Throwback Thursday: Apparently it’s just not in their job description

Or ‘Toner out’ is way too cryptic a message.

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

This company upgrades all its printers to lasers, and they’re pretty slick, says a net admin pilot fish on the scene.

“They report to the manufacturer, automatically ordering supplies when they run low,” fish says. “I also receive emails when the devices report a toner cartridge running low, and I take a replacement to the printer and leave it for the users to replace.

“This way, if I’m unable to be there when the toner runs out, users can change it out themselves. This works well for all of the printers, even in the administrative area where users are not very technical.

“But one area seems to have a problem: our engineering department.”

Case in point: Fish returns from a brief vacation to discover that an engineering department printer has stopped working days before. First clue as to the problem: The printer is flashing “Toner out.”

And right where fish left them next to the printer are two clearly labeled but unopened boxes — the replacement toner cartridges.

As fish mutters to himself about tasks that are simple enough for secretaries but too complicated for the engineering staff, one engineer walks by and grumbles, “Are you guys still working on that printer? It’s been down since last week.”

Fish points out the toner cartridges and the display that clearly says “Toner out.” Did it occur to anyone to replace the cartridges?

Reports fish, “The response I got was, ‘I told Ted about it. We've just been using another printer.’

“I replaced the cartridge, and two days’ worth of queued jobs began spitting out.

“Another engineer walked by and grabbed one, remarked, ‘I’ve been waiting for that’ — and walked away.”

Sharky’s waiting for you to send me your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

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