Sometimes You Have to Fire the Customer

One time I was temporarily out of work.  There wasn’t much going on and I was sort of “on-call” for little odd jobs.

I was called in to do an emergency job about 30 miles south of town.  It was a small town that had an old septic management system.

The town’s sewage was piped down to a large tank outside of town.  There were two submersible pumps that would pump the sewage from the tank to a nearby, manmade, pond.  For lack of a better term, you could call it an “open septic pond.”

The two submersible pumps were regulated by a set of controls that would work one pump at a time and use them alternately.  There was one, critical, flaw in the control set up.

If one pump failed, the controls would not automatically turn the second pump on.

One pump had failed.

Remember, the pumps were submersible pumps.

Raw sewage is not fun to deal with.  What could I do?

First I rewired the controls so that the alternate pump would start working and continue to work until the second one was back on line.  Then I pulled the second pump and, as carefully and cautiously as I could, secured it in the back of my work truck.  I then went as rapidly as the law allowed to a well known motor/pump repair shop and delivered the “mess” to them.

Then I went home, cleaned up, and burned my clothes.

Some days later I was called by my employer.  They informed me that the motor repair shop had called them and had informed them that there was nothing wrong with the motor and pump.

I replied that they probably had not wanted to open it up and look at it.

I also told my boss that they could send someone else to re-install the motor.  It wasn’t worth it to me for just a couple hours of work.  (After all, I had a limit to the amount of clothes I owned.)

I never heard anymore from anyone about that job.

And that was a good thing.


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