The reckless record player story

We had some new windows installed in the warehouse. They’re really nice. The company that did them did a great job. They’re bright and shiny and clean. We’re thinking about installing a glass ceiling just because they’re so good.

It was expensive, though. Windows aren’t normally something that you want to be spending money on, especially in November. You have enough on your plate right now with holiday celebrations. There’s laundry to do. There’s a closet that you’ve needed to clean out for three years. And there’s a door upstairs that you’ve never even opened. You’d expect your windows, of all things, to be the one thing that you don’t have to worry about right now.

But no. There’s a problem that needs fixing. Windows. And you need to spend your whole day-off standing by idly as the problem’s taken care of. And you know you don’t need to be there while the people are fixing your windows because they’ve done it hundreds of times before and you have not, but walking away from service providers while they’re in your house is like choosing to sit down and watch TV while the police are out hunting down the guy who stole your wallet. You can’t do anything about it right now, but gosh-darn-it, at the very least look like you’re interested!

Sorry. There’s a lot of built-up anxiety around deadlines during this time of year. I need to relax. Maybe I should clean out the refrigerator.

Now a new shipment of old record players was delivered last Friday. Wally had seen someone’s advertisement for them online, saying that he bought them for practically free and didn’t want them, so he was selling them for dirt cheap, like new, must go.

Wally jumped on the sale and the fifty units arrived in a truck on that very evening. It was snowing. Since Wally is always willing to get into the Christmas mood early, he grabbed his collection of old Yuletide records the next morning and had one playing on one of our new players in every corner of the building. It was a magical day – almost everyone wanted to disappear.

Before too long, though, we noticed something odd. One of the record players had become quiet. I headed over to investigate, and I found that Wally’s copy of “Irish Christmas Lullabies for Violin” was missing. Not only that, but a nearby window was broken. Did somebody just break in?

I quickly ran to the next nearest record player. It was still spinning along, having played “The Twelve Days of Christmas” for a week now. I looked out the window to see if anyone was nearby.

Then, on starting the twelfth day, the song started speeding up. I looked over and saw it rotating faster and faster. I stepped back, afraid that it might explode. As soon as it reached the end of the song, “…And a partridge in a pear tree!” the needle lifted and the record launched from the player, right past my head, shattering through the window and out into the yard.

Let me tell you, it scared the living daylights out of me (which was a shame since I’d been saving up).

As the story would have it, those record players were Schreft & Dewd Classic Turntables, which were actually discontinued six months after they were first produced in 1971. A quick intra-web search revealed that the company marketed them as the “finyl player you’ll ever buy!” Without any exceptions, they were probably right.

Wally called his seller, whose online handle is “Mr.(_)*_*(_)Muffs,” and told him about the problem:

WALLY.  So, there’s an issue that I had with your turntables that you sold me. Did… did you know that they are projectile weapons?

MUFFS.  Huh?

W.  They launch records like Frisbees. At baseball pitching speeds. It’s very scary and we’ve broken windows already.

M.  Frisbees?

W.  Yes, Frisbees!… Records thrown like Frisbees!

M.  Well why are you doing that?

W.  Those record players that you sold us are doing that! They’re very dangerous!

M.  Yes, that is very dangerous.

W.  Where did you purchase them?

M.  Huh?

W.  Where are they from?

M.  Why, you can get Frisbees from the dollar store!

W.  No, where did you get the record players from?

M.  Oh, uh, uh… I bought them up when the company was going down. I knew the owner, and he told me I could get them for cheap, and so I bought them all up and have been trying to sell them off for all those years since to turn a bit of a profit.

W.  Well they’re not good.

M.  They’re not cooked?

W.  No, I said they’re not good!

M.  So they are cooked? What were you throwing them around like Frisbees for?

W.  Sir, I think you are going deaf. All I want is a refund.

M.  Well, thank you for talking with me, but you’re right, I really do need to go get Jeff, and I want you to have fun, to.

W.  No, sir, I said–

–But the man on the phone had hung up. I knew he was putting on a show, just dodging responsibility for his mistakes. How? you might ask. Our shipment was 29 count. And the record players only go up to 70 decibels. Think about it.

And including the replacement of those windows, those record players were easily the worst $55.13 that Wally has ever spent, in terms of ROI.


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