For some reason while retrieving change from a vending machine today, I was reminded of a story from my Air Force tech school days - two of them.
Story #1 actually involved a vending machine. The barracks at Keesler AFB, MS, had three floors and, oddly enough, the only floor with vending machines was the one at ground level. The soda machine was notorious for taking your dollar bill or quarters and not giving back any change. Wise airmen quickly learned to use exact change. But, there were always new people coming into the barracks, so the vending machine operator always had a fresh batch of suckers for their machine. At least that’s what I though, too, until one day I observed some guy slamming the machine after it ate his change. After he left, I figured I’d try shaking the machine a while to see if I could get his change. No luck. However, I went up to my room and got a clothes hangar and poked an end up into the change slot. I found a wad of napkins crammed up in there. When I dug them out, voila, about $5 in change fell onto the floor. Some scumbag had been collecting his fellow servicemen’s money for who knows how long. After I spread the word, he must have figured we were on to him and didn’t do it any more. Never did find out who it was. Yes, I kept the money with the blessing of others for having discovered the ploy.
Story #2 was in the same barracks. The Mississippi Gulf Coast, home of Keesler AFB, outside of Biloxi, is a miserable place in the summer. Living there without air conditioning makes it even worse. For most of the summer, the guys in the hall where I lived on the second floor complained about how crappy the air conditioning was in our rooms. We seemed to be the only hall in all of Keesler AFB complaining. We were labeled as whiners. Having done a lot of electrical and air conditioning work prior to going into the USAF, on more than one occasion I removed the screws from the HVAC room door ventilation panel and crawled inside to check things out. Everything seemed to be functioning properly, and there was plenty of airflow out of the unit. Oddly, the airflow to all our rooms was almost nonexistent. One day after visiting the HVAC closet, I decided to investigate the ductwork. In these buildings, the volume above the drop ceilings in the hallways was used as the ducts, and vents were cut into all the rooms just below ceiling level (no drop ceilings in the rooms). A quick peek did not reveal anything out of the ordinary, but then I got my flashlight and looked closer. What I found was that the guy who lived in the room right next to the HVAC closet at the end of the hall had filled the area with cushions so that nearly all the air went into his room. I put my hand down at the bottom of his closed door and felt a huge amount of nice, cool air rushing out. He was not in the room at the time. So, I rearranged the cushions to block his vent and cleared the rest of the area. By the end of the day he was complaining about the heat. Everyone else was ecstatic. This scumbag was the leader for the hall (called a “Rope” because his brown nosing got him the honor of wearing a special colored rope on his uniform). Needless to say, the guy was not too popular after I exposed his selfishness, and, by the way, he denied having stuffed the cushions up there.
- Kirt Blattenberger
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster