You don't get what you don't pay for, but nobody is paid enough to be abused
And it's priceless when that abuse is shown to be unreasonable
On Call Here at The Register we don't guarantee much – other than that every Friday morning will feature a new installment of On Call, our weekly column featuring readers' stories of supplying support services and the sometimes-savage response to their efforts.
This week, meet a reader we'll Regomize* as "Doug" who once worked in head office of a business engaged in what he described as "digging huge holes in the ground and unearthing small but valuable lumps of various metals."
Doug described the office as "packed full of directors, admin staff, and similar, most of whom were utterly convinced that if they're offline for even an hour, the lumps of valuable metals stop emerging from the holes in the ground."
Despite the company's desire for resilience and reliability, decision-makers decided to scrimp on connectivity and ordered a consumer-grade broadband connection.
Doug tried to change their mind. In his telling, the office was wired by a carrier that offered properly managed leased lines – made possible by prescient installation of optic fiber. Doug explained that such connections offered speed and reliability that was worth paying for, given the businesses had mission-critical needs. He also pointed out that the leased lines were very well priced compared to the same service offered by rival carriers.
But even these keenly priced leased lines were ten times the cost of a boring broadband service. Doug pointed out that consumer-grade broadband came without any guarantees about speed of service restoration in case of an outage. He even put it on the record, with regular emails to senior people.
But his attempts to have his employer do the job right were dismissed.
"I thought I had 'em convinced, but when it came to it, they were not prepared to pay ten times the monthly outgoing for only a small percentage increase in speed, and had already forgotten the service level discussion," he told On Call.
Of course, the company's internet connection promptly failed – on a Thursday afternoon.
- Bank's datacenter died after travelling back in time to 1970
- Bank boss hated IT, loved the beach, was clueless about ports and politeness
- Lawyer guilty of arrogance after ignoring tech support
- CompSci academic thought tech support was useless – until he needed it
Doug's Friday repair efforts started with the miner's own IT, which determined the problem was at the broadband provider.
And as that provider was a consumer-grade outfit, it couldn't fix the connection the same day. Or on the weekend.
Or Monday, or Tuesday – because its technicians were all booked out.
Service was eventually restored on Wednesday.
Doug's tour of the office to make sure service was restored was going well, until a director shouted "Hey, you, this is crap, this is not the service we pay for!" Then proceeded to offer similar abuse throughout the office at unmissable volume.
Doug waited for a gap in the rant, before stating "Actually, this is precisely the service you paid for" and producing a printed copy of one of the mails he had sent about proper service level guarantees.
"I'm not big on reports and paperwork and stuff, but I'm ever so glad I made damn sure I had this one on the record," Doug told On Call!
Has a paper trail saved your bacon? If so click here to send On Call an email and we may feature your tale on a future Friday, or one of the On Call specials we'll try to write for the festive season. ®
* Regomize is a made-up word that combines "The Register" and "Anonymize." We coined the term to reflect our practice of inventing names for contributors to On Call and its sibling column Who, Me?. We offer this explanation as in recent weeks we've had readers suggest the word is a spelling error.