Friday, June 09, 2006

Working in a rural county

My plant is located out in the sticks. The entire county only boasts a population of 20,000, and half of those people live in the county seat, 14 miles away from us. Consequently there are few strangers, and everybody (pretty much) tries to help out others when they can.

Today my office phone brought a call from our local phone company (Verizon) repair man. His name is Darrell. Yes, we’re on a first-name basis.

He was calling to tell me that our county hospital recently installed a brand new phone switch. Their old switch was just sitting in a room taking up space, not connected any more, and they wanted to get rid of it.

I waited for the punch line.

Then he told me, “They’re willing to give it to anybody who’ll haul it off. It works fine, and it’s just like yours!

He went on, “I told them you might be able to use some of the digital cards in it. They’re the same as in yours. You know, both trunk cards and internal line cards. Cards that’ll cost you hundreds or even thousands if they go bad on your switch and I have to order you new ones. You know, if your switch takes, like, a lightning hit or something?”

(See, a phone switch is digital; just a big computer, really.)

“Anyway, if you want it call this guy. He’s in charge of maintenance, and he just wants it hauled off or he’ll throw it in the dumpster.”

I asked Darrell why he thought of me. Didn’t others of his industrial and business customers have switches like that?

“Oh, sure,” he told me. “But you’re the only one who doesn’t have a service agreement with Verizon. All the others would get replacement cards at no extra charge ‘cause they’re paying a monthly fee. But you’d have to pay big bucks if your cards went bad. So I thought, I’ll just call John.”

So, did I call the hospital maintenance man? You bet I did.

He said he’d have it ready for me to haul away one day next week, and I told him to just let me know when.

Depending on its condition (unless it’s just junk, which I doubt from Darrell’s description), I’ll probably arrange for a company donation to the County hospital to kind of even up the score a little.

You talk about a win/win situation! Verizon may not be too happy about it, but Darrell is taking care of local organizations and sowing lots of goodwill.

There can be advantages to small community life!


Hale McKay said...

I'm sure Verizon wan't like it.
...Sorry about the comments on that blog - I forgot to "turn" them on. When I am prparing a post with pictures (hmm just about every post) I turn off the comments and put an older date on them and them publish to check the pic and script alignments. - Again, forgot to turn it back on.

...LOL - I thought the rejection letter was funny too.

Hale McKay said...

Let me be the first to conratulate you... As I am posting this comment you are about 6 visitors away from 20,000 hits.

Anonymous said...

That was very kind of Darrell. I wonder if he chatted to his other brother Darrell first before phoning you. Yeah, yeah, I know bad joke! Living in a small community most definitely has its advantages.

Anonymous said...

Props to Darrell. That is the kind of thing that keeps your customers loyal to you. The scenario reminds me (indirectly) of some of the situations I have described to you regarding my boss. You know what I mean.

Congrats on passing 20,000.

Trish said...

I work and live in a rural area as well. The population in our little burb is maybe 2000 during the week, swelling to 200,000 during weekends when all the tourist swarm in.

We still have that small town mentality, though. Lots of cases of people stepping up to help neighbors with fund-raising and donations when tradegy strikes.

But the down side is the gossip and lack of privacy. When my mom was diagnoised with terminal cancer --which was a misdiagnoises as it turned out--people I barely knew would stop me in the store to inquire about our plans. It amazed me how forward people could be and I kept thinking that such in-your-face-interest, wouldn't happen in a big city.

Trish said...

Oh hey,

Big congrats, you're up to 20026 now. grin

kenju said...

I think Darrell needs a reward. That was a very nice thing for him to do.

Karyn Lyndon said...

What a wonderful story for Verizon. I bet something like that would be worth a lot more to them in publicity than what they will lose in servicing your equipment. Maybe you should tell them...or at least the local newspaper. Darrell's the man!

Duke_of_Earle said...


I would be tempted to tell them (or the local paper) except for the fear that Darrell might get fired. Some unenlightened manager in the phone company might view that kind of action as costing them revenue, or encouraging customers NOT to buy service agreements. I imagine the repair techs are supposed to be encouraging customers to pay for the service agreements.

Maybe I'm selling Verizon short, but I don't want to mess with a man's career.