Things that break in the night

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how things get broken without any explanation.

For example, I went use the table saw and instead of cutting wood, it burned from the friction of the blade. My first thought was that the blade had been mounted backwards, a common mistake of inexperienced persons. But a closer examination revealed that every single one of the 60 carbide tips was missing or badly broken!

Now, to my way of thinking, there is no way on earth that this could have occurred without some awareness of the guilty party. Even if all of the teeth silently sheared off, quietly falling into the soft nest of sawdust in the bottom of the saw’s base, there would have been some very noticeable difficulty in the continued cutting of whatever was being shoved into the blade. But a round of questioning produced a string of quizzical looks, shoulder shrugs and “I don’t know nuttin’ about it” responses.

I have always told my employees that I want to be informed immediately when something breaks, even if it was caused by doing something wrong. I offered a no fault policy, allowing the person responsible to inform me without fear of repercussion. But I was rarely informed.

No one ever seems to notice when something breaks. How frustrating is that?



  • Gene Kelly says:

    There is no way that the teeth silently sheared off. I am surprised that it wasn’t obvious who was guilty by the numerous wounds that person would have sustained. That person is either too embarrassed to admit to a bonehead error or that person is/was angry with you and that was the retribution that they exacted on you and they don’t want you to know that they are angry. Just saying.

  • In a long career selling finishing products, I found that the majority of problems with non-functioning aerosol cans was caused by the first person who used it. In a shop with more than one person, the non-functioning can was normally returned to the shelf, without correcting the problem, or reporting it to anyone else so that corrective action, or separation from the functioning materials could be undertaken. Of course, the “last person known to have handled it” became the scapegoat when the malfunction was discovered, or it was claimed to be the fault of the manufacturer.

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