Friday, April 6, 2012


My second day at my first job and as a newby I was trying much too hard. My boss came out of his office and asked me to go down three shops to a firm he knew well and ask for a long weight. Holding his hands two feet apart he said it had to be at least this long…and to hurry up.
As I walked down it occurred to me that it could have been a 'long weight' or a 'long wait'.
Still I went in all enthusiastic and offered my hands the right distance apart and told the boss I had been sent for a long weight, he told me to hang around until he was finished doing what he was doing and he'd get it for me.
Time ticked by….and by.
Eventually he came and told me I'd waited long enough and sent my back.

I arrived back at work to cheers and clapping that I'd fallen for it...I was scarred for life. (ok, so that’s a lie.. but I did feel embarrassed)
Forward ten years and I'm at another business working with a very accomplished Boilermaker and a new apprentice in his first week. We were assembling a steel frame and the Boilermaker kept standing a meter of steel on it's end, it kept falling over and he kept standing it up. After a few attempts he turned to the apprentice and told him he needed to tack weld the steel to the concrete floor (impossible) He gave directions for the apprentice to find 'Concretecraft' welding rods next to the 'Satincraft' steel rods. (Concretecraft rods don’t exist, Satincraft rods do) The apprentice searched and searched and when he finally gave up and came out of the storeroom we were all there clapping and cheering. (deja vu)
The next day another Boilermaker pushed a piece of Aluminum against the bench grinder (which doesn’t spark) and complained the grinder was out of sparks. He told the apprentice to go borrow a box of sparks from another nearby firm. I waved him over and into the paint shop where I worked and gave him a small empty box, I wrote 'Grinder Sparks size16' on the box and told him to take it to the firm and ask them to fill it with grit blaster sand.
He was away for a half hour then returned and gave the box to the Boilermaker who'd asked for it and said they were out of small and large sparks so he'd settled for medium… he was cheered and clapped and immediately accepted into the crew. I like to think I saved him a bit of pain…
He went on to become a very good Boilermaker and that of course is entirely down to ME!



Symdaddy said...

The Quartermaster in my old unit (WOII Gillies) was (as they all are) referred to only as 'Q' (as in the Bond films).

Newbies to the unit, fresh from training, were always told they were missing some piece of kit or other and told to ring the Quartermaster and ask for 'Q Cumber'.

No one ever stopped to think, they just did it.

Our Quartermaster was never a happy man!

Pearl said...

Used to work in a warehouse, and our thing was to send the new guy to Warehouse Six. There were, of course, only five...

:-) Someone also sent me looking for a left-handed hammer, but I don't like to talk about it.


Windsmoke. said...

Those are just a bad as being told to go the hardware shop and buy a can of striped paint and a left handed screw driver :-).

Magsx2 said...

Hi Tempo,
That is just hilarious, I really feel sorry for the newbies in places, then again.... LOL

River said...

Grit blaster sand!
That's a stroke of genius.

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

When I worked in a lab, we sent a newbie down to the hazardous material store for a bottle of the dreaded K9P.
We togged him up with a respiator, PVC suit, polycarbonate face visor, 4 layers of rubber gloves, white wellies AND blue overshoes, and to top it all of, an autopsy rubber apron.

He was not a happy bunny when he cam back and found it was ...(I leave this as an exercise for the student)

Tempo said...

Hi Symdaddy, amazing that these little tricks are worldwide and quite similar throughout.

Hi Pearl, Thats a good old one, quick and to the point..and very, very funny.

Hey Windsmoke, oldies but goodies, and theyre STILL falling for them. (dont ya love that)

Hi Mags, It's an unofficial rule that you must do this to all newbies and yet no one tells you what to expect...

Hi River, Back then Grit blaster sand was black granules like dead sparks, these days they use actual sand because they found the black stuff was causing cancer.

Hi TSB, I had to Google K9P to find out what it wouldn't want that to get on you so the precautions were well worth it. They would have looked pretty funny with all that garb on, very funny!

Sarah said...

Reminds me of when I tricked my boyfriend into asking for blinker fluid at the car parts store.

My hubby now still laughs that I ever dated a guy that clueless around cars :)

Tempo said...

Hi Sarah, I love these stories of fools and foolers. It's so funny that we manage to get sensible people to do such silly things.