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Did You Know
August 2012


Did You Know?
by Ken Carr
August 2012

NCR Stories


     This Quarter, I thought I would relate some Patterson Myths and employee stories I have heard or witnessed over the years. 
     Mr. Patterson had waited a couple of days for the Accounting Department to deliver an end of month financial report. The reason given, they were running behind compiling the report. This apparently was an ongoing problem.  The story goes, with his patience at an end, Mr. Patterson marched over to the Accounting Department, had the accounting records gathered up and took them to the power plant where they burned. With that done, he told the Manager of the Accounting Department that they were now current and he expected them to stay that way.
     Mr. Patterson had taken a newly hired manager to the Executive Dining Room for lunch.  Introducing the young man to the others in the room, Mr. Patterson asked him to say a few words to the group. Apparently the young man told Mr. Patterson the he was sure the others would prefer to eat their lunch than to hear him speak. Mr. Patterson said, “By all means let’s eat our lunch.”  The story goes, no one at NCR ever saw the young man again.
     One of Mr. Patterson’s pet peeves dealt with waiters that cleared one dish at a time as each diner finished a course of the meal.  He wanted all dishes gathered at one time only when all diners had completed that course. Supposedly, Mr. Patterson was hosting a lunch at a New York hotel. Apparently the hotel had been made aware of Mr. Patterson’s wishes. When the first diner completed his salad, out popped a waiter to retrieve the wooden bowl and Mr. Patterson was ready to act.  The story goes that Mr. Patterson reached under his chair pulled out a hammer and nail and proceeded to nail his salad bowl to the table.
     Mr. Patterson would take unannounced tours of the factory and on these visits he would stop and talk with employees.  He would ask several questions, about the company, his boss, his pay, the working conditions, if he was satisfied with the job, what he would do to improve the way the job was done. The story goes, if an employee was too happy with his job and everything about it, then Mr. Patterson believed the employee wasn’t helping the Company grow and improve. Many times he would fire them on the spot. Seldom was any one actually let go but Mr. Patterson certainly got his point across to those who overheard the conversation and yet again in his own unorthodox way.
     Most of you know the story that James and John Ritty invented the cash register. And after John Patterson purchased and used a couple Ritty registers for his business he saw the future of the cash register and bought the business from the Ritty’s. At that time the Ritty’s were using one of their very first registers in their tavern in Dayton.  Well, that register is still in Dayton at Jay’s Seafood Restaurant.  The Manager at Jays just last week told me that it was used for decades at Jay’s and is still owned by them.
     One of the best and “by the book” Dayton Factory Managers was on his way to an assembly department when he saw a man standing by a coke machine. On the Factory Manager’s return, the same man was still standing by the coke machine.  He confronted the man asking him if he didn’t think his break was a little long. The man said no. The FM told him to get back to work. The man said he would as soon as he finished his coke.  At the point the FM was fuming and asked the man for his name. The man gave it to him.  The FM asked him where he worked. The man said, “With the phone company.” (AT&T)
     Having purchased new Retail Terminals from NCR, the customer decided to place the new units in his large stories and move the older units from there to smaller stories. One store manager called Dayton wanting to buy crates to ship his terminals to a smaller store.  He was told that NCR had contracted with an electronic equipment hauler and that crates were not necessary. He was told NCR would even schedule the move for him.  The manager was insistent so he was given the name of the crate manufacturer.  About a month later the store manager called Dayton. He had order the crates at $40 each and received them broken down flat and banded in groups. The crates had arrived after 5:00 PM and the store manager told the delivery driver to just leave them on the loading dock.  When the day crew arrived the next morning the crates were gone. Waste Management had mistaken the flattened bundles for trash, had hauled them away, had crushed them and they were in the dump.
     If you have any other Patterson stories, NCR stories or personal stories, please let me know.               

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