Replacement Parts

A piece of lab instrumentation wasn’t functioning. The piece isn’t complicated, consisting of a LCD screen, four buttons, and a way of measuring reflectivity.  Still, it’s necessary for some tests, so I called the manufacturer.

Me: The device’s read out doesn’t appear to be working.
Associate: That tends to happen.  We can repair the unit for $500 or replace it for $1400.
Me: That’s ridiculous.
Associate: Yes, the repair is generally more economical.
Me: No, the prices in general.  I can literally build a supercomputer for $1400 and buy an iPad for $500.  No thank you.
Associate: But how will you do the test?
Me: With a stopwatch, like we did before we had your device.
Associate: What about the time savings of the automated test head?
Me: I’m wage not salaried.  I’ll gladly operate a stopwatch for the rate I’m paid.  Good day.

I regret not dropping in my boss’s observation of “this looks like something built from a kit for Electronics merit badge”.