The classic Roladex adorned most office desks throughout the 1980s. The name is a combination of ‘roller’ ie rotation and ‘dex’ ie index.
In its hayday, your Roladex sat alongside those little boxes of index cards. We didn’t have personal computers during the 80s so our desk were full of little bits of paper.
Some people even had a huge spike on their desks with random bits of paper until the health and safety freaks banned them because ‘you might just have your eye out with one of those’.
Anyway your Roladex held the entire contents of your contact book and more. Even if you didn’t have a business card for someone, you would put a little card in with their details on.
Roladex files were usually sorted alphabetically for easy searching. But could be split by different categories.
Roladex were so important to some people that you’d always find a few being carried outside when the fire alarm sounded.
The digital age ended the love affair with the Roladex. You’ll occasionally see them at car boot sales – mostly blank new ones that someone stole from their office stationery cupboard in 1985 but if you see one with actual contents in you should definitely purchase and check out whats inside. All the London numbers will be ’01’ or even ‘0171’ and ‘0181’ – remember them!
The good old days when you could carry a piece of paper around your place of work all afternoon and not do any work also included a two-hour session getting your Roladex up-to-date. Computers have put that little scam out to grass but there’s always solitaire.
A ring binder with plastic A4 wallets to store cards allowed you to keep your contacts in a nice clean environment. You could even alphabetize them but the choice was always whether the choose the company name or the persons name.
You would usually choose the company name and then end up with dozens of company cards for the same company. These business card wallets are a real hassle when you have to put a new card into a full file as it meant transferring the last card into a new wallet and then finding a hole for the new card.
The other problem was that you’d find people within an office all had the same business cards for the same people which was duplicating the work in filing all these cards.
Business card scanner
Techy geeks will have invested in one of these machine. Basically you put your cards in the slot, it whisks through the machine, scanning as it goes. The information is sorted by the software and information is stored on your PC or Mac.
The beauty of these machines is that you can through away your countless business cards which you have collected over many years.
These machines do not hold poor design against the original owner of the business card. They also do not go all weak at the knees for expensive thermographic printing or die-cutting.
Evernote really is the ultimate in business card storage. Its a computer application that you download on to your machine. It links with your webcam. You simply hold up the latest business card in your collection to your webcam and It takes a snapshot your business card.
The clever comes when it reads the information from the snapshot and files it neatly within its various folders.
However its not just business cards you may wish to snapshot but drawings, doodles, notes, logos, etc.
On its website, Evernote says, “Use Evernote to save your ideas, things you see, and things you like. Then find them all on any computer or device you use. For free.”
Bottom desk drawer
So now we live in the digital age what do we do with the business cards we are given. Easy! We put them in the bottom drawer of our desk.
Other things you might find within your bottom desk drawer include an old mini-stapler without mini-staples, some post-it notes with fluff on one side, a plastic pencil sharpener and 23p in coppers.