User walks into the office of the one-and-only IT pilot fish at this company and asks, "What's up with the printer?"

He shows fish a document he has just printed. Across the top of the page are random groups of letter for the first three lines. After that, the document looks fine.

Maybe it's a driver issue, fish suggests. He heads off to the user's desk to see if his PC is configured properly.

But it's the right driver for the printer. Hmm -- what about the application? fish wonders. That doesn't seem to have anything misconfigured either.

OK, fish thinks, let's see if any other users are having similar problems. He commandeers the PC of a nearby user and starts checking settings there.

But before fish gets very far, he hears the first user explaining the problem to the second user.

To which the second user replies, "Are you sure those weren't on the paper before you printed the document?"

Sighs fish, "Sure enough, when we pulled the paper drawer out, there were the lines already on the sheets. Turns out someone found a lot of paper with only a couple of lines on the top, so they decided it would be better to just use the paper than to throw it away.

"Lucky I heard the conversation, or I might still be trying to resolve that problem."

Converse with Sharky. 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.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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