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02 December 2012 @ 12:13 pm
Problem at work - someone broke the TV!  
Last night I worked a party at RHA. I usually don't do evening shifts (the one perk of having been around for four years is that I can now make other Clubhouse Assistant do that particular job!) but it was Janelle's birthday so I agreed to come in.

The event was a birthday party, and was scheduled from early evening to midnight. Alcohol poured freely for a relatively large number of guests - I'd guess around eighty. They were noisy, but not excessively so. They had cleared the center of the room for a dance floor. There was nothing unusual about the group; it was an entirely typical party.

As the party was wrapping up, I did a visual inspection of the Clubhouse, following a new form my boss had just created for this purpose. Since they were paying for the janitorial service, I checked the kitchen and made sure all the food was removed and all dishes clean and put away. I inspected the decks and front of the Clubhouse to make sure no decorations or personal belongings had been left outside. The Christmas tree we had recently erected was undamaged, and they'd tried to keep the holiday table decorations as close as possible to how it was before. Everything looked OK, so I signed them off.

The party did not use the TV at all, so I only gave it a quick visual once over. It looked fine, so I did not turn it on. That was a mistake on my part.

This morning, one of the residents came in and wanted to watch a football game on TV. When we turned the TV on, the LED screen looked cracked and nearly all of the screen was blacked out. We can hear the sound, and see the picture around the edges, so the problem is definitely a physical issue with the screen itself. However, when the screen is turned off it looks perfectly normal. The crack only appears when the screen turns on, which makes me think that the damage is internal - like the LED matrix is damaged or something [insert technical mumbo jumbo here].

I called the homeowner who hosted the birthday party and let her know. She was surprised, since I'd done the inspection the evening before and said nothing about the TV. She agreed to call her co-hosts and see if they'd seen anyone hit the TV. They were positive that they had not done anything to the TV. I believed them - they were extremely nice and polite the entire night. However, there is some evidence that they couldn't always control their guests. At midnight we require all guests to leave the premises. Last night they could not make their guests leave. I heard them trying (and failing) to get their guests' attention, so around 12:15 I gave one of the hostesses a microphone. Even when she used it, the guests ignored her amplified voice and kept on chatting. There was alcohol served, there was dancing, and there was definitely stuff getting knocked over. (Some pretzels and crackers over by the bar, that sort of thing.)

One of the tables was set up in front of the TV, and the crack's impact point is at just about the right height that if someone pulled a chair out from the table quickly it would hit the TV. So if something happened during the party, that would be my guess for the most plausible scenario. But it's just a guess - I certainly can't prove anything.

The hosts thought that it might have been the cleaners who came after they left who broke the TV; they also suggested that the TV was broken before they got there. Unfortunately, when Janelle worked the morning shift she did not turn the TV on, so we can't confirm with absolute certainty that the damage happened during the party's hours. I doubt that we'll end up charging them for it, because even though it's most likely that the TV was broken during their event, I didn't personally witness it and we can't "punish" them on a probability.

It sucks, though. It's a $2500-$3000 TV that we've got to replace. I just find it a little ironic that the very same day we first implement our new pre- and post-party inspections, we fail to detect the exact sort of problem we designed them to cover!
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