Honesty Is The Only Policy

Each morning when I walk in to my desk from the main hallway I pass by a chrome Metro shelf rack that is my personal inventory staging area. Most of the crap I stashed on its four shelves are good used spare parts that I give to our customers when their boxes are returned for repair. Years ago Bill and Dave’s company mandate was that when a customer box came back in from the field for service or repair and the instrument had cosmetic damage, we gave the customer new parts. Or at least cleaned and repainted their equipment to make a customer unit look better than it did when it arrived in-house. Not long ago our fuckup division managers told everyone to cease all cosmetic upgrading of customer boxes. If the customer’s instrument showed up covered in dents and black soot go ahead and send it back exactly as we received it. Don’t lift a finger to clean it or dab a little touch up paint on the box even if it only takes five minutes of your time.

I have a problem with that.

Scrounging and stockpiling is my game. We’re a wasteful beast of a tech company. I have plenty of brand new scrap parts to play with so I set perfectly usable spare parts aside on that Metro rack for customer repair boxes. I’ve got rack mount handle sets, tons of rear feet, bottom feet, chrome bench mount front stands, outer cases, and probably the last set of fresh touch up paint colors for just about any instrument we have produced in the last fifteen years. The touch up paint is unobtanium around here since those management clowns laid off everyone working in the paint shop and engineering can’t be bothered with looking up that information on the drawings. Any time I get a customer box back here that’s royally screwed up I throw their shitty cosmetic parts in the trash bin and give them nearly brand new replacement material. I want their item to return in better shape than we got it. That’s my bottom line on refurbishing customer test gear. No exceptions. If I could I’d still be giving them brand new replacement parts like we used to do.

On the bottom shelf of the spare parts Metro rack, near the right hand side there is a Sig Gen. Every day I pass by it on my way to sit down and start working. Every day I see it, and I stare at it for a few moments. Nobody has noticed it. If they have seen it, nobody asks any questions. Months have come and gone since it was given to me by one of our veteran technicians who made the whole box for me out of scrap boards and used microcircuits. It is mine. But, I don’t dare talk about it with any of my coworkers. That Sig Gen sits there on the bottom shelf quietly collecting a layer of dust. When I look at it I experience a feeling of doom because in my mind I have run through dozens of scenarios that would enable me to sneak it past security off-site. I want to use it at home to work on personal projects. The ideas I have always end up bad, with me getting caught for theft and drop-kicked out of here. Each time I look at that custom instrument I feel stressed out. I wonder if this is some sort of 1950’s style loyalty test, like something executives at IBM would pull on those who are about to move up in their ranks to the next level. Corporate chutes and ladders…

Today after lunch I decided to get this over with. Rather than do something foolish I reasoned the best thing to do is talk to the Bossman about this unusual situation. I don’t want anyone to get into trouble. I figure the best way to approach him is be honest, give him the details but leave out names and product numbers. That way he won’t be able to identify who was behind building and calibrating a bootleg Signal Generator on our line. If he says no, there is no harm done. I’ll simply return the instrument to the technician who put it together and he can keep it for a testbed or give it to someone else. I will feel better being honest about it rather than trying to be all covert and shit. Tomorrow. I will schedule a meeting with the Bossman tomorrow afternoon and see what he says.

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~ by factorypeasant on January 15, 2008.

4 Responses to “Honesty Is The Only Policy”

  1. Ask permission? Does the evil Factory Peasont really have morals? Stay tunned and find out.

  2. the motherfucker’s got morals… you’ll see.

  3. Yo, first paragraph, second sentence, you got an apostrophe in your its that you don’t need. Word up you moralizin’ monster. Rock on!

  4. that apostrophe is as good as dead…

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