Shark Tank: Don't you just love those cooperative users?

Support pilot fish is the only IT staffer in this regional office and mostly has good working relationships with both local users and the executives who visit. So he's a little surprised when he gets a call from his boss at corporate headquarters -- and gets a chewing out.

"The regional managing director had apparently been on the phone to the IT director, moaning that his PC wasn't working, and I hadn't fixed it, and he wanted to know why," says fish. "The IT director phoned the IT manager and gave her a roasting, and she in turn phoned me.

"The fact that I had not been told anything about a broken PC, and had never actually been into this director's office, didn't seem to bother my manager, who told me to get it sorted now!"

As soon as fish sees the director's desk, he understands the problem. "The monitor on his desk was lovely, even better than mine, in fact," fish says. "It's just a pity that there wasn't a computer attached to it. Or a keyboard. Or a mouse."

He phones his manager and explains the problem -- and gets chewed out again. Why hasn't he got a PC? the manager roars. Get him one now!

It takes a few hours of frantic phoning, but fish has a new PC shipped overnight and sets it up the next day. And he takes no chances; he asks the director to log onto the network, just to make sure it all works.

Director types a few keys, then tells fish, "This keyboard isn't as good as the one I've got in my headquarters office." Fish immediately offers to find out what model of keyboard he's using there and order the same model for this PC. "No, that's OK," director says, "I'll manage with this one."

Next morning, fish gets chewed out by two different IT managers, each telling him the director's keyboard is no good and he needs another one now!

There aren't any spare keyboards around. But fish has a brainstorm: He appropriates the keyboard from an admin who has been complaining about hers. He shakes out the crumbs and lint, gives the surface a quick cleaning and installs it on the director's PC, telling him it's a brand-new keyboard. And the director's old/new keyboard goes to the admin's machine.

"I received a phone call later that day from my manager," says fish. "He told me that the director was delighted with his new keyboard and thanked me for all my hard work.

"This director had been using a laptop for as long as I'd known him. To this day, I have no idea how he managed to decide that his PC was broken."

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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