Sunday, August 16, 2009

There's always another side to the story

We have a large room at work where everyone gathers for lunch. There are refrigerators and freezers to keep food there and a stove (with an oven) and microwaves to heat up or cook hot meals, too. Previously, the company had regular microwaves that you'd buy for home but they were used so much that they kept breaking down. So, the company went out and got industrial strength microwaves. There are pretty nice except they don't have rotating tables in them and it takes a little work to get them to time the cooking for anything except 10 preset lengths of time. It's not that hard to do but it takes a few extra pushes of the buttons.

After about a week, though, they stopped beeping. Not only the beep you hear when you push a button so you know it really "pushed" but also the beep that lets you know that your food is ready. You know how it is, why wait there watching your food cook for three minutes when you can go find a piece of the newspaper to read or go off to talk to someone until the microwave beeps to tell you it's done. Well, we were no longer being signaled that the cooking was finished. People were leaving their cooked food sit while other people were waiting. So, the big shot engineer had to investigate!

Tthe fact that all three microwaves lost this ability at the same time told me that it wasn't a component failure. So, I looked around for the manual and read through it. I would be ashamed if the manuals for our equipment were this bad. But I worked my way through it and found that the beep could be turned off or on. Too bad you couldn't adjust the volume because the beep was pretty loud. I guess, with these being industrial strength microwaves, they would be found in noisy convenience stores or restaurants where the beep had to compete for your attention. So, I turned the beep back on for all the microwaves. I was so pleased with myself.

The next day at lunch, I went to heat up my lunch and noticed the microwave didn't beep again. None of them did. I checked the settings and they had all been changed to not beep. Someone was playing a little game here. So, I changed them all back to beep. Of course, the next day, the same thing happened. No beeping. I turned it back on. This went on for a week.

Finally, I happened to go into the cafeteria when the "beep hater" was turning off the beeps. I could have snuck out and come back in later to turn them on again but decided we'd better have it out here and now! "Why are you turning off the beeps?", I asked. "Don't you know how inconvenient it makes it for people wanting to be notified that there meal is ready?" Well, the guy who was doing it was the network administrator for our company. And he and another fellow spend long periods working in the network room just off the cafeteria. He said, "Do you have any idea how maddening it is to be working in that room with all the beeps going off? We are trying to concentrate there and all we hear is BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. It drives us crazy!"

So, I decided to stop turning the microwave beep back on after that. I know what it's like to be distracted while you're trying to do your job. I guess a little inconvenience isn't so bad.


Cindy said...


Cindy said...

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