BOFH: Where do you think you are going with that toner cartridge?

Did that printer service person just sell you 10 overpriced boxes of the wrong paper?

BOFH logo telephone with devil's hornsEpisode 10 It is a great morning! The phone has not rung once (and not because the PFY has rebooted the phone server with a DBAN USB stick in it again), the aircon and security system are behaving, and outside the sun is shini-

"What's he doing here?" I ask the PFY.

"Who?" the PFY asks, getting up off his chair as he senses a hint of urgency in my tone. "What's who doing... SH*T!"

"Quick, which printer is offline?"

"None of them," he says after a quick scan.

"F*CK! We're probably too late. How many do we have left?"

"Uh..... just two, one in security and one in HR!"

I'm gone before he's finished the exclamation mark.

But it's too late, the damage is done. The HR printer has been repaired and the service engineer – whose heavily emblazoned wagon I'd seen out our window – has gone.

...

"WHO called the service guy?" I ask.

"I did," the new HR office manager says.

"Why?"

"It was broken."

"Yes, I KNOW it was broken, and it has been powered down for two years AND there's a label stuck on top of the service label saying that you are to call us if there are printer issues."

"I don't know about that, I just saw the number when I opened the paper jam panel."

I open the panel and sure enough there's a second service sticker in there – a sticker so hard to remove that we had to put our own label over the one on the top of the machine. I also note that the engineer has slapped a new label over the top of the label we put over his previous label.

"What did he do?"

"Oh he said he had to replace some stuff."

"What stuff?"

"I dunno. It's on this job sheet."

Part of my mental processing is a background stroke-warning subprocess that casually monitors that vein in my forehead. The further I get down the job sheet the more mental processing power the monitor is using. I have to stop before I get CPU bound.

"These printers," I seethe to the new HR guy, "are the biggest white elephant the company ever bought – and they're up against some stiff opposition. They're unreliable, have hideously expensive consumables and are so old the page count is in Roman numerals. We do NOT use them. They are switched off and will remain off until the end of the maintenance agreement – in about 18 months."

"Oh."

"YOU, However, authorised him to service the machine," I say, pointing at his signature on the job sheet, "and he has replaced all four toner cartridges, the fuser unit and the waste toner box! You can buy a BRAND NEW colour laser for the price of one of those toner cartridges alone!"

"Oh."

"A toner cartridge which didn't need changing in the first place because WE DON'T USE THOSE PRINTERS! HE SWAPPED AN OLD FULL TONER CARTRIDGE FOR A NEW FULL TONER CARTRIDGE! AN OLD FULL TONER CARTRIDGE THAT HE WILL SELL BACK TO US AGAIN THE NEXT TIME SOMEONE TURNS THIS MACHINE ON!"

"Ah. Well, I guess we just switch it off then?" he asks.

"Yes," I reply, trying to lever the new service label off the label we put on the printer.

He put them in the paper trays too," he points out

Sure enough, at the bottom of every paper tray is a shiny new service sticker that the sneaky bastar...

"What did he say he was doing in the paper trays?"

"Oh he, uh, upgraded the paper for us."

I look at the bottom of the job sheet and my stroke warning process kicks up to 100 percent.

"HE CHANGED THE BLOODY PAPER TO US LEGAL AND SOLD YOU 20 BOXES OF THE STUFF!"

"He said it was a steal."

"THERE WAS DEFINITELY STEALING GOING ON!"

20 minutes of calm thoughts and contract reading later, the stroke subprocess is down to 2%

"Right, so here's what we're going to do. In 20 minutes or so you're going to call him back and say there's a very thin black line running down every page. He will tell you the drum probably needs replacing – something he probably didn't have with him earlier because his vehicle was full of paper no one uses."

"I... OK."

93 minutes later...

"You're probably looking for your printer," I say to the engineer who's scanning the room fruitlessly.

"Uh yes," he says, preparing to bullshit his way out of any accusation.

"I was just reading the contract. Apparently we still have 18 months still left to run on it."

"Yes."

"Unless..."

"Yes?"

"It is no longer economical to service."

"Uhhh yes?" he says.

...

...

"And?" he adds

"..." I say, holding up my index finger

>CRASH!<

"Oh dear," I say. "I think I just saw a printer falling past the window after accidentally falling from a third floor window. I expect that it's now uneconomical to service. And perhaps your car has suffered the same fate?"

The engineer dashes to the window.

"No, it's just the printer," he says, with a tinge of triumph.

"And yet.." I say, holding up my finger once more.

...

>CRUNCH< >CRASH< >Crash<

"Oh dear. I think I just saw security's printer after falling out a fifth floor window, hit the window mounted air conditioning on the fourth floor. It sounds like both units then fell onto your vehicle – making pretty much everything uneconomical to service."

"You think you..." he sneers.

I hold up my finger once more.

"But wait!" I say "Is that the sound of 20 boxes of paper being opened and 100 reams of paper being handed out to staff to bash the engineer who has stolen so much from us in the past?"

"I..."

"And just so you know – I think the lift is locked out," I say. "And I suspect the stairwells are full of people carrying reams of paper."

"WHAT DO I DO??!?!!" he gasps.

"There's always the window..."

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