Business Card Blues

Business card blues is a modern day behavioral disorder among the business class in America. Clinically referred to as BCB, most people are undiagnosed. Indeed, gentle reader, you may very well be among its sufferers. There are no statistics indicating the number of people with BCB and there is no treatment plan other than folk remedies. The behavior is rooted in a deep internal need to be seen as “connected.” This syndrome is manifested in groups as well. Networking clubs, many (but not all) Chambers of Commerce, business “power circles” (these are the real serious cases), and civic clubs are typical places where you might find “BCB’ers.”

The symptoms are somewhat different for each of us but the malady generally runs along the following lines:

  • Those who suffer from BCB have an uncontrollable desire to collect every business card from every person in the known (and unknown) universe. Their theory is that, perhaps there may be a need for a farm tractor salesman among his friends in New York City and, by golly, he will be the one who has that contact information at hand. It matters not that this individual purveyor of tractors for whom he has kept his card twenty-plus years has long since endured three career changes and is now a cashier at the 7-11 eight miles past nowhere in Kansas.
  • The typical BCB’er has an enormous, unorganized, collection of cards at his office. He has one or more loose leaf notebooks in which he, at one time, attempted to assemble this stack of cards into a usable order. These are usually ordered by first name in an attempt to ensure ease of location (assuming he can remember their name). This endeavor is almost always abandoned when the sufferer finds the system inadequate and impossible to manage. The current trend towards oddly shaped business cards also serves to frustrate this plan at organizational wizardry.
  • A sufferer will have an even larger selection of business cards stored in a box (or boxes) spread between his office and home. These are usually put there as a result of abandoning the aforementioned loose leaf notebook system. This collection is generally of a much larger number than the ones that actually find their way into the notebook. There will be multiple sets of the same card as well. Indeed, some sufferers will have cards in this “library” of who’s who in known creation of people who have long since gone on to their reward. One extreme case was found to have Napolean Bonaparte’s card in one of these storage boxes. Interestingly, the Emperor of France did not have email.
  • The newest collection of cards is always located in the BCB’ers upper desk drawer on his dominant side. These are the most recently obtained ones and have yet to be classified in the appropriate collective device. In extreme cases of BCB, these cards can languish in this holding pen for a year or more before they are put away. BCB’ers are notoriously slow decision makers.

There is no known cure for BCB. Some have made partial success using card scan machines that put a picture of the card on one’s computer. The dilemma of the hard copy remains though. This results in a single storage system of multiple shoes boxes stored in the attic. This does make it easy on the BCB sufferer though. He can stick his kids with dumping all those cards after he has passed on.

Now, excuse me while I look for Tim’s card. I know I moved it from my top tight drawer at work…but where? Ah! It’s in the 3rd notebook….nope, not there. Hmmm. There are two shoeboxes here and six more at home. Try the computer first. Rats! Forgot my password. I wonder if Tim ever even gave me a card. Sure he did. Just have to find it. I’ll bet it’s in that box in the back of the car. Sheesh. The wife has the car today….

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