IT manager's 'think outside the box' edict was, for once, not (only) a revolting cliché

Products tend to work best once removed from their packaging

on call History, it is said, is told by the victors. Which is why The Register each week presents On-Call – tales of readers triumphing when delivering tech support to the clueless, unreasonable or just plain ignorant.

This week's offering is a tale of the latter condition, and kicks off with a reader we'll Regomize as "Remus" who took a gig in the late 1990s at a dotcom company having a crack at the enterprise software market.

Remus signed up as IT manager and, as the company grew, came across some workstations sitting on a carpeted floor in the quality assurance department.

Remus is a bright spark, so his synapses connected and deduced that the combo of carpet and computers would make static electricity a menace.

So he chatted to the QA director about purchasing some anti-static mats to sit under each workstation. A few bucks spent on mats could save thousands in hardware while also protecting productivity.

The mats duly arrived, and the QA director delegated their installation to a junior.

Who placed them under the workstations … without removing them from the cardboard boxes in which they had shipped.

"A couple of days later I walked by the workstations and had to laugh," Remus told The Register.

So he took the QA director aside and said "Next time you have a job like this, assign it to an engineer who can 'Think out of the box'."

The Register cannot recall a more apt and magnificent deployment of a loathsome corporate cliché.

If you've done as well, or better, click here to send e-mail to On-Call and we may share your tale of triumph here another day. Feel free to push the envelope in pursuit of low-hanging fruit to make a win-win situation for us all. ®

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