Monday, June 18, 2007

Service with a smile

The plotter where I work broke on Friday. This morning, a repairman arrived to fix it. The plotter is a very large printer that we use to produce large format maps and engineering drawings. It is big and loud and expensive and old. When you load the paper you have to remember to say please don't get a paper jam, and then you must bow down before the plotter while providing burnt offerings and incense. If this doesn't work, you must then call a repairman who will do the following to fix the plotter at $225.00 per hour:

1. Scratch head
2. Sniff the plotter (Yes I said sniff, according to him, the plotter smelled like "burnt fire")
3. Completely disassemble the machine
4. Using a manila envelope folded to a point to poke the interior while squinting and shaking head

At this point, I left the room I could not watch anymore. Sitting at my desk I heard several loud thuds followed by a crash and then utter silence. I struggled not to laugh since the plotter is in a room across the hall and I'm certain the repairman would be able to hear me snickering.

Moments later, the man poked his head into my office and asked if there was a sink nearby. I directed him to the bathroom down the hall. I then saw him parade past my office no less than 7 times with parts of the plotter. I thought to myself, "Is he washing them in the skink?"

After the cleansing ceremony was completed, he must have decided the plotter was dusty because I could hear him using a can of compressed air to clean out the interior but between intermittent sprays I kept hearing fits of sputtering and coughing. I couldn't see what was going on in there but I suspect that it was like that scene in dumb and dumber when Jim Carey sprays that guy in the eye with the Binaca because the nozzle is facing the wrong way. I also suspect that he was using the compressed air to "blow-dry" the parts of the plotter that he had washed in the sink.

Next, he reassembled the plotter. I definitely heard crashing, banging, clanking and grunting. Later, when I thought I heard growling noises, I got up and nonchalantly walked by the doorway. When I turned my head to look in I saw the repairman holding a gigantic wrench up in the air behind his head with both hands. I could almost hear the theme from psycho playing in the background "reeeet, reeeet, reeeet, reeeet". Poised to attack the plotter, he turned to see me and slowly lowered the wrench. I am virtually certain that when he saw me he could not have been anymore surprised to be caught brandishing the wrench. In fact, if his eyebrows had gone any higher on his head, they would have been indistinguishable from his hairline.

"Well, I'm about done here he mumbled. After signing the service sheet, I examined the graphic logo at the top, which depicted a printer and a wrench. Nice.

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