Seeking Permission To Be A Thief

Electronic test and measurement gear ain’t cheap. The instrument given to me by one of our technicians as a scrap-build for my personal hobbies retailed just under $20,000 when it was first introduced on the market. Swiping a piece of test gear from work even though it was officially obsoleted from our catalog was huge. That is why I absolutely had to talk with the Bossman about taking an item like this off-site. Better to ask permission from management and be told “no” rather than attempt to sneak shit past roaming security officers and get caught- then promptly fired for it. Yesterday I stopped by the Bossman’s cubicle and mentioned there was something important I wanted to talk with him about privately. As always he was super cool, said we could step outside for a bit early in the afternoon. He would listen to whatever I had to say.

When the time came to meet, I couldn’t help feeling damn nervous. It was not simply due to a fear of having my supervisor say “no dice” to a proposed theft of company property. I concerned myself with making sure nobody else in my department got into trouble. I thought of a positive way to approach that with the Bossman however. No matter how things were going to flop there would be no harm done. Generally, I am a cautious person. Thinking ahead I chose a nearby outdoor location that frequently exposed employees to a high level of noise. Anyone walking in our vicinity would not be able to overhear our conversation. The spot was next to a long row of freight loading docks in receiving at the West end of Building 2. Across the parking lot from where I planned to discuss my Sig Gen with the Bossman there happens to be a couple of massive liquid nitrogen storage tanks. Liquid Nitrogen is under an intense amount of pressure so any large industrial size containment areas of the stuff seems to outgas and make a fucking ton of racket. That was the spot I wanted to talk this over, and that is exactly where we went.

The moment both of us were through a double set of glass doors I scanned the immediate area for other employees. Nobody was around, so I started yapping my mouth off.

“Something happened a few months ago. I decided to keep quiet about it because I really wasn’t sure what to do, Boss. Earlier this year we shitcanned a bunch of perfectly usable test gear. Upper management made the decision to obsolete one of our product lines and they sent out emails to techs instructing them to scrap, throw out, and eliminate everything left on the line. When I found out about it, it was too late because all the testbed boxes and good used parts were already on their way to the county landfill. I could have used some of that stuff at home to help me troubleshoot vintage nixie tube gear we built back in the 1950s and 60s. I snagged a bunch of those on eBay. I talked to a group of senior technicians in the department afterward and I asked that if such a situation happened again in the future, would they please come and see me first before simply tossing everything into trash cans.”

The Bossman stood next to me with his arms crossed quietly listening. He didn’t say a word.

“Okay so fast forward a few months from that conversation I had with technicians on the shop floor. One night a guy comes up to me, points at a beat up box on a roll-away table and says it’s all mine. Same thing happened, the instrument line was obsoleted and upper management said ditch the shit. So beforehand this tech goes and builds me an entire box from scrap parts fully loaded with every available option we got and to top it all off the brother puts it through our whole test process. He gave me a functional, calibrated unit. It is a non-asset, with no real serial number. It’s not an actual production box. Since that night I been stressing about what to do. A few more months have come and gone since then. I needed to get this off my chest and tell you about it Boss because I’d really like to swipe the box for personal use.”

One of the receiving employees whizzed past us driving an orange delivery tug with a yellow blinking light on top of the cab. He disappeared into an open bay at the bottom of Building 1.

I continued, “Look what I’d like to do is give you the choice to say yes or no. I’d rather not mention names or product numbers because if you aren’t cool with this I do not want to feel like I got somebody else in a world of trouble. If the answer is “no” I can’t have the Sig Gen I will honor that and just take it back to dude. He can scrap it or whatever. No big deal, no harm done.”

The Bossman took everything in, thought about it for about thirty seconds and then he responded.

“You know FP, what we used to do in the past was allow you guys to buy old equipment and tools from the company. Either we’d auction it off to employees or what we did was… we would look at the full retail cost and then charge employees on the original tax amount. Then we as a company took that employee money and used it to fund company picnics and parties. But all that is long gone. You are aware of that.”

He paused for a moment and said, “If you tell me that this box was built with one hundred percent scrap parts and components I have no reason to believe otherwise.”

A big, stupid grin grew across my face.

“You can take it, but I DO NOT want to know about it. If you get caught you are on your own.”

I understood the Bossman’s drift. He didn’t want to be mixed up in the situation if things turned ugly. I could deal and be okay with not ratting him out should I be stupid enough to get myself busted.

“Thanks, Boss. I don’t know what to say except thank you.”

He said, “FP, you should stop and think about something for a minute. Having your fellow coworkers build you an instrument, test it for you, and then give it to you says a lot. They aren’t going to do that for just anyone around here. You are very highly thought of by the team. This is a big compliment to who you are and what you do here. Keep that in mind.”

Catching me totally off guard I kind of kicked my shoe into the concrete and coyly said to the Bossman with a retarded smile from ear to ear, “Oh stop.”

I was happy. As we walked together back inside towards the department I already had a plan…

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~ by factorypeasant on January 21, 2008.

3 Responses to “Seeking Permission To Be A Thief”

  1. He said, “FP, you should stop thinking about something for a minute. Having your fellow coworkers build you an instrument, test it for you, and then give it to you says a lot. You are lazy! You are very high. This is a big complaint; what you are and what you do here…must stop!!! Keep that in mind.”

  2. u smell DT. now i am the taking ur resonance nob and i am the crushing it in bench vise and it is being the fixed HAHAHAHA!

  3. HAT u B hotch!!!

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