Broken, not broken, broken, not broken...

Your software is lying down on the job, a customer accuses tech support pilot fish.

What do you mean? fish asks.

"The computer starts printing the form, but when it's halfway, it just stops," user says. "If we try to print it again, we get the same result."

Fish quickly exhausts the diagnostics he can do over the phone and makes the long drive out to the site.

On arrival at the office, he notices a big Christmas tree standing near the printer and decked out in lots of lights. He also notices that the cord to the Christmas lights isn't plugged in and remarks on it to the clerk.

"That's right," says clerk. "We don't have enough outlets in this room, so we had to unplug the printer in order to plug in the tree lights. But don't worry -- we've unplugged the lights and plugged the printer back in.

"We won't need the Christmas tree until next year now, so it's not a problem."

A suspicion begins creeping up on fish. Do you have blinking lights for this tree? he asks.

"No," says clerk. "We have one of those thingamajigs you put between the outlet and the light plug, and it switches the light on and off every few seconds."

And where do you keep this thingamajig? fish asks.

"Why, it's still in the socket," says clerk, his voice trailing off as the light dawns. "Oops."

Don't let Sharky go dark -- send me your true tales of IT life at sharky@computerworld.com. I'm off this week, but back on again by New Year's Eve, so don't forget that you can comment on today's tale at Sharky's Google+ community and read thousands of great old tales like this one in  the Sharkives.

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