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BOFH and the Boss' space problems

Put the tape safe WHERE?

Episode 32

BOFH 2003: Episode 32

Some days just nothing goes according to plan...

The Boss is on the prowl for office space, and as usual we're being targetted simply because we have the appearance of consuming a reasonable amount of space.

"It's not like you USE the tape safes," the Boss blurts, on the defensive. "The tapes are just sitting in piles in the computer room floor."

"Those tapes currently required by the tape library, yes," I respond, "but the OTHER tapes, the long-term archives, the non-current series, are all in the tape safes."

"So what's all this stuff?" he cries, pointing at row upon row of tapes sitting on shelves in the tape room.

"Scratch tapes, see!" >BZZZZERT!< The PFY responds, erasing the first volume of last night's financials back-up.

"We keep the scratch tapes on this shelf because it's easier to get to when we need some for a project," I explain carefully.

"So how do they get in the tape safe then?"

"We put them in when we take them out of the tape library," the PFY lies. "And when we put some tapes in, we take oldest series of tapes currently in the safe out, to be used in the tape series which are written after the current series is written."

The Boss' vacant expression bears witness to his lack of understanding of the complexities of multiple tape series.

"We keep some tapes in the safe and some out of the safe," I explain, kindly. "Otherwise we'd need a couple more safes."

"Well can't we move them in here and free up the tape safe room?"

"Well firstly, they'd take up half the room, secondly the floor needs to be reinforced as there are four tape safes and they weigh - with tapes - approximately three-quarters of a ton each, and lastly, they take up so much room we'd have to get them moved to allow large equipment like the PABX to be delivered into the computer suite. Oh, and they're too big to get out of the doorway."

"Well how the hell did they get in here then?"

"They were built into the room once the floor had been reinforced, apparently."

"We could widen the doorways to get them out. AND we could put them in the basement - which wouldn't need reinforcing, has HEAPs of spare room, and would free up a room!" he gasps.

"I don't think that's such a good idea - there's no access except via this room, and that would mean a secur--"

"Nonsense! We could whack a door through the other side - or just rebuild this doorway after the tape safes are gone. It's perfectly secure! And with the tape safes gone we could relocate the whole helpdesk there."


"Ah I REALLY don't thi--"

"No, my mind's made up! We'll use that room. I take it you can organise someone to move the tape safes to the basement?"


Now I'm no elitist - well, actually I am, but that's beside the point - but I do NOT want to spend my life being bothered by the helldesk with every one of their inane enquiries every minute of the day. There is no way it can be allowed to happen.

. . .

I get into the office after lunch and find out that there's no stopping the Boss. A large gaping hole greets us from where the tape safe room door used to be, courtesy of one of the building cowboys the company use for minor alterations.

I know it's them by the jagged approximation of a rectangle which has been circular sawed into the wall - halfway through the light switch on the other side of the wall. Professional!

Scant minutes later, a wadge of fatblokes from the safe moving company arrive, and begin hoisting the safe onto their heavy duty creeper...

...which, once they get into Mission Control, puts it's castor wheels through the floorboards.

"Not to worry!" one of the fatblokes chirps. "We'll put steel plates under it till we get it to the frieght elevator."

Desperate times, desperate measures. I give the PFY some instructions, then leave to supervise the tape safe's installation - knowing only too well that it'll end up with its door facing the wall.

"Bloody heavy, this," one of the fatblokes says, making polite conversation while waiting for the freight lift. "What's in it, plumbing supplies?"

"No idea."

"What do you mean?"

"Well when I got here I found that there keys for all the tape safes but that one, so we've never used it. The only reason we've kept it is because it's too bloody difficult to move."

"So it's you're lucky day then?" he burbles.

"About to be, yes!"


I give the fatblokes a hand pushing as the doors open, and even - out of the goodness of my heart - grab one to help him keep his balance as the safe topples down the lift shaft


"BUGGER ME!" the fatbloke shouts. "Where's the bloody lift?"

"Ah, here it comes now" I mention, pulling him back from the open doorway as the empty lift sails past. "Mind your head! Yes, the freight elevator's a bit of a death trap, so it's probably lucky that we weren't in it."

I hear a much smaller >CRASH< from below as the remote controlled lift fails to get to B2, due to the newly installed shaft obstruction. The PFY, bless him, isn't one to be put off and continues to attempt with repeated crashes echoing up the shaft while I put up the hazard tape like a good safety conscious employee.

A much nearer crash occur minutes later as the Boss rolls in looking rather red.


"BUGGER ME!" the head fatbloke says as the boss trips on one of the holes in the floor and falls into the gutted lightswitch. "This place is a bloody deathtrap!"

"It is if it's managed properly, yes, but that was a complete accident," I'm forced to admit. "Beautifully executed though. Any of you blokes know mouth-to-mouth."

"I do!" one of the more generous fatblokes says.

"Can you give it a crack once I pop the breaker?" I ask prying open the distribution board.


Some days everything just goes like clockwork. ®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2003, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.

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