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Impatience Usually Produces Results Counter To What You Want

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: volcanodancer | October 11, 2021

I’m an electromechanical engineer. I was called out to deal with a set of faulty automatic gates. They had gotten stuck in the open position, and it was compromising the security of the building. My job was to find out what had caused them to stick open, fix it, and get them working again.

This particular manufacture of gates uses an encoder to tell the control panel where the gates are in their swing, and it turned out that kids had been riding them and had caused this to go out of calibration.

Recalibration was a simple two-minute job; I put a couple of traffic cones on each side of the gates and set the calibration going. During this process, the gates open fully and then close fully twice at about half the usual speed.

Enter [Woman]. She had parked her white Audi in the secure compound whilst the gates were open, and even though she was only allowed in there to load and unload into her shop, she regularly parked all day in a visitor’s space — totally against the terms of her lease.

I set the calibration going and the gates did their first swing totally open. At that point, [Woman] came out to her car and started her engine.

The gates started to close again, and [Woman] pulled out of her space like a nutjob and accelerated toward the gates, stopping just before the cones but revving her engine like she wasn’t pleased.

Seeing them closing, she pressed her fob button to get them to open, but of course, they were calibrating so they were totally ignoring all instructions from the fobs.

The gates closed fully. The lock mechanism engaged, and they started to do their second swing, at which point she started to roll forward, revving all the time. Just as she touched the cone with her car, she pushed it back and broke the infra-red safety beam, thus aborting the entire procedure and making the gates lock in a slightly open state.

She sounded her horn.

Woman: “Let me out!”

Me: “You caused the processor to fault. Those gates aren’t opening any time soon; it will be at least five minutes before I can restart the procedure as I have to power them totally down.”

I didn’t, but she didn’t know that. She proceeded to start shouting and getting angry, so I just said:

Me: “Sod you. I’m parked outside.”

I locked the control box, walked to my van with my tools in my pocket, and started driving away.

About two minutes later I got a call from the landlord of the building, pleading with me to go back and saying that [Woman] was really, really sorry.

I gave in. I went back and started the calibration again — but this time, I deliberately turned the speed on both motors to the lowest setting, so it took about ten minutes in total.

The woman never did apologise, and she still sped out like an idiot as soon as I moved the cones, but it gave me great pleasure knowing that my malice made her almost half an hour late.