I thought the group might get a kick out of this.
Last week, an older couple at my church approached the pastor after evening services, and said they had a prayer request they wanted him to pray for. Apparently, a woman they know is looking for a computer in order to work from home. I have/had a spare box that I haven't been using for a while, so I popped out the hd (wanted to save the files for future use) and went to the local area repair shop to purchase a replacement. I had the box with me, and the guy behind the counter took it, rather than simply allowing me to purchase a drive; I'm guessing they've dealt with too many 'users' in the past, although I hope I can prove myself on that count eventually. This happened Saturday afternoon; I was told I could come pick the box up on Tuesday. They intended to put in a used, reformatted drive running XP.
I got there yesterday for the pickup, and had the manager come over to speak with me. His first words were something like "I've never seen anything like this before in all my years here."
When installing XP, there comes a point when you're supposed to input the Micro$oft installation key numbers. On this box, said numbers were emblazoned on an official Micro$oft sticker pasted to the side of the case. The case was originally running WinXP, so you'd think to get another copy going, they'd just plug in the numbers and be on their way.
The numbers didn't work. The official M$ numbers on the official M$ sticker didn't work. It wasn't just a mistype on their part; I'm told that at one point there were four techs looking over each other's shoulders to make sure the numbers were entered correctly. One of these techs was present when I went in to get the box, and verified the story. The system wasn't connected to any kind of network, so the problem had to have been inside to begin with; the official numbers simply weren't valid.
It gets better.
When the manager called Micro$oft in order to have them check the numbers, their response was apparently something like "Yeah, those are invalid. But if you buy another copy from us, we'll validate them for you." In other words, M$ wanted an additional $60.00USD* in order to validate the official numbers they themselves shipped the system out with. The manager wisely told them "No thanks," and hung up.
Kind of makes me wonder how the system ever worked in the first place...
*(price stated by local manager; I unfortunately wasn't present for the call itself. Wish I had been; would have been interesting to hear first-hand, if only for 'are you crazy?' humor value.)