Dave's not here, man. But this mind-blowingly huge server just, like, arrived

Ganja believe it? The customer couldn't when their box went up in smoke

On Call The Register understands that by Friday afternoon readers may reasonably contemplate a drink or two. So to give you something to talk about should you visit a pub in search of such libations we therefore present a fresh instalment of On Call, the column in which you share your stories of tech support jobs that left you a little worse for wear.

This week, meet a reader we will Regomize as "Neil" who worked for a software house that developed a vertical industry application, and had an interesting sideline in disaster recovery.

"As well as coders we had hardware guys who would spec and build production servers and repair and replace broken equipment," Neil explained.

The firm also regularly collected backup tapes from its customers, so that if they needed a new server it could be configured with very recent data.

Those servers were shipped according to service level agreements that left little time for mucking around.

Which was why Neil was a little bemused when his employer hired an extremely relaxed chap who often exuded a strong … let's say herbal aroma, to handle packaging and despatch for servers.

Neil later learned that the new hire was the wastrel nephew of a company director, who had arranged a job out of sympathy and issued dire warnings about last chances, disinheritance, and other terrible consequences if he didn't clean himself up and sort out his life.

Over time, Neil came to realize that while this chap was almost always under the influence of jazz cabbage, he did a decent job.

Indeed, when Neil's employer was given the job of assembling an unusually large and powerful server on a Friday, for delivery first thing Monday, the team pulled together and the wastrel nephew ensured timely despatch before quitting time.

A courier arrived, the box left the building, and all felt pleased to have done a big job in a rush.

But come Monday, Neil's boss arrived at work to "a phone glowing red-hot with missed calls from the customer wanting to know where his new server could be found."

As the machine had been sent by courier, discovering its destination was easy. A few clicks on a shipment tracking service revealed that the server was in … a residential complex. And not a nice one either.

"The address was known locally to be just a little bit rough," Neil recalled.

The wastrel nephew was quickly found and asked why he'd sent the server to that locale.

He quickly confessed he'd sent the machine to his – ahem – supplier, in lieu of debts, and that he'd only taken the job to await an opportunity to misdirect a high-value shipment.

The wastrel was escorted off the premises.

"Everybody was told to keep it under their hat," Neil told On Call, adding "That was twenty years ago, and I still find it funny so feel free to Regomize it."

So we did.

And we'll Regomize your tales of tech support trauma, too, if you click here to send us an email so we can consider your story for a future Friday. ®

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