The Absent-Minded Guy

We had a mixing motor that had blown more than just a fuse; it needed an entire new control box. I took it in to a local motor shop that I assumed were very knowledgeable on fixing motors since their name was Boulder Electric Motor Company. I also assume they’ve been in business for a long time now since the store has been at this location for decades. It took over two and a half months for us to come up with a solution to our motor. The proprietor is a very old man in his 80’s and he putts around the store. His son maintains the store (he is in his 60’s) and works on motors too. They have some other workers as well. The son is my main point of contact at the store. I hope I’ve painted a decent picture.

I mention the ages of the main men because I feel like they might have a lot going on and just have a lot to keep track of too. I’ve discussed ad naseaum with the son about what this motor needs: wiring of the potentiometer (the same one that broke) or a new control box. Our conversations went like this:

I think this motor needs a new potentiometer
“It doesn’t. I gave you a brand new potentiometer with the motor when I brought it in” (He didn’t remember)
Oh okay. We’ll wire it up

I call back 2 days later.
“Were you able to get the potentiometer wired?”
I can’t figure out how the potentiometer needs to be wired
“Um…well, we brought it in about 2 years ago when the potentiometer needed to be replaced then too. Can you just do that again?”
I’ll have to check to see if we have the diagrams around here somewhere…

Call back 2 days later.
“Were you able to find the wiring diagrams?”
No… I haven’t been able to find them
“Okay. Is there another way we can get the motor to work?”
I’ll have some of my guys take a look at it and get it fixed
“That’s great. Thank you!”

I actually wait almost 2 weeks before checking in. Stupid me.
“How is our motor coming along?”
We haven’t looked at in in a while
“… This is a pretty important motor for us. So…what’s the next step?”
I honestly don’t know because we’ve had it sitting in a corner and the guy that was working on it left on vacation
“O k a y.”
But I’ll have the guys take a look at it today
“Okay. Sounds good. I appreciate it. Thanks”

Call back in a week.
“Were your guys able to figure out the motor?”
We looked at it but were unable to figure it out
Some discussion.
“Okay. How about a completely new control box?”
Yeah, I’ll get one ordered and get it in

I call back 3 weeks later.
“Did we get a new control box in?”
No, I’ll get one on order. I’ll let you know when I get it ordered.
“Great, thank you”

I call back 3-4 days later.
“Did you order a new control box yet?”
No, we had some other customers bring in their motors, so we’ve been swamped with those
“You’ve had our motor for over month and you’re giving new customers priority?”
Well we’re unable to get to your motor right now because we have to wait to get the parts in
“I understand how that is…but shouldn’t we order a new control box so it can be on its way?”
[audibly agitated] I’ll order it when we get to it, we just have a lot of motors that came in
“But mine has been with you for almost two months now…I don’t understand”


I was like, “sqeeeeeeeaaak

I call back 2 days later, trying to be that squeaky wheel.
“Hey, did we get the box on order?”
I’m looking into it
“Would you be able to give me a call tomorrow and let me know the status?”
Sure. I’ll give you a call

The next day, no call. Day after that, no call.
I call on the third day.
“Were you able to find a control box?”
Yes, I have one. It looks like it’s about $100 or so
“Did you order it?”
No. Not yet. I was going to confirm with you first…” (Yeah right.  You forgot all about it!)
“Okay. That sounds good. Let’s get it in”

I’m thinking $100 is fine considering that a brand new variable speed motor can cost upwards of $2500. I don’t get a call for over a week. I’m hoping he followed through to order the new control box.

Finally, call after several days. The motor was completed. I wasn’t surprised when he told me that the control box was actually DOUBLE what he originally thought. Whatever. I’m finally done with it and need the motor back.