BOFH: Hooking the IT vending piranha

Class A business practice


Episode 2 So we've been dragged into Beancounter land after a change in purchasing policy means that absolutely all kit is now going to be bought by the IT Purchasing bloke in accounts to make sure that we get the absolute best deal that we POSSIBLY could ever get.

Which means: we're going to get royally screwed by the vendors.

As any IT person knows, IT vendors are some of the nastiest people ever to leave the used car sales business and are like piranha when it comes to someone like our new purchasing bloke who's so green he needs mowing.

Still, we have to put in an appearance and see what special deals he's managed to line up for us.

"We've got a fantastic price from Bruce on LCD monitors," he says, handing over a piece of paper with some prices on it.

"Isn't that just slightly more than retail?" the PFY asks.

"It's more than retail because the retail monitors are a lower quality. These ones are the 'A' model and are far superior."

"How do we know this?"

"Because the A models aren't available in the shops."

"Neither are asbestos face masks."

"What? No, these are good equipment. They're a special new line."

"New? Or does our friend Bruce just get out his Letraset kit and add an A to the model number before he ships them to you?" the PFY suggests.

"No, no, I've been assured that these are the premium quality item," he says, pointing on the page to an asterix and its accompanying footnote.

"Yes," I say. "I always feel more assured when I know a vendor has gone to the trouble of adding a footnote to their marketing information. I mean they wouldn't fake that would they?"

"They can't!" the PFY gasps.

"Ah, but this isn't marketing literature, this is in-house and not for distribution!" he says, pointing to the large watermark image in the background.

"Oh well that's fine then. When I see ‘NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION’ as a watermark I know I'm not being lied to. It's only the one saying ‘WE'RE RIPPING YOU OFF!’ that has me Worried."

"Are you suggesting that the salesman is playing me... for a fool."

"No, no, I wasn't suggesting that, I was implying it. There's a slight difference. But to be completely frank, I think he's..."

"Riding you like a pony!" the PFY says.

"Uh..."

"Taking your ass downtown!"

"I..."

"Pushing you like a pram!"

>KZZZERT!<

"I must apologize for my assistant. It's been some time since he had a reset and so he's probably had a memory leak. Oh, and judging by the floor under his chair, not JUST a memory leak. Woopsy, must turn down the voltage a touch. Now, as I was saying, to be frank I think you're being tucked."

"Beg your pardon?"

"Tucked. As is stitched. They only good thing is that you're probably getting a large number of drinks out of this, which makes up for it in a way."

"Uh.. I... I'm an alcoholic," he says. "So I don't.."

"Ah. Muy bad, as they say. Still, if you were ever to take it up again I'm sure he'd be the man to know and would be most oblig..."

>KZEERT!<

"Sorry about my supervisor," the PFY says, pulling out a screwdriver and giving my cattle prod a bit of a tweak. "Memory leak. And >sniff< possibly a brown out problem. He's right, it is set a little high. Short term effects too. Anyway, so we think he's lying to you and you're either too stupid or lazy to figure that our..."

>KZERT!<

"So, what I'd suggest is that you look at the prices we were getting from vendors before and compare them with the ones they're trying to palm off on you now."

"I did! But these are better quality items and will last longer, which means that over the long term they work out cheaper. And if they last longer they'll need less maintenance which means that the Total Cost of Ownership is.."

"TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP!? IT'S A BLOODY MONITOR. YOU PLUG IT IN AND TURN IT ON. WHEN IT BLOWS UP YOU GET ANOTHER ONE! YOU DON'T PROGRAM IT, YOU DON'T VIRUS SCAN IT, THE TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP IS WHAT YOU PAID FOR IT, WHICH IN THIS CASE IS TOO BLOODY MU.."

>KZERT!<

"What I believe my supervisor is trying to impart is that TCO in this instance is crap. Now, have you actually ORDERED any of this?"

"No, but I'm planning to email an order in later this morning."

"You mean WERE planning to email an order in..."

"No, we need monitors and this is the best deal we can get from the vendors. And as the IT Purchasing Officer for the company it's my duty to pick the best value for m.."

>KZERT<

"Okay," I say. "Do YOU want to send that order?"

"Yep," the PFY says, "and I won't forget to put the asterix and footnote saying: ‘You have to be bloody joking’."

"And the Watermark with ‘Get Stuffed!’ on it. And then I'll have a quick chat with Bruce about that time he tried to pick up his Boss's wife at a product launch to see if that helps the price any."

"Ooooh!!! See if he has any A+ models coming in soon!" the PFY adds.

You've got to know how to do business...®

BOFH is copyright © 1995-2005, Simon Travaglia. Don't mess with his rights.


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