We have a copy machine in one of our faculty rooms. It’s a dinosaur. It’s so old, they can’t even get parts for it anymore and pieces of it are actually missing. But despite the abuse it got, it kept plugging along.
Last year, there was a rumor that the machine was going and there would be another one. Well that didn’t happen. Something about the budget not being passed the year before, I think. So we kept the service contract on it, and kept our fingers crossed that if it needed to be fixed the repairman could make it happen. And thankfully they did.
Then, at the end of June when the service contract expired, the decision was made not to renew. Why spend the money and take the chance? We still had to pay for the toner cartridges which are about $400. So the copier was left to die a slow death.
Sometime over the summer, the machine started faltering. Messages were appearing on an almost daily basis saying that the toner was low, or it needed a different size paper, or that there was a paper jam. It really didn’t know what it was it needed because most of the time these things were fixable by just turning the machine off and on again. But we knew that the toner was low and there was just no way that we were going to spend another $400 to replace the cartridge. So we just ignored the messages.
Well, that all started in July when there were only one or two teachers who were using it. Then came September when everyone returned and the word spread quickly that the copier was on it’s last legs. Day-to-day really. This didn’t stop them from using it however.
It also didn’t stop the service company from trying to collect monthly service payments. Each month when the statement came in, I would call them and tell them that we hadn’t renewed the contract and they would assure me that it would be taken off the books and we wouldn’t receive any more mailings.
The machine made it through September. We got another bill. I called. Same message.
The machine made it through October. By now we were referring to it as the miracle machine comparing the toner to the “fishes and loaves”, because for all intents and purposes, there was no way it should have lasted that long.
Then it made it through October. Once again, we were billed. Once again I called and tried to explain to them that this machine didn’t deserve service it deserved to die a quiet death. I was overheard making this statement and had some people really concerned that I was actually talking about a living being.
Well, once again, I was assured that we would no longer get billed for monthly service. And, shortly before I went on leave, the machine finally printed it’s last copy.
Now I don’t know if those bills were the magic that kept it alive. But I do know that there was probably a lot of prayer going on by the staff to keep the blessed thing operating as long as it did.
Oh, and I checked my work e-mail last week (I had some more surgery and have been out on sick leave) and guess what? They’ve ordered a new copier!!!!
I hope they don’t think they’ll always get what they pray for.