This is an actual alert to IBM Field Engineers that went out to all IBM Branch Offices. The person who wrote it was very serious.

I thought this was pretty funny. This is a true IBM ordering information quote from one of their catalogs.

1990 jul 12 at 11:17 EDT



Subject: IBM Ball replacement.....

Mouse balls are now available as FRU (Field Replacement Unit). Therefore, if a mouse fails to operate or should it perform erratically, it may need a ball replacement. Because of the delicate nature of this procedure, replacement of mouse balls should only be attempted by properly trained personnel.
Before proceeding, determine the type of mouse balls by examining the underside of the mouse. Domestic balls will be larger and harder than foreign balls. Ball removal procedures differ depending upon manufacturer of the mouse. Foreign balls can be replaced using the pop-off method. Mouse balls are not usually static sensitive. However, excessive handling can result in sudden discharge. Upon completion of ball replacement, the mouse may be used immediately.
It is recommended that each replacer have a pair of spare balls for maintaining optimum customer satisfaction, and that any customer missing his balls should suspect local personnel of removing these necessary item.

To re-order, specify one of the following:

P/N 33F8462 - Domestic Mouse Balls
P/N 33F8461 - Foreign Mouse Balls

The Washington Monthly (January/February 1991)
I edited the above document, leaving the names off to protect the innocent.

Adam Sandler