“We Do That!” – Inspecting weights and measures

by | Jun 6, 2024

The fifth video in the “We Do That!” series focuses on the Standards Division and highlights the job of inspector Clay McIntyre. As with the other videos in the series, the goal is to showcase one of the many different types of jobs within the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. If you can think of a type of job, there’s a chance “We Do That!” in the department – from the fields of research farms to the laboratories that test for animal disease and food and drug safety. It takes lots of jobs to service the people of North Carolina through the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Across the department’s 26 divisions, you’ll find jobs in the field that deal with plants, animals, farmers markets or ag centers, pesticide regulations, pollinators, meat processing, truck driving and forestry, just to name a few. Many jobs in the department are also based in offices or laboratories, from veterinary or agronomic testing, to accounting, legal services and marketing.

The series continues with this video of Commissioner Steve Troxler talking with McIntyre, who has been with the department for eight years. He travels throughout his area of the state to inspect weighing and measuring devices such as scales, scanners and gas pumps. His work even includes verifying the accuracy of airport scales and food packaging to ensure the container isn’t included in the weight of the product you’re paying for.

While McIntyre focuses on weights and measures, others in the Standards Division also inspect fuel quality, propane equipment and grain moisture meters and measuring devices. The division also ensures the accuracy of its own measuring devices and provides standards for businesses to calibrate their equipment. So jobs duties vary across each of the sections of the division.

Watch this video for the conversation about McIntyre’s job and/or read the transcript below.

Commissioner Troxler:
Hello, I’m Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler, and I’m here today kind of sitting in the middle of the museum of some of the instruments that we have used in Standards Division over the years. And I have with me today, William Clay McIntyre. Tell me what you do for the Department of Ag, and how long have you been with us?

Clay:
Okay, so I work for the Standards Division – a Standard II Inspector. Basically, I consist of doing weights and measures about 90% of my territory and the other 10% doing gas and oil. I’ve been with the department for a little over eight years now.
So with the department, you know, on the weights and measures stuff, I typically check grocery store platforms, retail outlets, verifying some things, make sure they’re in compliance. Gas facilities, we do basically calibration testing and make sure their devices are in compliance per handbook.
We do work out of our vehicle, so it’s basically our office on wheels. And, so we have all our tools available within our truck to do our job on a daily basis.

Commissioner Troxler:
I’m guessing that most people don’t think about it, but everything they buy is actually sold by some type of weight or measure. So how does that impact the residents of North Carolina?

A label like this on a measuring device indicates an accuracy inspection was passed.

Clay:
So when we’re in grocery stores, some of the four main categories we look at, we look at scale devices. As a consumer comes in, they’ll see the sticker with the most current date on it indicating that we’ve been there. So consumers will also see these scale devices throughout the building.
So some of the scales hanging over by the produce, those are estimated scales. Those are not NTEP approved.
Those units are just an estimator for the customer to use to buy goods. With that we also go through the department of produce, the meat department and deli and checking those devices to ensure that they’re accurate. So the consumer’s getting a fair price of the packaging goods that they’re buying.
So some of the deli goods that we do is checking tare weights on containers. It’s basically just justify that consumer’s not paying for the plastic goods or paper goods that products put in.
Then the next section we’ll move into is a scan. We’ll do a UPC scan throughout the store, verifying pricing, pricing and accuracy through the signage of any kind of sale items they may have.
And through that, once we finish that, we’ll do our package, and we’ll go through the meat case and we’ll check random weight goods and standard package goods to ensure the consumer’s getting what they should be getting.
Going back to the consumer, we will get those complaints come in, and we’ll go investigate those complaints, of course, contacting the consumer, letting them know our findings, and if anything has to be corrected, and a follow up would be required, we will do so as well.

Commissioner Troxler:
And with gas pumps, I know we get complaints about, you know, the pumps not giving me a gallon when it says it is. And also sometimes we get complaints about water in the fuel. Is that your expertise?

Clay:
Well, so the first thing is accuracy. You know, we go out, we check accuracy. We want to make sure that we have accuracy. We have printers working at the pumps, the displays are readable, there’s no external leaks or internal leaks that could be affecting, you know, even in the environment. So that’s another thing that we kind of wear a hat on.
So in regards of moisture or water content in the fuel that typically gets turned over to the fuel lab, and they’ll send someone out to check that to make sure what the rating is on the moisture level.

Commissioner Troxler:
When you tell people what you do, what’s their reaction? Do they actually know there’s somebody out there looking after them as far as the the scanners, the scales, the gas pumps?

Clay:
Some consumers will know who we are. A lot of consumers do not. A lot of consumers think that we actually work at that facility that we’re inspecting.
So, you know, a little bit of time spending with them, educating a little bit. And I really encourage that information to the consumer that, hey, the state sends us out to help protect you as a consumer, because that is a good benefit as taxpayers.

Commissioner Troxler:
You know, there are a lot of things out there that the consumers probably do not know that we are inspecting. And I know I have been amazed over the years learning what you folks do.
One was we count oysters in a can. There’s actually a law that says how many oysters and how much water’s got to be on a can. Other things like taxi meters, checking taxi meters, even scales at the airport.
Can you think of any more strange things that you do that people wouldn’t know?

Clay:
Well, you know, some people don’t realize as simple as airport. You know, a lot of people commute in and out of airports that we’re actually verifying the scales at the airport to make sure they’re accurate and the consumer is being charged the right rate. With that we check, of course, meal plants, fertilizer plants and mulch plants. You know, especially on the deal with the fertilizer, helping out with the farmers. We want to make sure they get what they should in those bagged products.

Commissioner Troxler:
What’s your favorite thing that you do in your job?

Clay:
I think more than anything it’s making a difference. I think the biggest thing is out there protecting consumers, seeing and finding issues that are corrected, you know, through store level or through corporation level. And I think to me, it’s more rewarding to see the difference that I make.

Commissioner Troxler:
That a wonderful attitude to have, and I think we’ve got a whole department full of people that feel that way, and I’m proud of it. How would you describe working for the Department of Ag?

Clay:
I’ll tell you, my peers, supervision and leadership team that we’ve got in place is phenomenal.
It’s very supportive, family-like atmosphere. When you need help, they’re there to help. And in turn, we’re all willing to help everybody else as well. And I always say, sometimes when you’re in a good environment, a peace of mind and happiness is priceless.

Commissioner Troxler:
I thank you so much for being here today. And I have really enjoyed our chat.

Clay:
Yes, sir, and so did I.