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We've got a photocopier and it can copy anything

Hang on a minute. I've got a great idea

On Call Friday is normally the end of the working week – unless you're one of those brave souls dangling from the end of a phone. Welcome to On Call.

Today's story takes us back nearly half a century to when our hero, "Rich", was working as a field service engineer for a well-known photocopier maker in Philadelphia.

"A typical day was a tour based on yesterday's call slips," he said.

"For the sake of efficiency, it was routine to check in with the office via the customer's desk phone after each call, in case there was a new call nearby."

However, the day in question was to be anything but routine. Rather than making the call, he received a call while in the customer's office. Highly irregular. It was 3:30pm and instead of it being the usual person who dealt with the service calls, it was Rich's boss.

"You're on the 6pm flight to [outer nowhere in the deep south]," came the instruction. Rich's bags had been packed, cash arranged, and car and motel reservations booked. He was to arrive at the regional office at 7am the following morning.

And that was that. "I wasn't even sure which state Outer Nowhere was in," said Rich. "The only way I found out was by reading my baggage claim check. Flight, connecting flight, and rental car later, I checked into the motel at 2am, still having no idea why I was there."

All became clear when the regional manager opened the office five hours later. The two technicians that normally staffed the place had been arrested by the US Secret Service the day before and there was therefore nobody to handle customer service calls. Rich would have to plug the gap during the weeks before replacements could arrive.

OK. But arrested for what? Using a photocopier inappropriately during an office party? The mind boggled.

It turned out that the geniuses had been arrested for counterfeiting. They had popped some crisp $20 bills into the copier then colored the monochrome results with a green marker pen. "They managed to pass a couple in a busy bar where the light was bad. When the bartender went to cash out, he called the police, who, in turn, notified Secret Service," explained Rich.

Unaware of police involvement, the duo decided to try again. Once more they fired up the copier, only this time it did what copiers do, and jammed. Being geniuses, and despite being trained and having toolkits, they opted to call out the copier vendor to fix it. The copier tech did so, found the wrinkled twenties and promptly notified the authorities.

Unperturbed, "Tweedledee and Tweedledumber went ahead and made a few more," said Rich. "That evening, they went back to the same bar, where they received a sudden invitation to join the Federal Rock Hockey team in Atlanta."

While modern technology will prevent such counterfeiting efforts, we're still rather taken with the green marker pen approach of yesteryear. Even if it meant an unusually long call-out for our hero.

Have you ever been called out as a result of something nefarious going on in the data center? Let us know, with an email to On Call. ®

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