At the time of this story, I was working in the tech department of a law firm that had several partners.
I was tasked with performing laptop inventory. The last laptop ended up being checked out to one of the senior partners, but he also had one of the newest laptops issued to him in the recent weeks.
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I asked my manager if we shouldn't try and have the older laptop back to close this year's inventory? My manager said we could ask, but as a partner, he could not be forced to return his laptop. I sent an email to the partner, cc'ing my manager, asking for the return of the old laptop so that our inventory for the year could be closed.
I received an email back that he would bring the laptop in the next Monday, but it was in terrible shape and not to expect it to be in operational condition. I assured him that we simply needed to account for the laptop and, if he wasn't using it, to remove it from inventory.
The partner did not respond, and on Monday, I went to his office to pick up the laptop. I introduced myself to his legal secretary and she announced me. The partner came from his office holding the laptop monitor in one hand and the lower part of the laptop in the other.
I took the two pieces of the laptop, holding them at their edges because they were covered with a mixture of sand, a sticky substance like dried soda, and what looked like paper pieces.
I've been an actor in a few plays and I believe I did the worst job of hiding my surprise at receiving the laptop in this state. The partner shot me a dismissive look and turned away to go back to his office.
I realized I was just standing there with this poor excuse for a company laptop and felt I had to say something, so I stuttered out, "Do you need the data on the drive recovered?"
The partner stopped, and I swear his shoulders almost went up like I had said something awful. He swiveled and said, "Do you think you can get anything from that drive?" He said the word "anything" like an accusation.