Details, details...

Pilot fish is tasked with following up on a high-priority trouble ticket -- one that has been resolved by a tech, but flagged to get a quality-assurance check.

"The tech was roused from his bed early one morning by a page, due to a critical problem ticket coming in," says fish. "Unfortunately, the help desk had not been too useful in describing the user's problem, merely stating 'user cannot log in.'"

Meanwhile, another ticket has come in -- this time from the monitoring system, and indicating that another desktop PC in the user's area has stopped communicating. That PC is monitored because it's set up to automatically pull information from a database and print off reports on a locally attached printer.

Sounds like something's going on with the network in the user's area, tech concludes. Since the required response time on critical tickets is pretty short, tech decides not to waste any time investigating remotely and instead heads in to the office.

On the way, tech calls the user for details -- but this isn't a technical employee, and the user just repeats that he can't log in. And with nobody else from IT in the office that early, that's all the tech has to go on.

"It was once the tech got onsite that everything fell into place," fish says. "First missing detail was that the user had forgotten his laptop at home. In order to avoid the 'drive of shame' home for 15 minutes, the user had the idea to use another machine."

Missing detail number 2: That machine is the one nobody else uses -- the one that automatically generates reports.

Missing detail number 3: Instead of just logging on to the report-generating PC, the user disconnected the PC, hauled it over to his own desk and hooked it all back up again -- thus triggering the monitoring system alert.

And that's when the user, discovering that his user name and password can't be used on that specially secured PC, called in the high-priority "can't log in" ticket.

Sighs fish, "In my QA follow-up, I avoided comparing the lost productivity in addition to the chargeback for a priority call, compared to just going home and getting the forgotten laptop.

"Instead, I asked the user why he didn't just call the help desk to request a loaner laptop for the day.

"He replied, 'I didn't want to be a bother.'"

Dish some details to Sharky. 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.

Get your daily dose of out-takes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

To express your thoughts on Computerworld content, visit Computerworld's Facebook page, LinkedIn page and Twitter stream.
Related:
Windows 10 annoyances and solutions
Shop Tech Products at Amazon
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.