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  1. #1
    Support Desk 50+ Posts SlipperyCat's Avatar
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    Cool Stories while in the Field

    I've been an outside technician for nearly 18 years and I've seen my share of unusual things. I thought it would be fun to read about the experiences of others while they are performing their duties.

    This is just one story. I have many. But, I will start with the one that comes to mind first.

    I think one of the weirdest situation I've been in is when I went out to network one of our products for a small client in our area. The company was some dive outfit, comprised of a husband and wife ownership. They were in the section 8 renting business so their clientele, needless to say, were some shady folks. The interesting thing was their customers weren't as bad as they were!

    While I was trying to setup our machine on their make-shift network they constantly argued with each other, sometimes screaming as loud as they could at one another. Then, for no apparent reason, they would be really calm and joke around with each other (I'm talking about the husband a wife) and everything was calm. But, sometimes one of them would say something to set the other one off and they would start screaming at each other again. I honestly couldn't believe how these two people behaved. They both must have been bipolar because nobody acts like that who is normal.

    When one of their customers would walk in, they would be as nice as pie to them. But, as soon as the customer would leave, within about 30 seconds something would initiate a fight between them again. This went on for the two hours I was there. I just kept my mouth shut and did what I had to do but the whole time I was afraid one of them was going to kill the other, including me! It was definitely an environment I did not want to be in.

    When I finished the job and had my paperwork signed I got out of there as fast as I could, and as I walked down the side walk I could still hear them screaming at each other.

    What is wrong with people??




  2. #2
    Master Of The Obvious 10,000+ Posts
    Stories while in the Field

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    Re: Stories while in the Field

    Quote Originally Posted by SlipperyCat View Post
    ... What is wrong with people??

    I have no idea. And I don't expect to suddenly discover an all encompassing answer.

    In my experience the best strategy is just to keep your head down, do your work, and get the hell out before you become the next target.
    It sounds as though you're on the same page. =^..^=

    If you'd like a serious answer to your request:
    1) demonstrate that you've read the manual
    2) demonstrate that you made some attempt to fix it.
    3) if you're going to ask about jams include the jam code.
    4) if you're going to ask about an error code include the error code.


    blackcat: Master Of The Obvious =^..^=

  3. #3
    Just a fellow wanderer 2,500+ Posts Iowatech's Avatar
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    Re: Stories while in the Field

    If you are looking for variety, I'll bite.
    Back in the analog days, I got a service call on a Corps of Engineers machine. Turns out that the Corps was doing maintenance on the Mississippi river Lock and Dam at Quincy, Illinois then, and the machine was on a barge in the lock.
    They had the lock drained, so it was about a twenty foot climb down a ladder embedded in the side of the lock which was twelve inches wide at best, but I climbed down with my toolcase, and then went back up and got my vacuum. As I was leaving one of their guys showed me the rope and basket they used to lower stuff from the bank of the river to the barge. Which would have saved me a climb. And would have made the initial climb way easier. I'd seen that when I first arrived, too, but I didn't know what that was for.
    D'oh.


  4. #4
    Support Desk 50+ Posts SlipperyCat's Avatar
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    Re: Stories while in the Field

    Quote Originally Posted by Iowatech View Post
    If you are looking for variety, I'll bite.
    Back in the analog days, I got a service call on a Corps of Engineers machine. Turns out that the Corps was doing maintenance on the Mississippi river Lock and Dam at Quincy, Illinois then, and the machine was on a barge in the lock.
    They had the lock drained, so it was about a twenty foot climb down a ladder embedded in the side of the lock which was twelve inches wide at best, but I climbed down with my toolcase, and then went back up and got my vacuum. As I was leaving one of their guys showed me the rope and basket they used to lower stuff from the bank of the river to the barge. Which would have saved me a climb. And would have made the initial climb way easier. I'd seen that when I first arrived, too, but I didn't know what that was for.
    D'oh.
    That's a good one. lol Thanks for sharing. It's amazing what techs get themselves into.


  5. #5
    Senior Tech 250+ Posts Phrag's Avatar
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    Re: Stories while in the Field

    I've got one.

    I live in Australia, in Queensland midway up the coast. I had to deliver 2 machines (a Bizhub 282 and a C35) to a police station 3 or 4 hours west in a very small town called Woorabinda. The day before I left, the other techs were joking, "Keep your doors locked. Don't leave your windows down. etc etc.)

    The town was a housing community for some of the aboriginal population in the region. As I was driving into town, I saw discarded six-packs and cartons of cheap, but popular) Australian beer. XXXX, VB etc. I even saw a crashed, and burnt out car as well. The first sign I saw was one stating that this town had an alcohol ban in place. Good to know. The closer I got, the more... wary, I became.

    Almost every yard was untidy, broken windows, sheets for blinds. I won't lie. It was a bit frightening. I was stared at by some people driving through town to the police station. There weren't any cars on the road either.

    Anyway. I parked the van and unloaded the machines with some help from 2 of the ladies in the station. While waiting for the IT guy to finish remoting in, they had a woman in one of the cells who was screaming her lungs out. I don't know what she did, or why they help her, but she wasn't being co-operative.

    I finished up and got out of there as fast as I could.


  6. #6
    Field Supervisor 500+ Posts Exok's Avatar
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    Re: Stories while in the Field

    Here's one story from my many adventures in copier repair. I was sent to service a copier one day at a hospital in Staten Island, NY. This hospital, as it turned out, was located on the grounds of a huge nearly fully abandoned walled in area that used to be a TB treatment and housing facility back around the year 1900. The place is made up of dozens of large brick buildings with broken windows and doors crumbling away. I really felt I was on the set of some post apocalyptic horror movie. I was waiting for a horde of brain eating zombies to come shambling around any corner as I drove around the spooky gated community from hell. Located in the middle of this place was a larger more modern building still operating as a hospital with a few functioning smaller buildings still in use.

    My first visit to this location was within the main hospital building. I was given directions to the office I needed to visit, located in the basement. I followed the directions to the letter but it lead me the wrong way. I found myself walking down an underground tunnel. Apparently this whole facility is all connected from one building to the other with underground tunnels. When I reached the end of the barely lit hallway it ended with a huge iron door that was locked with a thick chain and padlock that looked to be 100 years old. I just remember thinking to myself, this is the part of the movie where everyone is yelling at the screen telling the guy "DON'T GO DOWN THERE" and I really expected when I turned back around to find some hulking figure holding an ax blocking my exit. Well, it wasn't as dramatic as that. I found my way back and then found the correct location.

    My next visit there was pretty creepy too. I had to fix a machine in one of the smaller buildings nestled in the middle of many larger abandoned buildings. The copier was on the ground floor next to a window where I could see out to the front of the building. There was one woman typing away on a computer terminal and a doctor in a white lab coat. He had a thick accent that reminded me of Bela Lugosi from Dracula. As I was repairing the machine I saw a pickup truck park in front of the building. The truck was full of what looked like body bags, about 5 of them. Next (I kid you not) a short man hops out of the truck and hobbles into the building. He goes over to the doctor and tells him, "I have those bodies you wanted doctor". The doctor tells him, "good, good, bring them down into the basement." The whole time i'm convinced i'm being filmed for some kind of hidden camera TV show. It was freaky and I was glad to be out of there.


  7. #7
    Retired 5,000+ Posts slimslob's Avatar
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    Re: Stories while in the Field

    Quote Originally Posted by Exok View Post
    Here's one story from my many adventures in copier repair. I was sent to service a copier one day at a hospital in Staten Island, NY. This hospital, as it turned out, was located on the grounds of a huge nearly fully abandoned walled in area that used to be a TB treatment and housing facility back around the year 1900. The place is made up of dozens of large brick buildings with broken windows and doors crumbling away. I really felt I was on the set of some post apocalyptic horror movie. I was waiting for a horde of brain eating zombies to come shambling around any corner as I drove around the spooky gated community from hell. Located in the middle of this place was a larger more modern building still operating as a hospital with a few functioning smaller buildings still in use.

    My first visit to this location was within the main hospital building. I was given directions to the office I needed to visit, located in the basement. I followed the directions to the letter but it lead me the wrong way. I found myself walking down an underground tunnel. Apparently this whole facility is all connected from one building to the other with underground tunnels. When I reached the end of the barely lit hallway it ended with a huge iron door that was locked with a thick chain and padlock that looked to be 100 years old. I just remember thinking to myself, this is the part of the movie where everyone is yelling at the screen telling the guy "DON'T GO DOWN THERE" and I really expected when I turned back around to find some hulking figure holding an ax blocking my exit. Well, it wasn't as dramatic as that. I found my way back and then found the correct location.

    My next visit there was pretty creepy too. I had to fix a machine in one of the smaller buildings nestled in the middle of many larger abandoned buildings. The copier was on the ground floor next to a window where I could see out to the front of the building. There was one woman typing away on a computer terminal and a doctor in a white lab coat. He had a thick accent that reminded me of Bela Lugosi from Dracula. As I was repairing the machine I saw a pickup truck park in front of the building. The truck was full of what looked like body bags, about 5 of them. Next (I kid you not) a short man hops out of the truck and hobbles into the building. He goes over to the doctor and tells him, "I have those bodies you wanted doctor". The doctor tells him, "good, good, bring them down into the basement." The whole time i'm convinced i'm being filmed for some kind of hidden camera TV show. It was freaky and I was glad to be out of there.
    As we used to say in the Army Reserves Transportation unit, FIDO! The DO is drive on. You can decipher the rest.


  8. #8
    Support Desk 50+ Posts SlipperyCat's Avatar
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    Re: Stories while in the Field

    Being in this business nearly 18 years I have more than one story so I will share another one.

    We sold a machine to a prison and I was assigned to network it. After getting through security and signing in (which seemed to take a half-hour) they called a guard up to escort me to where the machine was placed. I had no idea where it was so the guard said to me, "When we go through the yard don't make eye contact and you'll be fine." Huh? What does he mean? Well, apparently he had to walk me through the "yard", across this huge open area (where prisoners were walking around) to get to the building the machine was in. How fun! When I looked the guard over I noticed he wasn't carrying any weapon. I asked, "So what if someone tries to assault us in the middle of the yard and you don't have a gun?" He said he wasn't allowed to take any weapon inside where prisoners were, in case they beat him and took it from him. Nice! This made me even more nervous. He assured me not to worry because if a prisoner tried something there were armed guards everywhere who would shoot them dead within seconds. This seemed unlikely but he seemed serious.

    So, after going through several doors we walk out into the yard. We had to cross what seemed like two football fields. It was a long way away to the building. I walked next to him as close as I could staring straight ahead, trying not to make eye contact with any of them. There had to be dozens of prisoners just roaming around. I felt like I was in a lion's den, with all eyeballs glaring at me, waiting to pounce on us at any moment. A group of about three prisoners where heading our way, right in our path and I noticed the guard kept the same path, not moving around them so I stood by his side. As the men approached I thought we were going to run right into them. I held my breath. Almost to the point of contact the prisoners moved slightly to go around us but one of them bumped my shoulder pretty hard, I'm sure on purpose. I kept walking, didn't look back or say squat. No way. The guard noticed what happened but didn't talk.

    After we got into the building he said, "You know that love tap you just received?" The guards saw it and don't worry, he will be punished."

    After I setup the machine we had to walk through the yard again but the trip back was less stressful and no prisoners came near us. I was relieved.

    I've been in a lot of unusual situations during my career but this episode I'll never forget. I just can't believe they allow people from the outside to walk through the yard where hardened criminals roam around. Later I found out from the guard that some of those prisoners are in there for life, with nothing to lose. What if a few of them decided to attack us? I guess the thought of dying from a sniper bullet to the head prevents such behavior.


  9. #9
    Retired 5,000+ Posts slimslob's Avatar
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    Re: Stories while in the Field

    Quote Originally Posted by SlipperyCat View Post
    Being in this business nearly 18 years I have more than one story so I will share another one.

    We sold a machine to a prison and I was assigned to network it. After getting through security and signing in (which seemed to take a half-hour) they called a guard up to escort me to where the machine was placed. I had no idea where it was so the guard said to me, "When we go through the yard don't make eye contact and you'll be fine." Huh? What does he mean? Well, apparently he had to walk me through the "yard", across this huge open area (where prisoners were walking around) to get to the building the machine was in. How fun! When I looked the guard over I noticed he wasn't carrying any weapon. I asked, "So what if someone tries to assault us in the middle of the yard and you don't have a gun?" He said he wasn't allowed to take any weapon inside where prisoners were, in case they beat him and took it from him. Nice! This made me even more nervous. He assured me not to worry because if a prisoner tried something there were armed guards everywhere who would shoot them dead within seconds. This seemed unlikely but he seemed serious.

    So, after going through several doors we walk out into the yard. We had to cross what seemed like two football fields. It was a long way away to the building. I walked next to him as close as I could staring straight ahead, trying not to make eye contact with any of them. There had to be dozens of prisoners just roaming around. I felt like I was in a lion's den, with all eyeballs glaring at me, waiting to pounce on us at any moment. A group of about three prisoners where heading our way, right in our path and I noticed the guard kept the same path, not moving around them so I stood by his side. As the men approached I thought we were going to run right into them. I held my breath. Almost to the point of contact the prisoners moved slightly to go around us but one of them bumped my shoulder pretty hard, I'm sure on purpose. I kept walking, didn't look back or say squat. No way. The guard noticed what happened but didn't talk.

    After we got into the building he said, "You know that love tap you just received?" The guards saw it and don't worry, he will be punished."

    After I setup the machine we had to walk through the yard again but the trip back was less stressful and no prisoners came near us. I was relieved.

    I've been in a lot of unusual situations during my career but this episode I'll never forget. I just can't believe they allow people from the outside to walk through the yard where hardened criminals roam around. Later I found out from the guard that some of those prisoners are in there for life, with nothing to lose. What if a few of them decided to attack us? I guess the thought of dying from a sniper bullet to the head prevents such behavior.
    I used to work on about 25 copier and a dictation system at the Tehachapi Prison. Was up there about once a week, Correction Officers (COs) are rough on equipment. Since my mother-in-law used to be a senior records clerk there and I was in the Army reserves with a number of COs, I knew that you walked in there liked you owned the place and no one would bother you. I had to let an ambulance go past me one time, an inmate had a heart attack.

    I did have a couple of times when the prison went on lockdown while I was there. Usually someone was unaccounted for. One time a pair of scissors was missing from the barber shop. Normally lockdown was not bad unless it happened at 3:00 PM and lasted for a couple of hours.


  10. #10
    Field Supervisor 500+ Posts DWise's Avatar
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    Re: Stories while in the Field

    Quote Originally Posted by Exok View Post
    My next visit there was pretty creepy too. I had to fix a machine in one of the smaller buildings nestled in the middle of many larger abandoned buildings. The copier was on the ground floor next to a window where I could see out to the front of the building. There was one woman typing away on a computer terminal and a doctor in a white lab coat. He had a thick accent that reminded me of Bela Lugosi from Dracula. As I was repairing the machine I saw a pickup truck park in front of the building. The truck was full of what looked like body bags, about 5 of them. Next (I kid you not) a short man hops out of the truck and hobbles into the building. He goes over to the doctor and tells him, "I have those bodies you wanted doctor". The doctor tells him, "good, good, bring them down into the basement." The whole time i'm convinced i'm being filmed for some kind of hidden camera TV show. It was freaky and I was glad to be out of there.
    I think the only thing that would have freaked me out more would have been an approaching storm with lots of lightning while all of this was taking place. Then possibly the electricity going out... and bats... and me screaming like a girl running back to the truck.

    Do for one what you wished you could do for everyone. - Andy Stanley

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