Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
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Signs of naivete in executives

The long-serving coffee automaton at [E5] was dying. The CEO decided to buy the replacement in a large, nearby consumer-electronics store, because “If it breaks, we can just walk over, hand it in, walk back with a temporary [complimentary] replacement, ...”. I remember considering this highly naive; more likely the automaton would be away on repairs for weeks with no replacement—after all, this is Germany. (Having at least partially learned my lessons from [E4], I decided to keep my mouth shut; in particular, as the decision may still have been correct, even though the reasoning was flawed.) The new machine was bought for somewhere around 1500 Euro—and within days started to malfunction. The store was contacted: A replacement was only available if less than 200 (?) cups had been made—else we had to wait a few weeks until the automaton came back from repairs in Switzerland. Of course, the 200 cups had already easily been exceeded...

Several weeks later, after much hoping, experimentation, and a severe caffeine deficit in the employees, the automaton was sent away, and the predecessor temporarily re-instated (and actually still worked better than the new automaton).

Sometimes, I would prefer not being vindicated.

Lesson: Even people who are experienced with e.g purchasing, can make mistakes that should have been ruled out by common sense and everyday experience.

Side-note: I suspect that the automaton was a “top-of-the-line” family machine, rather than a “medium professional” one. If so, it ran at more than ten times its standard workload, and neither the malfunction, nor the seemingly absurd 200 cup limit are surprising—a typical family might need a month to reach that mark. Then again, it might have been a combination of bad luck and customer-unfriendly conditions...