16. The timer

Here’s an example of something or other:

Our outside lights are on a timer, and lately they haven’t been able to turn them on until hours after sunset. If they try, the lights will turn right back off. This includes the lights for the menu. Customers get confused and cranky, which obviously makes my job harder.

When I asked about this, I was told that the timer is “broken” and it’d have to wait for an electrician… which I’ve seen take months.

Not being familiar with the system and not having access to it (it’s considered manager-only), and not being told much, I can still diagnose the problem on my own:

The timer isn’t “broken.” It’s slow. It’s supposed to shut the lights off at 8 AM and allow them at 5:30 (I’m guessing at the exact times), but instead the lights are on at 10 AM and won’t stay on until 7 or 7:30.

The reason it’s slow is because it’s basically an analog clock, with nothing like a battery backup, and there have been a few blackouts.

And it’s an outside service call because middle management doesn’t trust store management to reset a clock. And store management, obviously, doesn’t trust workers enough to tell us things like this.

It’s distrust all the way down.

Also, the reason they have to try (and fail) to turn the outside lights on at sunset, even though they’re on a timer, may be because the timer isn’t meant to turn the lights on at sunset — it’s meant to keep anyone from turning them on before sunset, to save money. I could be wrong about that — I wasn’t paying much attention to that subsystem when it was working — but it fits.

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