Prepare to have an AS/400 rammed up your ass Sales Department.


Little did our Hero, DBAMan, know that once again he he would be blindsided by an attack from the Infernal Legion of Impossibly Moronic Retards from Sales.

What is this? an email, Curses it is from Joey, a sub-henchman in the the Sales department.

What brain shateringly stupid thing can it possibly say:
“Can I get all the numbers from the account for a meeting, Joey Evil-And-Stupid”

What the fuck kind of dumbass request? My database has approximately 600 Billion numbers, from twelve acounts. Shall I start cutting down the forest to print it, or do you perhaps want to let me know what the hell you actually need. Not to mention the fact there are 12 seperate accounts, some of which are competetors, so knowing which acount would be help helpful.

DBAman requests more detail in an email.

The phone rings immediately, DBAman girds himself for prolonged battle with the forces of dumb.

Joey"I got your email …"

DBAman "Good you are competant at clicking the open email button, do you have a point?

Joey" I need those numbers, I have you on speaker phone with the bob theclient"

DBAman staggers from the onslaught of injudiciousness. Now he has to contend with civilian bystanders, who cannot be allowed to be dragged into the morass of dumb.

DBAman "Im not quite sure what numbers you needed, as clearly explained in the email. "

Joey “Just a summary of the important ones.”

DBAman "Oh well that clears it right the fuck up, let me hit the ‘Filter importance’ button onthe console. Perhaps you are looking for sales, invoices, commitments, volumn… any of these sound ‘important’
Joey “Sales, send me all the sales numbers!!”

DBAman, “that cuts it down to about 150 Billion numbers” Perhaps we can cut it down some more, and by the way which account is this?

Joey" The one for Bob the client."

The ever increasing wave of stupidity makes it hard to breath, Joey is a formidable one

DBAman “which is”

Joey “The Big and important client”

DBAman"Just give me the fucking name of the Fucking acount"

Bob the client “Yes this is Bob Sucker from Acme RoadRunner catchers”

  • DBAman struggles valiantly to hold onto the thin rope of useful information throw by a bystander as the Dumb increases into a violent maelstrom.

DBAman fights for breath and says “Okay Acme Sales numbers, that is only 100 Million or so. would you like the grouped in some fashion?”

Joey" Ummmmmmmmmm just group them by division"

DBAman “Division? ACME has no divisions, just product lines, stores, and districts, Division means nothing! I can’t group by an imaginary criterion, in fact none of our accounts have divisions, Arn’t you idiots in the league of sales obstructionism supposed to know something about the accounts you try to sell?”

Bob the Client “I’m not sure what that means, we dont really think of our business in terms of divisions.”

Joey: “Well then just group by invoices.”

DBAman: On ACME Invoices have nothing to do with sales. Sales are store to customer Invoices are District to Store. There is no realtion I can’t group on that anymore that I can organze sales based on my favorite movie, it makes no damn sence!"

DBAman has had it, his mind can no longer cope with the shock wave of stupidity. The legion senses this and move in with a kill shot on his last remaming sanity.

Roger, Sales assist. underling of pointless acitvities. says, “we really need those numbers we are with a client, what is the expected time to get them, Director Frank, Ubercommandant Susan, Gerald and Wragonthon the destroyer are all waiting to sign off on this, how can we expidite this”

DBA makes a valiant final stand" Expidite? How the fuck can it be expidited, when it isn’t even an actual request yet, you have not given me any thing that can possibly be completed, under any circumstances whatsoever.

DBAman collapses. His eyes close as he shuffles off this mortal coil, but wait a single word escapes from his parched lips Gerald?

Gerald is in Finance/accounting. The secret ally of the Data holders. Did Roger screw up and accidentaly give some useful information as part of a request, it seems impossible, but there it is?
Accounts can hold back the Tsunami of Moronic requests. By an archaic power of logic and making sence, they can actually call things by what they are really called, details and specificity are at their command, they make sales requests into feasible structures and understandable language. If Gerald is involved, then all DBAman has to do is to find a way to contact him, and the powers of evil may yet not prevail.

But how. DBA man has only two types of weapons to break away from the clutches of the Legion and buy time. The first is “Technological failure”, but that cannot be used in the presence of a civilian, as the collateral may make us look even more incompetant. That leaves on the last resort, “Process Roadblock”. Process roadblock is a difficult weapon to use. It can be broken down by begging, lying, or even expiditing, which the Legion has shown they have no compunction about using. DBAman will have to go for the biggest of all Process Roadblocks, the Mother of all regulations, the one that cannot be expidited away. The insidious power of the “SOX”, DBAman feels dirty even contemplating it’s use, but he has no choice he must throw the SOX bomb and a big fat screaming lie, and try to get to Gerald.

DBAman"You know, due to the SOX accountablility requirements, reports of this type have to be requested in with the proper format and Sign off. I can send you the stuff to do, but if Gerald is involved he already knows it. I can handle it with him easy"

Ureka! the evil cannot hope to understand the SOX, and flees in terror hanging up the phone. DBAman regains strength as he basks in victory.

He summons forth Gerald “Hey, dude what is this report for ACME all about?”

Gerald: “Frank just wants the 2008 fiscal year actual sales, reported sales, and returned sales numbers, by month, summed for each district.”

DBAman, “Cool, ill get that to you in 5 minutes, and if they say something about SOX, just tell them you took care of it.”

Gerald, “okay, ;)”

Ah, salespeople.

“Why, yes, Big Important Client! Certainly we can handle all that for you with no problem! Just sign here on the dotted line.”

No problem = huge manual work for other departments because what the salesperson promised the client (without checking with us, of course, to see if it’s feasible) is a nightmare.

That was beautiful.


Well done, wolfman. Well done.

I had a sales guy hand me an availability clause in a contract “for my review.”

It stated we were committed to five 9’s uptime over 8760 hours per year, or we’d start paying penalties.

“Bob,” I said, “that’s 24x7 availability. We don’t do 24x7. We do 99.999% during ‘business hours,’ which we normally define as 7-19, Monday through Friday.”

“Well, can we do 24x7?”

“No. As it currently stands, we go down two hours per night for backups.”

“We do?”

“Yes. I’ve given a half dozen presentations to clients where I’ve said that, and you’ve been in the room.”

“Then why did you sign off on this contract language?”

“I didn’t sign off on this contract language. What I’m doing right now is telling you I’m not going to sign off on this contract language.”

“Well, we used this same last five with the last five customers we signed up…”

“You WHAT?”

“Yeah, so you must have signed off on it.”

“I’ve never seen this before in my life.”

“Then why is it in the contract?”

“Because you haven’t given it to me for review the last five times you signed it?”

“You must have said it was okay.”

“I didn’t. Look: right here, it says we can take up to 24 hours for any unscheduled outages. Right?”


“So that would imply that we do something less than 8670 hours per year, right?”

“So what’s 8760 minus 24? Can we put that in?”

“Bob, do you know what it feels like to be stabbed in the eye with a pencil?”

If Salesmen could burn like fossil fuel, I’d put a Bastard in my tank with every refill.

(wipes tear from eye)


I found some times its best just to give them what they say they want.

I worked for a rarther largish aircraft training company for a time, being in charge of their clasroom computers. They had been buying computers for years from this local pc clone shop before they pissed of my rather immature boss one day and he took his business elsewhere. In total we had probably bought close to 1000 machines from these guys and they were all still under warranty so occasionally I had to take a load of bad mother boards to them (everything else I could just send back to the manufacturer).

“hey, this is bdgr over at demoni-flight…I have five of model xxx mother boards to return”

“have you got an invoice?” the guy replied with a rather nasty tone of voice.

“somewhere…we bought 1000 of these things from you, you know that, do you really need me to send you an invoice?”

“you bought computers from other people since then…we need to know it’s ours”

“you do know those invoices don’t have the motherboard serial number on them”

“we still need them…”

“ok…I’ll fax them right over”

so I head over to accounting, and get the poor drone there to give me every single invoice we ever had from that company. It stopped by the coke machine and headed to the fax machine in our office up front.

I pulled up a chair next to the fax machine, dumped the phone book sized stack of invoices into its auto sheet feeder and talked to the smoking hot receptionist for a while. After about 10 minutes or so the computer companies fax machine ran out of fax paper…I gave them time to reload and think that I had given up…I started the whole stack over again just to be sure. We got half way through and their machine went off line for the rest of the afternoon. I took the invoices back to accounting and went back to my office to call them.

“so, did you get the invoices I faxed you?”

“yeah…go ahead and bring them by” this time he sounded defeated and I could hear his boss yelling in the background
Never had another request for a invoice from that company again.

Your salesman violated the first rule of sales (at least in an AS400 shop). “Never, ever let an IT person talk directly to a customer, especially a very important 800 pounds gorilla customer.”

It has taken me 8 years, but my sales force is fairly well trained or know to go through the Customer Service Supervisor to translate Salesmen gibberish to semi-logical thought that can be turned into a useful report in no more than two passes.

Beautiful OP wolfman. It brought a tear to my eye I tells ya.

I was surprised to see AS/400 in a pit thread title. It rarely gets mentioned on the SDMB. I’m primarily an RPG programmer.

If evil exists computing, AS/400’s are it.

Why? They are one of the few 100% reliable 24x7x364 days a year computers on the market. In native OS/400 they are effectively virus free and closer to bug free than any other mid-size or server. They do batch crunching extremely well. They are incredibly scalable and have a long and proven track record as excellent corporate IT machines.

And mine, as a customer, is listen politely to the sales guy, then try if at all possible to get to talk to the IT guy.

Me: “Can this application do X, Y & Z? Because I read it couldn’t, and I tried it out on that copy you gave us to test and it didn’t seem to be possible, but maybe I’m just not doing it right.”

Sales Guy: “Oh yeah, sure, no problem. And give you a blowjob, plus wash the dishes”.

Me to IT Guy cornered while making coffee later: “Can this application do X, Y & Z? Because I tried it out on that copy you gave us to test and it didn’t seem to be possible, but maybe I’m just not doing it right.”

IT Guy: “Yeaaaah, well, kinda but it’s a bit clunky. But actually not really Z, as such… We’re still working on that bit, actually. But it’ll be there in the next version. I think.”

We bought an AS/400 in the early-mid '90s but supposedly learned in '97 that its clock was hardwired Y2K-non-compliant. So we unloaded a solid machine with a solid sales program in trade for a big printer and went to SAP because it was “cheaper” than buying a new 400. Have I mentioned lately that, in 1999, some of SAP’s help screens (no manual, just jelp screens) were still in German? I’m surprised we survived the transition. My section of the company didn’t.

I love my AS/400. Someday I’ll figure out how to do more than do writers on printers and backups. Does IBM still offer training or any sort of iSeries certs? Might be a big help in my job.

Oh, my god, you have my most sincere condolences. Using SAP is like trying to bully a 400-pound developmentally-disabled, drunken gorilla with Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

True dat. The worst software package I have ever used, and I have the fatal flaw of trying freeware. Worthy of a thread of its own, but I haven’t used it since 99.

The last time I had to use it in my actual work was in 2003, when I was temping for Armstrong Flooring. My job was making up reports about their Home Depot inventory and sales and the entire product information data was in SAP. God fuck me with a barbecue fork, was that a daily pain I was very happy to see the rear end of when my assignment ended!


I’m so glad I don’t have to use that pain in the testicles anymore.

and I only had to deal with 2 screens of eng entries

The worst part was that it was a not-particularly-good mini-computer program ported to a micro, with a poorly-pasted-on GUI. The worst of both worlds, but we’d been bought out by a Swiss company and they had nightly wet dreams over SAP.

Different situation. I think wolfman and I work in companies where IT is for business systems support and not development of commercial software. If you are buying software or hardware it is always best to talk to support/IT to verify which part of the Sales pitch were lies or vaporware. I do it myself as a customer.

In fact my ability to break software with false claims in 20 minutes* or less is highly valued by the last 3 companies I worked for.

  • An exaggeration, sometimes it takes me several hours.

Unless it was a used Ciscbox you were told wrong. All Risc AS400 could handle Y2K with ease. I thought even Cisc boxes and even System 36s could handle Y2K with simple software patches but as I was working on AS400 Risc boxes for Y2K I cannot be sure.

There are loads of training, user group conferences and courses available. What do you want or need training in and to do?

I think a year or two ago I help you out with an AS/400 Operating system question. Is that right?