Now THAT'S a help desk with standards

This pilot fish manages technical staff at a company where the hardware and software are very, very standardized.

"Long, long ago, the head of IT decided that our company needed to buy all its hardware from HP," says fish. "So the company standard laptop is HP, the standard hardware is Windows, and there are very few exceptions. The industrial IT guys get to work on Linux, and the graphics folks work on Macs, but each has to do its own support -- don't come knocking on the help desk's door."

So fish uses her company HP laptop with Windows by day. But all her home and family hardware is Apple, which means she also has plenty of those white Apple silhouette stickers that come with every Apple product. Fish has even slapped one of the stickers over the HP logo on her company PC. "To the uninitiated, my HP laptop now looks like a very thick, square, thuggish Apple laptop," she says.

But not long after fish has redecorated her machine, its Wi-Fi controller gets flaky, so she stops by the company help desk.

A young help-desk tech sees her walk in with her laptop and immediately says, "We don't work on those."

Fish realizes he's been fooled by the sticker, and explains the it is a company standard HP, even pulling back a corner of the sticker to prove it. The tech relents, and they get the Wi-Fi issue resolved.

A few weeks later, fish needs a mobile broadband card, so she stops by the held desk again to pick one up and load the proper software.

Same young help desk tech sees her walking in with the same laptop -- and again says, "We don't work on those."

You said that last time too, says fish. Remember? It's just a sticker.

Tech insists he's never seen that laptop before.

"I try to remind him of the Wi-Fi issue, but he continues to insist he's never seen an HP with a sticker on it before," fish says.

"The help-desk manager sees the commotion and comes out of his office to see what's going on. Before he gets halfway across the room, he sees me standing there, holding the laptop with the sticker on it and says, 'Hey! We don't work on those in here...'"

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