The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Only a Poor Worker Blames His Tools (Unless the Tool is a Fax Machine, and then the Complaint is Valid)

Time Spent Fixing My Fax Machine: 4 hours

Drinks I Needed to Get Through the Process: 2 (Doubles)

Discovery That Violence Really IS The Answer: Priceless

I need to start this post with my ultimate complaint: THE FAX MACHINE IS STUPID AND SHOULD BE BANNED FROM PRODUCTION. I used all-caps there just now to infer a passionate stance about this statement. If I was technologically adept enough to make it flash on the screen the color of blood accompanied by a siren noise, I would. If I was elected President of the United States, my first act from the oval office would be to make it a punishable by waterboarding offense to send a fax. If I met the inventor of the fax machine in a dark alley late at night only one of us would make it out. Are you getting how I feel about it yet? Are you picking up what I’m putting down here?

I’m sure when it was first invented, 3 million or so years ago, the fax machine was a cutting edge piece of technology that cut way down on the time it took to deliver documents to people. Now, however, we all have scanners and Adobe Acrobat and email and the like. Faxes are buggy, difficult to confirm, cross phone lines, print out all scraggly and faded, etc. There’s just no reason at all to use them, and yet, there are those who refuse to join us all here in the 21st century, so we ALL have to keep one around. If they were all just outlawed we would all be in much better shape. Maybe if we renamed them ‘Idiot Machines’ the stigma would be so great people would be too embarrassed to use them and they would die out. “I’m going to idiot that to you right now… or maybe I’ll just email it. That might be better.”

Last Tuesday morning, the idiot machine in my home office started flashing ‘Memory Full’. This didn’t make huge amounts of sense to me because it shouldn’t have anything in memory. I have my idiot machine set to scan all of my faxes and email them directly to me. See, in theory, my idiot machine is of the smarter variety. It’s like an idiot translator. It speaks both idiot and email fluently and can make the two work together. But that, of course, assumes that it isn’t being bizarre and buggy, as it was last week. And regardless of how smart it is usually, as of Tuesday, it was doing absolutely nothing; not receiving faxes and not sending them.

For two days I ignored this issue. I don’t get faxes often, and when I had one coming in Wednesday, I gave the sender my work office fax number, and the admin ladies at the office dropped the incoming fax on the scanner and emailed it directly over to me. On Thursday, however, I had to send a 47 page packet of short sale documents to a lender. There was no getting around it; I was going to have to fix the issue.

Attempt 1: Reading the manual.

A headache from manual speak that never actually addresses the ‘Memory Full’ issue.

Attempt 2:
Call customer service.

Result: 35 minutes lost in telephone transfer-land only to get a representative who tells me the only way to fix it is to replace the empty ink cartridge (empty because I never print from the fax machine, I only send to email) and print everything in memory. AKA: spend $30 to buy a new ink cartridge I have no use for, waste $5 in paper and kill 1 medium sized tree (and probably one rare fax-ink-producing squid). Refuse out of love of trees and squid (and money).

Attempt 3: Consider throwing away the fax machine and driving the 37 miles to my work office just to fax the packet.

Realization this will take 2 hours round trip and I will just have to do it again in two days.

Attempt 4: Google ‘Erase full memory of UX-B800SE’ in an attempt to figure out how to do it myself without printing.

Result: Discovery of a help forum that says I should remove the screws in the housing that covers the battery for the memory and remove the battery allowing the machine to reset.

Attempt 4.5: Find a screw driver that fits the screws (HUGE accomplishment in as far as my handyman skilz go). Remove 14 screws that are visible to me on the idiot machine.

Result: Housing stays firmly together. Nothing that looks like a battery appears. Shaking it a little bit doesn’t help. After plugging idiot machine back it, it’s becomes apparent that the screws I removed didn’t actually serve a function. Idiot machine continues to work in the same flawed fashion. Abandon idiot machine surgery.

Attempt 5: Consider going to Kinko’s around the block to fax documents.

Realization it will cost $1 per page to fax. Do the math. $1 X 47 pages = $47 = roughly the cost of a really good new pair of shoes at Nordstrom’s Rack = not worth faxing.

Attempt 6: Call lender on the short sale to beg and plead for an email address to send the documents to (without holding out much hope, lenders are notoriously old school).

Result: Success!! Obtain email address. Result 2.0: Failure. One of the documents I have to fax I ONLY have a paper copy of. And since the idiot machine is also my scanner, back to square one.

Attempt 7: Call back customer service and say, “I know you are holding out on me. I know there is a way to erase the memory without printing everything. My uncle lives in Jersey and he’s connected, you better tell me now or he’ll come find you.”

Result: Success!!!!! No for real this time! There really is a way to reset the memory and they just weren’t telling me. Sometimes thinly veiled threats of violence are the only way to get anything done, it’s true.

Now I just have to figure out who to threaten to have idiot machines banned from the universe. (Also? I never put the 14 screws back in. Damn thing works just fine.)

13 Responses to Only a Poor Worker Blames His Tools (Unless the Tool is a Fax Machine, and then the Complaint is Valid)

  1. I miss the days of Dixie cups and strings.

    And smoke signals. I really miss smoke signals.

  2. Yes. I needed this. Also, SCREW the customer service people who wouldn’t just tell you that the first time you called. Screw them 14 times over.

  3. Umm, you forgot to tell us how to fix it!!! You’re uselessly cluttering up the google search results, without giving that data. 😛

  4. Ha! Um, Mr. ~ender, did you not just read the post? First you read the manual, then you call customer service, then you bang your head against the wall awhile… oh… wait, you want the actual answer? OK here goes (also? if you weren’t such an anonymous weirdo I totally would have emailed this to you. but now you may never read it and may be forced to kill a tree and a squid to get it fixed. sad.): press and hold down stop and start/fax together for 5 seconds. continue to hold them down while unplugging the machine, for 10 seconds. continue to hold them down while plugging back in the machine, until the it comes on and says it’s all good. FYI, this totally resets the fax machine, so you’ll have to reinput all of your settings. good luck!

  5. You forgot to tell ~ender that you also have to put your left foot and move it all about, and then put your right foot in and…and…

    But, you can be forgiven because if you have any mind left at all after that odyssey it would be a miracle!

    I’m with you though, death to all fax machines! (PS, buy a ScanSnap, it will change your life. That plus a MyFax account and you will never have to deal with a fax machine again. Ever!

  6. Wow Elizabeth. I feel your pain. However, I did what Jerry said about a month ago and I am a new woman.

    I do short sales and now I just scan the package to PDF from my ScanSnap S1500. Then if the people on the other end must have it via fax, no worries. I use my efax service, attach the document to an email and send it to their fax machine.

    Theresa “Tracy” Gibson

  7. huh, the Scansnap looks cool. I think it’s similar to what mine does, except mine is a cheaper (crudier) version. I had an efax account for awhile at the beginning of my career, but at this point I would use it so little I was thinking it’s pretty obsolete. But obviously not always.

  8. Naw, I come back to read (what’re tabs for?). Added bonus? When you need to do it again in 6months, you’ll have these notes to refer to – or you can google for it, and find the answer on your page 😀

  9. HA! too true, Mr. ~ender, too true.

  10. Been there, done that, have the Tshirt. 🙂

  11. my favorite part is the reference to the “hit man” you know in Jersey-fantastic!

  12. Pingback: Why It Took Me So Long To Get You the Paperwork – Real Estate Tangent

  13. Gee, this sounds like when you have to call out a repairman to fix the dishwasher because customer service for the brand of machine you bought won’t give you the goddamn reset code. Now you know for me to use the GD word I have to be pretty passionate, but that is exactly what the bastards do. But your first try at customer service probably just resulted in an under trained employee who actually didn’t know how to help you. Don’t get me started on that!!! Shame on companies for not adequately training.

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