When we started Adphoto in 1973, it was just John and myself. We had no secretary – we could not afford one. We had to be resourceful or creative to make sure we did not miss any calls or visits from clients.
For a few months, we did not have a direct line. All we had was a local extension that the building telephone operator managed. If no one was in the office, she would just tell the callers that “no one answers.” Answering machines had not been invented yet – or we had not heard of them. We needed to get the telephone operator to help us. John approached her and gave her chocolate candy bars so she would get messages for us, instead of simply dismissing callers by saying we were not in. It worked! As soon as we were back in the office, she would read a list of names and phone numbers of clients or potential clients who called.
To catch those who came to the office instead of calling, I would put up a Magic Slate on the door so that if someone came, they could write their names and contact info on the Magic Slate. When we returned to the office, I would return their calls and then “refresh the screen” by lifting the film. The Magic Slate would once again be ready for another set of names. It was an inexpensive solution, even though I had to replace the Magic Slate a couple of times.
It’s fun to remember how it was when it was just John and myself.