Send In The Clowns: Safe Comedians

Make Me Laugh?
(Some of the stuff here reprises of previous comments, some not)

Hiring a safe technician to open a safe or seeing one at work awakens the frustrated Inner Stand-Up Comedian in many people.

Understandable, I guess. It's usually their first contact with a safecracker, and most customers don't have a clue what to expect. All they have to go on is what they know from movies and television. Their questions and comments reflect this.

In the name of diplomacy, service vendors like me have to politely grin and bear it. But sometimes those in my line of work fantasize about some of the retorts we could make, especially to the more clueless and unmannerly people. In fact, I have to confess that depending on circumstances and customer, sometimes I give in to the urge.

"Are you going to use dynamite?"
"Are you going to blow it up?"
You have no idea how much I'd like that.
Is that what you want?

(A few years ago a friend in the business told me he always arrived ready for dynamite questions. When someone asked about the dynamite, he opened his tool kit and wordlessly pointed to a tightly-strapped bundle of red highway flares. Very realistic looking, he told me, as were the terrified stares. That probably isn't such a good joke idea these days)

"Are you going to torch it?"
Hmm . . . safe in a closet full of expensive clothes, room full antique furniture, white wall-to-wall carpets . . . a perfect place to light a 2,000 degree cutting torch, right?

"Did you learn this work in prison?"
Yes, of course . . . just like all firefighters are former arsonists, and all surgeons are ex-slasher murderers.

"When you're done here I know a nice bank."
You do? I've always wondered what a bank looks like.
Yes, but why do I need you?

"Wow, I'm in the wrong business!"
Lessee here . . . Your house is four times as big as mine, new Mercedes, new Porsche, your swimming pool looks like I could water ski in it, and your jewelry safe holds more dollar value in gems than most banks are allowed to keep . . . yep, you're definitely in the wrong business.

"How long will this job take? I have to be someplace in an hour."
Exactly 7 minutes, give or take a few hours.

"Why does it cost so much?"
Compared to what?

"Are you going to sandpaper your fingertips?"
No, I thought I'd just sit on a nail while I work.

"If what you're doing doesn't work maybe I should just take my safe up to San Quentin and let those guys work on it."
If they're so good, what are they doing in there?

When the Inner Stand-up Comedians are out of jokes, their Inner Haggling Businessman will often stand in for the comedian:

"A guy did a job like this for me a few years ago, and it was a lot faster and cheaper."
What a bummer . . . you remember the job, the price, and how long it took, but not his name and phone number?
Was it for an identical piece of work on an identical safe? Show me the invoice. I'll beat his price by a hundred bucks.

"Can you do any better on your price?"
Sure. Add a hundred bucks and I'll be doing better.

"If it doesn't take as long as you thought it would, will it be cheaper?"
Sure, same way you take a pay cut whenever you have an easy day at work.
If it goes quickly it's because I'm experienced and good at my work. So the better I get, the less I should earn? Is that it?

"It only took you xx minutes/hours!! That's a lot of dough per hour!"
When you called you asked for a flat rate quote, not hourly. Would you offer to pay more if I had a harder time?
Would you feel comfortable if a surgeon struggles with your kid's tonsilectomy?

"But the guy I bought this safe from told me I could get it opened for like, $75.00!"
He either doesn't know anything or he saw you coming.
And you believed him, even though he didn't tell you who would charge that little?

"The company I called first was going to charge $100.00 less than you, but they couldn't come."
That's nothing . . . I charge $200.00 less when I can't come.

I've probably been hearing the same lines all this time because people see the same television shows and movies across the country, but the stuff I just recounted is what people in my business commonly hear.

After reading the above I know you're probably thinking I should keep the Day Job, and and give up on that comedy-writing career. I think you're right.

But seriously folks, I still like my work.

Ken Dunckel



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