Well, do you trust 'em or don't you?

Flashback a few decades to the days when this pilot fish is a supervisor in the call center for a big mail-order PC company.

"Our agents were privy to a customer's credit card information right in the call tracking system," says fish. "We trusted 600 agents with nearly unlimited access to this customer information without ever a single theft from our people."

But the call center manager decides the operation needs a way to approve replacement parts to be shipped to customers.

That leads to a new process: When a call-center agent is sending a simple part -- say, a new mouse or inexpensive sound card -- the agent types in his badge number, then must turn his head to get his supervisor's attention.

The supervisor then types in his own special PIN so the part can be shipped.

And while all the agents are trusted with customer credit card numbers, the supervisor's PIN shows up as **** on the screen -- and fish isn't the only one who sees the irony in that.

One night, the approval system goes down. Paper approval forms are distributed to each supervisor for agents to fill out -- complete with a space for the supervisor's ever-so-secret approval PIN to be added for everyone to see.

"I took it upon myself to lead the great rebellion," fish says. "I filled in all the PIN numbers on paper that night with ****, just like it showed up on the screen.

"The next day we were told that the PINs were no longer needed and that the company was now going to trust the agents. No one mentioned the paper forms or the PINs again."

You can trust Sharky to file off the identifying marks from your true tale of IT life. So won't you please send me your story at sharky@computerworld.com? You can also comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community, and read thousands of great old tales in the Sharkives.

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