This weekend I finally returned to the vending machine task that was overtaken by a myriad of plumbing and wiring jobs.
This is one of those challenges that the engineers amongst us love. Essentially we have a set of components and no idea how the programmer has coded the application. First defect was a dodgy joint on the pcb, a small link wire had failed and was promptly replaced. At this point I have a machine which doesn’t vend, it takes the credit and the order but then cancels both without action.
Logic dictates that after verifying the credit the machine should motor the screw on the appropriate stack until either the light beam is broken or a timer expires and the stack is declared empty. That I am not motoring at all tells me that the code is too simple to realise that the beam is broken before the process commences and instead believes that the vend has completed. Removing the IR sender and locating it atop the receiver confirms this by giving me a continuous vend. Some tweaking of brackets resolves the issue and the machine is re-commissioned.
The thing to note here is that at no point did I mention frustration, anger or despair and that is because there was none. Engineers are comfortable that fixing anything is possible so see no need for frivolous emotions such as frustration.
In other news it would seem that sales staff are not as well trained as they once were. In comparing energy costs I have found most suppliers to be sensible and noted absently that only one was chasing me. With a bit of help from excel yesterday I confirmed what I had expected, he was significantly more expensive than the rest!
I thought basic sales training was not to pursue the overpriced deal for risk of showing your hand. In fact I am certain that this is fairground 101! A suitably worded email has advised this supplier that he is far from the ‘preferred supplier’ list and should not contact me with anything less than a significantly improved price point.
On the subject of energy costs it’s interesting to note that the FIT costs, the money that funds free energy improvement, comes from a levy on business as does the climate charge levy. When the government announces that such things as free loft insulation will be funded by a “levy on business” remember that they aren’t just talking about supermarkets and the like that levy is being paid by your local pub as well.
Finally I leave you with an excellent response to the customer who asks why his beer has not reduced to reflect the penny a pint reduction in duty announced in the budget. Since there was a twelve pence increase from the brewery this year, before the budget, the gentleman was told that the business was more than happy to more accurately reflect the variation in prices with an eleven pence rise, just for him!