Tonight at the library I was emptying one of the bins that is part of our large, automated check in machine. These bins are large, sturdy things that plug in but also can run on battery for when they're not connected to the machine or a socket. Actually these bins are getting pretty old so sometimes they work better than others. When they break down in any number of ways we collect them in an out of the way area where they wait to be worked on. But the basic idea of these bins, when working properly, is that the floor of the bin automatically lowers as it fills. Then when full it can be sent to another branch as is, or, more often, emptied into appropriate boxes or carts, as the floor of the bin automatically rises.
I was emptying one of these bins then into gray boxes to send all the books to another branch. The bin wasn't working on the battery power. It also wasn't working very well even when plugged in. As I said, these bins are getting on in years, heading towards the teen years, and they have thus become recalcitrant and moody. Through cycling the bin on and off I managed to inch the floor of the bin up in little bits and finally was able to get everything out of the bin.
Then the thing happened with the machine that one dreads happening with any teenager of any kind anywhere:
It started smoking.