The phone at Merman’s Costume Rentals rings, and Annie Oaklea, head of costume inventory, picks it up and answers a query by saying, “Let me take a look at my inventory cards. Sorry, it looks as if there are only two male bear suits in inventory, with extra growly expressions at that. We’ve had a great run on bears. When do you need them? Perhaps one will be returned. No, can’t do it, sorry. Would you like these two sent, regardless? The name of your establishment? Manhattan Theatre Company? London branch? Right. Delightful company! I see by our account card that you’ve rented from us before. And how long will you be needing the costumes?” Figure 7.C1 is a data flow diagram that sets the stage for processing of costume rentals from Merman’s. It shows rentals such as the one Annie is doing for Manhattan Theatre Company. After conversing for another few moments about shop policy on alterations, Annie concludes her conversation by saying, “You are very lucky to get the bears on such short notice. I’ve got another company reserving them for the first week in July. I’ll put you down for the bear suits, and they’ll be taken to you directly by our courier. As always, prompt return will save enormous trouble for us all.” Merman’s costume rental enterprise is located in London’s world-famous West End theatre district. When a theatre or television production company lacks the resources (either time or expertise) to construct a costume in its own shop, the cry goes up to “Ring up Merman’s!” and it proceeds to rent what it needs with a minimum of fuss. Merman’s shop (more aptly visualized as a warehouse) goes on for three floors full of costume racks, holding thousands of costumes hung together by historical period, then grouped as to whether they are for men or women, and then by costume size. 1 Most theatre companies are able to locate precisely what they need through Annie’s capable assistance.
Now tailor-make the rental return portion of the data flow diagram given earlier. Remember that timely returns are critical for keeping the spotlight on costumes rented from Merman’s.