Bugged out by pests and printers

As one on-call technician discovers, appearances can be deceiving when you're making on-site repairs

I work as a freelance technician for a relatively large company. I troubleshoot and fix printers, computer parts, and so on. On the whole, the job is uneventful, but there are notable exceptions, such as these two experiences that deliver high doses of the "ick factor."

A pesky printer problem

One day, I got called to a food factory of some kind to do printer maintenance. I needed to replace a printer toner and drum roll, as well as take a look at a few odds and ends (roller engine, printed circuit board) -- pretty straightforward.

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I arrived at the site and was led through the factory. Along the way, I noticed all kinds of posted policies and procedures; one prominent sign in many locations urged workers to report any pest to the nearest manager/supervisor immediately if found. Overall, the place looked pretty clean.

Eventually, we reached the printer, which was located in the office of a floor supervisor. Being that close to the food production area, the computers and the printer had some dried food on them but were in working order.

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When I opened the printer, I made a shocking discovery. It was filled to the brim with small cockroaches, ants, and spiders. You name it, it was there, apparently attracted to food particles inside the printer.

My skin crawled when I saw the pests, especially since I'm allergic to cockroaches (actually, cockroach poop, but they leave it wherever they go). The floor supervisor who worked with the printer on a daily basis seemed as shocked and disgusted as I was.

The fact that the printer worked at all was miraculous. I replaced the parts as required, but I needed to take multiple breaks and wore gloves and a face mask while I worked. Even with these precautions, I suffered a bad allergy attack.

From what I understand, that printer was installed once, then remained untouched for six months or so, aside from basic print jobs. Somehow, either nobody noticed the cockroaches and ants and spiders making their way into the printer, or they just chose to ignore them and the signs. Who knows?

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