Burst Pipes And Expectations

, , , , , | Right | April 1, 2021

I work for a computer and telecommunications company in downtown Toronto as a records manager. Although we do have electronic records, we keep paper copies for legal purposes.

A pipe bursts on the twelfth floor of the building and causes a considerable amount of water damage to offices on the floors below. None of the paper records are damaged, but it will take over five months before repairs to the damaged offices are completed. During that time, my coworkers and I are displaced and relocated to our branch office in the west end of the city.

Only two days after the “flood,” I receive this phone call.

Me: “[My Name], how can I help you?”

Caller: “Thank God you answered your phone! I left you a voicemail yesterday and you didn’t respond!”

Me: “I’m sorry about that. I only just got settled in at my new desk, and I didn’t have a phone until late afternoon.”

Caller: “I need to borrow the [Vendor] file.”

Me: “Okay, I can send you an electronic copy.”

Caller: “No, I don’t want an electronic copy. I need to see the paper copy.”

Me: “Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the paper copy. I’m working out of another office at the moment.”

Caller: “Why? I thought your desk was on the tenth floor?”

Me: “It was, but I’ve been displaced because of the water pipe bursting.”

Caller: “The water pipe?! I’m on the eighteenth floor and I haven’t moved!”

Me: “Yes, but I’m on the tenth floor and our office was badly damaged.”

Caller: “I need that file; can you get it for me?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t.”

Caller: “Why not?”

Me: “Well, because I’ll be working out of this office for the next few months until the damage is repaired. I can send you an electronic copy.”

Caller: “No! I absolutely must look at the paper copy. This is very urgent! Can’t you come over and get it for me?”

Me: “I don’t think I can do that.”

Caller: “Why not?”

Me: “First of all, it would take me more than an hour to get there from where I am now. I would need to take a bus, a streetcar, and the subway. Plus, the tenth floor is closed off and under construction. It would be a health and safety risk if I tried to get in.”

Caller: “I’m on the eighteenth floor; the water pipe didn’t cause any damage up here!”

Me: “Yes, well, since water flows down and not upward, I’m sure it didn’t. But it has caused damage to my office and I don’t have access to the paper copy. I can send you an electronic one if you’d like.”

Caller: “Oh, just forget it! I’ll take a look at the paper copy when you come back!”

I hope her request wasn’t too urgent. We were displaced for over a year and a half!

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