I looked at Bob and explained the problem with the printer, then asked why (and how) he had managed to pull the guard off. His response was priceless.
Bob said, "Well, I ran out of USB slots after I had my keyboard, mouse, phone, Webcam, camera, and flash drive all plugged in, and I didn't want to put anything else in the front slots because otherwise I might kick it and break it by accident. I noticed there was an open slot still in the back and tried to plug the printer into it, but it didn't want to go in very well, so I got a pair of pliers and a hammer and hammered it in. As for the Internet cable thing, the IT guy forgot to take the cover off, and I didn't know how to do it but noticed it could be pushed in, so I used the same tools to make a hole for the Internet cable to go in. It worked, and it went in much easier than the printer cable. Now what do we need to do get the printer to work again? And when is the IT guy going to let the Internet go to my computer?"
Yes, Bob really said that.
The IT admin had joined us by this time. We explained to Bob that the port the printer was plugged into was for the Internet and informed him that he had basically admitted to intentionally breaking company property; that the company policy listed restrictions of using the company computer; and that the Webcam, phone (unless using it to charge only), and camera weren't allowed to be connected to the computer unless otherwise directed by the company itself.
Bob was fired and fined. He later took the company to court and wound up getting charged for company harassment on top of the initial $20 fine. I also found out that he supposedly had a degree in IT support and an A+ certification.
The same night, I talked to my teammates about the incident and wound up with a headache trying to figure out Bob's mind-set. I've never face-palmed so hard in my entire life. How can someone make such a series of major errors and, apparently, not even notice?
Do you have a tech story to share? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and if we publish it, you'll receive a $50 American Express gift cheque.
This story, "If the cable doesn't fit ... use hammer and pliers," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.