바닐라 아이스크림 알러지가 있는 자동차의 진실

GM사의 폰티악 부서에 고객불만 사항이 하나 접수되었다


제가 바닐라 아이스크림을 사기만하면 차에 돌아와서 다시 시동을 걸려고 해도 시동이 안 걸리더라 이 말씀입니다.폰티악 자동차에 제가 바닐라 아이스크림을 사면 시동이 안 걸리고 다른 종류를 사면 쉽게 걸리게 만드는 그 무엇이 있는 건가요?


폰티액 사장은 그 편지를 보고 물론 납득하기 어려웠지만 어쨌든 엔지니어 한 사람을 점검하러 보냈다. 엔지니어는, 고급 주택가에서 잘 살며 분명히 학력이 높아 보이는 한 남자의영접을 받고 놀랐다. 저녁식사 직후에 만나기로 약속이 되어 있었으므로, 두 사람은 즉시 차에 올라 아이스크림 가게로 갔다. 그날 저녁은 바닐라 아이스크림이었는데, 아닌 게 아니라, 차에 돌아왔을 때 시동이 걸리지 않았다.


엔지니어는 그 후로도 사흘간을 저녁마다 방문하였다. 첫 날 초컬릿 아이스크림을 사니까 시동이 걸렸다. 둘째 날 딸기 아이스크림을 사니까 시동이 걸렸다. 셋째 날 바닐라 아이스크림을 샀더니 시동이 안 걸렸다.


일시, 연료의 종류, 왕복 소요시간 등.


바닐라를 살 때는 다른 종류를 살 때보다 시간이 덜 걸렸다.


바닐라는 가장 인기있는 품목이기 때문에 사람들이 빨리 살 수 있도록 다른 통에 담아 가게의 맨 앞 쪽에 따로 놓여 있었다. 다른 향의 아이스크림들은 모두 다른 계산대 근처의 가게 뒤 쪽에 진열되어 있어서 향을 고르고 계산을 마칠 때까지 시간이 상당히 오래 걸리게 되어 있었다.


「베이퍼락」


이 이야기의 교훈 : 말도 안 돼 보이는 문제일지라도때로는 진지할 수 있다.


['vaporlock'은 '증기폐색(김잠금)'이라고 번역되는 일종의 엔진트러블인데요, 실린더 내에 증기가 꽉 차 있어서 일시적으로 점화를 방해하는 현상이랍니다 = 역자 주]


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Pontiacs Allergic to Vanilla Ice Cream

A complaint was received by the Pontiac Division of General Motors:

"This is the second time I have written you, and I don't blame you for not answering me, because I kind of sounded crazy, but it is a fact that we have a tradition in our family of ice cream for dessert after dinner each night. But the kind of ice cream varies so, every night, after we've eaten, the whole family votes on which kind of ice cream we should have and I drive down to the store to get it. It's also a fact that I recently purchased a new Pontiac and since then my trips to the store have created a problem. You see, every time I buy vanilla ice cream, when I start back from the store my car won't start. If I get any other kind of ice cream, the car starts just fine. I want you to know I'm serious about this question, no matter how silly it sounds: 'What is there about a Pontiac that makes it not start when I get vanilla ice cream, and easy to start whenever I get any other kind?'"


The Pontiac President was understandingly skeptical about the letter, but sent an engineer to check it out anyway. The latter was surprised to be greeted by a successful, obviously well-educated man in a fine neighborhood. He had arranged to meet the man just after dinner time, so the two hopped into the car and drove to the ice cream store. It was vanilla ice cream that night and, sure enough, after they came back to the car, it wouldn't start.


The engineer returned for three more nights. The first night, the man got chocolate. The car started. The second night, he got strawberry. The car started. The third night he ordered vanilla. The car failed to start.


Now the engineer, being a logical man, refused to believe that this man's car was allergic to vanilla ice cream. He arranged, therefore, to continue his visits for as long as it took to solve the problem. And toward this end he began to take notes: he jotted down all sorts of data, time of day, type of gas used, time to drive back and forth, etc.


In a short time, he had a clue: the man took less time to buy vanilla than any other flavor. Why? The answer was in the layout of the store.


Vanilla, being the most popular flavor, was in a separate case at the front of the store for quick pickup. All the other flavors were kept in the back of the store at a different counter where it took considerably longer to find the flavor and get checked out.


Now the question for the engineer was why the car wouldn't start when it took less time. Once time became the problem -- not the vanilla ice cream -- the engineer quickly came up with the answer: vapor lock. It was happening every night, but the extra time taken to get the other flavors allowed the engine to cool down sufficiently to start. When the man got vanilla, the engine was still too hot for the vapor lock to dissipate.


Moral of the story: even insane-looking problems are sometimes real.



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