Dave is a supervisor in an engineering maintenance organisation. On his own initiative he had set up a local storeroom for spares that he felt he dare not throw away. Most of his store related to equipment that was ‘obsolete’ (i.e. no longer sold to customers). After a fair amount of hard work his special store was tidy, organised and something of which he was proud because it enabled him to meet the customers’ needs. It soon became known among the engineers that if they had a problem sourcing a spare, there was a good chance that Dave would be able to help.

One day the regional manager came to visit. He asked Dave if he could take a look at ‘Dave’s Den’ – he’d heard about it too! The regional manager instructed Dave to throw away everything that was not on the current parts list. Dave explained his reason for keeping the equipment, but was told that customers in need of repairs to old equipment should be visited by a salesman to sell them up-to-date replacements. Dave’s response was, ‘That’s all very well, but salesmen are not on 24-hour call and customers who rent their equipment might not want to buy new’. The regional manager told him that this was the salesman’s problem.

Dave was not convinced. He kept his store.