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WD-40 to the Rescue

How Shakespeare’s Pizza saved a $30 million press conference

The strange tradition started when Shakespeare manager Kurt Mirtsching, BS BA ’81, was spraying the stuff on the cooler’s squeaky hinges. He saw a customer approach the counter and, lacking a better place to put the can, set it on the cooler shelf and promptly forgot about it. Story by Erik Potter

When you’re getting ready to tell the world you’ve been given $30.1 million, you want the press conference to look — and sound — good.

The donation, from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to MU’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI), provides permanent funding for the institute’s mission of conducting research to strengthen journalism. The endowment is the largest in MU history, and the chancellor, former chancellor and UM president would be on hand for the Nov. 8 announcement, as well as media outlets from St. Louis to Kansas City.

So when it was discovered the night before that the motorized blinds in the conference room squeaked loudly as they were being lowered, Randy Picht, director of the RJI, knew he had a problem.

He needed to lower the shades to show a video about the RJI during the event, but he couldn’t have them screeching for their 10-second trip to the floor.

We thought, ‘Well, maybe if we lubricate them,’ ” Picht says. “So we decided we needed some WD-40.”

The WD-40 website offers more than 2,000 uses for the famous product. Although 191 of those uses are related to stopping squeaks, quieting motorized blinds, if it worked, would be No. 192.

But where to find it on short notice?

Read the rest at the MIZZOU MAGAZINE >>