This new customer-support application truly is slow — instead of seconds, response time is in tens of minutes. But the last straw for this manager comes when one user’s PC won’t respond except with “Login is incorrect.” IT pilot fish walks over and finds that she was correct. “The screen was flashing ‘Login is incorrect’ just as fast as it could. The manager was still going off at me when I reached down and removed the phone headset sitting on the Enter key on the keyboard. She never called for support again.”

Reboot, redefined

My PC is frozen, and rebooting doesn’t help, user tells help desk pilot fish. But when fish checks the logs, they show user’s PC hasn’t been rebooted in more than three weeks. A quick trip to desk-side later, fish asks user to reboot again. “She was rather indignant about the whole thing,” says fish. “She reached up, turned off the monitor, counted to 15, turned the monitor back on and said, ‘See? You watched me reboot it again, and it’s still the same.’”

At least she asked

Receptionist knocks on the door of pilot fish who serves as one-man IT staff for this church. “She asked me if she could unplug that big box in the phone room to plug in the portable laminator,” fish sighs. “That ‘big box’ was the server. I since have labeled the outlet with ‘Do not unplug!’ And thank God I had a UPS.”

Not for logging in, it doesn’t

New user can’t log in, and support pilot fish can’t understand why. “We made sure spelling and upper/lowercase was correct, but he was still unable to log in,” fish says. “Maybe it was his workstation. I went over to it and typed, and logged in the first time. So I got him to do it again for me and noticed that he pressed the space bar twice between his first and last name. Why did you do that? I asked. He said, ‘It makes it easier to read.’“

Just drop it

Pilot fish’s team is upgrading PCs for a government agency, pulling all the hard drives and copying the new standard software image onto them. “This process runs smoothly for the first 50 drives,” says fish. “But Drive 51 jumps out of my hand and drops down the carpeted stairwell, hitting each of the 15 steps end over end.” There’s no visible damage, and the drive boots fine, so everyone decides to pretend nothing happened. “Four months later, the drive is dropping sectors like a sieve,” fish admits. “We replaced it and told the perplexed user it must be a manufacturer defect.”

C’mon, tell the truth. We promise not to publish your name or any other details that would identify you, so don’t be shy, send your true tales of IT life to

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