Dr. J (chemical_laser) wrote in bad_service,
Dr. J

This story is a bit dated - it happened 4 or 5 months ago.  I remembered it after reading  techsupportfor a while today.

Our group printer was slowly but surely dying.  At first, it was just a pink line that would appear along the side of some pages.  Over time, it became worse until it made the pages essentially unreadable and certainly not suitable for distribution.  A few of my colleagues called the 866 number that runs our tech support but didn't get very far.  Finally, I called.  I explained the problem to the tech - I think my actual initial explanation of the issue was "Our printer sucks".  We talked for a while and went through the usual troubleshooting stuff so that the phone support guy could confirm that indeed, our printer sucked.

A week later, they dispatched a crack team to fix it.  I was away from my desk when they showed up,  but I passed one of them in the hallway and noticed that they were hauling the unit away.  When I got in the door, I sat at my desk (right next to the printer) and watched as the remaining tech finished up the job.  I asked what the problem had been and he told me that the printer fuser was out.  Since that is a "replaceable" part, the IT department will not service it - basically the fuser is like paper - the users are expected to supply paper, toner, and the fuser.  We would have to order a new fuser unit which would cost a few hundred dollars and take a week or two to get.  While they were there and had one with them, the IT guys decided to replace the entire printer anyway - or so they said.  

At this point, I noticed that he had the paper tray out of the printer and that the word "BAD" had been written on the side of it in permanent red marker.  I realized that they were trying to stick us with a bad printer and decided it was time to have some fun.  As the tech was finishing putting the printer back together, I asked him to make sure it worked by printing a test page.  He agreed and executed a printer test from the internal menu.  As I suspected, he couldn't get it to feed a page into the printer.  Still unaware that I was on to him, he played with it while I asked a few questions.  

"Do you guys keep an inventory of back-up printers for situations like this?"  Yep.

"What do you do with printers that fail completely?"  They dispose of them.

"Do you ever attempt to service the bad printers in-house, or do you just get rid of them?"  They have a large warehouse where things are staged before disposal.

And so on.

At this point, he had attempted to print a test page 4 or 5 times without success - it simply would not feed a page into the printer from the paper tray.  After watching him stand there for a few seconds scratching his head, I decided to end the charade.  

"Soo... I noticed that someone wrote 'BAD' on the side of the printer tray - does that refer to the printer as a whole or just the tray?"  The tech looked at me with wide eyes, went a little red in the face, and quickly pulled the tray out.  Next to the word 'BAD' was written "tray will not feed", along with some initials and a date.  I chuckled quietly as he tried to figure out what to do next.

"Sooo... you just replaced our working printer that needed a fuser with a printer that doesn't work at all"  His face turned a brighter shade of red.

"Did you take the bad fuser away, or is it inside this printer?"  He admitted that the bad fuser was now in our "new" bad printer.

"Is it normal [company] policy to exchange working units with non-working ones?"  No answer.

"Sooooo.... maybe you should call your partner back there and see if he can bring our old printer back - then at least we'll be able to print like we were before you showed up."  He called his partner but learned to his dismay that our working printer was already 5 miles down the road on its way to someone else's office.   He ended up turning around and returning our printer.  They didn't want to talk to me anymore after that.

My colleagues and I laughed ourselves to tears after they left.

X-posted to my personal journal

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