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Episode 37

Things are dire in Mission Control. Our plans for company IT domination have backfired on us like a baked bean vindaloo with a boiled cabbage chaser followed by a double helping of pickled onion ice-cream. And 10 pints of fizzy lager...

"So you're saying that we have no operating budget?" I ask.

"None," the head Beancounter nods.

"Nothing at all?" the PFY asks.

"None," the head Beancounter repeats. "And even if you had a budget, which you don't, you couldn't spend it, because there's no one to sign off the expenditure."

"So I can't sign off the expenditure?" I ask.

"No."

"And he can't sign off the expenditure?" I ask, pointing at the PFY.

"Even if he had signing authority, he couldn't because he's your junior."

"So by extension if he proposed something I could approve it?"

"Only if you had a budget, which you don't," the Beancounter says smugly.

"So we've no money at all?"

"Unless there's some in your wallet?"

"Twenty quid," the PFY says. "But that's for my rail card."

"Then you're out of cash."

"But what do we buy consumables with?" I gasp.

"You mean beer?"

"I mean consumables!" I respond.

"Consumables from the Blue Posts?"

"Blue Posts IT Warehouse, yes."

"And not the Blue Posts pub, across the road?"

"Is that what it's called?" the PFY asks, faking surprise badly.

"Yes," the Head Bean counter responds drily.

"I think you'll find we're buying our consumables from a completely different Blue Posts," I proffer. "The Blue Posts IT Warehouse."

"The same IT Warehouse with the beer coasters all over your office?" he asks.

"You mean mouse pads," I suggest.

"Beer coasters."

"No mouse pads. For laptops!" I say, holding one up. "See, they're just the right size for those tiny mice.”

"Or a pint of lager"

"You know I never thought of that, but I think a pint might actually fit on this mouse pad quite snugly..."

"NO budget!" he repeats.

. . .

"It's just unreasonable," the PFY sniffs later after the beancounters have departed. "What are we supposed to live on?"

"You mean how can we afford lager if it's to come from our own pockets now that there's no one left in IT to graft from?"

"Yeah."

"Well I hesitate to say it, but perhaps we can generate income ourselves?"

"You mean sell our servers?"

"No?"

"Blackmail?"

"Nope, done that."

"Theft from petty cash?"

"I was aiming a little higher than that..."

"You mean thermal lancing the beancounter's safe open and stealing some of the blank cheque printing stock!"

"Uh... No. No, I'm suggesting doing what anyone with a mercenary outlook would do when faced with a lack of revenue. Besides, a thermal lance is bound to be noticed by security - even if it doesn't cook the contents of the safe."

"So what are you proposing?"

"Product placement."

"Product placement?"

"Yes, as you know I document our daily intercourse (ooooh err vicar) for the vicarious amusement of others..."

"Uh... yes"

"And those people might be prone to... uh... subliminal suggestion..."

"I suppose so."

"And we could potentially obtain money by suggesting things to them..."

"Uhhhhh... You mean sell out?"

"Precisely!"

"You'd sell your self respect for the price of a few beers?"

"Several beers, but yes. Or alternatively you could dip into your own pocket in future..."

"I see now that it's a complex issue," the PFY nods, standing beside the shiny new Cisco networking equipment we recently ordered because of it's reliability and value for money. It's bloody great.

"Yes," I say, tapping away on my recently installed Microsoft Windows Vista installation (which I must say is a complete pleasure to use and does half my work for me to such an extent that I'm seriously considering buying two and retiring to the Bahamas).

"But what about if we're called upon to promote something which looks to be all glitz and glamour but is actually the lowest form of proprietary consumerist crap?" the PFY asks, while looking a number up on his iPhone.

"In the event of that happening," I say, dropping the aforementioned item into the bin. "We just scratch Apple off our potential list of sponsors."

"And wasn't it you calling a certain network hardware vendor a bunch of cheapskates for not even supplying kit with a standard 12 month warranty on purchase."

"I suppose it was," I sigh, scratching another name off my list. "But it's ok - we'll still have enough cash for drinks so long as you don't say anything derogatory about M..."

"This Vista is crap isn't it?" the PFY interrupts, moments before a 17 inch monitor hits him in the head...

...A lovely 17 inch Philips monitor, with outstanding clarity and screen resolution. In fact, it's probably still working perfectly after its test flight, that's how good it probably is...

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