I, Dilbert

January 8, 2009 at 12:15 am (Work)

This semester my department has reintroduced online registration and payment for the courses that are open to the public.    The college uses an online service to process the payments, and I am one of about 6 staff at the college who have access to this service.  I discovered that the ledger form for reporting credit card revenue had been revised in my absence.  So, just before the winter break, I sent the the head of the Financial office a two-sentence email and asked him to send me a new copy of the form.

Twenty minutes later he called me on the phone.

“I got your email.  So, do you have access to the online payment system?”

“Yes, I’ve had access to the system for 2 years now.”

“So, you can logon to the system and see the transactions?”

“Yes, I can logon to the system and see the transactions.”

“Well, let me explain to you how it works.  We get a statement every month of the money we earn through credit card sales, and we need to break it down by department.  So, you need to fill out a ledger form every day and send it to me.”

“Yes, I know.  I’ve been doing that for the past year and a half.  I understand the form has changed, and I’d like you to send me a new form for our account.”

“But you didn’t do this last semester.”

“No, because I was on medical leave and the director decided not to do online payments.”

“So, last semester you just got checks, right?  And you sent those checks to the bursar’s office?”

“Yes, but this semester we’re doing both, and I would like a copy of the new form for the account.”

“So, you’re saying that you have access to the online payment system?  You can logon and see the daily transactions?  And you can tell which ones are yours?  How do people sign up for the courses?”

“Students create a profile, put the course in their virtual shopping cart, and pay with their credit card.”

“And you get an email letting you know when a sale has gone through?”


“But you didn’t do this last year?”

“No, last semester the director didn’t want to do online payments.  But I am back from medical leave now and we’re using the online module again.”

“So, the way it works is that we get a report of all the revenue and it’s very important that we figure out how to break it down.  You need to fill out a ledger form for every day.”

“Yes, I understand.”

“You haven’t had any transactions yet, have you?”

“Yes, we have.  We opened registration last week, and I want to get started on the ledger forms.”

“You have to fill one out every day.  Well, the month isn’t over yet; so you have some leeway.  But it’s important that we get those forms every day.”

“Yes, I understand.”

“So, what you’ll do is you’ll logon to the payment website and get a report for the day’s transactions and then fill out a daily ledger report for me.”

“Yes, I understand.  Someone told me the form had changed, and I need a copy of the new form.

“Okay, I’ll get the form out to you later this afternoon.”

I banged my head on the desk for a few hours after that, and resolved never to contact him again if I needed anything from the Financial office.

The first day back from vacation, I receive an email from the second-in-command at the Financial office:

“Dear Quiconque,

The form D____ sent you is incorrect.  Please use the attached form instead.”


  1. yoko said,

    Kind of makes you want to choke someone, don’t it?

  2. ashyknees said,


  3. Mama Ass said,

    Well, it’s nice to know that these things happen in other places too. I have had those conversations at least weekly for the last five years.

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