Technically, that's what we call a negative boost

The big boss decides that it will boost morale if the department provides free soft drinks and juices to the whole crew, says an IT pilot fish on the receiving end.

"The announcement is greeted with happiness and enthusiasm," fish says.

"The big boss now has to do a budget based upon the number of people, and estimates that the average person is going to drink two drinks a day. Working up the numbers, he finds that it's not too bad. He allocates the budget, and instructs the secretary to poll the crew as to what they would like and order it."

The next week the first shipment arrives -- and in comes an entire pallet of various brands of soft drinks and juices. It's obvious that this one shipment is probably the entire budget for the month.

Big boss gently asks the efficient and conscientious department secretary why she ordered so much. She replies, "You asked me to order what people would like to drink. Johnny likes Coke, so I ordered a case of that. Harry likes Diet Coke, so I ordered a case of that. Harriet likes apple juice, so I ordered a case of individual apple juices." And so on.

OK, big boss thinks, she did nothing more than what she was asked to do. "I see," he says. "For the next order, let's just get a variety of juices and drinks that keeps within the weekly budget. If they run out of that, they'll just have to wait for next week's order."

Reports fish, "Next week comes around and the order is substantially reduced, with a limited variety of drinks. It's all used up in a few days -- and the crew is now grumbling about how much of a cheapskate the boss is."

Don't just grumble -- tell Sharky about it. Send me your true tale of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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