Lucky thing he was there to fix it, huh?

This IT services company is running a group of remote data centers for a large automotive parts distributor in the mid-1980s, reports a pilot fish working there.

"Each data center was equipped with a raised floor, IBM minicomputer and an impact printer -- the kind that made a very loud buzzing sound as the print chain impacted the paper," fish says.

"I was on call and the beeper alerted me to a problem at one of the sites, so I called back.

"'My printer is down!' was the terse reply to my query as to the problem.

"I asked the usual questions: Is it plugged in? Is it powered on? Is it online?

"The very agitated operator on the other end was clearly annoyed by my questions and answered an emphatic 'Yes' to each one.

"I asked him to check these things again. He refused.

"After a two- or three-minute session of 'please do' and 'we need to check,' I finally said, 'Well, until you check to ensure the plug is securely in the wall and the power switch is turned on, I can't help you and will be hanging up now.'

"The receiver was slammed down on the table and I heard very heavy footsteps as he marched across the room.

"Then I heard a loud CLICK of the printer being turned on, which was followed by the happy, rhythmic buzz of the printer merrily turning out green-bar reports.

"More footsteps -- then the words in the phone, 'I fixed it!' followed by the receiver being slammed down."

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