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The caption says, "The Budget Trap." The Boss says, "I need a quick estimate for how much your next project will cost, Wally." Wally replies, "How should I know? You haven't even told me what my next project is." The Boss says, "That's okay. I only need a rough estimate for planning purposes." Wally says, "I see where this is going. You're going to turn my wild guess into a budget. Later I'll be blamed when it's wrong." The Boss replies, "No, no. I won't hold you to these numbers." Wally says, "Well . . . Okay, let's say two million dollars." The Boss says as he walks away, "Ooh . . . Can't afford that. I'll put you down for twenty thousand dollars." The caption says, "One year later . . ." The Boss sits at his desk and says to Wally, "You're way over budget. Can you show me the cause?" Wally replies, "It depends. Can mirrors reflect your image?"
The Boss and Dogbert sit at a conference table. Dogbert says, "When the year 2000 comes, your computers will think it's the year '00' and cause major problems." Dogbert continues, "The Dogbert Consulting Company can fix the problem for only ten million dollars. Our work is guaranteed for one full year, starting today." The Boss says, "But why would I care? The year '00' is before I'm born." Dogbert says, "Amazing . . . You'd actually have to be SMARTER to do something STUPID."
Dogbert and Ratbert stand on a desk chair in front of a computer. Dogbert says, "Ratbert, your job is to review eighty million lines of computer code in the company's systems." Dogbert explains, "You're looking for any reference to the current year. Those pieces of code will be a problem when the year is 2000." Six months later, Ratbert and Dogbert sit at a conference table. Ratbert says, "I'm happy to report that the date did not show up once. In fact, it was all just zeros and ones!" Dogbert thinks, "Oops."
Ratbert walks across Dilbert's desk and says, "You know what's funny? I'll tell you." Ratbert continues, "You're working hard. I'm doing nothing. In a hundred years we'll both be dead." Dilbert says angrily, "You might not need to wait that long." Ratbert says as he walks away, "I think I'll spread some joy over this way."
The Boss, Alice, Ratbert, Wally and Dilbert sit at a conference table. The Boss says, "We're going to replace our computer support systems with the Elbonian database product." The Boss gestures toward Ratbert and continues, "It's risky, but don't worry. I've hired an outrageously expensive consultant who has never done this before." Ratbert says to Wally, "I earned five hundred dollars just coming to this meeting. How's YOUR day going?" Wally replies, "It won't make my top ten."
Dilbert stands in front of the Boss's desk. The Boss says, "You need a million dollars but I only have authority to sign for up to ten thousand." The Boss says, "Break it into a hundred separate business cases." Dilbert says, "Thank you for your value-added management support." The Boss replies, "It was nothing."
Dilbert carries a stack of documents. He tells the Boss, "Per your instructions, my request for a million dollars has been broken into one hundred business cases." Dilbert continues, "Each one is for ten thousand dollars, which is your exact level of approval authority." The Boss says, "I meant I can approve anything UNDER ten thousand dollars . . . So if you wouldn't mind . . ." Dilbert replies, "Killing you? No, I wouldn't mind a bit."
Phil the Ruler of Heck tells Tina, "You are guilty of being a technical writer with an unnatural attraction to an engineer." Phil leads Tina into Heck and says, "It's not a major sin, so you only go to Heck. I'm Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light." Phil leads Tina to a desk and says, "Sit down and type, 'I proactively leverage my synergies,' a hundred times." Tina screams, "No-o-o!!!"
The Boss, Wally, Dilbert and Alice sit at a conference table. The Boss says, "Here are some money-saving tips from headquarters." The Boss reads from a list, "'When calling long distance, use short words." The Boss continues to read, "'If everyone did this, our fifty-billion dollar company could save nine hundred dollars per year.'" The Boss reads, "'Tip two: For faxes, use Sans Serif fonts. They transmit faster. Annual saving could exceed three hundred dollars." The Boss says, "Next item on the agenda, remember I'll be in Switzerland next week on a fact-finding trip." The Boss continues, "If you need to call me at my four star hotel, be sure to use short words." Dilbert whispers to Alice, "You might want to save those short words until he's on his clue-finding trip." The Boss stands in his hotel room in Switzerland. He holds the phone and listens to someone cursing on the other end. He says, "Those are NOT all short words."
Dilbert holds his box of stuff and Wally holds the office floorplan. Wally says, "According to the blueprints, your new cubicle has a support beam in it." Dilbert stands in his cubicle which is taken up mostly by a huge support beam. He thinks, "At least I have a window view." At home, Dilbert looks disheveled and sweats. He says, "It's one hundred-eight degrees by the window but at least there's a breeze from the people who walk by and laugh." Dogbert sits on the arm of the couch and says, "Don't let me slow your search for someone who's interested."