Why ARE those IT guys so slow, anyway?

This pilot fish works for a company that does tech support for electronic retail displays -- everything from tablets to much larger display screens in stores.

"Recently I got an assignment to fix a broken display at a big-box retail store," says fish. "The directive on the work order allotted two hours to replace a part that was obviously broken, and check for any other issues.

"Let the bureaucratic oversight begin..."

Fish gets to the store and checks in at the front door by filling out the vendor visitor log. Next, he connects to the Internet and logs in to a third-party service that monitors work orders.

He finally gets to see the display -- which is in a special area of the store reserved for (and staffed by) a high-profile vendor. That vendor has to pay for any work done on this display in the vendor's area, so fish has to check in on the vendor's website with a tracking number that's supposed to be on fish's work order -- but isn't.

Meanwhile, the store still needs to monitor and track outside vendors, so fish needs to log in on one of the store's workstations. But for some reason the store's system no longer recognizes fish and won't give him the confirmation number that has to go into his report.

"So, according to procedure, I called my district manager for instructions," fish says. "He told me to continue working while he looked into all this.

"The part was indeed broken and needed replacing, and I also found two other parts that needed replacing. The actual work took less then an hour to finish."

That includes explaining what's been done to the department manager, who pays attention, asks pertinent questions and shows her appreciation for fish's work -- a nice change from what he usually deals with.

Finally, fish has a report to fill out. There's no tracking number from the vendor, so fish has to fill the entry box with an explanation and a statement that his manager authorized him to proceed.

There's no store confirmation number, but fish's district manager finally calls back with an alternative login procedure -- and instructions to use his phone to snap pictures of the screens to send to the manager for confirmation.

"All this noise usually only takes up 15 minutes at most to complete," says fish. "This time, between phone calls, text messages and emails with my manager, I spent two hours assuring all the bureaucrats that I showed up and did the work before I could sign out of the vendor log and leave.

"Bureaucrats! They'll cost themselves twice the money they budget for trying to insure they get what they ordered."

You don't need triplicate to send Sharky your story. Just email your true tale of IT life to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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