Not In Any Kind Of Remote Control

, , , | Right | January 24, 2019

This happened in the early 1990s. We sold a remote-controlled car called the “Red Arrow.” It was fast, large, and rather expensive. The store manager sold one to a customer.

A day or two later, he was back with his car and said it didn’t work. The manager tested it out and it didn’t work for him, either, so he wrote up a repair ticket, put it in a box, and sent it off to our repair center in another town. A few days later, it came back with a note which read, “Tested; unable to find anything wrong.” The customer picked it up, and everything was presumably cool.

The day after that, the customer was back. The car still didn’t work. My boss checked it out again, and yup, it didn’t work, so he wrote up another ticket, boxed it up, and sent it off to the repair center. Once again, it came back with the information that the repair techs could find nothing wrong with it. Once again, the customer — now somewhat annoyed, since he’d bought the car a week ago and it had spent more time in repair than it had with him — took it home.

As chance had it, I hadn’t been a part of any of these transactions. There were usually no more than two of us on, and the manager had dealt with him all three times he was in. The fourth time he showed up, though, he got me. I always opened — because, frankly, the manager hated to get up early — and when I got there to open the next day, the customer — now furious — was standing outside waiting. He looked like he was about to hurl the car through our plate-glass window.

I let him in and took a look at the car. I popped in the big NiCd battery pack to run the motors and got some AA batteries out of the drawer where we kept test stuff for the electronics. As the customer was saying, “Oh, I didn’t know you had to put batteries there!” I set it on the floor and ran it up and down the aisles a few times.

The battery compartment in the Red Arrow wasn’t completely obvious: they went into a panel that snapped over the slot for the NiCd pack. Since the customer hadn’t read the manual, he didn’t know where they went. Mind you, I hadn’t read the manual, either, but I knew the system needed power for the electronics as well as the motors, so I looked at it for a moment and spotted the label. I can see the customer not figuring it out, though, he had to be fairly dense to not read the manual after the repair center returned it as tested and okay not once, but twice. But, seriously, our store manager couldn’t figure it out, either?

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