sweating in a cheap suit fresh off of the rack from Jos. A. and my boss asked me to fax something like 20 pages of legalese to a client in Fairfax.
In classic millennial form, I took the real, physical paper from him and strolled down the hall to the fax machine, confident that I would be able to complete the task without asking for help despite the fact that the only time I had actually seen one of these machines in use was in movies or television. Ten minutes and countless pressed buttons later, I conceded defeat and asked the secretary in her mid-60s at the front desk if she could help me send a fax. Everything about the fax machine just screams 90s. They're big, they're gray, and they're loud.
I think if you’re over 40, fax machines are probably something you had to learn how to use in a computer class during high school but I really don’t know. They’re not overly complicated, but if you don’t how to dial out to the number you’re sending to you’re not going to be able to use one. I think the main reason most offices have fax still is because they’re quite literally too hard to remove from an office.
They also more than likely cost a couple grand back in the mid-90s when faxing was at the forefront of technology and higher ups who are older than fucking dirt would see it as a waste to throw away. But fax machines can’t just be staying in businesses because of law firms, can they? I know lawyers are important and they do important work, but that's one profession.
Outside of those miserable fucks, why are people still listing their fax numbers on their business cards? That’s weird, no? Am I on the wrong side of this argument or did fax machines just slip through the cracks when we started innovating and moving away from CD-ROM and computer towers?
There is no logical reason for fax machines outside of the fact that we’re just appealing to the older, prone-to-senility crowd. I'm not mad, I'm just confused. It simply doesn't seem like a piece of technology that we need anymore but maybe I'm missing something.