We are participating in a bizarre form of fun called a recall. Some yahoo (yahoo, must remember that word, it fits nicely in the list of rude ways to refer to someone) out on the floor who didn't finish their high school education decided to bypass all the nice computer systems that we put in to help them with their intelligence deficit problem, and managed to dump the wrong box of stuff into the wrong spot. Which resulted in all the finished stuff being wrong too. Which means that we get to recall the product, just 'cause. Score: yahoo:1, anyone with a brain:0.
Now, this normally would be a tedious and stressful-- though not particularly difficult -- issue. We track every box that ships out of our warehouse in an admittedly dysfunctional and archaic database, so we can get who got shipped which product, providing we provide the appropriate animal sacrifices to get the database to work. So, normally someone would haul that information out, and we slap it into something like Word, do a mail merge, and send the whole disaster out the door, right?
Of course not.
What we actually do is ask the person who is in charge of the data to give it to us. We then politely wait while said person must roll his eyes and whines about "why do they need this data?" We bite our tongue, and do not reply with "so that the FDA does not get pissy and decide to shut down the company for violating federal law." Then we go away for a while and politely pretend that ding-dong over there (ah, another useful term, "ding-dong") is actually doing work and not reading the sports pages of the local newspaper. A couple of hours later, we go over and ask politely if ding-dong is going to stop wanking off long enough to get the data TODAY, or if we get to explain to the CEO that we're going to take another day due to "technical difficulties". (We do not, however, explain to the CEO that the "technical difficulties" here are that ding-dong is taking a note worthily long time to wank off because ding-dong is not able to find his widdle willie to wank with, because ding-dong processes an unusually sized willie, and needed to go get a stronger microscope.)
We then go home for the day, and think about things that do not involve work, but do hopefully involved wanton destruction and violence. (In reality, they actually involved thoughts that included a Miyazaki film. Which is the antithesis of wanton destruction and violence, but does actually do a lot for the annoyance and stress level.)
We return the next day to discover that Ding-dong was apparently successful in his Quest For Willie (or that he gave it up for a lost cause and decided to move along), because he did in fact provide some data. Precisely what this data is, or what it represents is left a cheerful mystery. Presumably, we wouldn't want to risk giving away any closely-held company secrets (like, in reality we don't know what our own data actually is) by actually LABELING the information.
After several hours of playing "process of elimination" we realize that we must go and confront Ding-dong on a most serious and personal problem: he can't count. For in playing "process of elimination" we discover that Ding-dong thinks that a 9 digit number is in fact a 16 digit number. (As an aside, this must be why Ding-dong things himself reasonably well endowed, since clearly he thinks that things are longer than they actually are.)
Once we have gently let Mr. Ding-dong understand that we know his dreadful counting secret, we stand there smiling in a calm, pleasant manner while Mr. Ding-dong grumbles that the Chihuahua-On-A-Stick (the person in charge of the recall circus, who is cooler than the nick-name would imply) does not need the data that she requested. We courteously hold our tongue when Mr. Ding-dong again proves his deficiency in determining lengths by declaring that we don't use 16 digit barcodes, we use 10 digit barcodes.
(Mr. Ding-dong is sadly deluded in his "less is more" thinking, since we do, in fact, use 16 digit barcodes, and have for well over two years now. One believes that Mr. Ding-dong needs to start compensating for something, in the hopes that by having excess in one area, he may break himself of the habit of shrinking everything else in order to allow him to put things into a proportion that is more familiar to him.)
So, after a while of standing there listening to Mr. Ding-dong rant, we oh-so-politely inform him that perhaps he should talk to the Chihuahua-On-A-Stick in order to determine what she needs, rather than a random middleman who is too polite to comment on what she thinks her coworkers really need. (Including, sadly, politely not commenting on what she thinks that Mr. Ding-Dong really needs.)
And once all of that is done, we wait patiently to see if the doctor can schedule an appointment today to remove their heads from their asses, or if we have to explain to the CEO that the recall letters will be going out yet another day late, due to "technical difficulties."