Never mind the manual, read the @#$%! neon sign!

The small computer repair shop run by this pilot fish is open for a few hours each Saturday, mainly for customers who can't make it in during the work week.

"Like most stores, we have our business hours listed on a sign on the front door, and an Open sign in the window that is lighted when we're open and turned off when we close," says fish.

"I stayed late one Saturday afternoon trying to get caught up. As I was working in the back, I heard a sound from up front -- loud enough to register, but not enough to interrupt the task at hand.

"But within a matter of seconds, the phone rang. Still, I had work to do, so I let it go to voice mail.

"At this point I glanced up at the CCTV monitor, where I saw an elderly couple peering through our front door, cell phone in hand. No way, I thought to myself, as I dialed in to the voice mail service and played back the most recent message:

Yeah, um.... We're standing out front. Did you know your door is locked? So, um... we can't get in. I thought it was just stuck, but we're pretty sure it's locked. OK. Just thought you should know. OK. Bye."

"As I watched, they stood for a few more minutes staring at the front door -- directly at the sign listing the store hours -- as if waiting for someone to come unlock it for them.

"Then they walked over to the window immediately next to the unlit Open sign, leaned up against it and peered in for another minute, then went back to the door and tried pushing and pulling on it vigorously to see if it would open. Finally they gave up and left.

"The sad part is, I'll probably never know if they ever read the sign on our door or noticed that the Open sign was turned off."

Sharky's always open. Send me your true tale of IT life 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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