With the office party season approaching, photocopier technicians are bracing themselves for another spate of weight-related call-outs.
According to research by Canon (UK), requests for service calls can rise by up to 25 percent at this time of year, thanks to the seasonal abuse of its printers and copiers. This ranges from photocopying things they weren't designed to copy, to simply being stood on while hanging decorations.
Yes, the tradition of replicating one's rear-end at the office party is alive and well -- and technicians said that since Canon increased the thickness of its copier glass from 3 millimeters to 4mm a few years ago, it's less likely to result in breakage, too.
It still carries risks though, in particular paper jams: "I had to repair a machine with a photocopy of a man's groin jammed in it," said technician Steven Mannion. "The manager suggested an office identity parade to see who Canon could charge for the call out charge."
His colleague Geoff Bush added: "I was called out for the usual 'glass broken due to someone sitting on it,' but in this case a young lady had copied her rear and broken the glass, but at the same time jammed the scanner. To her dismay, the unfused copy was still in the machine and everyone in the office recognized who it belonged to."
Canon also asked its staff to report the strange objects that they had found in damaged equipment. The list included stockings, a condom, a kitchen knife, a sausage roll and a vibrator -- although presumably not all in the same machine.
On the more natural side, they encountered hazards such as mice, a sleeping cat, spiders, a crab, a swarm of bees, a cockroach, and even a snake.
Still, every cloud has its silver lining, with more than two-thirds of Canon's technicians regularly invited to at least one customer office party. However, the company claims this is down to their skill and discretion, rather than having them on site ready for a faster fix.