Sticky tapes, in more ways than one!

Member: Slidertogrid

Over the years we had a laugh or two when customers got a certain type of adult entertainment stuck in the VCR. There would be the customer that brought the machine in to the shop and usually asked in hushed tones if the tape could be removed now while they waited, now sometimes this would be because the cassette was a library tape and it was due for return, sometimes because the tape was of a nature they didn’t want the wife to find. We would usually oblige if possible.

Trev the video wallah always said you could tell the level of desperation by how hard the owner had tried to remove the tape. There were usually signs of leverage around the housing and on occasion this had been quite frantic and a lot of damage had resulted. One of the funniest was a field job. One of the trainees had just passed his driving test so I told him he could shadow me for a few days just to learn the basics of dealing with customers. We would start him off with a round of mostly repair deliveries and simple repairs just to let him in gently. One of the jobs was to deliver a repaired Beta VCR back after repair. We rang the bell and a youngish chap with quite a high pitched voice ushered us into the lounge, he must have been in his mid 20’s but sounded much younger, a bit like Micky mouse in fact.

I took the Video and the apprentice brought in the case with the hairdryer and test tape, while I connected the video I explained to Andy the apprentice about the possible condensation problems caused by taking the machine from a cold van into a warm house and how to use the hairdryer gently on the tape path if this occurred.Then I went to play the test tape to check the machine was all working OK. I then realised that the test tape was VHS and that the Beta tape was on the bench back at the shop. Quick as a flash being helpful Andy grabbed a tape from the pile next to the TV loaded it and pressed play. The playback was eeerrm… well… There was a rather large chap laying face down on a bed naked while his partner who had obviously just returned from her job as a (rather stern looking) secretary dug her stiletto into his back while whipping him with a strap. He must have done something to really upset her.

My eyebrows rose as Andy calmly tried search and pause then pressing stop said ” That all seems to be working OK” Micky’s voice had risen another octave when he squeeked ” did you see that programme? it was on channel 4 last night!” ” no” I replied ” I must have missed that”. Bill paid we were soon on our way, “well” said Andy “I certainly learned something there!” ” Oh” I said ” what was that” ” I didn’t know you could get porn on Betamax!” he replied. “And another thing, He said looking at the job card “If that was on channel 4 last night how did he tape it? We had the video”.

After we stopped laughing I asked him to pull the next job card and read it out. “It’s a rental job, no picture, Hitachi Video” ” Yea Ok.I’ll do this one” I replied “You keep your hands in your pockets this time”! “Yea.. and after picking up that bloke’s tape and remote I’m gonna wash em before I eat my sandwiches!” he replied..

3 thoughts on “Sticky tapes, in more ways than one!

  1. Hi Rich,

    I bet there were loads of these type of calls.

    Now what about all those amorous bored housewives? I’m surprised there was never a “Confessions of a TV engineer” film with Robin Askwith playing the hapless receiver of their advances.

  2. And then there were the tapes where the customers themselves were in the starring roles…

    My only recollection of a bored housewife was one young lady on a Saturday morning in a (very) negligble, telling me she was a “Chess Widow every weekend”..
    Seems like I rarely inspired those sort of thoughts…

  3. I have had that.

    The guy trusted me enough that he let me get the tape out and left the VCR with me. He also told me the tape belonged to a friend. Next day I put it on the table and got the top off and almost choked on the WD-40 fumes. I suspect it was only when the WD-40 ran out that he looked for help.

    The tape must have been in the VCR while it was raining hard as the RF mixer and tuner were rusted well beyond retrieval. The tape was snapped where it had stopped and had a printed label like a bought one.I took the screws out and teased the hubs out and cut off the bits that were contaminated and copied them to another tape of about the same length and after some cleaning teased the new hubs back in again.

    So much for a 5 minute job!

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