back to article BOFH: Do I smell burning toes, I mean burning toast?

BOFH logo – telephone with devil's horns There's trouble in the state of Mission Control. It has come to the attention of the Director that the PFY and I occupy a slice of priceless real estate complete with six full-height pivoting windows opening out to one of the few views which doesn't have a vast expanse of another …

  1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    "And… he’s about to find out why we don’t put server rooms in the basement?"

    "Yep," the PFY says, as he turns the key on the basement deluge control…

    You lot owe me another keyboard.... and a pot of coffee, and a new chair because I've fallen off this one laughing and several 1000 pounds to cover the lost earning because I hurt my back too

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: !!!!!!

      scarily i know when / where this basement idea happened, not servers flooded - just the back up generators got flooded during massive thunder storm where mains elec failed

      strangely the gennys never kicked in for a MAJOR data centre, still the good news was that it was the cheapest place to house them so money was saved until . . .

      1. Gordon 10

        Re: !!!!!!

        Yes we are looking at you Vodafone. Twice in different DC's

        1. Mr Sceptical

          Re: !!!!!!

          It was C&W in our case - back in 2006 they had a datacentre in Leeds fed from two power stations being used to house our new Exchange & File server farm.

          Mains failed one weekend and when the UPS tried to kick in it blew, took down not only all the client machines (ours included), but they were running the whole control room off the same UPS system! Can anyone say Single Point of Failure. They only told us Monday morning when the complaints about lack of emails flooded in. Whoops, sorry, didn't think you needed to know.

          That was a short while after we'd had a project planning meeting with them when one of their reps stood up to talk and immediately knocked a cup of coffee into my mate's new laptop. You couldn't make it up...

      2. LondonGull

        Re: !!!!!!

        I worked somewhere that thought about that scenario during a major rebuild - generators on roof; tick.

        Then the 36in water main burst and flooded --- the basement transformers

        1. Gerhard Mack

          Re: !!!!!!

          "I worked somewhere that thought about that scenario during a major rebuild - generators on roof; tick."

          Had my servers in a place like that. Then the power went out on the coldest night of the year and unfortunately the diesel in the fuel line was frozen....

      3. Dr Dan Holdsworth

        Re: !!!!!!

        Reminds me of the several incidents that happened to a major UK University I could, but won't name.

        First off, why you don't cheap out and put only VoIP phones in the datacentre control, when the networking kit isn't on secure power: power goes down, phones go down, management have no way to harangue the operators but the operators have their own mobile phones and can quite easily pass over terse instructions to the management.

        Secondly, datacentres are air conditioned, and need aircon on all the time. So, when the power goes off, and the UPS generators kick in, that is not the time to wonder why everything in the datacentre is a bit less noisy than usual and seems also to be getting rapidly warmer. Cue very rapid machine shutdowns all round.

        Thirdly, when you decide to turn the now rather obsolete datacentre into one absolutely gigantic office, it is unwise to assume that all the various odd machines that used to be in there will all migrate to the new, pay-for-space datacentres you've hired. No, they end up under various academics' desks, in comms closets and otherwise scattered around the place in silly places, and worst of all you don't know where they all are, so cannot apply blanket security policies without random roastings from, for example, the Professor of Cruel and Unusual Geography.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: !!!!!!

          "cheap out and put only VoIP phones in the datacentre control, when the networking kit isn't on secure power: power goes down, phones go down, management have no way to harangue the operators"

          That sounds like a win.

      4. The Count

        Re: !!!!!!

        Just ask the folks in NYC when the server rooms in the basements of many a building in lower Manhattan flooded back in 2012 during "Super Storm" Sandy.

        It was a mess.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: !!!!!!

        In 2007 our local authority emergency response centre had moved to a nice brand new building.... in the cheap ex-industrial land next to the river downstream from the city centre. Guess what happened next in 2007?

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: !!!!!!

        I was introduced to this concept in the early 90s when a charity client had had their basement file servers flooded. Later the second floor sanctity of the machine room was unquestioned. (Basement / Ground was regarded as optimal previously due to the desire not to build stuff in place with the limits on elevators.

        Similarly even in the early 80s mainframes provided heating to the rest of the building passively as was explained in my milk round tour of the MU5 / MU6 (circa 1980).

    2. DuchessofDukeStreet

      Re: !!!!!!

      "You lot owe me another keyboard.... and a pot of coffee, and a new chair because I've fallen off this one laughing and several 1000 pounds to cover the lost earning because I hurt my back too"

      You might need to start a class action.

      1. hplasm

        Re: !!!!!!

        "You might need to start a class action.

        I'll send the target sign to hang around your neck... avoid the basement.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: !!!!!!

      > You lot owe me another keyboard.... and a pot of coffee, and a new chair because I've fallen off this one laughing and several 1000 pounds to cover the lost earning because I hurt my back too

      No he doesn't - you knew the risks when you started reading...

    4. tfewster
      Thumb Up

      Re: !!!!!!

      I lost control at "I could pretty much guarantee it"

  2. Toltec

    the basement deluge control…

    Why am I visualising massive water tanks filled with sharks?

    1. Jason 24

      Re: the basement deluge control…

      And frikkin' lasers!!

      1. magickmark

        Re: the basement deluge control…

        And sharks with lasers!!!

    2. DropBear

      Re: the basement deluge control…

      "Why am I visualising massive water tanks filled with sharks?"

      Because you're probably thinking of the Chernobyl bubbler pools. ...wait, did you mean "sharks with lasers"? Not radioactive ones? Oh, my bad...

      1. fajensen

        Re: the basement deluge control…

        Great Link! I shall find some way to use the term "Void Coefficient of Reactivity" in my next financial report on my project (I have a bet on whether anyone, machine or human, ever read these things).

  3. Alister

    A vintage bit of BOFH

    Thanks Simon.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Nice false ending in the middle.

  5. Sixtysix


    ...glug glug

  6. JimC

    'No decisions have been made yet',

    > "Whenever someone has to point out that

    >'No decisions have been made yet',

    > it pretty much means that those decisions

    > HAVE been made," I note.

    How very true. It means "the final rubberstamp is hovering over the paper"

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: 'No decisions have been made yet',

      I've always taken that to mean that the final solution has been arrived at without any actual decisions having been made because that would mean someone would have had to think in order to make the decision.

    2. Fr. Ted Crilly Silver badge

      Re: 'No decisions have been made yet',

      Very much like 'its not been set in stone yet'....

      1. Mark 85

        Re: 'No decisions have been made yet',

        Very much like 'its not been set in stone yet'....

        Translation: The concrete is still wet.

    3. My other car is an IAV Stryker

      Re: 'No decisions have been made yet',

      I know the opposite: "The plans are all set; I just need funding." -- MEANS: "I have funding to sit and twiddle my thumbs but will NEVER see a DIME to improve the kit in here."

      BUT if funding just HAPPENS to come available, they quickly succumb to feature-creep:

      1. Start the upgrade project.

      2. Get halfway done.

      3. Add one more bit of kit off-plan to add features.

      4. Realize they need to re-do half the previous work to make space / ensure compatibility / etc.

      5. Repeat every time progress hits 1/(2^n).

      Result: a never-ending upgrade "project".

      At work, this is ongoing in a vehicle lab involving the chassis dynamometer control system, which includes new visual and infrared cameras, displays for visiting vehicle control systems (laptops), and the like.

      Even modern churches have this issue: First was a new audio desk (i.e. digital mixer/fader board) and video projectors. Then new projectors. Then they switched from VGA to HDMI-over-Ethernet due to resolution issues. Then stage renovations with new audio junction boxes, including a new keyboard and direct-wiring in the Hammond organ (with the Leslie speaker unit in parallel). Then even the new boxes HAVE to get wired to a new Ethernet-connected remote audio interface unit that supposedly works seamlessly with the main desk. Soon the Leslie is going to be relocated. (Have fun running THAT cable now that the stage is done!) And us in the "orchestra" just want our monitors to work so we can stay on beat -- gah!!!

  7. Alien8n


    Reminds me, I think it was Paddington Exchange that took down the whole of the UK's banking systems during the floods a few years ago. Somehow the flood actually caused a fire in the basement exchange. And for some inexplicable reason the exchange was a single point of failure for the entire banking network...

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Basements

      Paddington Exchange? Does that explain the Great Marmalade Sandwich Drought of 2011?

  8. Alan W. Rateliff, II

    Good on ya, PFY

    Good to see the young man taking more initiative.

    Yeah, a lot of recognizable decision making code-word in this one. Any time management walks into a room and starts "surveying," "assessing," or anything which implies making a plan one must realize there is no plan there is only do. The decision to move forward on an idea was made before the idea was even fully formulated, inspired by a half-read blog post or magazine article. Half-read and quit before the section on caveats and pitfalls, which is always at the end, anyway, since the person writing in the first place lead with the meat to make the idea seem good or practical, putting all the realistic reasons why it will not work way in the back knowing eyes will have glazed over by then.

    Like those news stories, "Is your cat plotting to kill you? We'll tell you why at 10." The foregone conclusion is in the headline and you should immediately suspect the opposite is true.

    1. earl grey

      Re: Good on ya, PFY

      Is your cat plotting to kill you?

      You know my cat then?

    2. JimC

      Re: Good on ya, PFY

      If you really want to feel old, calculate how old the PF"Y" must be now...

      1. Andy Scott

        Re: Good on ya, PFY

        All I'll say to that is older than me

    3. WolfFan


      "Is your cat plotting to kill you? We'll tell you why at 10." The foregone conclusion is in the headline and you should immediately suspect the opposite is true.

      You, sir, a a victim of the Great Feline Conspiracy. Of course your cat is trying to kill you. That's what cats do. They rub up under your feet to trip you so that your throat gets in range of their claws even if you manage to avoid breaking your neck in the fall. Cats Are Evil(tm).

      1. Aladdin Sane

        Re: Cats=Evil

        I refer you to Betteridge's law of headlines.

      2. Tom 38

        Re: Cats=Evil

        Cats aren't trying to kill you specifically, they're trying to kill everything. Cute cuddly little psychopaths.

        1. Dave Bell

          Re: Cats=Evil

          I would venture that problem cats are the product of problem people.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: problem cats are the product of problem people.

            Did no-one ever explain...?

            You see when a mummy cat and a daddy cat are very much in love with each other...

            1. Steve Knox

              Re: problem cats are the product of problem people.

              You see when a mummy cat and a daddy cat are very much in love with each other...

              Is that what started all that mess in Egypt way back when?

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: all that mess in Egypt way back when?

                Way, way back, many centuries ago, not long after the Bible began,

                Jacob lived in the land of Canaan, a fine example of a family man.

                Jacob... Jacob and sons, working hard on the farm to earn their keep.

                Jacob... Jacob and sons, spent all of their days in the fields with sheep.

      3. My other car is an IAV Stryker
        Big Brother

        Re: Cats=Evil

        For some folks -- like my wife -- there is no plotting involved. Get a cat close enough and it might kill her due to her severe allergy, which also crosses over to many dog breeds.

        A former neighbor had a cat. If I went to talk to them, I'd have to immediately wash my hands after coming back in the house.

        Cats: So evil, they're unapproachable.

        (So why do our daughters think they're SOOOOO cute? THAT must be part of their plan.)

    4. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Re: Good on ya, PFY

      Cats are always plotting. If not to kill you, then to do something else.

    5. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Good on ya, PFY

      You cat is not planning to kill you. If it did that, who would open the cat food?

      Of course, you don't need your legs to use a can-opener...

      1. Blofeld's Cat

        Re: Good on ya, PFY

        "You cat is not planning to kill you. If it did that, who would open the cat food?"

        No, that's what they want you to think.

        A Real Cat would simply step over your corpse and acquire another human with appropriate tin-opening skills.

    6. shawnfromnh

      Re: Good on ya, PFY

      "Is your cat plotting to kill you? We'll tell you why at 10." The foregone conclusion is in the headline and you should immediately suspect the opposite is true.

      YEAH, you won't be alive at 10 to see why because.....

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Good on ya, PFY

        The sheep carcass on the back doorstep was just a warning.

  9. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Epic episode!

    Loved the use of the "Beware of the Leopard" bit. Interesting rhythmic devices that counterpoint the surrealism of the underlying metaphor ..

    I'll get me coat

    Doffs hat to the late, great Douglas Adams

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Epic episode!

      Used to work with a head of behaviour once who had a sign on the door "beware of the tarantula".

      She wasn't joking, there was one on her desk. Great way to make kids behave.

  10. chivo243 Silver badge

    decisions HAVE been made!

    I've suffered through this exact nightmare... Finance officer and Facilities manager sauntering through our serverroom/office taking notes. Now the server room is 1/4 it's original size... and two additional offices have been shoehorned in...

    1. Captain Scarlet

      Re: decisions HAVE been made!

      I feel your pain, except for us our nice big server room became a massive meeting room (New false floor over the old false floor for added laziness), the server room is now in what was our store room (Which because we lost our other store room this week has now become both a server and store room which I can't keep flammable materials in >_<).

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: decisions HAVE been made!

        Sounds like an over temperature event is due any moment...

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: decisions HAVE been made!

      "Now the server room is 1/4 it's original size"

      I take it Finance and Facilities are now having to share a server due to the reduced space available. A Raspberry Pi with a USB hard drive makes quite a useful server for combined spaces.

    3. Unicornpiss

      Re: decisions HAVE been made! - we had this happen

      Our already modest server room was chopped in half and the 'extra' space taken to make a big conference room, including the removal of the raised floor and large Liebert aircon in that area. Then as time progressed and space was an issue, the 'conference' room had very small cubes installed to make a mini cube farm to accommodate the growth spurt we were undergoing.

  11. Frumious Bandersnatch

    not a drill?

    In memory of Fats Domino"

  12. ukgnome

    On a clients site I almost fell out of a second story building window (double fire door) that could be opened fully to allow a loader to push a pallet into a server room. I still don't know why it had a push bar on it.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Entertainment value?

      1. Captain Scarlet

        For me having to fill in the paper work for someone spilling tea on the floor is bad enough.

        Anything like that would happen here it would be endless arm flailing and tick box forms.

        1. Morten_T

          "Anything like that would happen here it would be endless arm flailing..."

          No, the arm flailing would end as he hit the ground :D

    2. Alister

      At one site I worked at, the server room (on the third floor) had a number of rows of racks set at 90degrees to the external wall, and between each row was a large high window in the wall which was hinged at the top.

      I was working in the rack nearest the wall, and leant on the window whilst trying to persuade a server into the sliders in the rack.

      The window was unlatched, and opened under my weight, so there I was hanging out of the window with a large server in my arms, desperately trying to lever myself back in through force of will and a toe hold under the rack...

      Interesting moment... :)

    3. MJI Silver badge

      So you found where the real BOFH works.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "I still don't know why it had a push bar on it."

      Did you notice the systems administrator was called Simon and had a side-kick with an acne problem?

  13. Alistair

    I keep wondering

    Fishing line, open windows and a nicely charged fire pole.

    I'll have to add that to the list.

    (What? No, the prerequisite list for my next employer)

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon

      Re: I keep wondering

      Pro-tip: If you grease the pole people end up going so fast when they get to the bottom they make a nice 'landing pile' for when you need to jump.

  14. Kimo

    Not servers, but a museum that I worked in had the collections in a basement storage room. Great protection in case of tornadoes, which are common to the area. Except for the cast iron drain line suspended over the collections, ensuring that if there were a significant hit from a storm then all of the storm water would end up on the most valuable artifacts. They also kept the archival collection on the seventh floor, surrounded by glass windows. In an area prone to tornadoes...

    1. Marshalltown

      Ah - museums

      One of the great problems of the hoarder mind set - and all decent museums are run by hoarders - is the inability to accept that there are limits on available space, and especially available space with appropriate climate control for fragile items (old texts, woven material, organic material, etc.). Dealing as they often do with bean-counting, penny pinching, space grabbing types, decisions are frequently made that resort to make shift lodging for critical collections. Occasionally the decision makers did not bother to inform the curators of the decision to relocate (or even OF the relocation). The school I went stored some collections in a structure know fondly as the "rat house" thanks to the large population of a hybrid wild/lab rat mix. Same school, after it was determined that the rat house needed to be razed for ?, the collection vanished to be relocated months later under the music building in an area contaminated by PCBs from the transformer. The engineer screamed aloud when he saw that "someone" had piled cardboard boxes full of flammable materials next to the transformer. My professor was unhappy as well and told the engineer that as soon as we could negotiate new storage space with university, the materials would certainly be moved. While negotiations were going on the collection once more vanished and was rediscovered several miles away at "the aquatic center" where the rowing team kept their shells and oars. Before it could be rescued, a winter storm came through removing the roof, dowsing the collection, doing massive damage to original paper work, and requiring hazmat operations - mold don't y'know - to rescue what could be rescued. Since the collection actually belonged to the US government we were able to point to the school administration and explain, "they did it!"

      At another major university, the museum, renamed from a prominent anthropologist to a cranky 19th century, very wealthy woman who bequested an endowment to the school, relocated a large part of the collection to a space under the women's pool. The area was constantly exposed to chlorine gas. The consequences for the collection when constantly exposed to chlorine gas were unhappy.

      1. harmjschoonhoven

        Re: Ah - museums

        A couple of years ago the physicists at my uni got a brand new laboratory. The old building established in 1875 was taken over by the psychologists. Only then the huge cash of mercury under the floorboards was discovered.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon

          Re: Ah - museums


          Universities, eh?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About 6 months...

    after our building was turned over to the users and they were finally moving in (bulk of the build and fit out was bloody PFI with a French company that subcontracted to a load of different whoever-was-the-cheapest European builders during a UEFA Cup Final year which ensured the French plasterers, for example, "accidentally" emptied bags of dust into the open end of the vertical soil pipe the Spanish plumbers were currently fitting), a six inch water main blew on the main road and filled the basement to about 4 foot deep, luckily the animal house had only empty cages in at that point as the resident rodents etc hadn't been moved in yet. The HPC cluster was still installed down there a couple of years later, but the set of "lessons learned" watertight doors (manufactured by Canute Industries) and the concrete flood deflector (by Maginot Ltd) should keep the £mmm installation and all the rest of the main comms, servers and border links safe. Ish.

  16. Florida1920


    Brilliant, but I still miss that old cattle prod.

  17. The other JJ

    "Could that ever really happen?"

    "I could pretty much guarantee it," I say pointedly.


  18. GlenP Silver badge

    At the previous company we were forced to move the office out of one factory into the adjacent one after a flood (fortunately the raised floor in the computer room meant nothing was damaged).

    After pointing out that trying to cram the computer room and two people into a one-person office would be totally impractical, and possibly even illegal (insufficient volume per person) we were offered a semi-redundant toilet as an alternative. As part of the refurb we insisted that a dividing wall was removed, only to be told, "We can't, it's supporting a 1,000 gallon water tank!" Said tank turned out to be sitting on wooden beams between two walls and could easily have come down at any moment. We got it moved!

    We also then discovered that there was an internal valley gutter running over the other end of the new room right above the comms rack. It only overflowed if the rain was really heavy... A year or so later and it was eventually fixed and we could remove the polythene sheet.

  19. Salestard

    Ref the horror stories - Even when it all works...

    One of our DCs was built to withstand everything, including no Grid forever (assuming diesel supplies). Six massive gennies in the basement (2 in, 2 spare, 2 servicing), a stack of UPS batteries that would have given Musk a chubby, and so on. Bloody impressive stuff, tested religiously each year. In isolation. Because as long as the components work, the whole does, right?

    Turns out - eventually - we weren't testing all the components, because some of them had been hidden behind partition walls over the years, and disappeared off the documentation. Old building, been in use for a long time.

    Then, one night, Local Substation went pop. I wasn't there, being sales, but I did get hauled over many coals by clients for weeks afterwards.

    The sequence of events was, roughly, this;

    1) Power goes

    2) UPS - lifed at hour, tested a month previously, goes 100% to 21% almost instantly. Panic

    3) Genny control panel does nothing (turns out it had it's own little genny we didn't know about, hidden away behind a stud wall). Main Gennies do nothing at all. More panic.

    4) Someone finds the manual start button. Less panic.

    5) Except Gennies won't sync onto the ring because the control panel is down. UPS down to 3%. Major flap now.

    6) Read technical manual. Gennies can be manually synced onto the ring. "Sync them manually chaps, charge!" Except they can't. Every single breaker in 300,000sq-ft building tripped.

    7) Brief pause of disbelief

    8) One other, minor, technical thing then rears its head - the dead Genny control panel also controls the exhaust flaps. Massive generators still merrily chugging away with closed hall exhausts. Generator hall is now mostly not oxygen. FM200 system triggered. Everybody out.

    9) For reasons I was never told, the water suppression on floors 4 and 6 also triggered... making floors 3 and 5 a bit damp too.

    It was almost too farcical to behold - indeed, one of my banks actually said it couldn't have been that much of a cluster****. No Mr Bank, it was.

    The supreme irony?

    We were a DR provider...

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      The BIG red switch

      Thing is who, when charged with "testing the backup power", actually goes to find the BIG red switch that disconnects the whole building from the incoming grid supply?

      Its the only way to be sure. So if you want to really know, hire an Igor and ask them nicely to pull the switch.

      Yes, the third switch!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ref the horror stories - Even when it all works...

      Interesting. I once worked for an electric utility. This meant that we knew just how reliable the mains power was. We therefore had a really big stack of batteries on our two UPSes, any one of which could have run the building (except for the process coolers in the DC) for four hours. We also had a diesel generator which could run the building, including the process coolers, and was fueled for a week. We tested the UPSes every quarter, by literally going to the main breaker and cutting off mains power. They worked. We tested the diesel twice a year, again by cutting off mains and seeing how long the automatic switch-over system took to start the generator without anyone having to go out back and start it by hand. The system was supposed to cut over to the diesel inside of two minutes, or long enough that it wouldn't start if there was a short power blip but fast enough that the temperature in the DC didn't rise noticeably. Every ever so often we'd top up the diesel fuel. So one day... the diesel spluttered and died. Panic ensued; we got the mains back on as fast as possible. It turns out that some smart boy had mixed kerosene into the diesel fuel, kerosene being a lot cheaper than diesel fuel, before selling it to the company. The generator didn't like it. We had to drain _all_ of the fuel from the generator (do you know how much fuel you need to keep a generator sufficient to run a DC for a week? Yes, that much.) and clean the gunk out of the generator, and we had to replace the burned out fuel pumps. The smart boy was sued flat; his defence was that he'd heard that diesels could run on kerosene. Yes, they can, but only if you prepare for it, such as by having the correct fuel pumps. Kerosene burns hotter than diesel oil, and has a lower viscosity, and will kill pumps. And rings. And pistons. And various other moving parts. If the company had known that we were getting kerosene, we could have made adjustments. Instead, the smart boy gave us a diesel/kerosene mix and charged us for straight diesel. Not only did he lose the civil suit, he got done for fraud.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ref the horror stories - Even when it all works...


  20. ThaumaTechnician

    Maybe you're about have an epiliptic seizure.

  21. Nunyabiznes


    May I present liesplaining as the new term for explaining with creativity?

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: explain/lie


  22. imanidiot Silver badge

    The PFYs doctoral is coming along

    Seems the PFY is getting ready to finally finish his doctoral level BOFH training. How long before Simon can safely retire in the knowledge the young PFY has been given all the knowledge he needs? (Or before Stephen attempts another coup)

  23. AustinTX

    "You’ll be given a chance to give your input"

    I always take this to mean;

    "The deadline to weigh in on this issue is in 5 minutes, and I'm not going to tell you that, so listen to the soothing sound of my voice and please take no action for another few days".

  24. oneeye

    vengeful auto mechanic

    Great story! Reminds me if a friend who showed his boss not to mess with his betters.

    Picture, boss goes to open door to personal car, to go home for the day,the handle, it's the horizontal flip type, now packed full of Axel Grease. Boss notices rag conveniently left on ground, so wipes hands, and door handle, being a slob, throws rag back on ground. Gets into car, grabs ANOTHER Grease Filled handle on the inside. Steam rising off said boss, gets out of car, uses the same rag to clean up AGAIN, and said rag has pretty well had it by now, so, boss gets BACK into car, starts car, and grabs GREASE filled steering wheel, finally looses it, now pounding on steering wheel, near tears!!!

    Meanwhile, said employee watches the whole thing covertly (-;

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: vengeful auto mechanic

      "Axel Grease"

      Was that the well known Swedish disco star?

  25. HKmk23

    Server rooms

    A while back I worked in a UK law enforcement department. They decided on a new building, as they did not want me to share their new office space, they told me I could have a desk in the server room. When they realised that I had an office (server room with restricted personnel access) bigger than an Assistant Chief, that was on the top floor with a view, and the only air-conditioned office in the building, the union forced the installation of £250,000 worth of aircon retrofitted to the rest of the building! This is where your tax money goes guys!

  26. K

    I worked at a place just like this, must of had my desk shifted at least 8 or 9 times over the course... unfortunately we didn't have an underground garage though.

  27. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

    Equus africanus asinus

    And the Director covets it in much the same way as the Boss covets his neighbour's ass – something I really should warn HR about.

    And what is the name of this donkey the boss covets? Enquiring minds and all that.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bog off

    We had a single pan toilet room with a small ante room converted into an office. All part of the no top down re-organisation presumably.

  29. Ron Christian

    computers in the basement

    A place I worked had -- going back to the old IBM 360 days -- the computers in B1 -- first floor just below street level. At the time they apparently thought computers were waterproof. Flash forward several decades, and the servers are much smaller, so the idea is, in case the river -- which was only a quarter mile east of us -- ever overflowed, when the flooding started it'd be all hands on deck, and we'd roll the servers into the elevator and bring them up to the 4th floor where they'd be safe and dry.

    And then, someone realized, just in passing, mind you, that the motors for the elevator were in B2.

    Finding a way to get the servers up the stairs was briefly considered.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Shitty new build DC

      I used to work for a mainframe systems supplier and commissioned a new £1 million mainframe in its brand spanking new £ 1 Million pound DC inside a 60 year old town hall basement, Partway through the install process I had a long process running and investigated a curious cupboard in the wall. I joked to my PFY that it probably contained a waste sewer not really believing anyone was so stupid. I actually expected to find an empty void but sure enough there was a freshly painted cast iron 6 inch waste pipe. (well the 10 foot of pipe within the dc was freshly painted).

      I did query with the customer why they hadn't rerouted the waste pipe away from the DC and was told it hadn't been done as it would have cost £10,000. I pointed out the false economy and that I would not be available to help with Disaster Recovery when the pipe burst within the next 5 years.

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