Thursday, December 18, 2008

"Don't Worry, CJ, You'll fit right in!"

So, there I was, sitting at my desk at 4pm this afternoon, fielding calls from customers who left everything to the last minute and are subsequently in a panic to get everything done by Friday morning, when the phone rings yet again.

My fellow inside sales guy is out back helping the warehouse guys get caught up, and the boss is on the phone dealing with whatever the Hell he deals with, so I stop what I'm doing to answer it.

The voice begins, "CJ, my customer left everything until the last minute and is subsequently in a panic to get his work order done for Friday morning! I need a fuel hose repaired!"

CJ: What needs to be done?

BC: I need new ends put on the hose.

CJ: Size? Application?

BC: Inch-and-a-half Scovill ends.

CJ: Lemme check stock (does so)... yup we have the ends. Bring it down.

BC: Be there in five minutes.

Twenty minutes later, the hose arrives. It's a 100ft length of arctic fuel hose. His instructions were to cut the defective end off, replace it, then cut the hose in half and put new ends on, making two 50ft lengths.

Long story short - the guys were way too busy getting all the other orders done to work on the hose, so they asked if I could do it. No problem, I've made thousands of these hoses in my career. There was just one problem...

Our customer's customer neglected to drain the hose first. So we had a hundred foot hose, 1-1/2" inside diameter, full of diesel fuel. Which was now on the floor of the warehouse.

Took all the Zorb-all we had to contain the mess on the floor, but the fuel still inside the hose was the more pressing issue. Not having an appropriate vessel for the fuel, we dumped our Rubbermaid garbage can into a dumpster, then proceeded to fill the can with the diesel. What the Hell, it was a 30L can... half of which was full when we were done. One problem solved, then another rears its head...

Turns out, it wasn't our hose. It was a competitor's product, and our hose ends wouldn't fit. At least, not without a modicum of effort...

Mr. Customer caught a blast when he showed up to pick up his hoses.

So, there we were, 4:55pm, five minutes before we closed, and we still hadn't even started on the hoses. But, between myself, Mr. Customer, and two of the warehouse guys, we were able to get everything done in about 45 minutes. He was happy, and all four of us smelled like diesel.

One of the guys piped up, "Damn, I'm gonna have to get my mom to drive me home so I can change.. she's here now, and we were going to go out for supper right from here..."

"Imagine how I feel," I laughed, "I have to take the bus downtown so I can do some shopping before I head home. Now I fucking reek of fuel!"

"Don't worry, CJ! ", he smirked, "You'll fit right in!"

"Yeah," pipes up Mr. Customer, "If I were you, I'd be afraid of all the bums and sniffers that'll try to mob you!"

I laughed, which later left me feeling a little guilty, as I encounter sniffers and solvent abusers on a daily basis, and know it ain't funny...

"Don't worry," the other warehouse guy (incidentally, my cousin), "I'll give you a ride home."

Mr. Customer was extremely grateful, and very apologetic. I still hit him with an environmental cleanup fee, and labour charge... then off we went, homeward bound.


... which is where I'm at now. I've got a bloody headache from the fumes. I've had two showers and I STILL smell of diesel (which has a very high flashpoint, so I don't need to worry about open flames from matches, candles, etc). Worst of all, the entire scenario has put me two hours behind schedule, so I've opted to do the last of my Christmas shopping tomorrow on the way home.

Think I'll fix myself a drink, and then order dinner in. Bloody Hell, my head hurts...