The Snappy Rapper

With a machine that could inspect, wrap and pack fifty items a minute, the chaps at the Snappy Rapping Machine Company thought they were onto a good thing. That was until they received an enquiry from China.

Ain’t no platinum in those Cartiers, switch your frame.Ain’t no manicures on board, then switch your plane. Imaginary Player – Jay-Z.

After nine months in development, the engineers at the Snappy Rapping Machine Company finally sat back to admire their new baby. The world’s first machine that could inspect, wrap and pack fifty items a minute. A machine that, once deployed, would take the drudgery away from thirty manual workers.

As they watched it run through its wrapping ritual, the engineers enthused over the servos, marvelled at the custom vision system and fondled the rubber synchronous belt with perhaps a little bit too much affection!

When the result of their hard work hit the marketplace, it did so with substantial acclaim. It even took an award at the Industry’s leading Inspection, Wrapping and Packing Trade Show.

As you can imagine, the engineers were over the moon. At a list price of £40,000, the system was expensive, it was true, but look what it could do! One year later, the marketing fellas had shipped over thirty systems. Into the US. Into Germany. Into Japan. They even sold one to a bloke in England.

With their hard-earned profits, the marketing chaps invested in a rather spiffy web site to promote the new machine. And, golly gosh, wouldn’t you just know it? It wasn’t up more than a couple of days when they received an email from China. From Deng Ping, a gentleman who ran a rather large Inspection, Wrapping and Packaging business in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic.

You could tell the company President was excited by the Chinese email by the way he couldn’t stop wiggling about on his Ergo mahogany wood frame high back swivel chair. So no one was surprised when just a few days later, he announced that he was to sally forth from this Green and Pleasant Land, with a contingent from the marketing and engineering department, to visit the darkest realms of Communist China. To meet the man with whom they all felt certain would contribute heavily to the financial profits of the company.

They waited five minutes in the lobby of the enormous Chinese complex before Mr. Ping welcomed them in to the boardroom where he explained his set up. How he had a factory the size of several football pitches. And how it was jam packed with rather young women who spent hours every day in the drudgery of Inspecting, Wrapping and Packing.

After he finished, the chaps from The Snappy Rapper rolled into their sales pitch. Salivating at the thought of a quick order, they rattled off the potential cost savings of the new machine to an obviously intrigued but somewhat bemused Ping.

Silence followed as the dumfounded visitors were politely informed that there would be no business forthcoming. That, although their machine was a rather innovative piece of equipment, there was simply no place for it in the Province of Guangxi Zhuang.

As it transpired, Ping’s young Chinese workers earned no more than £280 per year. And employing thirty of them working round the clock cost the company just £8,400 a year. And so it just simply wasn’t cost effective to buy a Snappy Rapper. Not for £40,000 a pop at any rate.

After a perfunctory farewell factory tour, Ping bid his adieus to the men from The West who left knowing a lot more about factory automation. And then they went off to see The Underground Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. So it wasn’t an entirely wasted trip after all.