Field service pilot fish spends most of his time fixing phones, networks, computers and point-of-sale systems for retailers, so this complaint from a grocery store chain doesn't sound too unusual -- except that the site is a two-hours-plus drive each way.
"The customer reported that the fuel center phone could receive calls, but could not originate them," says fish. "They had buried fiber between the main store and the fuel center and installed an IP phone in the fuel center kiosk. The phone was more expensive, but it saved them the service calls that used to be required after an electrical storm when they used buried copper.
"When I got there and tried the phone myself, I noticed that an additional digit appeared on the phone's display after I dialed the first digit. The phone's keypad was so crufty with spilled drinks and whatever else had landed on it that one of the keys had stuck in the depressed position.
"I managed to pry up the stuck key, and scraped the sides of the key caps with my screwdriver and pocket knife to the point that they didn't stick for the moment. So I drove nearly five hours round-trip to make a two-minute repair.
"But the phone looked so decrepit that I recommended replacing it with a refurbished one.
"The chain asked if I could return to the store to install the new phone when it arrived. I said yes, but urged them to preconfigure the phone so it would be plug-and-play for the user to self-install, and dispatch me only if the self-install failed. They didn't call back."
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