I receive an email from Ken Barmy. He is having fun at work.
"Arriving back at work after the festive hostilities I discovered that a key part of our library management system wasn't working and that once the effects had worked their way through the system nobody would be able to issue, return, or renew books and we couldn't add new borrowers, that sort of thing. Oh joy. Once I established what the problem was I sent everybody an email warning them to expect problems. Five minutes later, as I was trying to unpick the problem and get the system ready to accept a clean version of the file that had been corrupted, the 'phone calls started.
"'We're having problems with the system.'
"I explained to the first caller what the problem was. The second caller was somebody working at the next desk to the first on the lending library counter. The third caller was the person on the lending library enquiry desk. The fourth caller was another library. The fifth was the person who'd replaced the first person while they went to the loo. After the eighth 'phone call I sent another email telling everybody that there was a problem, it was a biggie, I was in the process of trying to sort it out, it would take time, they won't be able to do stuff because there was a problem.
"The 'phone calls continued. Mostly from the lending library. The only times I wasn't receiving 'phone calls was when I was talking to people in our IT section asking them for backup copies of files, or when I was talking to our system's support desk in the States. Not getting through to me, people starting ringing other people on my floor to tell them to tell me that they were having problems. And just to make sure, they also emailed me.
"I wrote a third, detailed, email telling everybody that there was a problem, this is what the problem is, this is what I've been trying to do in between your ringing me to tell me something I've already told you twice in emails and numerous times on the 'phone, etc. etc. etc.
"Five minutes later I received an email from somebody I'd already spoken to twice. They were having problems with the system and thought I would like to know.
"I resisted the temptation to reply: stap me vittles, I hadn't noticed any problems, you win a Crackerjack pencil for being such a perspicaceous young lady.
"Five minutes later I received another email from them. They had tried again but were still having problems. I steadied my nerves and ignored it.
"Two minutes later I got a 'phone call. Had I read the two emails? Yes, I had. Did I know that they were having problems? Yes, I told everybody they'd be having problems even before they happened and since then I've emailed everybody twice more and you've told me twice before when you've rung me up to say you're having problems on the system. That's all right then. Quite so. Goodbye.
"Three days on, still not sorted. Each day I send at least three emails to everybody, marked "Important: read this!" telling them that there are still problems with the system, what they can do in the mean time and that I will, as always, let them know just as soon as it's safe to go back to business as usual, and don't telephone me to tell me you're having problems with the system as I think I've noticed.
"And every day I receive emails from people who've been receiving these emails, and who've been ringing me up, saying: we're still having problems with the system.
"Johny Morris never had this trouble."