Trying to get ahold of John Varacchi is like trying to get ahold of chopped liver. You take a number and wait your turn. Varacchi, president of Furniture Consultants Inc., a $20-million seller of office furniture in New York City, installed a take-a-ticket machine on his desk, with a sign reading "Please Take a Ticket."

"I'm busy, and the machine conveys that message," says Varacchi.

If business slows down, he can always open a deli.