December '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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112 | PRINTWEAR D EC E M B E R 20 1 4 Last Laugh BY DAN DANBOM Dan Danbom is a former speech writer and communication manager whose freelance work has been published worldwide. His book reviews for a number of publications have motivated thousands to give up reading. Nonetheless, he continues to write and is also a principal at Danbom & Sons Books, an online bookstore headquartered in Denver. | | | | B usiness these days can be an exercise in frustration— frustration over employees who don't show up, or- ders that come in late, equipment that doesn't work, and customers who like making ridiculous demands. But there is no frustration like computer-generated frustration. I seem to get more than my share of this. The vendor of my inventory control program thinks every morning I say, "I wonder what new update I should immediately download unless I want my system to crash." Once I'm comfortable with a program, my computer consistently sends a message to the software gods insisting that they complicate it. If I'm unfortunate enough to have to call someone for help, the frustration level can quickly escalate from "problematic" to "hellacious." The people who answer your calls are specially trained not only in a particular software but also in a skill that allows them to talk at 2,000 words per minute in an unknown accent. Most seem to have just finished a fresh pot of special brew and convey an attitude that you're a complete idiot. In my own case, this may be true because I'm not what people with ad- vanced degrees in software engineering would consider "computer savvy." I don't know how the computer industry got this way. My car mechanic doesn't expect me to have the knowledge of cars that computer technicians expect me to have of com- puters. When I take in my car for a problem, the mechanic doesn't sigh deeply and say, "Well, you need to adjust the fuel intake and replace your timing belt. I'll put you on hold. Let me know when you've completed that task." At least the mechanic is a real person I see and speak to face to face. The com- puter industry is staffed by faceless tech- nicians with fake names who work from bomb-proof concrete bunkers in undis- closed locations. This isn't to say that people you deal with face to face aren't capable of generat- ing world-class frustrations. I once want- ed a sign for my business that stuck out from the front of my building and I had to get a permit. While at the Department of Nonconforming Signage, a clerk inter- rupted his magazine reading to tell me that I needed a drawing of what I wanted, so it would be disallowed. I could then ap- peal its disallowance. So I drew a picture of the sign, which was rejected because it was not draftsman quality. My best alter- native was to hire a middle school dropout to tattoo "OPEN" on his or her forehead and stand on the sidewalk in front of my store. I learned the hard way that my city's bureaucracy is not as bad as my cable com- pany, but it's working hard to catch up. If you haven't experienced the frustra- tions I've faced, I suggest you call your health insurance provider. You may discover, as I did, that no matter how many times you call and how many times your doctor recodes your procedure for coverage eli- gibility, you won't be reimbursed. To save time, I suggest you ask your health insurance company to simply tell you to go jump in a lake right after it says, "Hello." Better yet, get the tattooed guy to call for you. Not Frustrated? Try these tips pw

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