Now THAT'S an answer!

This company uses an application that sends e-mail notifications to users -- but one (and only one) user isn't getting the messages, reports a pilot fish tasked with solving the problem.

"I did a little checking, and it turned out the e-mail address was misspelled in the database," fish says. "No big deal. We corrected it, and the messages went through as appropriate.

"An hour later, the user's manager called to ask if I'd figured out the bug in the system. I told him it was a typo and that it was fixed. He said that was impossible, and that he expected us to take more responsibility for our design flaws.

"Then he called up again, saying he asked his staff, and no one remembers mistyping any addresses, so could I kindly get him a real answer.

"Then he called up again, insisting that I resolve this promptly or he'd escalate it.

"So I put him on hold and answered a few e-mails. After about twenty minutes I picked up the line, went onto the desktop and randomly clicked keys, so he'd hear me typing.

"I told him what his system had experienced was a standard PEBKAC issue with no i-d-ten-t complications, and that it had compromised the integrity of the database. I told him it was fixed, and to call me if he saw any further issues.

"He was thrilled that he 'got to the bottom of it.'"

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The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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