back to article Senior engineer reported to management for failing to fix a stapler

The seasons turn, the tides ebb and flow. Just as regularly, each Friday The Register delivers another instalment of On-Call, our reader-contributed tale of another sad constant: IT people being asked to do amazingly dumb things. This week, meet a reader we'll Regomize as "Phil" who shared a short and sweet tale of his time as …

  1. Michael Hoffmann

    But I DO want to know!

    Take a leaf from The DailyWTF - for better or worse you get the rest of the story.

    Sometimes, rarely, sanity prevails and that luser with the stapler would have had their comeuppance. Most of the time, it's the CFO or their nephew and Phil now has a new job - making twice as much money.

    We need such tales to preserve what remains of our sanity, all of us after a life-time career in IT.

    And if it's just "and Phil was publicly berated by the CEO and then fired" as most of us expect, it's at least a good reason to start Friday drinks early.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: But I DO want to know!

      One has to hope that what happened next involved quicklime, a roll of carpet and a shovel. But perhaps I've been reading BOFH for too long.

      1. Dave K

        Re: But I DO want to know!

        You forgot the company van and an expenses form for meal, fuel and overtime...

      2. TeraTelnet

        Re: But I DO want to know!

        For a moment I thought your comment said 'QuickTIME', which I suspect might have been a even worse fate.

        1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory
          Devil

          Re: But I DO want to know!

          Oh the sadism of an eight hour playlist that could be involved in that. Hampster Dance. Crazy Frog. Apple Pen. And, of course, Baby Shark, several times.

          Anyone emerging at the end of that with a shred of sanity left deserves a medal.

          1. Death Boffin
            Windows

            Re: But I DO want to know!

            Don't forget Muskrat Love and the obligatory Rickroll.

          2. lglethal Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: But I DO want to know!

            You dont know the depths of Sadism until you've been forced to listen to Mariah Carey's Christmas Carols on repeat for the entire month of December.

            I was only working there as a casual employee, so maximum 4 hours a few days a week. But it still almost drove me insane. How the full timers survived, I will never know...

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: But I DO want to know!

              The Radio Shack Christmas Mix tape... played in store during opening hours from November 1st onwards. I have had to write a whole new subroutine just to deal with the evoked loathing evoked by hearing any of a large number (actually a very small number, on repeat play, for many hours) of "traditional" Christmas pop songs.

              1. Little Mouse Silver badge

                Re: But I DO want to know!

                Little Chef had a particularly annoying advert 30+years ago. They played that fucking song continuously on repeat when I was there once.

                If you can remember the one I mean, apologies for the ear worm...

                "Welllll, I'd like eggs & bacon. I'd like toast & jam..."

                1. Loyal Commenter

                  Re: But I DO want to know!

                  That does lead me to wonder whether there is a direct causal relationship between that advert, and the business no longer existing.

                  1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                    Re: But I DO want to know!

                    Probably not. It was likely the loony owners. Rather oddly, the owners of the brand still pretend the restaurants exist:

                    http://www.littlechef.co.uk/

                    They've even updated the menus since the last branch closed.

                    1. TRT Silver badge

                      Re: But I DO want to know!

                      I think the last one I went to was on the way from Manchester to Holyhead. But... what's happened to the Jubilee Pancake with the black cherry filling and a scoop of ice cream? And the Gammon and Pineapple? And the Knickerbocker Glory? Brown Derby? And do you still get a lollipop of you clean your plate?

                    2. Just Another SteveO

                      Re: But I DO want to know!

                      I couldn't quite believe it and in the way of the inter webs, followed your link, and then to Wiki! What a story and yes! The website is still fully functioning, WTF is that about?

                      Thanks muchly, burned some evening time!

                  2. Graeme Mudie
                    FAIL

                    Re: But I DO want to know!

                    Well, they were infamous for the incredibly slow speed of service.

                    Ask for a full english style breakfast, without beans. 15-20 mins later, a plate of food *with* beans is finally put in front of me. So I send it back as I ask for no beans... it came back aboiut 10 minutes later, with the beans scraped off, eggs etc still contaminated by the sauce from the beans. I gave up and ate it, as I wanted to actually get to my destination eventually.

                2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

                  Re: But I DO want to know!

                  Wasn't Little Chef the chain with the logo of someone sticking two fingers down their throat?

                  1. Victor Ludorum

                    Re: But I DO want to know!

                    I think that was Happy Eater.

                    1. heyrick Silver badge

                      Re: But I DO want to know!

                      I kind of miss them. The All Day Breakfast got me through the darker parts of my childhood.

                      1. timrowledge

                        Re: But I DO want to know!

                        Wow - my sympathies. Those must have been some dark parts.

                    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

                      Re: But I DO want to know!

                      Ah, right. Never ate in either so often confused them.

                    3. Intractable Potsherd

                      Re: But I DO want to know!

                      That's correct - Little Thief and Happy Vomiter (or Happy Bulemic) were two separate chains.

                3. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: But I DO want to know!

                  my dad called them Little Thief because of their prices

                  1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                    Re: But I DO want to know!

                    I agree with that comments!

                    On the other hand, we were paying extra for the convenience. Not having to drive a few miles off-route into a nearby town or village, hope there was something open, pray we could get parked nearby hope it wasn't too busy, then get back on-route.

                    On the other hand, I used to travel a lot and stay overnight, rarely knowing more than 24 hours in advance where I'd be each night so stayed in a lot of Travelodges (company budgets!!) so went completely through the Little Chef menu a few times. When booking, I tried to find a Travelodge near where I wanted to be that had a Harvester pub attached rather than a Little Chef!!

              2. Dave559 Silver badge

                Xmas songs

                In this day and age, you would think that there would be a very strong 'accessibility' case to require that any shop, office, or other workplace must not play Xmas songs on an endless loop, on the grounds that it could be a particularly traumatic form of waterboarding-like torture for some neurodivergent people who might want to use (or have to work in) such a business, similarly to how certain frequencies of flashing lights are no longer used in special effects, etc. And I'm pretty sure that everybody else would welcome such glad tidings of comfort and joy as well (sorry, sorry, sorry…).

                1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
                  Megaphone

                  Re: Xmas songs

                  particularly traumatic form of waterboarding-like torture for some neurodivergent people

                  As far as I know I'm neurotypical and I'd consider it torture as well.

                  On the other hand, I think you've come up with a brilliant idea for getting rid of looped Muzak, at whatever time of year.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Xmas songs

                  Not to mention those who have religious objections to Christmas, or at least to its commercialisation via endless muzak

                3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                  Re: Xmas songs

                  Several supermarkets do hold a "quiet hour" with no music and advertisements and less bright lighting. In some cases, even the tills are quieter. I kind of want to go and see what it's like. A different kind of eerie from the place being open till late in the evening or even overnight.

              3. cman52

                Re: But I DO want to know!

                Back in the mid 70s I worked at a retail chain store which played taped music over the store speakers. Of course Christmas really got played to death. I knew I had to get out of there when I was walking around and complaining to myself about the relentless repeats and looked over the service desk and was shocked to see the tape machine was not working!!

            2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: But I DO want to know!

              I did a part time stint at Pest Sty too a few years back.

              Icon - Not my proudest moment.

            3. Mark 85 Silver badge

              Re: But I DO want to know!

              I was only working there as a casual employee, so maximum 4 hours a few days a week. But it still almost drove me insane. How the full timers survived, I will never know...

              Earplugs?

            4. MachDiamond Silver badge

              Re: But I DO want to know!

              "How the full timers survived, I will never know..."

              Drugs. Good ones.

              Being a total nerd, I built a sub-minature tube amp to power my headphones rather than plugged directly into the iPod. I don't hear the muzak.

            5. MGJ

              Re: But I DO want to know!

              When I worked in a supermarket in the 80's to subsidise my student alcohol consumption, we put a bounty on the christmas tape loop. £45 was the final figure taken by someone planning to leave anyway, who ripped it from the machine and stamped on it. We cheered.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: But I DO want to know!

                Just out of University I worked on a mainframe test floor. They had a radio station that played something like Muzak. Old songs but usually not the original singer or group.

                Lots of the test floor people complained and sometime the night shift people would get in the locked closet and change the radio station.

                The managers would say they couldn't change the station without corporate approval. Well one weekend the station switched to playing rock and roll. Amazingly the corporate approval wasn't that hard to get and we had a new boring station in less than an hour.

              2. MrBanana Silver badge

                Re: But I DO want to know!

                Destroying an in-store music tape cartridge - I don't think Techmoan would be very happy.

          3. spuck

            Re: But I DO want to know!

            Or 21 plays of What's New, Pussycat?

            https://youtu.be/Mw7Gryt-rcc

          4. Great Southern Land

            Re: But I DO want to know!

            Hamster Dance in one ear, Crazy Frog in the other...... or would that be a breach of international conventions against torture?

          5. Shalghar Bronze badge

            Re: But I DO want to know!

            Badger.badger,badger,badger, mushroom,mushroom !

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGlyFc79BUE

            Or a bit more in the happy go lucky direction: YATTA !

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rW6M8D41ZWU

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: But I DO want to know!

              I'll raise you El Reg's current offering of the 'Clouded' ad

              (unfortunately I can't add an ad-blocker, the browser's locked down!)

        2. Tim Cockburn

          Quick time

          One of the great inventions of ECTubb in the Dumarest stories.

    2. MOH

      Re: But I DO want to know!

      Please don't emulate TheDailyWTF, which ended up descending into endlessly similar overly-embellished stories which are more reflective of the writing style of the author than the wide variety of issues encountered by the submitters.

    3. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: But I DO want to know!

      My personal guess... no staples. Sort of like if you're troubleshooting printer problems, after making sure it's plugged in and turned on, you should verify that there's actually paper to print on. Usually there will be some big obvious "paper tray empty" message flashing on a screen or a LED blinking with "Paper" written below it, but somehow the user will miss that until you ask them about the paper explicitly.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: But I DO want to know!

        The solution to provide to the user:

        Put your hand under the stapler

        Press down

        Does it hurt?

        Yes -> Do you have a staple in your hand now? Yes -> it works

        Other answers: press down harder

        Repeat

      2. keith_w

        Re: But I DO want to know!

        one of my favourites is when someone tries to print one of the documents they received from Europe and since none of our printers have A4, they stop and request that some be put in. Since we are in North America we don't have any so the users complain to IT that the printer is broken so we have to tell the printers to print on 8 1/2 x 11, which isn't really very good. My users are resistant to learning to change the format of the document to an existing size of paper before printing.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: But I DO want to know!

          Some printers have an over-ride option for A4/Letter/. It's worth checking if that's available. In most cases, with normal sized margins, there's a high probability that an A4 document will fit on Letter and vice versa.

        2. Overcharged Aussie

          Re: But I DO want to know!

          Would it hurt the US to move up a century or two and adopt the metric system?

          Sorry, just got carried away with myself, forget I even suggested it. Sigh.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: But I DO want to know!

        "Usually there will be some big obvious "paper tray empty" message flashing on a screen or a LED blinking with "Paper" written below it, but somehow the user will miss that until you ask them about the paper explicitly."

        You mean the ever so helpful "PC LOAD LETTER" and user thinks it means something is wrong with the PC and it's run out or letters to send to the printer?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But I DO want to know!

      A friend of the Mr's, from another country, dialed 911 when her heat went out.

      Some things are cultural learning curves

  2. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    I once worked for a small aerospace firm, where the owner was in a wheelchair. He liked to go on to the machine floor, but as there were a couple of stairs between the offices and the machine floor, he would then have to go outside and around to the side entrance, and that was obviously too long for such an important person </sarcasm>.

    The Chief Engineer came to me and demanded that I design a removable ramp for the couple of stairs, to which I refused, pointing out that a) we could buy one from a standard safety equipment store for a good price, b) to design one internally would cost a lot more, c) we were already under water with so much paying work, and d) I'm not a safety engineer, so I absolutely would not certify any ramp we built for human rating.

    I got one hell of a telling off, but I didnt particularly care as I had already handed in my 3 months notice a couple of weeks before. In the end they got one of the older engineers who was used to this Owner's foibles to do it. It cost 20 times what I had found at the safety equipment store, weighed 4 times as much, and caused a deadline to be missed (at a cost to the company), but the owner got his ramp.

    I was glad to be out of that firm, I can tell you that. And I've been wary of working for small firms ever since....

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      I worked for a firm that made PCB processing machines out of welded plastic sheet. All sorts of items were fabricated in-house including bookshelves and the like. Typically the cost would be several times higher than it would have been to buy the items but of course the costs were "lost" rather than requiring approval.

      On the other hand when I worked for a metal framing company we had a whole room full of bolted together bookcases that needed clearing - I'm still building racking for sheds, etc. out of the stuff having brought it home in small batches on the roof of the car.

      1. timrowledge

        Wait, you have so many sheds you have keep them in racks?

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          I want to claim "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe" but I may have imagined it. I'm thinking a retail display of garden sheds... on shelves... not enormous sheds, and quite large shelves. And it may be only in my head.

          I don't think you lifted down the shed you wanted and took it to the cash desk, I think they were build it yourself from a kit.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      I'd have been pretty pissed off with one of my employees if they came up with a set of excuses that flimsy.

      a) You can obviously make one cheaper than buying one, because you don't need to cover as many scenarios. Well, unless somehow it cost less than the super-premium prices normally attached to such things because they're bought by people spending other people's money.

      b) Designing one takes minutes. I've done it, it's a trivial task.

      c) Not a flimsy reason, but hidden by the crap reasons

      d) You don't need to be a safety engineer, you need to overbuild.

      Pointing out priority clashes is one thing. But refusing to do something you could easily do? Nah.

      1. ChrisC Silver badge

        a) only if you have all the right materials in stock, and the right tools to hand to construct it, and your workforce hourly rates are at least comparable to those wherever the off the shelf version was built, and the time spent building this thing doesn't result in knock-on costs due to the work you're supposed to be doing being delayed, and the requirements for said thing aren't so bespoke that you'd be paying a premium to get someone else to build it for you a a one-off rather than taking advantage of the economies of scale they have due to the thousands/millions of the things they're geared up to churn out as a standard design all year long.

        b) I suspect the OP was using "design" to cover the total time required from initial pen to paper through to having the completed assembly ready for installation. And even if they were using your interpretation, it still really doesn't just take minutes (unless you're talking quite a few of them, or you're relying entirely on point d) to design something properly which will be safe for use over however long its intended to be used for. Dashing off a quick design sketch and assuming it's good enough, when getting it wrong could see the company owner being tipped out of their wheelchair, or could see a passer-by coming to harm due to an unintentional interaction with your design? Sod that for a game of cricket.

        c) Even if you genuinely believe a, b and d are crap, that's no excuse for failing to be able to then pick c out and realise how important a point that one was for the wellbeing of the company as a whole. Unless you're a crap manager (and, if your post here is truly representative of how you'd treat anyone under you in the organisational chart, then I'd say yes, yes you bloody well are) and don't actually listen to your minions when they try to tell you something.

        d) you still need to have enough grasp of the problem to know how much to overbuild, unless you want to just throw so much material at the problem that you then well and truly blow a) right out of the water due to how much cost you've added for no good reason, and potentially even b) due to how much longer it might take to construct your over-engineered behemoth of a solution. And you'd also still need to consider the other safety-related aspects of the design - e.g. are there any pinch points that might cause injury when using/moving the ramp, have you made sure there are no sharp edges that could injure someone passing by the ramp, does the ramp meet all applicable regulations/codes for your area/type of building etc. etc. etc.?

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          I've built wheelchair ramps. Any idiot can do it. It's utterly trivial, and they cost less than the ridiculously inflated prices to buy one, even if you have to buy the tools too.

          I'm guessing you are only disagreeing because you don't realise how ludicrous the prices of readymade ramps are. You can employ an engineer, a construction team, and build them out of oak and walnut, with decorative gold inlays, and still have enough left over for coke and hookers.

          This is for _a single step_: https://www.esedirect.co.uk/p-6954-permaramp-adjust-with-2-support-rails.aspx?vatsetting=1&v=27287

          £2500!

          1. ChrisC Silver badge

            I know how luducrously expensive this sort of stuff *can* be if you don't bother shopping around and allow yourself to be ripped off by suppliers who see people in need of such stuff as an open wallet, or if you over-spec your requirements and end up buying something other than what you actually need. On that latter point, note that the OP was asked to design a *removable* ramp, whereas the one you've linked to here is for permanent installation...

            In comparison, the following link is for a *removable* ramp of the same 2.4m length as the one you've linked to, which comes in at a somewhat more reasonable 275 quid inc. VAT:

            https://www.healthcarepro.co.uk/mobility-aids/wheelchair-and-scooter-ramps-steps/metro-suitcase-ramp-150cm-2?sku=S09128

            1. Mark 85 Silver badge

              know how luducrously expensive this sort of stuff *can* be if you don't bother shopping around and allow yourself to be ripped off by suppliers who see people in need of such stuff as an open wallet,

              I would suspect that there's a big hidden charge in the price.... lawyers. Much like ladders these days. Any excuse to sue someone will bring a large number of them to your door offering to "help"... for a large fee of couse.

            2. martinusher Silver badge

              When you're looking for a ramp don't use the "W" word -- you just need a ramp so you can negotiate steps with a hand truck or similar.

              This is the classic build / buy dilemma. In the Good Old Days this task would be sent off to the apprentices and would have cost very little (and the costs all lost in the training budget). But we don't do training any more and everyone else is maxed out. Just thinking about purchasing one will cost more than the actual unit.

          2. spuck

            Opportunity cost

            If your company has competent people who build stuff who are sitting around waiting for work, then sure. This is the sort of thing that you allow your workers to "play" with in their free time and raid the strap bin for parts.

            This would also be a great task for the intern or apprentice to learn how to draft something up or weld together under the supervision of more senior people.

            But if your shop is paying overtime and turning away profitable work so that the staff can build a ramp, it's mismanagement of the highest order for them to be puttering around building something that the secretary could arrange to have delivered and installed next Tuesday.

            On the other hand, there's no better way to earn Brownie points with the owner than do be known as the guy who got his special project done.

          3. Richard 12 Silver badge
            Unhappy

            You mean any idiot can screw it up

            I've seen some of the incidents after someone just throws a wheelchair ramp together with the "how hard can it be" attitude. It's not pretty.

            Simply reading and understanding the legal requirements and applicable regulations takes best part of a day, before you even start putting pencil to paper/fire up the CAD machine.

          4. An_Old_Dog Silver badge
            Stop

            Utterly Trivial (Potential Lawsuit Included!)

            No sane person with the certification "professional engineer" would think of touching a thing like this without knowing the parameters.

            Sure, it's "utterly trivial" to knock something off. But as a P.E., you, personally, are on the receiving end of any failure-/injury-related lawsuits for the things you design.

          5. John Doe 12

            "I've built wheelchair ramps. Any idiot can do it."

            Am I the only one who sees this person basically providing the evidence (not that it's needed) that they are indeed an idiot? :-D

          6. MachDiamond Silver badge

            "I'm guessing you are only disagreeing because you don't realise how ludicrous the prices of readymade ramps are. "

            They are approved, they meet standards, if the damn thing fails it's their bloody insurance that has to pay. That's why they can be more expensive. You aren't paying for the ramp, you are paying for the company's insurance and, hopefully, that they keep up on all of the stupid regulations you can get pinched for if you make the damn thing 12mm too narrow and some code enforcement hack that just learned now to use a tape measure stops in to try it out. The bleedin' fine could be double the cost to buy the one out of the catalog. It doesn't matter that you couldn't make the ramp 12mm wider given the stairway you were trying to bridge. To be compliant, you would have needed to remove the stairs and rebuilt the access not just added a ramp. It doesn't matter that it's only for the owner's use. It's a wheelchair ramp and must be suitable for everybody.

            Anything that's disability access related, H&S, having the correct number of women's toilet stalls and things like that aren't put into code to make sure that people are served. They are excuses with a nice cover story for agencies to write more fines. It doesn't matter that you attempted to accommodate somebody in a wheelchair, it's not getting it totally spot on that's going to burn you. If you must have a first aid kit mounted that meets specification 1234WXYZ, you buy the one that has that proudly stamped on the front lid and bolt it to the wall. You don't build your own box and stuff it with even more stuff even if that's cheaper and better. The inspector knows nothing about the spec but the number. Give them what they want to see and avoid the fines.

          7. cream wobbly

            Yes, it's also called "Permaramp" which kinda hints that it's intended to be bolted down. The spec was for a mobile ramp. (Presumably because it intrudes into work space.)

            Building something that has to be self-supporting takes quite a lot more engineering.

            I expect most of the cost is in certification. Workplace insurance would skyrocket (scuse the pun) if an uncertified piece of mobile safety equipment was installed.

            You and your "£2500? I could do it for less!" it's exactly how managers end up outsourcing or "clouding" for bullshit reasons. You're not looking at the total costs, just the one line item.

          8. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

            I've built wheelchair ramps. Any idiot can do it. It's utterly trivial, and they cost less than the ridiculously inflated prices to buy one, even if you have to buy the tools too. ...

            £2500!

            Yes, but £2000 of that is to cover the legal fees when the manufacturer gets sued when some Darwin-award candidate does something spectacularly idiotic in the vicinity of said ramp. (Because the insurance won't cover any old installation done by any old Dunning-Kruger afflicted jobsworth.

        2. Sam not the Viking Silver badge
          Pint

          Rules are rules

          You are right about there being requirements for access ramps. Building Regulations have a series of sensible guidelines on how it should be done. (e.g. https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Ramps)

          As an Engineer with professional standing, you are supposed to know that these things can come back to bite you, personally.

          These designs take time ---->

        3. Potty Professor Bronze badge
          Stop

          Ramps etc.

          As my wife's condition deteriorated, I firstly built a set of shallow, extended steps and a handrail leading up to the front door, and later added some removable ramps for when she was in her wheelchair. One day two burly chaps arrived from Patient Transport to take her to the hospital for an out patients' appointment. I had to stop them from pushing her wheelchair out of the front door and down the ramp forward, as that would have tipped her out of the chair and onto the concrete front path. They had not been trained to always go down a ramp backwards, so that the patient tends to sit back in the chair, and not get deposited on the floor. I would have thought it was obvious, but they seemed completely oblivious to the danger. Only after they had successfully got her out of the house, did they discover that the little Berlingo Estate they were driving was too narrow for her chair, so I had to take her in our own car instead. Subsequent PT trips were accomplished by using a full sized ambulance.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        "Pointing out priority clashes is one thing. But refusing to do something you could easily do? Nah."

        If your bonus is predicated on work being delivered on time and hitting certain revenue goals, you want to just go out and buy something that can be delivered tomorrow without you needing to pull anybody out of production for an afternoon. That purchase doesn't detract from the bonus calculations.

        When I was a roadie, we had to knock things together all of the time. They did one job well enough and only had to last the day. This was a long time ago too so there wasn't any online ordering with next day delivery. We'd push off to the DIY store or what passed for one where we were and see what materials we had to work with. There wasn't all of the H&S crap either and we could manage to sneak all sorts of stuff past the fire marshal when we needed to.

        Yes, the job could be done in-house, but it made no sense to do the work in-house.

    3. slimshady76
      Pint

      The first "corporate" position for a friend was in a local, small, but very productive software development firm, specialized in easing the life of those chained to the Oracle Rock of Shame™. He began as a Junior DBA, then he got promoted to DBA Lead, and in the end he became the Head of IT Department.

      Once business slowed down for said firm, he found himself not just dealing with databases, software development, It infrastructure (including desktop services!) and ultimately... Lighbulb changes and toilet paper replenishment at the appropriate facilities. The firm had to downsize considerably, and he was a one band man and the lonely representative of the IT department.

      Icon because even he never liked alcoholic beverages, I will still toast to his much better actual circumstances!

    4. spuck

      Hiring engineers to shovel snow

      As the title says, I was once in a shop where they were unable to find janitorial staff to shovel snow from the front walk. Their solution was to send around an e-mail to the software engineers assigning each a time block where they would be responsible to do the task.

      End result was I got several hours a week of fresh outside air and light exercise while being paid an engineer salary.

      I once interviewed at a small company that included a tour around the engineering and drafting department by the president, who proudly told me that all of their mechanical design work was being done on Linux desktops on drafting software that their mechanical engineers wrote and maintained themselves. This was not unique design work, it was the bread-and-butter work of AutoCAD (at the time) or SolidWorks today.

      I declined that position; not sure what tasks he might think would be appropriate for an electrical engineer... forklift driving? Designing soldering irons?

      1. jfw25

        Re: Hiring engineers to shovel snow

        "Drafting software that their mechanical engineers wrote"

        There are two sides to that coin.

        Having been intimately involved with software written by hardware engineers, and constantly astonished at how the resulting code even manages to pretend to work at all, the idea of mechanical engineers (with no training in the craft of writing software) writing 3D drafting software fills me with dread.

        But having been intimately involved with every other kind of software, in particularly elegantly structured software using sensible, modern principles of software structure and design -- yet which was so completely unusable for the actual task at hand because the software engineers in question clearly had no concept whatsoever of what problem was actually to be solved -- the idea of software engineers writing software also fills me with dread. (Including the software that I am currently writing :-) )

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hiring engineers to shovel snow

          "...mechanical engineers (with no training in the craft of writing software) writing 3D drafting software fills me with dread."

          Uhm? ... mechanical engineers all have training in writing software. How do you think calculations are done without computers?

          OK, it was Fortran when I was a student and possibly something else now, but you need to know at least basics, so you can write a program which solves bunch of equations numerically.

          Systematic method of building software/machinery from smaller blocks is mostly same process (bottom-up). Doesn't look the same for a software developer, but it is.

      2. Twanky Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Hiring engineers to shovel snow

        My first move into IT found me being given much training on the care and feeding of VAXes, VMS, DECnet and LAT terminal servers. It involved a day job working with a bunch of statisticians who used the VAXes and associated peripherals and some evening work watching tapes go around.

        One evening one of the aircon units in the machine room started spitting water across the room. I turned it off and ran the room overnight without redundant aircon. The next day I got the site service guys to take a look and they diagnosed a blocked condensate underfloor drain run (the trough the condensate collected in and should drain from had several centimetres of water in it). They said the entire run would require replacing which would require a daytime shutdown and which I thought was ridiculously excessive and disruptive - and which was something they would get a contractor in to do.

        I was pissed off about the delay and worried about running the room too long without redundant aircon. So I found where the drain exited the room, found an industrial wet and dry vacuum cleaner and pulled the blockage through that evening. Of course, it was mostly carpet tile fibres - why the hell did people carpet machine rooms?

        Of course, I "shouldn't" have done it - but I avoided some expensive downtime for the statisticians. I was sure that even if I made the blockage worse it would be sorted out when they replaced the under floor drain run. When the contractor turned up to quote for the job he found both units operating and draining fine - no fault found. Of course, nobody knew but me (until now).

        It ran fine for several more years until sadly, the company got bought by Engulf and Devour (Our Fingers are in Everything) and the site got closed down.

    5. Trixr

      Anytime you interview at a company and they say, "we're all just like family here!", run for the hills.

  3. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

    anything that plugs into a wall....

    Yup - thats me.

    Theatre Tech - The hall amp and mixer plug into the wall and there is a PC attached - by a phono connecting lead, I hasten to add; it's an entirely manual desk...Becasue I am obviously the Theatre Tech microphones etc. are also my parish apparently.

    Shredder Fixer - Yup definitely plugs into the wall and lusers are always force feeding it so much paper that the machine locks solid and, yes, reverse feed is also jammed

    Franking machine - that's electrical and connects to the network (in a bizarre sort of way that in no way works for normal corporate networks - so this is a bit of a fringe case)

    Resetting boilers - Oh you are here! the caretaker isn't available and you did something with boilers in a previous existence didn't you?

    WindowsXP based tills - They are definitely my pigeon even though they are supplied and maintained by a completely different company

    Air Con - well that electrical isn't it? It's for your server room anyway.

    I think that covers it for this job...

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

      An old-school fireman once logged a ticket asking for more standard issue socks.

      This was back in the late 90's when the concept of a centralised help desk was quite new. They guy needed some help, so he rang the Help desk. You can't argue with the logic, really.

      (Sadly I wasn't able to help. I wasn't even able to point him towards the right team. Luckily we both saw the funny side.)

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

        Socks? Did you tell him to try rebooting his feet?

      2. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

        > An old-school fireman once logged a ticket asking for more standard issue socks.

        SOCKS4 or SOCKS5?

        1. Yes Me Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

          5, surely, there's not even an RFC for SOCKS4.

    2. Def Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

      I have a piece of bread stuck in my toaster.

      Maybe you could pop over when you have a spare minute...?

      1. Cheshire Cat
        Devil

        Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

        No problem, sir! You should just use a fork to get it out - make sure the device is plugged in first, so that the earth is connected - FOR SAFETY!

        -kzzzzerrrkk!-

        ... problem solved

        1. dmwalsh568

          Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

          Just to be sure, the user should have one hand on an earth ground while using the fork with the other hand. That guarantees any short circuits goes to ground properly (through their heart....) :P

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: Shredder

      So tempting: a mass email directing all to use the network shredder. With a little luck the most clueless shredder users will not admit ignorance of how to use it and will delegate the task to someone less clueless.

      1. nintendoeats Silver badge

        Re: Shredder

        Network...shredder? The only use I can think of is being able to check whether it's in use.

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: Shredder

          A network shredder is an amazing device. It can never jam. You will find it next to the turbo encabulator.

          1. nintendoeats Silver badge

            Re: Shredder

            Ah, is it made by the same company as the left-handed skyhook?

          2. MachDiamond Silver badge

            Re: Shredder

            "You will find it next to the turbo encabulator."

            What? You can't even link in the routine video on YouTube and use wikipedia! Good grief.

            Any youngun's that haven't learned all about the Turbo Encabulator need to do the research right away. It's the best course on how to talk to the executives about stuff they have no chance of understanding. Confidence, good props and all of the jargon you can throw at it.

            The better you can explain the benefits of sinusoidal repleneration and baseplates made from preframulated Amerlite, the better your future in any career (where the boss isn't the one that came up with the main product or has an engineering degree too).

            1. Jos V

              Re: Shredder

              ok then, here you go:

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac7G7xOG2Ag

              1. MachDiamond Silver badge

                Re: Shredder

                "ok then, here you go:

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac7G7xOG2Ag"

                Perfect and I thank you.

        2. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Shredder

          The best thing about a network shredder is you can direct your output to it just like you can a printer, but it skips the step of actually printing so there are no paper jams in either the creation or destruction of documents. It also saves money since there is no paper, toner, or shredder oil needed.

          You might think this is just another name for /dev/null, but no. A proper network shredder will rasterize the page, then divide it into vertical strips, then divide those into horizontal confetti, THEN direct to /dev/null.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Shredder

            It's a more confidential data pipe than just emptying the bit bucket daily.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Shredder

              I remember going around installing Cisco VPN package on users home PCs[1] years ago when WFH was for the very few. As well as setting up the VPN and an encrypted virtual disk in a big file on the HDD where work stuff must go, it also added a "shredder" on the desktop for securely deleting documents.

              [1] Yes, the users provided their own PCs[2]. It was a government department and these particular people were classed as self-employed contractors. The majority only did work for that department and eventually became employees thanks to the earliest incarnation of IR35 when the tax man came calling.

              [2] It was a ball ache installing the software BECAUSE it was the users home PCs. We had to take a full image of the HDD before starting so if anything went pear-shaped we could at least put them back how we found them. This meant having multiple methods of imaging the HDD because there were many different PC configurations and even Windows versions out there so one size most definitely did not fit all.

          2. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Shredder

            >but it skips the step of actually printing

            Back in the early 80's I was told a tale where at one (mainframe) facility, they had a shredder positioned directly under the output path from a lineprinter. The joke was that it was cheaper to do this than to pay for the application software changes necessary to achieve the same effect...

        3. that one in the corner Silver badge

          Re: Shredder

          Of course network Shredder - else how could he contact the Turtles?

          Cowabunga!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

      You work in a school don't you.

      Been there, done that!

    5. Def Silver badge

      Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

      Are you friends with Dara O'Briain by any chance?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVxOb8-d7Ic

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

      NHS IT worker - things I have had to deal with

      Nintendo switch

      Paper towel dispenser (not even electrical)

      Box on wall making noises - that's a fire alarm, not ICT

      Previous job - swap toilet seat ("because you have tools")

      At the moment I am having the opposite problem - we are having a new access control system installed, and I am being excluded from the project. Guess who spent 5 years in a previous job supporting, fixing, commissioning access control systems from the same company???????

      (While I admit my knowledge may be a bit dated, I am enjoying the same colleagues struggling - I may have an easy solution, but not my problem!

      1. heyrick Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

        "Box on wall making noises - that's a fire alarm"

        Have one of these --> for a mouthful of tea spat clear across the room.

        Sorry, can't stop giggling. :)

    7. Sandtitz Silver badge

      Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

      "Franking machine - that's electrical and connects to the network (in a bizarre sort of way that in no way works for normal corporate networks - so this is a bit of a fringe case)"

      Ah, Pitney Bowes. Franking machines from hell requiring numerous non-documented ports with nonstandard communications. Don't even try to scan the traffic - straight to its very own DMZ zone those bastards.

      "Sure it is using ports 80 and 443 but the traffic is not HTTP nor HTTPS"

    8. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: anything that plugs into a wall....

      I would have another job for you. :-)

      The latest incarnation of "laundrette" at a few local shops - may or may not be related to the shops - is a couple of washing machines and a dryer, outdoors. All built into a large cabinet, with a porch and a self service touch screen, told you it was modern...

      So, one day I go to actually use one of these marvels but it's unresponsive. I ask at the shop and in fact they know what to do... they go to the back of the shop and - turn the laundrette off, and on again. Hooray!

      So I wait... I don't remember how long, say five minutes... the touch screen shows a Microsoft Windows logo... Maybe Windows XP... I don't remember that precisely, either.

      Then the logo stays up for... I don't know, say half an hour. Because I got fed up waiting for it, so I did my shopping.

      And THEN I got to do my laundry.

      I was intending to do my shopping while the laundry happened, that's synergy...

  4. Admiral Grace Hopper
    Mushroom

    "But it's IT equipment"

    Just because it has a plug on it doesn't mean that it's in our remit.

    This became increasingly irritating as more devices gained USB (or similar) ports. We do not support iPods ...

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: "But it's IT equipment"

      I do support iPods. "Ah, I see the problem. It's a non-company device. Allow me to secure that for you to bring you into compliance with policy, so that we don't have to go the messy HR misconduct route."

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: "But it's IT equipment"

        Starting with a wipe, and connecting the apple-id to the company email address instead of his private :D.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "But it's IT equipment"

          Late 80's working for the helpdesk of a nationalised industry with hundreds (thousands?) of outposts.

          Calls for phones, green screens, PC's, printers, fax machines (when ordered through the official channels, and were a supported model), even 2-way radios..... Photocopiers were not our remit, but understandable that we got some calls for them, and we informed the caller of the help number for the office services support or to contact the number on the sticker on the side of the machine..

          But we laid the line at getting calls to say the gents toilets were blocked, the coffee machine had run out of cups, or that someones anglepoise desk lamp needed a new bulb.....

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

            Re: "But it's IT equipment"

            coffee machines are not managed by IT?

            remember the IT motto: no coffee, no work!

        2. TRT Silver badge

          Re: "But it's IT equipment"

          connecting the apple-id to the company email address

          So that the ONLY playlist available is a selection of 12 Christmas Classics on repeat?

          If I hear 'In Dolce Jubilo' or 'Stop The Cavalry' ONE MORE TIME!!!!!!!

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Re: "But it's IT equipment"

            You work in a weird company!

            1. TRT Silver badge

              Re: "But it's IT equipment"

              It's a callback.

          2. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: "But it's IT equipment"

            If I hear 'In Dolce Jubilo' or 'Stop The Cavalry' ONE MORE TIME!!!!!!!

            Dubba dubba dum dum dubba dubba dum dum

            dubba dum dum dum dubba dubba dah

            wish I was at hoooome...

  5. b0llchit Silver badge
    Coat

    What happened...

    ...The local shop ensured the stapler was repaired and the assistant executive was subsequently nailed to the wall, BOFH style, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What happened...

      Stapled to the wall, surely?! :)

    2. richardcox13

      Re: What happened...

      I think the BOFH would turn up and say "Call that a stapler, this is a _STAPLER_" pulling out a high end industrial nail gun.

      And then demonstrate its use.

  6. Potemkine! Silver badge

    As already said in this section, "In IT, no good deed ever goes unpunished".

    == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      How many sockpuppets are you using to post that, Alistair? It's getting really boring. Just like your articles were.

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        It's time to take your medicine dude.

        I'm flattered but the I'm not Mr. Dabbs, I'm just a reader who loved his witty chronicles and who appreciated his musical tastes.

        Knowing you don't like my sig gives me another reason to put in all of my posts. Have a nice day!

        == Bring us Dabbsy back! ==

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          "I'm not Mr. Dabbs"

          Sorry, Mrs Dabbs. ;)

          (Seriously, can't you just stop? They canned Dabbsy based on the site stats which showed most people thought he was too boring to click on. Evidently you disagree, but you can get your fix elsewhere.)

          1. BenDwire Silver badge

            Is that just your opinion? Or are the site stats per article available for all to see?

            For what it's worth I liked SFTW and was one of the main reasons I read El Reg on a Friday. I found his articles far from boring, especially when compared to most other rehashed press releases published alongside.

            Dabbsy, Paris, UK Spelling and Mike Magee will never come back to 'save' El Reg, no matter how much we may want them to, so I see little point complaining. Other sites are available.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              "Is that just your opinion?"

              I mean, it's pretty obvious. They didn't dump him for being the most popular thing on the site. It's my opinion his articles were neckbeardy failed attempts at humour, but it's clear he wasn't popular. It's not like he doesn't fit politically with the Reg's current editorial direction. He just wasn't bringing in the roubles because the clicks weren't there.

              "Dabbsy, Paris, UK Spelling and Mike Magee will never come back to 'save' El Reg"

              That's an interesting set you picked. Mad Mike was screwed over and kicked out of his own company by Dabbsy's chums, who are at the opposite end of the spectrum from Mike's tantric-hippy love-everyone-ism.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              your forgot the stories about the F-35 disaster...

              that is how you know the site is run by the US now...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "== Bring us Dabbsy back! =="

      I'll upvote anything which provides the amusement of driving people to apoplectic rage.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        It's mildly irritating rather than rage inducing.

  7. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    This so amply demonstrates my repeated assertion that "IT" is the 21st century version of filling inkwells and sharpening pencils, and that the OP was *not* working "in IT". YOYOYOY people would spend tens of thousands of $CURRENCY and three years getting a degree to change people's passwords and replace printer cartridges is madness.

    But it permeates the entire sector. It's like recruiting a teacher to clean school toilets and responding to their complaints "What? But you say you want to work in education. You're cleaning toilets *in* *a* *school*!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You may be joking but this actually happened to me but kind of in reverse.

      Found out my boss at the time (head of mainframe computing) used to be a security guard that got the job 'because he knew spreadsheets and put together a spreadsheet that did rotas'.

      Now don't get me wrong, I have no issues with people wanting to better themselves, but this really made things difficult....

      1. oiseau Silver badge
        Facepalm

        In another life many (many) years ago and after a serious 5 year draught, I landed a job at a third level department within a ministry.

        The department was specifically in charge of all things related to buildings and infrastructure under historical heritage protection at federal level.

        But the director in charge was a not an architect.

        He was a beancounter.

        Talk about things being difficult ... 8^|

        O.

        1. Great Southern Land

          Not unusual in any Civil Service department, and not just in the UK......

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Local Manager - Former Architect (Log cabins).

        Three letter IT company refreshing computers for a three letter bank in Alberta.

        This may explain why the project over ran as our local team manager's, number two loved doing everything in Access & dictated the imaging for the branches from his database.

        Unfortunately the other team in Edmonton were working from the master spreadsheet in Excel, consequently double the PC's & laptops were arriving to site(s) for the deployment teams, so one set was usually sent back to us, to image for the next branch & so the cycle repeated itself.

        The day came that we were tasked after the manager & his number two pissed off for the day, with grabbing serial numbers & inventory tags off the monitors in the stock room. Number 2 wanted it in his laborious feck ugly difficult to navigate Access database. It was decided that I'd use my barcode scanner to drop it into Excel, boy did he complain\grumble about that, but it gave him a new task to enjoy importing the data.

        Now the fun really starts........

        Local manager has to import those assets back into his master Excel spreadsheet & he's working away at it & he let's out this exasperated mutter after 2 hours or so.

        What's the matter?

        I wish you had just recorded the serial number, not the whole barcode information, I have to strip out the serial number from the barcode one by one.

        Can't you do a simple search & replace?

        Do a what?

        Search & replace.

        How do you do that?

        1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

          Re: Local Manager - Former Architect (Log cabins).

          Or, Number 2 could have done `select mid(barcode,i,j) as serialnumber` in his export query....

          Expression Builder? What's that?

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Local Manager - Former Architect (Log cabins).

          "number two loved doing everything in Access...the other team in Edmonton were working from the master spreadsheet in Excel""

          It does rather sound like a job for a database rather than a spreadsheet. Though maybe not Access :-)

          <mutters about people abusing Excel as a database>

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Local Manager - Former Architect (Log cabins).

            There's an overlap in the Excel/Access workspace. It's where a small and simple database is needed. Flat not relational. No complexity, just a few fields and some very simple calculations. An example, when Mrs 6 took over the Brownies' waiting list - previously held in an old exercise book- I created a new waiting list in Excel- Access would have been well over the top. All it needed to do was list the kids with their DOBs and the date they went on the list. Kids on the list who weren't old enough to actually join were in plain black font. Conditional formatting turned that to green when they reached enrolment age and so on.

            Never more than a few dozen entries.

            In the days when flat form DBs were around- often on the cover discs of magazines - I used one for the mildly more elaborate record keeping I needed for work. Same principle but with fields for who was assigned to work with the kids, recent test scores etc.

            I've never really mastered Access, because it's far too complicated for anything I've needed to do. The cost/benefit ratio isn't there to justify it.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        At my previous job, our VP of IT had an English degree. His qualification for the job was that he went to college with the CEO.

        I had to write his emails to outside vendors and contractors so that he wouldn't look like he knew nothing about technology. Conference calls usually involved a lot of eye-rolling from outside people. Most of the time I would have to get on a call with them afterwards and explain the technical requirements to them.

        All of this, and his salary was more then double what I made!!

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          "All of this, and his salary was more then double what I made!!"

          And you think _he_ was the stupid one...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Plugging in loose mains cable. Grumble, mutter...... three years of electronics at college for this......?

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Ah now, as it happens....

      I was a specialist teacher ( literacy) supporting a bunch of schools and their kids. Specialised training for years post qualification, promoted teacher salary scale and in enormous demand to get through the waiting lists of kids and schools.

      One morning I arrived in a local open plan primary school. I was supporting about 4 kids and had 3 on the waiting list, with just one teaching slot allocated to that school. To be greeted by the headteacher who told me that there was a terrible smell in the open area and could I sort it out. When I pointed out that this was not my job, I had kids to see- and that there was a caretaker for that he told me that the caretaker was too busy to do it.

  8. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    A Swingline 747 in red is under thirty quid from Amazon.

    1. Aladdin Sane

      Red swingline stapler.

      And I said, I don't care if they lay me off either, because I told, I told Bill that if they move my desk one more time, then, then I'm, I'm quitting, I'm going to quit. And, and I told Don too, because they've moved my desk four times already this year, and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were merry, but then, they switched from the Swingline to the Boston stapler, but I kept my Swingline stapler because it didn't bind up as much, and I kept the staples for the Swingline stapler and it's not okay because if they take my stapler then I'll set the building on fire...

      1. TimMaher Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Red swingline stapler.

        That is effing brilliant @sane!

        Have a beer.

    2. Fr. Ted Crilly Bronze badge

      Yes, others are only allowed to view mine, no touching with their sweaty grasping paws.

      The Swing line chisel point SAE staples are required for optimum performance, inferior ISO staples do not cut the mustard...

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        In one office I had to screw the stapler to the desk because people kept wandering off with it.

  9. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Just maybe ...

    > Phil's response was to suggest the user contact their facilities department and order a new stapler.

    ... check if it had run out of staples?

    1. M E H

      Re: Just maybe ...

      As the luser said the stapler plugged into the wall I am reading it as the stapler function of a large printer, in which case it sadly probably did come under IT’s remit to fix.

      It’s “Phil’s” error and unprofessionalism not to ask the right questions, know about MFDs or know his estate.

      1. gotes

        Re: Just maybe ...

        There is such a thing as a "standalone" electric stapler.

      2. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Just maybe ...

        Ooh, nicely done. I do like the ironic use of 'luser' while blaming Phil for doing his job properly.

      3. 43300 Bronze badge

        Re: Just maybe ...

        If it was the photocopier, wouldn't the user have said something like 'the photocopier has run out of staples / isn't stapling'? We have photocopiers that staple and they are within my remit, and I can't think of any occasion when it wasn't made clear that the staple issue related to a particular photocopier...

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Just maybe ...

          " I can't think of any occasion when it wasn't made clear that the staple issue related to a particular photocopier..."

          I can. User will be users.

          Open ticket: Stapler not working.

          Close ticket: See office supplies team

          Open ticket: Stapler not working.

          Close ticket: See office supplies team

          Open ticket: Stapler not working.

          Close ticket: See office supplies team

          Open ticket: Stapler on printer not working

          Update ticket: Fault noted, ask user to replace staple cartridge following animations displayed on printer control panel and escalate to site visit if problem not solved. Close ticket if no further responses within 24hrs.

      4. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Just maybe ...

        >the stapler function of a large printer...

        Well seeing this article late morning made me laugh.

        Arrived on a client site and immediately gained the attention of a frustrated and increasingly irate user; the printer driver wasn't letting them select the stapler function on the MPD...

  10. Big_Boomer Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Not just in IT

    There are plenty of stupid's out there. A friend worked for a car immobiliser company in the 90's (before they were built in by the manufacturers) and got called out on a Sunday to a customers car that the irate and demanding customer could not start. So, he drove to South Mimms services where the customer was stuck to investigate the problem, but it being Sunday he took his 12 year old son with him. On arrival he found that there was nothing wrong with the immobiliser system but that the customer had the cars gearbox in Drive. So he moved the lever to Park and hey presto the car started. As he walked back to his own car his son VERY LOUDLY and easily in earshot of the customer said, "Daddy, did we just drive 60 miles to put that mans car in Drive?" <LOL> He did get a glowing email from said customer about his professionalism though.

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Not just in IT

      Confession time, I've come close to the same!

      Once not really my fault, just the over-convoluted starting procedure for a manual BMW that required you to press the brake and the clutch, and have it in neutral, before pressing Start. Thank Google for getting me out of that one. It wasn't anything to do with me anyway but the ladies in the office were too nervous to drive the blooming thing so I was asked to move it for them.

      The other, I felt a right prat! I bought a new-to-me campervan which, typically, had a nearly empty tank. Headed off to the nearest filling station with the mate who'd given me a lift following just in case. Filled up no problem, but the blooming thing wouldn't start again. I was on the point of phoning the dealer when I went back to basics and pressed the clutch before trying again, vroom, vroom (or as much vroom as a small Daihatsu can manage). Not only had I started the thing several times previously and not had an issue but I *always* leave the vehicle in gear (I've had Citroens with front disc handbrakes and Land Rovers with dodgy transmission brakes both of which are prone to roll away) so I *always* depress the clutch, except once, in a filling station, for about 5 minutes!

      1. Little Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Not just in IT

        Stupid Confession #2: Before Google & company mobile phones, I borrowed a company car to attend a lunchtime medical appointment. Got there OK, parked up, but was unable to remove the key from the ignition. I couldn't leave it in the carpark like that, so had to drive back to the office, leave it very insecurely in the office carpark, and had to confess my ignorance to the carpool guy.

        Turns out there's a button next to the keyhole that you need to press to remove they key. Who knew?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not just in IT

          "Turns out there's a button next to the keyhole"

          You can only remove/insert the key on Saabs if they are in reverse (manual) or park (auto). Simples once you know, but an embarrassment if you just need to move someone elses car a few feet in the company car park and they are busy....

          1. phuzz Silver badge

            Re: Not just in IT

            I had exactly the same problem with a manager's Mercedes, but at least it only took me five minutes to work it out, whilst sat in a Tescos car park.

            In my defence it was only the second time I'd ever driven an automatic.

          2. Cheshire Cat

            Re: Not just in IT

            First time I ever drove an automatic was a hire car in the USA back in the 90s.

            I couldn't find either the handbrake or the gear stick.

            Eventually (since there was nobody willing to assist) I discovered that the gearstick was coming out of the steering wheel next to the indicator lights (I had never seen one there before), and the handbrake was a parking brake and on a footpedal to put it on but there was a pull-out thing in the dashboard like the bonnet release to take the brake off.

            This was also the same trip I learned that you are not allowed to pass a parked schoolbus in the US, and also that getting lost and doing a U-turn when there happens to be a police car parked ahead will result in you getting some very excited attention.

        2. disgruntled yank

          Re: Not just in IT

          Over the last 45 years or so, I've managed to remove the key from everything I've rented. I have worn off some enamel grinding my teeth while I figured it out.

        3. Ozumo

          Re: Not just in IT

          Was once accosted by a woman in a car park who couldn't get the ignition key to release. The car nerd in me took over - "It's a Saab, you have to put it in reverse". Yup.

        4. dajames Silver badge

          Re: Not just in IT

          Turns out there's a button next to the keyhole that you need to press to remove they key. Who knew?

          Yeah, I had a hire car -- some Japanese thing badged as a Ford -- in New Zealand, once, that had that ... feature. So annoying. So embarrassing.

        5. Mark #255

          Re: Not just in IT

          #1: A courtesy car that was an automatic(!) Micra - I couldn't get it out of Park, so had to walk back into the garage/dealership and ask how to make it go.

          #2: An oversized (for the UK anyway) 4x4 hire car, that needed refueling, but could I find the fuel cover release? In the end I had to read the manual to find it was on the driver's door, but at shin height.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Not just in IT

            Ah. You just reminded me. Honda HR-V. Love the car, but what idiot tucks the fuel release and bonnet release handles under the dash, next to each other and out of sight. It's approx 50% probability that the bonnet will open in the petrol station..

            1. keith_w

              Re: Not just in IT

              You needed to check the oil anyway didn't you?

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: Not just in IT

                "You needed to check the oil anyway didn't you?"

                I suspect only people of a certain age will understand that. The days when you pretty much always checked the oil levels whenever filling up with fuel because not only were things like oil pressure sensors "high end tech", you might might be lucky to have an indicator lamp, let alone an actual pressure gauge dial or other warning and oil tended to disappear almost as fast the the fuel in the tank!

                There was a documentary on Ch4 the other night about the building out of the UK motorway network. Many, many cars blew their big ends on the new motorways due to a lack of oil and temp indicators and cars suddenly doing many, many miles flat out, something they were not designed for and previously were not able to do because it was rarely possible to find that long and clear a road to do it on.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Not just in IT

      I very nearly did the same thing the first time I drove an automatic. Borrowed my in-laws' car while on holiday, took it out, stopped to admire view, couldn't get it started afterwards. Took me way, way too long to think of putting it in park - I was about to call my father-in-law for help, fortunately worked it out just in time.

      1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Not just in IT

        With my first "my" car, I couldn't work out how to turn the damn cabin light on. I would pull over to check a map and open the door to turn the light on. I'd flipped and turned every switch I could find and prodded everywhere around the ceiling fitting to no avail.

        When I finally remembered to check online before setting off one day I found that you had to *pull* the /rotating/ *headlight* knob. WTactualF?

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: Not just in IT

          This seems to pop up everywhere. A random, unlabelled and non-intuitive control. You can't do X unless you do Y first, or You need to use the X switch in the other direction to do Y and so on.

          1. that one in the corner Silver badge

            Re: Not just in IT

            On the bright side, the vehicle interior designer won an innovation award for that.

          2. heyrick Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Not just in IT

            It's a useful discussion though. So if I'm ever in a car that won't start, try pressing the clutch. Or if it won't let go of the key, put it in reverse or look for a hidden button.

            I knew about the steering-stalk for gears, seen it in movies (with some measure of disbelief). Also seen the weird place the 2CV put its gearstick.

            So, thanks, useful to know this stuff.

        2. David Hicklin Bronze badge

          Re: Not just in IT

          "*pull* the /rotating/ *headlight* knob"

          Had that on my early Vauxhall's, mind you I am quoting the original Viva's vintage!

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Not just in IT

      "Daddy, did we just drive 60 miles to put that mans car in Drive?"

      For me, it was printer with the IEC (kettle!) mains plug not pushed in all the way and 140 mile round trip. This was a maintenance contract call out, not the long expired warranty coverage. Turns out the plug "has always been a bit loose", so they used brown parcel tape to hold it in place. No one had ever figured out that all they needed to do was push the plug firmly in passed the friction grips. Why they thought they could get a "free" fix on a service contract but not on the original warranty is beyond me. We charged them the full call-out fee as "no fault found, user error".

      Oh, and they used an identical plug on the kettle which they frequently plugged/unplugged when filling it at the sink.

  11. DrDoug
    IT Angle

    Really?!

    Many, many moons ago (late 90s), was working as IT Support at one of the big accountancy firms - the senior partner called me asking me to come and see him urgently, so I quickly finished what I was doing and rushed through to see what was wrong. Upon entering his office, he asked if I had anything better than sellotape to stick the cardboard index to his phone....

    This wasn't his only stupid question, he also asked if he could delete the System32 folder from his Windows laptop to clear up space.

    1. John 110
      Coat

      Re: Really?!

      I once passed on a previously loved PC to a new Junior Doctor in the lab. As it had been previously used by her predecessor, I told her to just delete any files that weren't hers. Well, she didn't need that folder marked Windows, did she...

      PS that's when I discovered how to retrieve a working Windows install from it's own recycle bin

      PPS I could have had the machine re-imaged, but hospital IT were sarcastic buggers and she was too nice to expose her to that -- and I didn't want to face the "how could you let her" speech

      1. nintendoeats Silver badge

        Re: Really?!

        I once wrote a procedure that required my coworkers to add something to PATH. Unfortunately I linked to instructions that were not as clear as they could have been, and somebody instead deleted PATH. Fortunately our machines were configured very similarly, so I had him use mine.

        In my defense, my coworker had been documenting Windows software for 30 years, so I didn't really think this would be needed at all.

        1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Really?!

          it reminds me of a bug or feature in InstallShield, where if you had an install add something to the PATH, then at uninstall it cleared everything...

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: Really?!

            Years ago I encountered a system where on installing something, it cleaned up afterwards by clearing out $TEMP$. On this machine it had TEMP=C:\DOS

            1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

              Re: Really?!

              Reminds me of my old safety net for such batch files. Del %temp%\..\temp\*.* /q .

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Really?!

      "This wasn't his only stupid question, he also asked if he could delete the System32 folder from his Windows laptop to clear up space."

      That isn't a stupid question. Not asking before doing it would be stupid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Really?!

        "... Not asking before doing it would be stupid."

        Correct, no question is stupid *IF* asked before you 'nuke' your computer / server / NAS / open that 'strange' email / etc

        :)

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Really?!

          "Umm Sir this might be a stupid question..."

          "No, no, no. Remember Eric, there are no stupid questions. Only stupid People..."

  12. Montreal Sean

    Is it just me

    Is it just me or have the On Call articles been getting shorter?

    They now seem more like a book's back cover teaser than a story...

    1. nintendoeats Silver badge

      Re: Is it just me

      They seem to be scraping le bottom of le barrel.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Is it just me

        Comment Bait?

        1. BenDwire Silver badge
          Angel

          Re: Is it just me

          You say that as if there were adverts in the comments section ...

    2. DoctorPaul

      Re: Is it just me

      I must say that the same thing had occurred to me, they've even put out the odd plaintive call for readers to send in articles.

      Who would have thought that alienating your core readership would lead to a lack of engagement?

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Is it just me

      Maybe more people need to send in their stories instead of putting them in the comments to On Call? :-))

  13. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

    "Phil became the subject of a complaint to corporate that labelled the IT team "unresponsive.""

    Presumably the response was a counter-complaint of bullying, unprofessional behaviour, etc. If people want to play silly games, play their game better than they do.

    1. Irony Deficient Silver badge

      If people want to play silly games, play their game better than they do.

      But keep in mind Jean Cocteau’s advice to Yul Brynner.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: If people want to play silly games, play their game better than they do.

        Or as it's usually phrased, 'don't argue with idiots; first they'll bring you down to their level, then they'll beat you on experience'.

        This site totally fails to find the origin: https://marktwainstudies.com/the-apocryphal-twain-never-argue-with-stupid-people-they-will-drag-you-down-to-their-level-and-beat-you-with-experience/

        It's probably post-Twain, but definitely well-established as a phrase by the time Brynner ascribed it to Cocteau - it's in a Heinlein story from a decade or two earlier, IIRC.

  14. Mike 125

    people are weird about staplers

    Relevant only in as much as- it's a stapler. (And this sold the whole series to me.)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1PHpkdvNOs

  15. Sequin

    A senior police officer called me one day and asked me to provide some more paper for the printer attached to a system we had written and installed in his department. I explained that we provided a pack of A4 and a toner cartridge to start them off, but after that they had to order their own consumables. He complained that he hadn't budgeted for supplies and surely it was our responsibility as we had provided the printer! My reply was along the lines of "Foxtrot Oscar!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hmm…. I’d just take it out of the photocopier.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Or take it out _on_ the photocopier?

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      There's a wider issue there. Common in public service, where an item or even a whole building is supplied often with great fanfare and phrases like "state of the art". But none of the high-ups who've taken the credit have bothered to budget for the ongoing costs of materials, maintenance or, sometimes, even the essential start-up costs. So you get that lovely flower bed outside the door - that hasn't got any plants in it. The fountain that stopped working because the pipe blocked and there was no budget to get them unblocked. The window blinds that keep the sun off the lovely South facing windows- but which no one can afford to repair when they start to tear or get stuck 18 months later. And infamously the 20 storey tower blocks where the amazing lifts never work because there's no money for maintenance.

    3. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C

      Offer to fax some over? After checking that your company hadn't also supplied the fax machine, obv

    4. C R Mudgeon Bronze badge

      My response would have been to gently suggest that he try that argument on General Motors or whoever, re. gas for all the department's police cars.

  16. Hopalong

    Not the help line

    Back in the day (very late'80's early '90's), I was a shift leader running a small shift, max 3, often 2 (including myself) looking after a Mainframe and a number of AS400's.

    Our customer helpline was advertised as 24x7 but was actually manned 8-6 and the phones switched over to us after hours, so we had to field helpline calls out of hours when we were pushed to get things like the printing done to make the taxi schedules.

    So we fielded calls from our very non-IT aware customers who thought switching the screen off/on restarted the 'computer'.

    This one call stood out - it was the wee hours on new years day - yes we worked 24x7x365. - had a phone call asking us to replace a window which a brick had been thrown though. The caller was a bit miffed that we did not drop everything, drive about 150 miles there and then to replace the glass when I explained that we where the computer helpline and not a facilities helpline and to contact his area manager.

    It turned out that his area manager had told all his managers to call us for everything instead of calling him for non-IT (buildings etc.) problems. I think he was hoping for a night with no calls about broken windows etc. The building was in one of the rougher parts on Manchester.

    Also the number of times we answered the phone to be moaned at for not returning calls when a message was left on the answerphone - there was not an answerphone, there was a message if the phone was not answered in about 30 seconds saying words to the effect "Sorry, we are busy, please ring back later, no messages will be taken".

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Not the help line

      "Our customer helpline was advertised as 24x7"

      Top tip: 24/7 is less than 24x7. By roughly a factor of 50, obviously.

      "there was a message if the phone was not answered in about 30 seconds saying words to the effect "Sorry, we are busy, please ring back later, no messages will be taken"."

      We had that, but voicemail was actually disabled. After the message it would give the line disconnect tone. At one point we had trouble with some idiot claiming he'd left voicemail we hadn't answered. Investigated the system to see why it was letting him leave a voicemail at all. After extensive troubleshooting eventually got to talk to the idiot user and discovered he hadn't actually left a message, he'd taken the disconnection tone as the beep in 'please leave your message after the beep' and dictated his message into a disconnected handset.

    2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Not the help line

      What you describe is a phone-answer, I suppose. It gives a message, it doesn't take one.

  17. TooOldForThisSh*t

    Not My Problem!

    Long ago I got sent to a distant office to assist with combining two offices into one large new building across town. My responsibility was ONLY to see to it that the network & sever equipment was safely moved and fully operational asap. Which I did. Got chewed-out by office manager when it turned out half the building had no power. Not my problem. Also got yelled at by a sales engineer when she could not print out a report for a client as her printer had not arrived yet from the old office. Not my problem! Moving crew did not show up on time and electrician did not show until the next day.

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Not My Problem!

      The famous "Please contact your project manager for complains. I am not the project manager. I wasn't involved in planning." words. So true.

    2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Not My Problem!

      I used to work for a relocation company. One of the clients decided they could move their own printers and only needed us to do the office PCs and infrastructure. We spent the next week fielding calls asking when the printers were going to be up and running.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Help-desk

    A colleague of mine, whose job was to answer the phones on the helpdesk, once hung up from a call and proceeded to laugh until she cried. Once she was able to speak again, she revealed that she'd received a call from a hapless intern in one of the art departments, asking where he could buy tie-dyed t-shirts. When my colleague WTF'ed in this person's direction, his response was "but you're the helpdesk? Aren't you mean to help me do my job?"

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Floors?

    A sister of mine asked me to help with installing a laminate floor. When I said I did not have any experience in that, her reply was "But didn't you go to university? You should know this stuff." Yup, that was one of the courses in my IT education I must have slept through.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Floors?

      Could have been worse, you might have done a Philosophy degree.

    2. Dvon of Edzore
      Facepalm

      Re: Floors?

      At my university, the building mainly housing the Computer Science department had a lobby with a parquet floor which the IT students installed. (The floor may have been their gift to the school - those neurons were recycled decades ago.) After inserting the final piece of the puzzle, the tired crew went back to their dorms, only to return the next morning to a veritable explosion of small wood squares. It seemed the kiln-dried lumber had made merry with the rise in humidity overnight and expanded a bit in size, but the walls were not so forgiving. Reportedly, the student crew had to hand-sand each of the thousands of squares to make them fit once again. (I suppose the grain of the wood made them no longer square so the pattern wouldn't work if used as-is.)

  20. DS999 Silver badge

    When I worked for a university

    There was a support call perhaps too hopefully asking if any of us had any knowledge about fixing an electric typewriter. Apparently the secretaries kept one around for filling in forms, if they got a form from back in the days when a "fill in form" meant a xeroxed sheet sent in the mail rather than an Acrobat fill-in form.

    We called the campus IBM rep who dealt with RS6000s but she knew who to contact to get a certified IBM Selectric repair tech dispatched, and never heard of it again, so success...I guess?

  21. Blackjack Silver badge

    A stapler is one of those things that definitely doesn't need to be electric unless you are doing something like making a fanzine or something.

    I am the only one who hates electric can openers? I understand some people just can't open cans otherwise but I see them as a safety hazard.

  22. trindflo Bronze badge
    IT Angle

    Being sent for tampons

    Sending a young man after tampons seemed intentionally insulting. Volunteer organization with someone who might have been a little drunken with power? In any case my refusal was loud enough to be heard by other women and I never had to defend it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Being sent for tampons

      Shoulda gone anyway and come back with a box of crampons. Same shape, right? Fits in holes, right? Works the same, right?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Being sent for tampons

      Tampons are essential equipment but I admit that the IT angle also escapes me. I suppose you could plug up USB ports or soak up water that was spilled inside IT hardware. If you're working as a volunteer... then I'm not sure that a job description applies. Just take an order for exactly what's required, and get paid in advance.

  23. Kev99 Silver badge

    Even though I was never "officially" IT Support I was the one always called upon. Often the solution was to close the offending application and restart it. Which also often elicited moans and groans about the lost work. To which I often replied if they had auto save enabled.

    1. Shooter

      As Dabbsy would say...

      "Autosave is for wimps!"

      https://autosaveisforwimps.substack.com/

  24. Shred

    A former colleague had previously worked in a school. One day, a teacher brought her hair dryer in from home and asked him to fix it for her.

    To many users, we are not highly skilled IT professionals: “you’re just the guy who fixes things”.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      On a good day, I solve problems. Bad day, I do people's thinking for them

  25. Flightmode

    "It plugs into the wall, isn't that what IT fixes?"

    At a company I worked for many years ago, a new roving management team was brought in to "increase efficiency". You know the kind; they swoop in to outsource service functions and hire consultants to come up with a new company house style, then move on to another company within 12-18 months (making sure to keep at least one seat on the board so they can initiate another round in five years).

    Anyway, IT was number two on their list to outsource (right after the customer service teams). When asked what they included in the term "IT", the COO drone without blinking responsed "everything from light bulbs to Cray supercomputers". We had exactly zero of either.

  26. elaar

    Fixing toilets.

    In my early years, we had a small team that worked alone in a DC we had a large presence in. Support, hands and eyes, installations, basically anything and everything required to keep the services going.

    It was then decided by the Office Manager of the local London office (a few miles away) that we could carry out general office maintenance tasks for them, because after all if you have IT training you must also be a qualified electrician and plumber...

    One day we had a request from her to repair one of their toilets. I told her politely to ring a plumber, which compelled her to write an email to my manager and hers about how "unhelpful" I was. I never went over there again.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Fixing toilets.

      "if you have IT training you must also be a qualified electrician and plumber..."

      Plumbing digital/binary, isn't it? It's all just 1's and 2's. It's only an off-by-one error.

      1. Ray 4

        Re: Fixing toilets.

        An old colleague of mine used to joke about the 1s in the binary data can get stuck in the wires because the sharp ends of the 1s get caught, a good shake of the cables are sometimes all you need to fix a slow network. That's digital plumbing for ya.

        As for the toilet issue, I'd love to be in your manager's position to be able demonstrate how incompetent their staff is.

  27. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Just to be clear

    Working in an office isn't something that is covered in school so some of the machinery might be complex to the novice.

    Staplers not working:

    Check to see if it has staples. Just push and pull until it splits into three. If staples fall out, it had staples.

    Once you've found some of the staples and put them back in, try again. If it still doesn't work, hit it harder.

    If you suspect your one is jammed, search for a unwatched desk with a manual stapler you can nick unless you are looking to trade up to an electric.

    If an electric stapler doesn't work and you don't know how to check if it has staples, see if anybody is away from their desk and if they have an electric stapler, swap it for yours and let them sort it out.

    If the new electric stapler doesn't work, you blew the circuit with the electric fire you were told shouldn't be brought in and used under the desk. Isn't that going to be something to explain?

    The troubleshooting routine is very similar for all sorts of things. Try one quick repair, then some senseless violence and if that doesn't work, make it somebody else's problem. Keep in mind that asking somebody for help is the same thing as flirting and most companies frown on that sort of thing.

  28. Peter Christy

    You would bbe surprised how much (expensive!) damage a stapler can do!

    A long time ago, in a big broadcasting company, far, far away....

    Back in the days when TV programs were recorded on very expensive tape, we used to record "viewing copies" simultaneously on relatively cheap, black and white, industrial video recorders. These were used so that the program directors could view their rushes cheaply, in the comfort of their own offices, and make many of the important editing decisions before appearing in the video-tape area for their expensive, broadcast quality, "on-line" edits.

    One particular day, a call arrived from the office of one programme to complain that their viewing machine had died. A replacement was wheeled up to the office, and the broken one returned to the basement, where it was found that the two video heads had been totally destroyed!

    Replacing them was a bit of a chore, but any damage to the tape could cause damage to the heads, which were spinning around pretty quickly to scan the tape. The damage here was far in excess of anything seen before, and the repair engineer was somewhat puzzled as to the cause.

    Before the repair was complete, the office called again, complaining that the new machine had died!

    On arriving upstairs to investigate, the engineer asked to see the tape they were playing. He was presented with a tape that had somehow got cut in two, and spliced back together using - STAPLES!

    A few short, sharp words of advice were exchanged about the expensive consequences of this approach to splicing tapes, and a threat to charge any further damage to the programme budget rather than maintenance!

    --

    Pete

  29. The Northerner Up North

    Can you mend my washer pls

    Just before Christmas 2021 sat at work on the phones when said phone line rang and I answered it.

    I introduced myself and said I was from the IT Service Desk etc etc.

    "Hello," said a friendly Irish voice, "Can you mend mi washer for me"

    For 30 seconds I must have looked like goldfish swimming round its bowl, I explained that we supported IT issues not washers and eventually off she popped to try another number.

    Kicked myself - missed the opportunity to say, 'Have you tried turning it off and back on again?'

    Since then I've had another washer and a tv. Somebodies support telephone number must be very close to ours is the only reason for these calls i can come up with.

  30. bigtreeman

    fix my glasses

    I had a general manager who required, from time to time, me to come and maintain his glasses with my jewellers screwdriver, Duh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: fix my glasses

      That's not too bad on the scale of things. It's when they borrow your cutters to cut their fingernails (no confirmed, but due to evidence found - toenails...)

  31. bertkaye

    Proper assignment of talent to the task

    Sir, I am afraid your toilet lacks an Internet connection, and so we cannot remotely remove what's plugging it.

    Please contact your local facilities and prepare a chit to request a Porcelain Receptacle and Conduit Repair technician. The PRCR clerk can help you get your chit together.

  32. Ray 4

    Information Technology

    It's an electrical device used to put information into some kind of order... so... it must fall under the Information Technology team right? :D Sounds like it's been hacked to me, best get it sent in for the secuirty team to take a look.

    Just a thought though, if the said electric stapler is part of the printer unit, does it then sit under IT? :P

  33. TSM

    Before I was even working in the IT department - but doing IT-ish process improvement in the department where I was working - I was asked to help someone out with their digital camera, which was the first time I'd seen one (this being about 18 years ago). I have no recollection of the actual problem but it was indeed pretty simple to sort out.

    Of course, that only reinforces the general belief that you do know how to solve every problem. I did eventually teach the Marketing department how to randomise lists and how to compare two lists in Excel, so they didn't have to ask me to do it for them every time they needed it. So these days it's mostly my team members asking me about actual job related stuff, which is nice.

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