IBM Cops and Gismos

IBM Security Guards

     While working in facilities support, I was closely involved with the IBM security department. The guards were the most uncouth group I’ve ever happened upon. Rather than securing IBM assets, these guys were just the opposite; they were pilfering and stealing whatever they could get their hands on. They never brought lunch; instead they’d raid the cafeteria refrigerators and gobble down all their stomachs could hold. Any leftover bulk food was there’s for the taking.
     They’d walk out with gourmet foods such as steaks and frozen shrimp, and toss whole turkeys and hams over the back fence to be picked up later. This was possible because they were in cahoots with the cafeteria manager, who was also requisitioning the food supply for personal meals at home—sometimes claiming he had to pull samples for quality control and test for any impending spoilage.
     Anything lying around was also there’s for the taking; they’d salvage scrap copper wire, extra lumber, acoustic ceiling tiles, carpeting, fluorescent light bulbs, etc. Of course some of it wasn’t reusable, but most of it was in prime condition. They worked with contractors to keep this salvaging under caps.
     A few years before then, all guns were taken from them after some lummox accidentally shot himself in the foot. They said he was playing quick draw with another guard when his gun went off. After that he was hobbling and wobbling and unable to make the rounds; so he was assigned to the security control desk. From then on they called him, “Piece Man Jones.” Meaning that he use to keep the peace with a piece.
     I noticed that several times security cameras were trained on me as I made my rounds. At first I thought they were trying to nab me for stealing, but later surmised they were worried about me whistle blowing on them. To relax their fears, they sometimes have me snatch stuff for them while they stood as look outs. In other words, they baited me in on their hustle. During an evening shift, one of the guards pulled me aside and said, “You don’t rat on us, and we won’t rat on you.”

IBM Trial Experiments

     While making my rounds of the facility— blowing sludge out of the boilers and examining air conditioning equipment—I had access to almost every area on the site. Most interesting was the basement area where the engineers stored the preliminary contraptions of their new inventions.

     It looked like the rejects of failed trial runs from a team of mad scientist. There were all kinds of weights and levers, wheels and screws, springs and cranks, transformers and relays, etc. The gadgets were typical of those found in Rube Goldberg comic strips and the archives of Leonardo da Vinci drawings. It was the results of guys and gals who liked to tinker.

     There were also old relics that must have been preserved for museum displays. See photo inset. To operate this machine, one had to multitask with their foot and hands. Thus, an idea device for ambidextrous women with lots of patience. It is from the era of punch cards and wired pin plugs. Indeed we’ve come a long way since then.

5 comments on “IBM Cops and Gismos

  1. Theft is still a big reason some companies can’t stay afloat.

    Ha! It’s amazing how small machine have become over the years. Great post Sonny.

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