BOFH: Lock and reload

Cheap at four times the price


Episode 29

"We should sue!" the PFY snaps angrily, thumping the Boss's desk with vigour. "We can't let them get away with this!"

"Really?" the Boss asks. "I'd hardly have thought you'd want to sue a fellow professional?"

"PROFESSIONAL!" the PFY gasps. "They're cowboys! What sort of outsourcing company wouldn't put in a redundant network to their clients?"

"Well, to be fair, we didn't ask for a redundant network..." the boss admits graciously.

"We didn't ask that they didn't install our servers in a Turkish bath house, beside an oil heater with a tap immediately overhead either, but we sort of expect that they're not going to do it," the PFY counters.

"Yes but there's expectations and there's expectations," the Boss responds.

"There's not! We wanted them to host our servers and we paid them good money to do so. We had a service level around 24 by 7 access and yet instead we get limited access if and when their network connection is up - it's just not on!"

"I admit that it's not optimal..." the Boss agrees.

"Not optimal - the network went down seven times THIS MORNING!"

"And what did their helpdesk say about it?"

"They said it was a problem our end.."

"Have we checked our... end?"

"Of course we have!" the PFY snaps, "and there's nothing wrong here. The link light remains constantly on, the router shows the interface is up and has no errors - the problem's at their end."

"I still think we should go easy on them," the Boss says. "After all they're a new crowd and they're probably still getting things sorted out. And let's not forget - they were the cheapest."

"Cheapest?" the PFY blurts. "They were the most expensive!"

"No, they were the cheapest," the Boss counters. "Perhaps you didn't see the final contract - I managed to talk them down to a third of what they originally quoted."

"Do you have a copy of the contracts?" the PFY asks

"I... sure," the Boss says, rustling around in some folders on his desk "This.. >shuffle< is the original contract and... here's >shuffle< the revised one. I'm quite the negotiator."

"Yes," the PFY says, skimming the pages. "Quite a coup. You managed to get them to reduce the price to a third of the original and substitute the word Monthly for the original Annually."

"I, what?!" he gasps, snatching the papers back quickly. "THE BASTARDS!!! Why that's... uh... "

"Four times the original price?" the PFY suggests.

"The F****G PR**KS!!" the Boss shouts, knocking the papers off his desk in a fury.

"And you can bet they did it on purpose," the PFY says. "They're probably laughing their arses off now, what with the crap network and all."

"RIGHT, THEY'RE NOT GETTING AWAY WITH IT, WE'LL BLOODY SUE!"

It's funny what can pop into your mind when you're bored, isn't it? One minute you're sitting in your nice new office in a nice new building, while your assistant is pretending to work in the nice new server room - when really he's next door in the nice new ghost facility taking care of a couple of backups on the systems we're pretending to host offsite for a huge amount of cash...

And then suddenly, for no reason at all, you just reach over and type RELOAD on the core router's console window. And then you make a rule for yourself that every time you get a coffee you'll do it again. And then you start to feel a little bad - because seven cups of coffee is rather a lot for a morning...

Swapping the revised contract for the monthly one was the PFY's idea.

"You know what?" the PFY says. "Better than sue them, we should publish all this on the web. We should post just what we think about them and their crap service!"

"You're right!" the Boss says, snatching up his keyboard and tapping away furiously. "How do you spell shitcake - with a hyphen?"

"I prefer without..."

A quarter of an hour later, the PFY gives me the prearranged signal and I rock on up to the Boss's desk.

"That's that router problem sorted out then," I say to the PFY. "Turns out that the word RELOAD was stored in the terminal program's callback buffer and one of the interfaces had a control-E in its name."

"Oh," the PFY says, faking illumination. "So every time you'd show the interfaces the router would reboot and take the network out?"

"I know - all my fault," I say. "So lucky we didn't sue after all - what with one of their major investors being that rampant solicitor and all. We'd have been in court for years and he'd have sued the pants off us."

"Ah well," the PFY says, turning to the Boss. "Perhaps he'll settle out of court?"

I smell some holiday money. Well, a hint of excrement from the Boss's general direction, but mainly holiday money...


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