BOFH: I'm so pleased to be on the call, Boss. No, of course this isn't a recording

I was thinking to myself, 'This could be Heaven or this could be Hell'


BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 6 "But you agreed to it!!!" the Boss snaps at us through the screen.

(Since COVID he's really embraced the whole videoconferencing vibe as a way of avoiding leaving the comfort of his gas-operated chair.) "You said you'd do it on one of our Zoom meetings!"

The problem with all those COVID Zoom meetings was the incredible boredom of listening to people lying about how busy they were with all the work they were doing from home. Instead of an honest meeting where people admitted to watching TV in their underwear for the past 2 days, the meetings were instead made up of people itemising the minutia of some project they were pretending to work on.

In the end I constructed a video loop of myself which had me blankly staring into the screen, nodding and "mmm-ing" randomly when people stopped talking.

If the computer detected my name being mentioned on the audio it would wait a short random interval of time before: splicing in a clip of me tapping my headset with a worried expression on my face; splicing a clip of me taking my headset off and shaking it with a confused expression on my face; splicing in one of 12 different buffering problem clips with random pixilation and buzzes; splicing in me asking the speaker to repeat that, then shaking my head 20 seconds later ending the call and marking my Zoom as unavailable; or, very occasionally: me saying "What, again?" before picking up a guitar and singing 'Hotel California' until it buffered into an ended call.

It was a bloody godsend for avoiding those meetings. In the end I think people just avoided mentioning my name.

"You said you were going to issue inventory numbers to all new kit over 1000 pounds!" the Boss bleats.

"Oh, I did that," I reply.

"So why's Roger's laptop not got an inventory number on it?" he asks, pointing at a bloke in the background.

"Well because (a) I don't issue the physical stickers, Finance does when they enter an asset into the asset register, (b) It was lockdown so I couldn't come and get the stickers if they had been issued and (c), it turned out that numbers I'd issued were duplicates, so even if I had got the stickers it'd probably show up on the asset register as a 1980s 'electronic terminal' with a book value of 7p."

"So none of these are tracked?!" he gasps.

"No."

"LOOK, Finance are onto me because they want to inventorise all the new equipment we bought over lockdown. They believe that there's a serious discrepancy between the number of high value items bought and the number that have made their way back into the workplace. I can't possibly do it as I'm spending most of my week writing off all the equipment people now don't want because it's been replaced by the gear we bought them over lockdown - all before the end of the financial quarter!!! I'm up to my ears in paperwork!"

"It wouldn't surprise me if some of that kit did disappear," the PFY says, speaking at the screen over my shoulder. "We only know what the kit was, we have no idea of who it was delivered to."

"WHAT?!"

"You authorised the purchases and we tracked down and ordered the kit to the spec you asked for," I say. "It was all delivered here and received by Dave, our stores person, who came in specially. He then despatched those machines to the home addresses of recipients. We actually only ordered about 10 high-end laptops to be delivered directly to the user. But the good news is those 10 machines do have inventory labels on them."

"I thought you said you didn't have the labels?"

"No, but because they were high-end machines, we were able to get the asset number lasered into them as one of the purchase personalisation options."

"An asset number from finance?"

"Sadly it was just after that we found out about the whole asset number duplication debacle," I say.

"So apart from those 10 machines, you don't know where all the other gear went?"

"No, but Dave will know."

"Dave's not been back to work. He's apparently taken early retirement."

Good man Dave!

"So how many machines have made it back to the company?" I ask.

"About 20, last count."

GREAT man Dave!

"Has anyone given Dave a call?"

"He's apparently moved to his daughter's place in Spain."

Words fail me. If I did have words, they'd be words like LEGENDARY.

"No doubt he retired with quite a tidy nest egg. I wouldn't want to be the person writing those machines off as misplaced!"

"Nor would I!" the Boss says, oozing relief into his microphone.

"Though you were the person who approved the sale of 10 surprisingly new looking - and personalised - 'electronic terminals' for 70p," I say.

"You can't be serious!" the Boss blurts. "You're not serious are you?! Simon? Simon!"

"What, again? On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair...♩ ♪ ♫ ♬"

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