Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/10/05/bofh_episode_34/
BOFH: Skip diplomacy
Friendship through mutual embarrassment
"Hurry up and get the door open!" I gasp as the PFY fumbles with his swipe card at the back door of the building.
"Ok, ok," the PFY whispers back. "I'm working as fast as I can! >swip< Got it!"
>bip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >click<
"Right, I'll hold the door, you pick up that lot."
"Okay," the PFY says, hefting up a bunch of machines. "But Archimedes - who in this company would have an Archimedes?"
"No idea," I lie, not wanting to risk refreshing his memories of the whole thing - his secret stash of machines in the room next to the Boss' office, our discovery of him using them, his reprogramming, his subsequent regression, his encounter with the dentist from Marathon Man, the discovery of a second stockpile of running Archimedes in a basement room...
"So what are we doing with these?"
"Dumping them in the skip before anyone notices," I snap back. "So get a move on."
"What skip?" the PFY asks.
"THAT ONE!" I reply, nodding with my head.
"When did that arrive?!" he gasps.
"About 6:30pm, right on the change of security shift so that neither of them will be interested in it," I say.
"So why didn't we chuck this crap out then?"
"BECAUSE," I respond. "We have to wait till there's no one around to ask questions."
"Why not just come in early tomorrow then?"
"Because (a) there's bound to be someone who comes in early to fire off an email to their boss about some work topic before bunking off for a couple of hours kip in the sick room, and (b) leaving a skip unattended overnight is an invitation for people to do what we're doing."
"Getting rid of evidence."
"Why's this evidence?"
"It's not, but the rest of the stuff we're going to chuck in the bin tonight is."
"Those two large SSA disk enclosures that we talked the Boss into a couple of years back."
"The ones that cost 20 grand."
"Yep, and were never used because they weren't compatible with the adaptors in our machines..."
"Oh. What else?"
"The 200 slot tape library that we bought for cheap which ended up having handling errors about 50 per cent of the time."
"Oh yeah, that was another 40 grand. What else?" the PFY asks, as he heaves his load into the bin.
>crash< >crash< ... >crash< >crash<
"I dunno - but I know there's about three cupboards full of our purchasing mistakes that need to be disposed of on the Q.T."
"But won't people see them when they come to work?"
"No chance - I'm going to cover them with a thick layer of ITIL manuals."
"What ITIL manuals?"
"The ones in the helpdesk area, the Boss' office, our office, the consultants' offices, the company library and the IT Library."
>swip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >click<
"But... won't people notice them missing?"
"Of course they will - the same way they'd notice a cold sore is missing."
"You mean they won't say anything?"
"Who'd want a cold sore back?"
"But won't people notice them in the bin?"
"They might, but ITIL manuals are like kryptonite to enthusiasm. If someone sees them in the bin they're not likely to delve any further to see if there's anything good in there."
"Point taken," the PFY says, as I unlock one of our many storage cupboards (personally keyed and marked 'Outflow Waste Pumping Station').
"Bloody heavy," the PFY gasps as between us we heft it to back outside. "Just rest it on that will you?"
>swip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >bip< >click<
"Okay, lets go."
. . .
"Who's that?" a voice gasps from the other side of the skip.
Funny who you meet dumping stuff in a skip in the middle of the night. Like the Boss, for instance, with a couple of armloads of recently purchased 'biometric security devices' which have been found to be just as crap as we’d warned him...
... Like the Head of IT a quarter hour after that with some ITIL manuals (bonus!)...
...Like the CEO pushing the multifunction 'smart' whiteboard which has only ever been used as a normal whiteboard but has been ruined by non-whiteboard markers and abrasive cleaning pads...
The ensuing dumping amnesty was a great thing for forging alliances at all levels of the organisation and will be spoken about in hushed tones for years like a soccer game in Flanders.
…The rest-stops at the pub while security dumped a load of CCTVs with a non-standard proprietary interface…
…the camaraderie as we formed a human chain to help one of the stores guys dump 97 trolley tyres…
…followed shortly thereafter by every man for himself when the Old Bill turned out to investigate a skipful of burning tyres...
. . . The next morning . . .
“OKAY, WHO BURNED ALL THE ITIL MANUALS?” the IT Training contractor bloke snarls, seconds after turning up to his empty office shelves.
“It was him,” the PFY says, pointing to the Boss.
Ah well, camaraderie’s overrated…