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Didn’t Plan For That In The Pipeline

, , , , , | Working | December 3, 2019

(Our European company is producing and servicing pipe inspection equipment. While most of our customers are from Europe, we also have some from overseas. With these, the prevalent way of servicing is to ship the faulty equipment to us for repairs, but some customers prefer repairs on-site. For these cases, our technicians prepare everything that they may need – tools, spare parts, cables, electronic components, various measuring devices, and assorted gadgets — all packed in a big plastic trunk. Such pieces of luggage may look very suspicious in a post-9/11 situation, so when our colleague is traveling to South America via New York for on-site repair, we are joking that the trunk will surely cause bomb alert. But the colleague, a bit prankster himself, shrugs it off with a smile as a “bad joke.” He is wrong, because the trunk is really flagged as suspicious and, instead of preparing for subsequent flight, he finds himself standing impatiently in a separate room with TSA agents around the trunk. The agents, pouncing on the equipment inside with enthusiasm of small boys in a toyshop, are especially interested in camera heads; these devices don’t look like pieces of ordinary electronics, but more like solid chunks of aluminum and stainless steel, designed to withstand harsh conditions. After a while, one of the agents, holding the camera heads in his hands, asks my colleague about them.)

TSA Agent: “What are these devices?”

Colleague: “Camera heads for pipe inspection.”

TSA Agent: “Pipe inspection? What kind of pipes? Gas pipes? Oil pipes?”

Colleague: *grinning* “Sewage pipes.”

TSA Agent: “Yuck!”

(My colleague watched as the agents put everything back and scurried away, probably to wash their hands with a hand sanitizer. He never bothered to tell them that all the spare parts, camera heads included, were just fresh from manufacturing and they had never been in a real sewer. He was just glad that he was able to catch the next flight.)

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