back to article BOFH: The Geek's Countergambit – outwitted at an electronics store

BOFH logo telephone with devil's horns So I'm in line at an electronics shop, waiting to speak to their returns people because I foolishly assumed that when I said that I wanted a VERY SPECIFIC RAM module, the salesperson would supply the module I asked for and not some generic substitute that would save me about 50p but not …

  1. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

    After an hour or so shifting 0.479 Tonnes of paper...

    Simon deserves a beer for making me ROFL.... Excellent episode. Chapeau!

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: After an hour or so shifting 0.479 Tonnes of paper...

      That's 0.2897 Skateboarding Rhinoceri!

      1. Ordinary Donkey

        Re: After an hour or so shifting 0.479 Tonnes of paper...

        He said Tonnes, not Tons.

        0.479 Tonnes is 55.0582 adult badgers, and also 0.528 Tons.

        1. eezatehgeeza

          Re: After an hour or so shifting 0.479 Tonnes of paper...

          I had not considered that enormity, 4.588183333333333 rounds of Weebl's finest.

    2. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: After an hour or so shifting 0.479 Tonnes of paper...

      Excellent episode... hat?

  2. diver_dave

    Has ....

    The BOFH met his match?

    I'm expecting an electrified doorplate

    1. b0llchit Silver badge

      Re: Has ....

      I think fire will be an option.

      1. Chris G

        Re: Has ....

        Recognising the ability of an adversary with respect is the honourable way.

        Then delete them to avoid future conflict.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Has ....

      I'm not so sure. He's obviously met someone who also knows how to play THE GAME and he forgot the oldest rule in the returned product category: palm it off on another mug. This is obviously the only way to avoid electronuclear war here. The question is, how can it be made to work for both sides? Obviously, i11s require special RAM, but that isn't quite enough… maybe beancounters can be traded at the DMZ?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Has ....

      Of course not. Satan himself couldn't out-BOFH Simon.

      However, apparently "Colin" is at least a worthy opponent, so I'm sure his car, the elevator, and the electrical mains will continue to have nothing to do with each other... *wanders off whistling innocently*

  3. Ozan

    Allow me to scream holy shit in the office. Amazing! Also, they are very good.

  4. Kevin Johnston

    Awesome staff

    So does he try to recruit them or does he consider them a worthy adversary and recommend them to all his company's problem children?

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Awesome staff

      When you see skills like these you try to get them working in your favour.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Awesome staff

      I foresee a new company Preferred Supplier, accompanied by a regular brown envelope under the table in the pub on a Friday.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I started reading this I thought it was one of Dabsy's!

  6. AlanSh

    Dibert has the answer

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Dibert has the answer

      The current Dilbert story seems as if Scott Adams has been reading BOFH.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Dibert has the answer

        'Cept we know on outcome that won't occur. Unless he's going to retire.......

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Dibert has the answer

          If it was Red we'd certainly know the outcome.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Dibert has the answer

            Oops. Ted.

      2. Dave559 Silver badge

        Re: Dibert has the answer

        And if you are reading this after today (no, not your today, the today when I wrote this), it's this Dilbert strip that we're talking about…

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Dibert has the answer

          Looks like Bezos :-)

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Dibert has the answer

        yellow and red buckets have featured in Dilbert

        1. TheWeetabix

          Re: Dibert has the answer

          What about a striped irregular bucket?

          May be showing my age there….

      4. Necrohamster

        Re: Dibert has the answer

        The "bug in the billing software" idea is a straight-up rip-off of (or homage to...?) Office Space.

        1. Huw L-D

          Re: Dibert has the answer

          I thought "bug in the billing software" was a parallel for the Horizon scandal.

          1. anothercynic Silver badge

            Re: Dibert has the answer

            Oh that's a low blow. But fair.

        2. Ghostman

          Re: Dibert has the answer

          Which is similar to what Richard Pryor did in the Superman movie.

  7. Curtis

    I sense a disturbance in the force

    And possible the beginning of a multi-part story arc

    1. chivo243 Silver badge

      Re: I sense a disturbance in the force

      And possible the beginning of a multi-part story arc

      Could the BOFH be looking to expand his band of "creative" techies? Or does he just have a "contract" job for then to carry out? Keeping one's hands clean and all that...

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Re: I sense a disturbance in the force

      > And possible the beginning of a multi-part story arc

      I read that as "Multistorey arc" which would also fit...

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: I sense a disturbance in the force

        If you can work in a reference to some koi it could be a multistorey carp arc.

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    Superb episode once more

    Colin and co may be good, but are they as ruthless as the BOFH? I very much doubt they get through as much quicklime as Simon does.

    1. Antonius_Prime

      Re: Superb episode once more

      They don't have to go through them.

      Customers get pissed off and take custom elsewhere.

      The users are trapped in the building with Simon...

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Superb episode once more

        > The users are buried under the building by Simon...


      2. Anonymous South African Coward

        Re: Superb episode once more

        With a chainsaw-wielding robot hiding somewhere... hopefully...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Superb episode once more

      I was picturing Colin from The Brittas Empire :-)

  9. DailyLlama

    Poor Colin

    I suspect we won't hear much from him again, as concrete is VERY good at muffling sound.


  10. Geoff May (no relation)


    I've been rumbled ...

  11. deadlockvictim


    You can't end it like that!

    Now I have to wait until next month.

    There hasn't been a good BOFH duel in a while.

    I hope that this storyline will continue.

  12. oiseau

    Made my morning ...

    Inside I find the same RAM as I've just returned.

    They're very, VERY good.

    In the foulest mood for having inexplicably screwed up the data on a half full 300Gb drive late last night, this episode made my morning much brighter.

    I'll probably be laughing till noon as I wait for TestDisk 7.2 to recover the suff from the drive.

    Thanks for that. 8^D

    And have one (or more, only one icon available) on me ---->


    1. Dante Alighieri


      I raise you multiple Seagate barracuda 3TB drives, yes all same vintage and fail (FYI 30% - see previous threads, RAID barely making it through) at the same time. replacement WD all installed over 12 months,and an additional backup regime over the multidisk (thank $deity) I used sufficiently [not optimally] before

      4x seagate barracuda 3TB in <2 years ---->icon

      1. oiseau

        Re: 3gb

        Seagate Barracuda?

        I see you like to live on the edge. =^)

        Gave up on Seagate with the last SCSI drive I had to RMA ($$$) under warranty in 1998 (?).

        From there on, only unused SCSI/SAS IBM, Sun or Dell spares from outfits that were upgrading their servers.

        Don't know who makes all these now, but not one ever failed me.


        1. DavidRa

          Re: 3gb

          Gave up on Seagate...

          Don't know who makes all these now, but not one ever failed me.

          Mostly Seagate and Western Digital.

          1. Dante Alighieri

            frying pan[fn:OUT]

            ... & western digital

            ...oh shit. Another set of backups PDQ then.

            (not all installed at same time so sequential failure modes might be mitigated)

  13. AdamT


    Did he mean David (rather than Richard) ?

    David being the naturalist/biologist one who might view this through the lens of animal behaviour.

    Richard being the actor/filmmaker one who might literally view this through a lens.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Attenborough?

      Or their brother John who was an executive at Alfa Romeo?

    2. MJB7

      Re: Attenborough?

      David is a naturalist. He is also a very distinguished TV producer; he has served as controller of BBC2 and director of programming for BBC TV. So he spent quite a lot of his career looking through lenses too.

  14. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    I hope hes

    been taking the proper lessons and the health and safety regulations in howto use screwdrivers.

    Although the latter one has been my down fall after being disturbed by a moron while trying to de-bug a recursive function ..... I kind of went for a cursive fuction after that... closely followed by grabbing 4 screwdrivers , 2 planks of wood and putting up the easter decorations a bit earlier than planned...

  15. Empty1

    "going up"

    The clue is in the announcement - getting a little height to increase descent velocity.

  16. FeepingCreature Bronze badge

    If you really want to take advantage of the i11

    Make sure to rebuild your entire system with `gcc -O5`.

    1. stiine Silver badge

      Re: If you really want to take advantage of the i11

      is that verbose output of full debug?

    2. pip25
      Thumb Up

      Re: If you really want to take advantage of the i11

      You actually made me look that up. I do not regret it.

  17. imanidiot Silver badge

    Got complacent there

    Inside I find the same RAM as I've just returned

    Bit complacent of Simon to not check the seal and content before leaving the store. Even I've learned that lesson long ago. Store workers pull stupid shit, either through incompetence or malice in my experience.

    1. Munchausen's proxy

      Re: Got complacent there

      "Bit complacent of Simon to not check the seal and content before leaving the store. "

      I wonder if he was distracted by Catherine. I'm interested to see how that works out.

  18. 9Rune5


    Am I the only one who tweeted "'There's no Intel Code Phrase' @intel #i11" today?

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: tweet

      Probably, yes.

      1. Korev Silver badge
    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: tweet


      You sad, sad person.

  19. Dave559 Silver badge

    Electronics shop

    Wait, high street (or soulless retail 'park') electronics shops still exist?

    Sort of sadly, it has been quite a while since I last, not entirely unhappily, stepped foot into a small, slightly off the main drag, piled high to the ceiling with boxes, hobbyist computer shop, perusing their parts list to see what selection of components my (then) meagre budget could actually afford to assemble a system from.

    I kind of assumed that pretty much everyone ordered their RAM (or custom laptop or desktop orders) direct from the interwebs these days? (And it is a bit sad to think that an entire category of shops has been almost entirely eliminated, just like that, although at least some are still around and can still make money from repairs.)

    1. Stoneshop

      Re: Electronics shop

      Well, the two computer shops I regularly buy from do have an actual non-intarwebz, geo-locatable presence, but given their distance from my home it's just not very appealing to go there in person. Same with electronics parts shops, even when all the parts I need are indeed in stock in their physical store (which almost certainly won't ever be the case). Household white goods and consumer electronics? Those are still around, but how often are you buying that kind of stuff?

    2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: Electronics shop

      I wouldn't exactly call the location high street, but there is an electronics shop where I sometimes order in the evening using the interwebs for pick up the next morning. It can also be used for returns and things like that.

    3. H in The Hague

      Re: Electronics shop

      "And it is a bit sad to think that an entire category of shops has been almost entirely eliminated ..."

      I'm v lucky that here in The Hague there is still one place like that. Yes, they do sell new-fangled stuff like transistors and Arduino related kit but they also have a huge range of weird vintage kit. A few weeks ago I was admiring their shop window stuffed full of valves/tubes, HV transformers and resistors larger than my laptop computer and got chatting with a guy in his late fifties who commented that this particular display hadn't changed much since he was a teenager, and the stuff was already seriously vintage then.

      They don't have much of a website, but you can see part of the shop in the banner on:

      Here's one for the weekend -->

      1. Stoneshop

        Re: Electronics shop

        Radio Service Twenthe, and I didn't have to view the video to just know for sure. AFAIK it's run by two guys who are not unlike Statler and Waldorf.

        It's not often that I'm in The Hague, but when I am I try to pop in.

        1. H in The Hague

          Re: Electronics shop

          "AFAIK it's run by two guys who are not unlike Statler and Waldorf."

          Very true. Might drop in there this afternoon to pick up some bits, just because I can :)

      2. MJB7

        Re: Electronics shop

        Sob. Cambridge used to have a shop like that: H Gee of Mill Road - but it was gutted with fire 2019-07-15 and had to be partly demolished.

        It's true that Mr Gee was well over-due retirement anyway, but it's still very sad :-(

        1. skswales

          Re: Electronics shop

          Oh, that is really sad. We used to have to pop round to Gee's for bits when Acorn were on credit hold with RS and Farnell. Which was most of the time.

    4. Chronos

      Re: Electronics shop

      There's RS if you are extremely wealthy and CPC if you live in Preston. Cricklewood still have a counter accessible by the general public, assuming you can afford Sadiq's eye-watering charges for the privilege, but the options for a place to go on a Saturday to have an argument over 85 degree and 105 degree electrolytics are severely limited these days.

      Admittedly, that has been the case even before Craplin closed all their shops; finding someone working at a Craplin who knew what an electrolytic is was a challenge. I never thought I'd miss Tandy but one never knows where life will take one...

      Online, Bitsbox are rather good if you want a proper, old school, family run electronics shop.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Electronics shop

        I used to work for Tandy. Overpriced but very handy for the electronics hobbyist. I can still recall most of the range codes.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Electronics shop

        The local Maplin had at least one employee who knew his stuff and a few who didn't. The local Tandy, IIRC, was a bit desperate. The Tandy in Lisburn, long ago, was very good.

      3. Dante Alighieri
        Thumb Up

        Re: Electronics shop

        I used to work for Maplin as a Saturday guy. I assure you I know my thermistors from resistors. And TV licensing laws for VHS recorders v B&W TV [colour licence required]

        Shitty local senior manager. Framing staff for theft is not a smart move to control costs you've been flagged on* as you were found out. Wan*er.

        *the other "Saturday" worker was getting loads of extra shifts, not shared with me**

        **busy at university if they had been shared - pillock didn't even have plausible deniability.

        Middle management was suspicious and saved the day.

    5. DiViDeD

      Re: Electronics shop

      Here in Australia we still have JayCar Electronics - anything from a 3D printer to a single resistor and everything in between.

      I use them online a lot, but when I'm working in town, their dingy basement shops are a must for lunchtime inspiration.

      I mean, who doesn't need a 10mm tapped spacer, electrolytic capacitor, tub of solder flux or bluetooth dancing santa speaker from time to time?

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Electronics shop

      Yeah, there's one just a few minutes down the road from me. They are a "chain" now. They have three other branches in adjoining towns.

    7. wjake

      Re: Electronics shop

      Here in the States we used to have Fry's Electronics and Micro Center, each with various locations around the country. Fry's is now gone, but these sound like the sort of place the BOFH was visiting. Very familiar with them, am I!

      Of course, we used to have Radio Shack, CompUSA and a white-box store in every corner shopping center. Ah, the booming 90's!!

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Electronics shop

        No storefront, but IMHO, Digikey picked up when Radio Shack dropped out of the components biz.

    8. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Electronics shop

      Last night I watched Linus having a moodle through a box containing the entire shelf-stock of a bankrupt High Street / mail order IT bits supplier. Quite a trek through the useless tat these shops held.

    9. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

      Re: Electronics shop

      Where I am in the States there's a little cinder block building in the bad part of town. They both bars and woven steel plates over the windows, and you can get anything there. I buy from them regularly, even when the internet might be cheaper, because I want them to stay jn business. They'vr saved my butt more than once by having what I needed in stock when nobody else did. I don't even know if they have a business name, you just have to know they're there.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    blurry spots

    "I'm starting to see those little blurry spots that occasionally occur when you stare into the darkness of a lift shaft for a while..."

    You mean the blood stains of insolent beancounters?

  21. I Am Spartacus

    This must be ...

    This so feels like my experience at a well known white goods reseller who merged with a PC supplier. I can't say which one, but I am just about to launch a legal case against them.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: This must be ...

      Many years ago, I worked for the reseller in question. When they were acquired by a well-known purveyor of electronic tat, I opined that this was because the Chairman of the tat-vendor must be pandering to his inner child as he had bought himself a cowboy outfit for Christmas.

      Despite many name changes, restructurings, mergers, acquisitions and rebranding in the intervening decades, I have not seen anything since to alter that view.

      1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: This must be ...

        J.C. Dell? Bed, Bath and Radio Shack? MAcer's?

  22. steelpillow Silver badge

    The survivor of the lift incident

    might even become the next PFY

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: The survivor of the lift incident

      Yeah, the current PFY really should be moving on by now. He mush be the PFMA (pimply faced middle ager) by now.

  23. Blackjack Silver badge

    This was bizarre because is almost two years of having to do all my electronic buying online thanks to Corona virus, and the service that I use makes returning things not that hard.

    It was like a look into the far away past and it made me nostalgic.

  24. G2

    sooo, is this story about Newegg's warranty service?

    interesting... this almost looks like Newegg's scammy warranty service policy is now featured in a BOFH episode...

    i'm impressed... Simon managed to have this story published at around the same time that Gamers Nexus posted their episode 2 video about Newegg's malicious RMA process and fraud - they intentionally sold a rejected RMA product as a functional product - even if it has a damn sticker on it from the manufacturer that says it has bent CPU pins...

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: sooo, is this story about Newegg's warranty service?

      Ouch! I thought the wound under the NewEgg scab had healed but no... you just picked at it.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Excellent episode

    Honestly, this one is a lot more fun than the many where some hapless idiots are murdered or put in hospital for the crime of being annoying....

  26. VerySlowData

    new BOFHs are developing

    Simon is alluding to other BOFH nests developing in allied businesses... The old trapdoor just in front of the Technical Service counter may be refurbished soon!

  27. FeRDNYC

    You realize...

    At the close of this one all I can hear in my head is Bugs Bunny declaring, "You realize, this means war?"

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