A VOICE on the office loudspeaker announced: "We'll be testing the speaker system
to make sure it will work properly in case of emergency." My confidence in this
safety precaution faded when the voice added: "If you are unable to hear this
announcement, please contact us."
Lydia got a job in a fairly large office. Just days after she began working
there, the copier jammed. A co-worker - Elizabeth- offered to show her how to clear the
machine, and Lydia gratefully accepted. Lydia caught on quickly, and was quick to begin
slamming doors and punching buttons when the copier jammed a few days later.
co-worker) came up behind Lydia while she was in the process of clearing the machine,
"What are you doing?" he asked. "Clearing the copier like Elizabeth showed
me." Lydia replied. "Oh, but you have to understand, "Dave responded,
"Elizabeth has a temper."
Several years ago we had an intern who was none too swift. One day he was typing and
turned to a secretary and said, "I'm almost out of typing paper. What do I do?"
"Just use copier paper," she told him. With that, the intern took his last
remaining blank piece of paper, put it on the photo copier and proceeded to make five
1st Person: "Do you know anything about this fax-machine?"
2nd Person: "A little. What's wrong?"
1st Person: "Well, I sent a fax, and the recipient called back to
say all she received was a cover-sheet and a blank page. I tried it again, and the same
2nd Person: "How did you load the sheet?"
1st Person: "It's a pretty sensitive memo, and I didn't want anyone
else to read it by accident, so I folded it so only the recipient would open it and read
I WAS inputting copy when a gentleman somewhat older than myself entered the
environmentally controlled computer room. The door opening caused a breeze which blew my
print out sheet to the floor. The gentleman leaned over and carefully picked it up.
"In my day," he said with a grin, "a young lady dropped her
MY HUSBAND was rather disconcerted when he realized that calculators and computers had,
indeed, rendered his slide rule obsolete. But rather than toss it out, he had it mounted
in his office with this sign: IN CASE OF POWER FAILURE BREAK GLASS.
DESPITE assurances of being "user friendly," the new word processors in our
office were viewed with suspicion, and when they set up a chorus of rebellious beeps, they
brought on sighs of dismay. The term "user friendly" took on new meaning,
however, when I saw one woman patting the top of her beeping machine. "Okay,
okay," she said. "You don't have to do that if you don't want to."
THE check-out line at the hardware store was getting longer and longer as the clerk
labored to get the new cash register to co-operate. At one point she wailed, "Oh, no!
Now what should I do? It just rang up sixty-four thousand, five hundred and seventy-four
dollars in sales tax on a ten-dollar sale!" Surprisingly, the customers in front of
me didn't seem too upset by the delay. Some even chuckled sympathetically. It wasn't until
I got near the front of the line that I saw the neatly hand-lettered sign in front of the
cash register: WE ARE CURRENTLY DOING BATTLE WITH OUR NEW COMPUTER FOR CONTROL OF THE
STORE - WE APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE.
WE HAD been going crazy with a new copying machine that
seemed to gobble paper like a piranha and needed repair almost every day. In addition, a
large sign proclaimed: "Only qualified key operators are allowed to open machine.
Please call one of the persons listed." These people were very difficult to find at
crucial moments, so someone scrawled on the sign: "Jammed if you do and jammed
if you don't."
SHOPPING in a high-tech store, I spotted an item I wanted.
After filling out an order form, I handed it to a clerk who tried in vain to enter it on
the computer register. Then he disappeared into the back room. A few minutes later
he emerged, shaking his head. "I'm sorry," he said. "There are four of them
back there, but I can't sell one to you because the computer says we don't have
BECAUSE my boss was often out of his office during the day,
we decided to get him a pager so he could be reached quickly. Just hours after he received
it, an urgent call came in. I phoned the pager company to relay the message, then they
typed it into their computer, which beeped the message on his machine. Within minutes he
phoned me. I said: "Isn't this great? You got your message right away."
"Yes," he replied, "it's wonderful, even though I'm sitting in my office.
A MAN returned to his home and played back his
telephone-answering machine to discover that his message to callers had not registered
beyond his initial "Hello." Transcribed, the tape of the exchanges between
machine and one caller ran as follows:
"Hello. Hello. . . hello!" (Click.)
"Hello, hello . . . hello, hello!" (Click.)
"Hello, hello. . . . You see, Operator, he says 'Hello,' but he won't say
anything else." "I'm sorry, sir. We can only connect you with your party. We
cannot make him talk to you."