12 August 2010

Me and Xerox

I was thinking this morning of some of the odd tasks I was asked to perform during my tenure at Xerox Corporation. One day I was called into our Department head's office with my manager. Oh no, not the ax! No, not that. I was handed a round trip airline ticket to New York City - first class, of course - and a canister of film. The instructions were very specific: take yon canister to such-and-such a film developing company, ask for Mr. so-and-so to have the film developed. Oh yes, don't let the film leave your eyes. It is very confidential. Okay, chief!
So off to the Rochester airport, on to NYC and the film developing company and the gentleman-in-charge with film canister clasped tightly to my breast. Upon reciting the instructions, the gentleman-in-charge looked at me as though I was some escaped lunatic. After a second or so of consideration, (I informed him that I had brought cash payment) he took me to the bowels of the operation where I could follow the progress of the film right up to entry into the darkroom, where I was stopped short and told to wait until the film came out of the development solution. Well! That wasn't part of the deal as far as I was concerned. My protest fell on deaf ears, so I acquiesced and waited impatiently until the film came into view. I was asked to identify the strip of film and was able to determine that it contained one of our Engineering aides standing next to a piece of equipment. After paying the bill, I walked outside, firmly clutching the developed film, hailed a taxi and departed for airport, Rochester, and Xerox. Mission accomplished.
I later learned that the film was a demonstration of a new faster copier that we had developed (the Xerox 2400). The reason for the trip to NYC instead of using the local Kodak developing facilities is that we and Kodak had become competitors in the copy machine business and our management didn't want the film to wind up in our competitors hands.
Ah, those were the good old days!

1 comment:

Ronabear41 said...

That's a good story!