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A complaint was received by the Pontiac Division of General Motors:

This is the second time I have written you, and I don't blame you for not
answering me, because I kind of sounded crazy, but it is a fact that we have a
tradition in our family of ice cream for dessert after dinner each night. But the
kind of ice cream varies so, every night, after we've eaten, the whole family
votes on which kind of ice cream we should have and I drive down to the
store to get it. It's also a fact that I recently purchased a new Pontiac and
since then my trips to the store have created a problem. You see, every time I
buy vanilla ice cream, when I start back from the store my car won't start. If I
get any other kind of ice cream, the car starts just fine. I want you to know
I'm serious about this question, no matter how silly it sounds: 'What is there
about a Pontiac that makes it not start when I get vanilla ice cream, and easy
to start whenever I get any other kind?'

The Pontiac President was understandingly skeptical about the letter, but sent
an engineer to check it out anyway. The latter was surprised to be greeted by
a successful, obviously well-educated man in a fine neighborhood. He had
arranged to meet the man just after dinner time, so the two hopped into the
car and drove to the ice cream store. It was vanilla ice cream that night and,
sure enough, after they came back to the car, it wouldn't start.

The engineer returned for three more nights. The first night, the man got
chocolate. The car started. The second night, he got strawberry. The car
started. The third night he ordered vanilla. The car failed to start.

Now the engineer, being a logical man, refused to believe that this man's car
was allergic to vanilla ice cream. He arranged, therefore, to continue his visits
for as long as it took to solve the problem. And toward this end he began to
take notes: he jotted down all sorts of data, time of day, type of gas used,
time to drive back and forth, etc.

In a short time, he had a clue: the man took less time to buy vanilla than any
other flavor. Why? The answer was in the layout of the store.

Vanilla, being the most popular flavor, was in a separate case at the front of
the store for quick pickup. All the other flavors were kept in the back of the
store at a different counter where it took considerably longer to find the flavor
and get checked out.

Now the question for the engineer was why the car wouldn't start when it
took less time. Once time became the problem -- not the vanilla ice cream --
the engineer quickly came up with the answer: vapor lock. It was happening
every night, but the extra time taken to get the other flavors allowed the engine
to cool down sufficiently to start. When the man got vanilla, the engine was
still too hot for the vapor lock to dissipate.

Moral of the story: even insane-looking problems are sometimes real.
good unsure bad

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