Please stop working and abuse your expense account at the beach

Reader endured extended Italian holiday waiting for kit to clear customs

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On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, The Register's usually-on-a-Friday foray into readers' recollections of jobs gone wrong, gone weird or sometimes gone in places that defy even the most lurid imaginings.

This week, On-Call has returned from a holiday find a mail bag full of emails from readers paid to do nothing. So in the interests of starting work on that mailbag, while also fighting jetlag, let's explore the story of “Mack”, who once took a summer contract working for the Italian government.

Mack's job was to install a mid-range system in Rome, but when he arrived he was told to “wait in the beach resort Pescara for the new system to arrive.” That's Pescara on the Adriatic, on the opposite coast to Rome, for those not familiar with Italian resorts.

Mack didn't need to be told to go to the beach twice. But he's a diligent fellow and therefore called in to ask if there was anything for him to do.

After three days of those calls, his bosses “quite angrily told me to stop calling in and making a nuisance of myself, just relax and they'd call me.”

Mack therefore retreated to his all-expenses paid suite, “went to the beach every day, charged my phone every few days, drank a lot of beer, ate some great food, and partied a lot.”

Four weeks later the call to arms came, along with an explanation of the delay: “it turned out that because the machine I was to work on was technically classed as a supercomputer, the US government wouldn't export it to Italy until the necessary paperwork had been submitted.”

Quite understandably, Mack now felt very well-rested and therefore entirely ready for the installation gig.

Can you top Mack's tale of enforced R&R? If so, write to me. Or comment. Or if you're on a paid break like Mack's, expense something from the top shelf and down it in honour of your fellow Reg readers, okay? ®


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