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When calling As the holiday season approaches, get ready for the smaller celebration at the end of the week with another edition of On-Call, The registry‘s weekly walk through the worst of the world of work.

This week, meet “Brad,” who submitted a story that he says has haunted him for over 25 years. This is the agony he endured after the email server he oversaw slowed down and a warning light indicated that one of the drives in a RAID set was the cause of the freeze.

Brad’s workplace had contracted the then newly combined Compaq/Digital to provide hardware support. When the warning light was followed by a dead hard drive, he called up the support contract and waited for a technician to show up.

Said Worthy arrived and Brad was made his companion, so he guided him to the ailing server with the expectation that replacing the defunct drive would cause the RAID array to rebalance itself.

The Compaq guy asked Brad to pull out the disk, an action Brad readily performed.

Note, dear reader, that this story is more than 25 years old. And in those far-off days, when Plug and Play was young, simply pulling out a floppy disk wasn’t recommended.

Brad did exactly what he was asked to do. That he should have done something else first perhaps should have been made clearer.

Things went well… for about 20 seconds.

“The server immediately fell over like it was shutting itself down, taking all our email services with it,” Brad recalls.

Brad asked what happened next, and the visiting technician absolved himself of any blame.

“It was you who pulled out the drive!” yelled the person who ordered the drive to be pulled out, who then did not provide a solution.

Poor old Brad ended up spending a whole night restoring his co-workers’ email service and inboxes.

Fast forward a week into the future when someone from Compaq/Digital called with a work reference number and a question: “Who should we invoice for the work done on your email server?”

Brad responded with the strongly expressed feeling that he should be billing Compaq and not the other way around. He then remarked in no uncertain terms that when paying for technical support, one expects the support staff to know, remember, and implement hard drive removal procedures.

“We never heard from that bill again and never saw that Compaq engineer again,” Brad recalls. “And the room went really quiet when that happened. I think I spoke a little out loud.”

Has a tech support incident ever made you roar with anger? Or have you ever evaded a bill for terrible service? If so, revisit the moment for a bit of digital primal scream therapy by clicking here to email On-Call, and your capture could appear here a future Friday.

No story is too small as we plan the return of on-call snippet summaries for the summer slump. ® No, I will not pay the bill

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