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How Many Dollars Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?

, , , , | Working | CREDIT: islanderxyz | June 4, 2022

A few years ago, I was in the boardroom of an earthmoving company, talking to the CEO about how we (my company) could assist with their maintenance cost. Before the meeting, I got all my facts from our guys on the ground.

CEO: “You are costing us too much to maintain our equipment.”

Me: “You are in the middle of nowhere. It’s in the middle of a desert. Travel costs are significant, but we can manage if we plan repairs and maintenance to minimise the travel costs.”

CEO: “Well, how about that $10,000 bill to change a broken light last month? Why would you guys charge us and not plan it when the machine was back in range?”

I knew this one was coming, so I repeated what my guys had told me. The owner had decided to put his son through the works to take charge of the company. The CEO decided to send Junior to the middle of nowhere to keep him at bay. Junior decided to use his leverage and ordered a minor repair — which was not critical — to be carried out. However, the machine was 2,000 km out, so it was a two-day trip to change a light.

My guys asked to confirm whether that was real and whether the company wanted to send them to do such a small task. They were told in no uncertain terms that they were the client and could do as they wanted. A purchase order was provided and the rest was history. I think Junior wanted to give the CEO a taste of how things would be. My guys maliciously complied. I mean, they would be paid overtime, and because it was in the desert, two guys had to go, they needed satellite navigation, the works.

Me: “We did request confirmation and were told you’re the client, and you provided us with a purchase order to proceed. So we did.”

CEO: “You shouldn’t have proceeded. This is ridiculous.”

Me: “Your company provided a valid request and refused to listen when told it would prohibitive. We did warn you about the cost, but the decision is ultimately yours. We can’t control your staff.”

CEO: “Who did authorise this work?”

Me: “I can send you a copy of the purchase order.”

I could see the veins on his head throbbing.

I heard Junior was moved back to the head office shortly after.

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