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!