Techie in need of a doorstop picks up 'chunk of metal' – only to find out it's rather pricey

Seems to us like you would remember an incident like that...


Who, Me? Gather round, dear readers, for a priceless story in this week's column for techies' mishaps.

For this episode of Who, Me?, we meet "Sean", who was working for a large and well-known mobile phone manufacturer when the incident took place.

He had previously worked on the firm's side project, just until it was up and running, at which point he returned to the main business.

A good while later, he bumped into a chap from the side hustle, who couldn't wait to share with him a tale that had made it into company legend.

Sean recalled well the setup of the project – its base was designed around entertaining customers, and there were two entrances.

Facepalm, photo via Shutterstock

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At the back was a revolving door for employees, and at the front were the main doors, "exclusively for special customers", which were always locked.

"In the early days, there were a load of large RF [Faraday] cages delivered, but they didn't fit through the revolving doors," the chap told Sean.

According to the story, a respected engineer was given the task of getting them in, and after days of discussion at the highest levels, a decision was made.

That was that the cages could be brought in the front – as long as security was there at all times and the cages were moved in as quickly as possible.

"The engineer got some helpers and started the task," Sean said, recounting the tale as he'd been told it. "But the doors had automatic closers fitted, so the guy went off and came back with a large chunk of metal which he used as a door stop."

Once the door-hack was in place, and the RF cages were finally being brought into the building, the MD popped up, arms folded across his chest and with a face as black as thunder.

The engineer kept going with the job, until he finally put down the RF cage and went over to ask what was wrong.

"Do you know what that is?" asked the MD, indicating at the door stop.

The engineer replied that, yes, he did. "It's a chunk of metal off the mechies' desk," he said.

"You do realise that is a bar of platinum?!" responded the incredulous MD.

"No. Well, it makes a great door stop; I'll put it back when we're done," the engineer was said to have nonchalantly replied.

Which left the MD with little else to do but pull a pained face and walk off.

Sean said that, amusing as the story was, there was someone behind him who kept bursting into unnecessarily large and loud peals of laughter.

"At the end of the tale, I looked around to find that it was my old boss, the head of software at the side project," Sean said.

When Sean asked him what was so funny, his old boss looked at him with amazement. "You don't remember at all?" he replied.

Our man looked confused, only to be told that the engineer in the aforementioned tale was, in fact, Sean himself.

"Supposedly I was the guy who used a bar of platinum as a door stop," Sean said. "My boss remembered because he got flak for it from the MD for years!"

Despite having heard the story a number of times since then, Sean still claims to have no recollection of it at all.

Have you ever heard a story about something you did told second-hand? Did you confess? Tell Who, Me? now – every week we choose the pick of the mailbag to feature on El Reg's pages. ®

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