This mortgage service company has its printers set up by work groups, each with shared printers, copiers and an address label printer, reports an IT pilot fish on the scene.

"The help desk got a call from a user who reported he has tried printing a month-end report repeatedly, but the report is not showing up on the printer," says fish. "The user said he needed the report to present to management in a meeting that was now only minutes away."

Help desk tech asks the usual printer troubleshooting questions: Is the printer turned on? Is it out of paper? Is there an error on the display? But the tech-savvy user has already checked all those things, and also checked the spooler, which is empty.

User has also checked with others in the work group, and all their documents and reports are printing without any problems -- and no one has picked up the missing report by mistake.

That information is useful -- but time is running out, and there's still no report to be found.

While that call is still going on, a second call comes into the help desk about another problem in the same work group print area. "A user got an error while printing an address label," fish says. "Going to the print area to load a new roll of labels, the user found an entire roll of labels printed and laying on the floor, but the information on the labels was not customer addresses.

"The second help-desk tech turned to the first one and said, 'Hey, I think found the missing report.'"

Sharky's missing your true tale of IT life. Send it to me at sharky@computerworld.com. You'll score a sharp Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

The Best of Shark Tank includes more than 70 tales of IT woe submitted by you, our readers, since 1999. Which all goes to prove, conclusively, that hapless users and idiotic bosses are indeed worldwide phenomena. Free registration is all that's needed to download The Best of Shark Tank (PDF).

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon