It is July, a month where we would love to be is beach side with the compliance a distance memory and GARP replaced with CARP, freshly caught and grilled to perfection. I might add, I did Google ‘Can you eat Carp?’, following writing that sentence and you can just for the record. I thought I would share a few funny moments, from someone who has been in the industry for too many years to count, that might give you a light-hearted chuckle. Please post and share your moments and maybe we can all sit back and laugh at our experiences in a world filled with boxes, barcodes, statutes and regulations.
1. Printed Receipt for a Delivery Complete With Phone Number:
Many years ago when technology was in its infancy when the internet did not exist, we got hand-held printers in our records center so drivers could provide a printed receipt for the customer of the items delivered. There was much discussion that our drivers would not embrace the technology. Many were just using a mouse and computer for the first time. Yet, armed with scanners and printers the drivers left for the road.
That same day, I can’t make this up, we got a complaint that a driver had printed a receipt and included, printed on the bottom of the receipt, his own personal phone number. Evidently someone had caught his eye and he was printing more than just barcode numbers. This meant he not only embraced the technology , but like a teenager with a new iPhone, learned all the ways to beat the system to do everything you hadn’t thought could be done.*
This driver had programmed the scanner to send a message to the printer. Do you reprimand him or commend him? Absolutely the prior but it did incite an internal (not to be shown when expressing your displeasure) chuckle. With such a good relationship with the customer and telling them the story they chuckled as well. I told this story at every computer software training I did when folks said their drivers would not embrace the technology. I would reply, “Do I have a story for you…”
*Non industry related: When getting my iPhone, my son took a screen shot of the low battery symbol on my phone. He then made it my background. I would charge it and charge it not understanding why it would not charge. When I was just about to leave for the Apple store to figure out why it wouldn’t hold a charge he told me it was just a screen shot. I had been outsmarted by a nine year old.
2. Training and My Big Mouth:
I performed records management consulting for a Records Center. They just couldn’t seem to get the sales moving. They had me interview employees, see their marketing materials, visit their facility and so on. At the end of the visit, one thing jumped out at me. It was their Sales Director. When I mentioned that to the owner he replied “I was afraid you would say that, the problem is, that is my wife.” Believe it or not we are still friends to this day.
3. Another Form of Permanent Retention:
Yes, I know a couple married for 14 years who met at an ARMA Conference. Talk about permanent retention. Enough said.
4. Lost Box or Should I say LOST BOX!:
Every record center owner, employee and even some of you customers out there, have lived this story. About once a year a customer calls for a lost box. Two words a record center never wants to hear. They swear you have it. Know they sent it back to you and many times even have the pick up receipt to prove it. ‘How could it not have not made it to the shelf?’, you ask yourself. Panic strikes. You research, research and research. Then you see where the other boxes that came back at the same time were put away. You pull out all those boxes and after hours, and hours, and 10 grey hairs, you realize that the box has one barcode on the front and a DIFFERENT barcode on the back. That is why on the lower right hand corner of the box it always states, place barcode here and only says it once. I promise you this scenario has happened. You can comment on this post if it has indeed happened in your records center.
5. Computer Training Minus the Computers
I was once sent to London to do computer training. My company sent all the computers. They said I could carry them and just throw them into the cab to the training site. I got them, couldn’t lift them and what could be a great sitcom episode about the 5’ 3” woman against the 10 computers, I finally got them to the hotel. Sweating, exhausted, pregnant, and close to tears, I opened the case to find no adapters, nor could the hotel handle that amount of voltage required for this many computers. Record Center owners and employees came in from all over Europe for software training without anything to train on. I had to think on my swollen feet. When all else fails tell the truth. I did and told them what happened. I then taught and discussed the mechanics of the software BEFORE we did our live sessions. It made for some long lunches, lots of laughter, great friendships and a great deal of empathy. I don’t know if it was just this group, but they didn’t seem all that bothered. Day two I was back in action and it was probably one of the most fun and absolutely most memorable experiences of my life. When I gave birth to my daughter Kate, now 16, a few months later, someone sent me a pink adapter from Ireland.
6. Basketball Anyone
One of my favorite records centers I visited had a basketball pool for the employees who then played the games at lunch. They had brackets and who ever won the playoffs played the management team which consisted of 3 non-star basketball players. The winning team thought they had it in the bag. It was a weekend, the employees and their families gathered to see the Management Team, looking more like Harry, Curly and Moe, dribbling out in their Jerseys, their names across the back, to loud thunderous applause for the ‘BIG GAME.’ Looking like the worst match up in history, a true slam dunk so to speak. They were quickly replaced by the Harlem Globe Trotters with Jerseys on and each Manager’s Name on the back. It was not only fantastically entertaining seeing the Globe Trotters play against the records center team, complete with the passes through their legs, it was one of the most morale building events I had ever seen. Employees and their families joined together in a great day with the winners, fair and square, walking away with the prize and a whole lot of bragging rights. Sometimes as managers, engaging with the team and shedding titles and hierarchy is the greatest exercise of all in corporate culture.
7. Kids and Puppies Almost the Same Thing
At yet another software training at the Richards and Richards’ facility, I was taken out to dinner by Steve and Jane Richards and their children, now old enough to work at the records center in prominent roles. At the time Steve was telling his daughter Elizabeth, who was quite young “Do you know Anne is the youngest of seven children?” Without skipping a beat Elizabeth replied “Her mom had seven kids?” Steve replied “Yes.” Elizabeth chirped back “And she kept them?!?!?!?” You could picture her little mind thinking of a woman giving birth to a litter of children and then you just give them away like puppies. I will never forget ‘And she kept them?’ for as long as I live.
8. It’s not a LAP top
I sold record storage at all of 24 years old. I would make the sale and when it came to contract time with the big wigs I would bring in our Managing Partner who as he would say “would add his grey hair seal of confidence.” There wasn’t a meeting he came to that he did not brag about our investment in LAB tops. After the end of every meeting on the way home I would always tell him it would be far more impressive if he actually said LAP tops as they were indeed called.
I could go on and on and on. I encourage you to share your stories. Just reading and reliving these makes me smile. Enjoy your summer and remember to laugh on your daily journey. Think computer training without computers, in the end, one of the most fun training sessions I ever conducted. There is fun to be had, sometimes we just have to find it.