the Torture Chamber
© National Publishing Company, 1999. All rights reserved.
Greg was in a foul
I think, perhaps,
it was because White Castle had accidentally slathered his cheeseburger
(known here as "sliders") with onions; you know, those little
tiny shreds that not even Greg could fully pick off. He hates onions
and specifically ordered his sliders without onions. When he pulled
his freshly steam-grilled burger out of the box and saw the tell-tale
signs of onions, he went postal.
Now, I had two
options. I could fire Greg for his unprofessional behavior of threatening
bodily harm on the individual who dared to cover his burger with onions,
but this was an unacceptable option...first because I like his wife,
second because it would mean that I'd actually have to do some work
around here. That left me backed into a corner with my only other option:
around the room, I spotted a group of shiny, new padlocks, still smelling
fresh from their blister packs, not even a fingerprint on them. I began
to chuckle and growl simultaneously. Greg heard the noise, and the hair
began to lift on the back of his neck.
he inquired softly...menacingly...onion-dotted foam beginning to form
at the corners of his mouth.
I affirmed. Thus it was that Igor and I, umm Greg and I, began the preparations.
We decided to put
to the rack a group of good locksmith-quality padlocks, and one El Cheapo
brand imported lock to see how well they would endure.
uh I mean Greg, begins the process of arranging the locks in our
Scientific Test Lab, otherwise known as the parking lot. Notice
the weeds growing in the cracks. Don't let yourself be fooled into
thinking this represents lack of maintenance. We planted them for
they are, nestling together for comfort...brand new, unbroken in
spirit, not a mark on them. From upper left our subjects included:
Mul-T-Lock model #13 with a 1/2" shackle diameter and protector;
Abloy model #PL240 with a 3/8² shackle diameter; Abus Diskus model
#24/70 with a 3/8" shackle diameter; in the middle is a Master
model #5KDA with a 3/8" shackle diameter; APR model #BP50 with
a 5/16" shackle diameter; Almont Re-Key with a 5/16" shackle
diameter and finally on the bottom row two El Cheapos purchased
at a local hardware store.
put an emergency call into Dale Libby asking him to bring over
his best lock picks. Perhaps he misunderstood, and lent us his
four-foot bolt cutters instead. Wasting no time, Greg leaned into
his work with glee, attempting to chop through both the APR and
can see, the APR lock took quite a lot of abuse, yet still refused
to die. The shackle remains intact despite the mark, even after
Greg and his onion-breath jumped up and down on the bolt cutters.
The Mul-T-Lok, however, truly put Greg into a rage when it barely
scratched after his best efforts.
when he went to work on the poor, defenseless El Cheapo brand, available
at a hardware store near you. Greg merely placed the padlock into
the bolt cutter shown here, and the shackle gave up the ghost. The
sliced shackle is not shown as most of it will need to be removed
from Greg's eye at a later time. We'll get around to scheduling
locks are not cooling down on a comfy bed of snow after getting
all sweated up about the tortures to come. They're actually laying
on a mound of rock salt. We soaked these babies for a while in brine,
and then tested their usability. All the locks worked rather well,
except that the El Cheapo was a bit sticky after it's bath. Both
Greg and I considered out corrosion attempt to be a failure, and
we began to think desperately of how to harm these padlocks for
when we spotted our garbage dumpster. (Doesn't everyone have a dumpster
in their Scientific Test Lab?) Locking the Abloy and then the Almont
padlocks onto the dumpster, we attempted to use a pry bar to remove,
or at least damage the padlocks. I'm ashamed to tell you that we
merely blistered our delicate hands, and did little harm to the
Greg was very frustrated. He ran to his car, and brought out a propane
torch and his Halloween mask. He began to grunt, and motion to me,
using the universal signals which translated to: "Boss, I'm
gonna burn these suckers into submission!" I looked at Greg
holding both a torch, and a metal tin full of padlocks in his bare
hands, and I began to ponder. I stared down at the lighter in my
hand. Weighing out the possibilities in my mind, I argued to myself
how much fun I could have watching Greg torch those locks, while
holding the tin. Just then the Workman's Compensation bill came
to mind, and I blinked.
I said as gently as I could, "why don't you put that metal
tin down and burn those pesky padlocks on the ground?" His
reply came as follows: "Duh, ok Boss." And here are the
results of that brainstorm...Greg down on the ground, next to a
tin of flaming locks, his crazy eyes-and plastic mask-only inches
from the flames.
As you can see, we got those babies really hot with the
help of both the torch and what arson investigators would call
I yelled! "Don't pick those locks up with your bare fingers!"
...but it was too late. In a frenzy to see the damage he had done,
Greg picked up the locks and blowing on his hands, inspected the
results. While the padlocks certainly did get hot, the results
were mostly cosmetic...both, I might add, to the locks as well
as Greg's fingers. (He can still type fine in bandages.)
time desperation was setting in. Greg picked an onion bit from between
his teeth, and I scratched my head. Just as we were ready to throw
in the towel, up walked Glenn Butcher, husband of our own ad saleswoman
Debbie Schertzing. "A 300 pound gorilla!" I exclaimed,
"Perfect!" After Greg peeled Glenn's fingers off my throat,
we tossed him the Mul-T-Lock, showed Glenn our array of Torture
Test Tools, and told him to take his best shot. Glenn looked at
us as though we were pansies, snarled at us to get back, and he
began the 300-Pound-Gorilla-Pull-Test. After straining and sweating
mightily, Glenn threw the unharmed lock to the ground and stalked
inside. "Maybe he broke a nail," Greg suggested.
when I got mad. Oh sure, up till now I was prepared to let Greg
lead us through this editorial nightmare, but by this time something
had to be done. That's when I spotted the sledge hammer. "What's
that doing here?" I asked Greg. "I asked Dale Libby to
bring over his favorite car opening tool," he replied casually.
So here I am preparing to bash the locks which I had neatly arranged
waist high on the trunk of Shipping Manager Sean Selby's new used
Jetta. "Uh Boss," Greg offered, inspecting an onion shard
under his fingernail, "maybe you shouldn't smash 'em on Sean's
new used Jetta." "Harumph," I snorted, "I would
have thought of that myself!" (I put the locks on the ground.)
I give you the results of the smash test, let me warn you not
to try this at home kids. The locks persisted in flying through
the air each time we struck them, narrowly missing parked cars,
and vital body organs. Now you can see from the pictures that
we wreaked a satisfying amount of havoc on the padlocks. Notice
the scrapes on the Abus, the bashes on the APR, the marks on the
Master, and the dents in the Mul-T-Lok! That's the good news...the
bad news is that we did not succeed in breaking a single one of
is the exciting conclusion of our Torture Test experiment. Yep,
you guessed it! We broke the El Cheapo brand lock with a couple
of taps of the sledge.
we're not showing all of the locks in this photo, you can see
that the locksmith-quality padlocks passed the tests with flying
colors. Oh they may be uglied up a bit, but we never did break
them. Only the cheapie is shown in pieces.
let me point out the serious side of this story. There really is a
difference between the locks you sell your customers and the locks many
consumers pick off the rack at Harry Homeowner's Discount Emporium. You,
the locksmith, sell a quality product designed to perform and to last. Harry
often sells whatever is cheapest, but still looks secure. Consumers should
look to locksmiths to purchase the right lock for the right application, one
that will take abuse yet still function. Oh, yes, about Greg. Last we've
heard, he's resting comfortably, and the therapists expect to get the
melted mask off his face in another few treatments.