You give US a number, then we'll give YOU a number

It's very late in the day, and this pilot fish from a networking services outfit is upgrading a client's connection to the internet.

"The client had a cable company for their internet service provider, and they previously had a changing IP address through DHCP," says fish.

"We were moving them to a fixed external IP address, and instead of the cable company's router, using a new firewall appliance for everything so that people could remote into the server."

Fish has the cable provider's tech support on the line, and the tech asks fish to tell him the cable router's MAC address to verify that fish really is representing the client. Fish does that, and in short order the tech resets the account to a fixed IP address, turns off the cable company's wireless network and moves the modem into bridge mode, so the firewall appliance can handle the routing and wireless.

Once that's done, fish asks the tech for the new fixed IP address, so he can put it on the firewall appliance, complete the installation and get the client connected to the internet again.

Sorry, can't give you that information, tech says. You haven't supplied me with the account number.

I just gave you the MAC address for the on-premises hardware from you, fish says.

Sorry, tech repeats, I need the account number.

Let me get this straight, fish says. You trusted me enough to completely take down our network and our internet connection, but you won’t give me the one piece of information I need to get it working again? And it didn’t occur to you to tell me you needed it before you did all that?

Groans fish, "He said he was sorry, but he could put everything back the way it was again if I wanted.

"Fortunately, the client's accountant was still there and found a cable bill, so I could supply the tech with the account number and get my fixed IP."

Connect with Sharky. Send me your true tale of IT life at You'll get a stylish Shark shirt if I use it. Comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

Get Sharky's outtakes from the IT Theater of the Absurd delivered directly to your Inbox. Subscribe now to the Daily Shark Newsletter.


Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon