I was late getting home Friday. My oldest son interrogated me at the door.

“Daddy, where were you?”

“Babysitting vendors,” I said. We do that a lot where I work. A lot. Make that a LOT. (I’m tempted to break out the blink tag, but if you’re reading this, I like you, so I’ll spare you.)

“What’s a vendor?” he asked.

“Someone who lies a lot,” I said. They do. But, realizing that I don’t want my son to go to school and call someone a “vendor,” I thought it best to elaborate, even though it would be hilarious to hear a schoolyard full of kids using the word “vendor” as an insult. “Actually, they’re people who sell stuff. But they do lie a lot about what they sell,” I added.

“Oh,” my son said. Then he went back to playing with his Thomas Trackmaster trains.

But that brings up an important point, if you’re in IT like me, and deal with vendors who fall right in line with politicians when it comes to delivering on promises. The way my boss deals with it is simple. When a product fails to meet basic functionality–in this case, a product designed to search logs that fails at doing basic searches–and it fails repeatedly, the vendor or vendors in question have a daily phone call with us, every day, until they fix the product. They remote in, to my PC in this case, and I watch what they do and answer questions for them, but basically I watch them fix their product, take notes, and provide updates to the chain of command.

It generally works pretty well.

And if my son ever gets in trouble at school for saying, “you must be a vendor because you lie a lot,” it’s probably going to be really hard for me not to laugh.