That boss is all wet

Is penny pinching its own reward?

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

This local business has its own print shop — and a big boss who’s a world-class skinflint. The print shop is needed because the business does a lot of custom printing of promotional materials, the really big kind that you can hang at a festival and will be noticed above the sea of humanity. The skinflint buys a rather ramshackle warehouse, in which the print shop is also installed. Budget for building improvements: $0.

The print shop is like a data center in that it is crammed with electronics that need to be kept cool. Unlike a data center, it also has a huge laminator that throws off a lot of heat. Throw in a scorching climate, and even the tightfisted boss knows air conditioning is needed. But why pay for extra BTUs — or even an adequate number of BTUs? Naturally, the A/C is overstrained, to the point that even the big boss realizes something has to be done.

So he orders a window air conditioner and has it installed right above the desk where the print-shop computer is set up. This brings the shop’s temperature down to the 80s. The staff remains uncomfortable, but at least the printers won’t crash.

Problem solved, right?

Well …

To install that A/C above the desk, there was a choice of two walls to cut a hole into, an exterior wall of concrete and an interior wall of wood. Of course, cutting the hole in the wood is a lot cheaper than cutting it in the concrete. So the A/C exhausts its heat and drips its condensation into the warehouse. And the condensation rolls under the wooden wall right back into the print shop, quickly soaking the carpet on which sits the computer tower and backup battery. The print-shop manager sees disaster looming, but she is accustomed to solving bizarre problems on the cheap. She goes to the dumpster and reclaims the wood from the recently cut hole. With that and some other debris, she is able make a stable platform to lift the electronics safely above the new carpet-lake.

Now the problem is solved.

Sharky keeps his cool by reading your true tales of IT life. Your problems make his seem small. Send your tales to sharky@computerworld.com. You can also subscribe to the Daily Shark Newsletter.

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