Another, um, satisfied customer

Tech quits his job in this IT department, so someone has to pick up his support duties -- and this pilot fish draws the assignment.

"There was not much to do," fish admits. "I did that for a year and got one phone call in all that time.

"About 12 months in, the task was moved to someone else. Six months after that I got a call from a supervisor who couldn't find the help-desk person but found me and would like to chase the progress on an open ticket one of his staff has pending."

Fish is ready to grumble, but instead he pulls up the ticketing system and checks the supervisor's ticket number. Turns out the problem description on the ticket is pretty vague, but it can't be all that dire -- it was assigned nearly two years ago to the guy who quit, and the user never followed up with fish during the year he was in the crosshairs.

Still, fish says he's happy to follow up with the user and see what can be done. The supervisor gives fish the user's phone number, which wasn't on the trouble ticket, and a few minutes later the user is telling fish that he can't make his mainframe terminal work.

Fish: "Do you get anything on the screen at all?"

User: "I don't know."

Fish: "Any messages? Splash screens? Legal disclaimers?"

User: "I don't know."

Fish: "Where is the terminal compared to where you are sitting? Can you see it?"

User: "Yes. It's in front of me."

Fish: "Is it switched on?"

User: "I don't know."

Fish: "Can you see any lights on the terminal? Blinking lights?"

User: "Yes."

Fish: "OK, press the XMIT key."

User: "OK. Done."

Fish: "Is there a message on the screen now?"

User: "I don't know."

Fish: "You can see the screen?"

User: "Yes."

Fish: "Well, is there anything written on it?"

User: "I don't know."

Fish: "You are looking directly at the screen right now and you don't know what's written on it?"

User: "Yes."

Fish: "What color is it?"

User: "I don't know."

"I was aware we had a couple of blind field workers on staff, but this one told me more than once he could see the screen so that couldn't be an issue," says baffled fish. "I suddenly realized what it was that our former support guy forgot to do before he left.

"I told the user to leave it with us, hung up and marked the ticket 'resolved.' Then I passed a note to the new help-desk guy, because I didn't hate him.

"But to my knowledge, years later, no one has followed up on the follow-up."

No, Sharky doesn't even have a theory about this one. But I do have a need -- for your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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