In addition to people calling us before they dig, they have the option to enter the same info on line. Approx 65% of all dig requests comes through our Internet Ticket Entry Program. This is a system an excavator can use instead of calling us to enter their requests to have utility lines marked before they dig. We train our users and give them support on how to use the system. If they have any problems or questions, they can call us, we will walk them through the ticket. There is also a manual available on-line they can use if we are not available
As you all know computer programs work on the garbage in/garbage out principle. It only does what you tell it to do. The excavator is required to put an address, or if no address a detailed description of the area he needs marked. If not entered properly, the correct utilities may never receive notification that they need to mark the area, therefore, they don't know they have to mark, don't mark and BOOM a gas line or phone, power whatever is damaged.
We review all of the tickets that are done for quality. One day last year, there was a ticket that everyone was talking about. The guy gives no address, just a road name. It is a MAJOR road that runs for MILES throughout that county. He tells the locators to mark the entire property. Great huh?? So now the locators have to figure out which of the thousands of properties on this major road needs to be marked.. Ok fine.. we call the excavator, get the correct info, cancel the wrong ticket, issue a new one.
BUT that is not all that is on the ticket. In remarks (the area reserved for special driving instructions or gate codes, bad dog.. etc) He writes the following. I will type it EXACTLY as he had it so you can see what an idiot this guy really is (sorry Firefox spellcheck) Anything in italics, are my thoughts or explanations:
"What idiot chose this peice of crap locate solfware. Oh I know it's not the program it is the moron trying to use it. (at least he is smart enough to figure THAT out) Well I have treid for 30 min to get a located at a adress(that he didn't put on the request) that I had no problem getting a permit for but this P.O.S (piece of shit) can not find it. Again thats to the moron who chose this wouderful program. I would love to meet the idiot that decided 2 use useless POS IRTH internet" (the name of the program)It was probably your brother
So, after everyone in the office gets a big laugh over it, the boss brings it to my supervisors attention because our team trains the ITE users and gives help and support when needed. She told my super that someone with a sense of humor should call him and explain how to use the system properly. She knows my humor, so of course she chose me. I was hoping against hope that he would also have a sense of humor about it. Alas, he did not. I had to listen to him bitch about the system, how stupid it was blah blah blah. When I explained to him what he should have done, he said, "How in the hell was I supposed to know that, I should just be able to put the info in, and it should find it." I asked him where he put the information. When he told me where he entered it, I discovered that he did not enter it correctly at all. I told him THAT is why you were having the trouble, he said, "could you just cancel the ticket and do a new one?"
I did, and three major utilities were not notified when he did the ticket. Which could have led to his electrocution, gas leak/fire/explosion and/or cutting off communication for thousands of people had we not caught the ticket before he started to dig. But, people like this are what give me job security.