Help-desk hell: Can you beat this iPad-winning story of woe? Post away with your top tales. C.
This topic was created by diodesign.
beware of pissing off BE Tech support.....
Today, my internet went down and after pinging several common sites, and tracrt to some more sites it was clear the problem was at there end......
so, it got to the point where he asked me to ping bbc.co.uk, google.com and copy and paste the results into pastebin .... with no internet working....
it went downhill... he wanted me to do a factory reset of the router. deleting all my custom settings for servers and IP cameras, media servers etc....
resulted in some verbal abuse and telling him I was not doing a factory reset, their was no point, traffic was fine until it got to their servers, just wasn't leaving them.....
he eventually agreed to send it upstairs for further investigation.....
10 min later, internet was back up working.... so logged back into router, it all was as how I left it.... another 10 min passed and then all the kit on wifi stopped working, could no longer see the wifi hotspot, tried loging into the router from wired network, it rejected my password !!
a little more checking around it was clear my router had had a factory reset...
it appears the customer services nobhead had accessed the router and had done a factory reset AFTER it was all working... the only point to this was to piss me off !!! BASTARD !!
Be have a backdoor into the router, you could disable it on the old routers, but not the new ones !!
Re: beware of pissing off BE Tech support.....
Not uncommon on ISP provided equipment, I'm afraid. My experiences of BE support have been generally positive. BT & OpenReach... that's another matter - even if they deign to turn up.
Re: beware of pissing off BE Tech support.....
I can honestly say only good things about BE.
However, sometimes their tech support can be a bit... well... overzealous.
We had a problem with our router, for some reason the wifi would randomly drop, and we finally established that the router, that lives on top of the games console cabinet, had gradually been jostled enough to loosen the antenna so the connection wasn't constant.
Still, the new modem was a nice surprise three days later...
Users are misunderstood geniuses
A user had misplaced their laminator and had attempted to substitute the device with their HP Laserjet 4200... The fuser couldn't be saved...
There was the time I spent a whole day trying to figure out why a ceiling mounted projector kept cutting out after a random amount of time, but worked fine in the workshop. Turns out the installers had wired it into the same circuit that fed the old power-saving lighting system, and the power was cutting out because the sensor mounted in the corner of the room wasn't detecting any movement.
The memories of my time in tech support, both as a tech and as tech support manager has been suppressed since the late 90's. Probably a survival trait, no one wants to remember that hateful episode in their lives, whether supplied with a shared help-desk punching bag or not.
I do recall alt.tech-support.recovery in dejanews - before Google ate it and removed the waving of dead chickens to access that much-needed resource.
Hell worst I ever had still bugs me to this day
Was working as a remote tech agent for a company here in the states which bugged the hell out of me.
It started with me coming in to cover for someone who was off and this day lasted all of 4 hours also it was my first and only call of that day.
Lady was calling to see if she could get evidence of any sort of infidelity on her husbands part because she wanted to get a divorce. !0 minutes later I'm connected to her computer and I decide to open up file explorer on Windows and the first (and only folder I opened) was the upload folder for Limewire
Still don't know what made me check that first.
Anyway, I opened up some pictures (and I know I'm looking at voyeur pictures of a female after a couple of them). Flip to the next one and then the next one and next thing I hear is her sudden intake on breath and says, and I quote, "That's my 13 year old daughter!!!"
To cut this short this call ended 4 hours later roughly, her freaking out on the phone, me in the conference room with the owner of the company, my boss, the corporate attorney and the Ohio state troopers giving a disposition. Needless to say I said fuck the rest of the day and told my boss I was going home and didn't care how busy it was. Opened a very large bottle of Skyy 75 vodka I had had for 5 years and go blasted.
Moral of this story for me was I don't want to work with consumers ever again and that it really really sucks. Sighs...I hate people like that.
Customer on the 'phone, I'm the build manager for our company which was also a VISP. Being technical, I was also second-level support for the VISP arm.
Customer: Your <expletive> Internet is down again!
Me: I'm showing no outage at present. Do you mind checking a few things for me before I call our datacentre?
Customer: I need my e-mail for my business! I'm losing <expletive> money here!
At this point we launch into a diagnostic session where I find that her modem is connected to the fax line, the modem is responding nicely to AT commands and the PPP setup is correct as far as I can tell. Customer is getting increasingly vehement that our dial-up is mams vertical, although my console says it's fine.
Customer: <long trail of expletives randomly laced with other words that make no sense>
While she's swearing at me, I'm on the other line to BT checking her fax line. BT faults comes back with a very interesting cause. Back to line 1 where she's still expounding on my ancestry, habits and probable fate.
Customer: My business is suffering because of your <expletive> incompetence! You're a <expletive> and I'm going to sue you for loss of earnings!
Me: Have you tried paying the bill for your fax line recently?
Cue tumbleweeds. Sometimes you're the statue, occasionally you're the pigeon.
Re: Before ADSL
> BT faults comes back with a very interesting cause.
Ah, the old "Temporarily Out of Service", that was all they were allowed to say. "That line's been TOSsed", I remember it well.
Back when the volcano had created the ash cloud I had a call from a guy that started the conversation with
"Aliens have stolen my wifi"
after bit of questioning, he believed that aliens had created the ash cloud so create electro magnetic charge in the air to suck the wifi out of his house.
some more questioning
turns out that his wife had unplugged the router to plug in her hair straighteners.
White on white
Many years ago got a call from the head of IT, "Can you go see the finance director, he can't get anything up on his screen, I've had a look and I'm stumped". He was running windoze 3 and had managed to set his text colour the same as his background colour. This wasn't some tin pot company either, it was a high class household name retail chain, run by idiots.
Re: White on white
"This wasn't some tin pot company either, it was a high class household name retail chain, run by idiots."
ALL household name, retail chains are run by idiots.... not just the high class ones....
Why won't it print
I used to work for ICL on a support Helldesk for a large company that put windows on every PC
I remember a user phoning up complaining that their printer wasn't working, the paper went through but her document never appeared on the paper.
Ink status showed fine, a test page would work but it was difficult to read.
After spending an hour on the phone with her I gave up and asked her to email the document in, which she did.
When I looked at the document she'd changed the text to white.
When I phoned her back to tell her this she explained that she was using green paper so it should work ok....
"I don't have one"
I was already battle scarred from supporting W95, NT and dealing with irate callers when this middle aged sounding lady called in for support to get her Mac PC online. The conversation went something like this:
User: " I can't get my Mac connected to the Internet"
Me: "Alright ma'am. Are you in front of your Mac?"
Me: "Please take your mouse and put the pointer over the Apple icon at the top left corner of your screen"
User: " I don't have one"
Me: "One what, ma'am?"
User: "A pointer"
Me: "Ma'am, please take your mouse and move it in a circle on your mouse pad. You should see a white, hand shaped pointer move in a circle while you move the mouse. Do you see the pointer moving?"
Me: "Please move the mouse so the pointer is over the multi-coloured Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen"
User: "I don't have one"
Me: "One what Ma'am? You do have a Mac computer, correct?"
User: "Yes, but I don't have one"
Me: "Ma'am, could you describe the screen to me, please?"
User: "It's got pebbles all over it, and some little pictures"
Me: "Do you see a grey bar at the very top of the pebbles?"
Me: "Please follow the grey bar, all the way to the left. Do you see a colourful apple there?"
Me: "Please move your mouse pointer over the apple and then click and hold the mouse button down. You should see a menu drop down."
User: "I don't have one"
Me: "One what Ma'am?"
By this point she was becoming upset with me because I was taking too long to get her connected. I ended the call by apologizing for the delay and asking her to call back with someone who could follow directions, like a neighbour or small child to work the computer, and thanked her for calling Technical Support.
I then took off my headset, and took a much needed walk to the nearest fire escape stair case and let out a rather loud scream in frustration. Not many could get to me like she did. If there's a place in Hell for IT types, she's going to be there to keep us company.
First some back ground history, I do the IT for our family business; after years of the boss (mummy), using and breaking the keyboards on a variety of obsolete kit (Commodore Plus4, C64, Amiga etc), I finally got her to cough up for a proper PC with a replaceable keyboard (she learnt to type on a mechanical keyboard and used to smash the keys through the plastic frames).
Over a few years I managed to cure her of saving everything to the root of C:\, and her odd habit of accidentally clicking on the "Print to file" symbol, then clicking 5,000 times to try and print a document on the printer - everything seemed to be going OK; she learnt how to turn it off properly, but usually used to leave it in standby to save time.
After about 2-3 years of watching, my sister gained the confidence to have a go; and after many hours of experimenting, she could waggle the mouse to wake the PC, click on the desktop shortcut to the Documents folder, and print out OFSTED documents and letters.
Then mummy went on holiday and switched off the PC............
6pm and we are finished for the day, as I am leaving my sister calls out and says she will just run up and print out some documents.........
10:30pm - sis is on the phone and she is steamed, she has been waggling the mouse but the damned computer wont come to life (FOUR AND A HALF HOURS OF MOUSE WAGGLING!!!!!!).
me: OK, are you sure it is switched on?
sis: Yes, the little amber light below the screen is on.
me: Thats not the PC, thats the monitor; is the PC switched on??
sis: That IS the PC.......... isnt it??
me: No...... look under the desk....... see that big beige box?? THAT is the PC.
sis: Oh; I wondered what that was for.
Me: OK, is it switched on?
sis: I DONT KNOW!!!
me: Well try pushing the "On" button !!
sis: Which one is that?
me: The big one.
sis: I pushed the top one, still nothing.
Me: Thats the CD tray eject button, look further down.
sis: Ah! found it!!! It works!!!!
The sad thing is, that was back in 2000, and her PC skills havent evolved much since then; she got someone to set up a company webpage 6 years ago, but now has no clue what passwords she set up or how to access it.
The US Navy
Not really a dumb user story, more about creative problem solving.
Couple of decades back we had a S/390 sitting in Portsmouth running half the business. Every couple of months or so it would crap itself, sometimes rebooting spontaneously, sometimes just generating gibberish. After having the engineers in blue round a few times (by which time it was invariably behaving itself again), the client was about ready to nuke the whole thing.
Coincidentally one of the engineers happened to be in attendance the next time this happened, and whilst studying the recently silent 390 to see what could have gone wrong, he happened to glance out of the window and see the US aircraft carrier Enterprise steaming into the Solent. Working on a hunch, he asked the client to look out the window the next time the mainframe crapped itself, and sure enough there was the aircraft carrier again.
Bit of aluminium foil around the server room and the problem went away. Turned out the radar installation on the Enterprise was causing havoc with the sensitive electronics in the 390, which shut down as a precaution every time the US Navy came to town.
No helldesk duty for me
but I had my share of helldeskers I'd love to have LARTed back into the cave they had just managed to crawl out of.
By far the worst was some bimbo whose sole contribution to the call solving process was to mangle the (usually) Dutch problem statement from the actual user into something almost entirely, but not quite unlike English, then punting the call to second line as quick as possible.
"User wrote a file yesterday. Today there stand only Oestriol. Dhr Coert know there more from"
Note 1: No username, no department (although that could be determined from the "Dhr Coert", the department coordinator), no location (knowing the department still left several options), no file name.
Note 2: Giving the name of another file (it was, actually, just part of the name) doesn't magically reveal the name of the missing file.
Note 3: Both the second and the third sentence couldn't have turned out worse had they been machine-translated from Dutch into English using word-for-word look-up without grammar checking.
After one particular episode in which said bimbo repeatedly tried to use my brain to do her thinking, I notified my team leader that I would not work on calls she had entered. His (quick and simple) solution was then to separate the bimbo and her workstation by a distance of 300 meter minimum (the distance from Building 14 to the main entrance).
From the other side
I phoned our helpdesk;
Me: "Whenever I right click in Internet Explorer, it crashes".
Support: "Have you tried not right clicking".
Me: "That's really useful, but I need to use the context menu to get files of your <Name of stupid web based software>"
Support: "Can you give me an example?"
Me: "Should I have to, its a piece of software not working properly, however on <Name of stupid web based software> to download a report, I need to right click, and save target as to open the pdf.
Support: "PDF you say, we need to re-install acrobat"
Me: No acrobat works fine, its Internet Explorer.
Support: "I am sending an Engineer to install acrobat".
2 days later
Engineer: "I understand you need acrobat re-installed"
Me: I don't think so, but you help desk does.
Engineer: "OK, were give it a go, all you need to do is call the help desk, they will do it remotely"
Me: "You needed to be here for that"
Engineer: "No, I don't know why they sent me"
Support: "An Engineer should come and do the re-install"
Me: "Here, talk to the Engineer"
20 mins later
Engineer: "The support desk will call you back to re-install Acrobat"
1 day later
Support: "I need to re-install acrobat"
Support: "I have sent an Engineer"
Me: Please god, stop being so stupid, the problem was with Internet explorer anyhow.
2 years later - Finally got upgraded to Windows 7, they never did fix the issue, or re-install acrobat, they did call about every 2 weeks requesting to close the call, which I refused as they haven't fixed it.
Just remember, there are idiots both sides of the fence.
For those user bashing
I was helping a colleague who wasn't confident with computers (he is an excivator driver) and was having issues with the incredibly ridiculous connection rigmarole to connect their depot (remote) PC to the corporate network (Involves 6 passwords and a RSA key). In the end the engineer came around (hardware failure) who the laughed at the guy as he couldn't navigate around the PC, I lost my cool and threatened to take the guy out, sit him in an excavator and ask him to delicately dig a hole next to a fuel pipeline and a river during one of the wettest summers with horrendous ground conditions. Surprisingly the engineer didn't like the idea. Just remember people have skills that don't involve computers, and no doubt you will do something that those people think is stupid. and just remember you work in an industry that for 12 years had people pressing "start" to stop their computer!
Re: For those user bashing
>pressing "start" to stop their computer!
I always thought the 3.x interface was simpler. But then, obviously later versions had more features.
Re: For those user bashing
Most people (Richard Hammond excluded) would not be able to take a piece of specialized, heavy machinery and perform a delicate operation with it after three days of practice, let alone instantly.
But you know what most people SHOULD be able to do, should you demand they attempt it?
Most people should be able to:
1: Operate a motor vehicle. (Perhaps cultural, but from the perspective of a Yankee, they should.)
2: Prepare a sandwich or other form of basic meal. (Ramen, yay!)
3: Queue in line without losing your cool or being befuddled by the very concept.
4: Dial the emergency services number of their homeland, to get in contact with authorities in an emergency.
5: Compose a letter, and successfully format the envelope so it goes through the postal service properly.
6: Properly count and deal with physical currency for transactions.
7: Properly compose various bank forms, including deposit and withdrawal forms and checks.
8: Fill out a form paper, such as a job application.
9: Wash the laundry, dishes, and self.
10: Operate a computer.
Hopefully, by the time you got to 10, you had figured out my point, but in case you haven't, let me spell it out in plain English:
Operating a computer system is a life skill, not a trade skill as it was in the olden days. I wouldn't expect a carpenter to be able to perform an electrician's job, but I would expect both of them to be able to hop behind the wheel of the other's truck and navigate it to where it needs to go.
Likewise, I wouldn't expect an excavator operator to be comfortable fiddling around in regedit, or to use a memory editor to cheat on a running video game, or to be capable of programming even a Hello World program. I would expect him to be able to use a word processor to type up a letter, or use an email client or web-client to send it over the internet.
Laughing in his face was cruel and uncalled for, and you were right to put him in his place for that, but his basic premise of dismay that an adult human being of working age in a modern society is unable to navigate the basic interface of a computer is not incorrect.
Re: For those user bashing
>pressing "start" to stop their computer!
That sort of reverse logic is obviously catching on, there was a car on a recent series of Top Gear (KTM X-Bow, I think?) where you have to press 'Stop' as part of the somewhat lengthy ignition sequence!
So a customer walks up to my desk and asks me for an Ethernet cable. Me, holding up a 6-foot cable and a longer cable: "How long do you need it?" Customer: "Forever." (okay, I could have phrased the question better)
Our L1 Helpdesk managed to turn a simple request to change an email setting on a healthy machine into a situation that required a customer's mail file needing to be restored from backup tape. Our department also enjoyed it immensely when they called all of us in sequence at 3AM local time to replace a speakerphone in a conference room. (no one was even there) The best part is them leaving me a message on my desk phone first, as if I was sitting in my office at 3AM to answer the phone.
Re: One liner...
Tech: "How long do you need it?"
Customer: "As long as you can give it to me, baby."
Tech Support stories go back a long way...
My Granddad was a TV technician when they were still a new technology.
Just before the coronation of EQ2 in '52 he had a lot of support calls. One call was from a person who had an intermittent problem with their TV, my Granddad said they would need to bring it in so he could do a soak test on it. They declined saying it was going to be too expensive. A couple of weeks later he gets a call from them to say that the TV was now green, so he decided to pop around and have a look. He found the TV had mould on it, it turned out they had decided to soak test it themselves in the bath.
This didn't come from my help desk days, but I had an IT Project Manager visit our office last year querying how she could access her emails while up here (Edinburgh v London). Our office works off thin clients, hers on desktops all on the same domain, so I suggested she locked her PC when in her office and remote in when she got here.
She arrived and I tried to get her logged in, but her PC wasn't on the Active Directory.
Me: You did lock your PC before you came up here?
Me: I can't see it on the network - did you leave it switched on?
Her: No, it's in my filing cabinet switched off but locked up...
A deputy head from a school I used to work at (very nice bloke, but totally technologically inept) once called me saying he was trying to respond to an email questionnaire, but was unable to enter any text.
Turns out he hadn't hit the reply button.
Sack the wrong person
My former employer decided they wanted rid of me, however as it was government that was a little harder for them - cue many meetings. I had established an in-house helpdesk some 10years earlier so we could respond to the 500 local users without begging the contractors for help. I also supported the Siemens DX phone system.
Over time my team grew and we provided 7 day 12 hour coverage across multiple sites (and three countries). I operated as a L1/L2 desk with L3 at the contractor's helpdesk manager's mobile number. The system worked, users had personal service and the number of crap calls to the contractors went through the floor from my corner of Blighty.
Management however started questioning my worth. When they saw inaction, I was either tasking my team to a problem (throwing a pencil) or working on a longterm project (chewing same pencil). My liaison with the installation guys was excellent, I acted as site manager and we completed new installs in half the allocated time. Everyone bar my managers were happy. I supervised the overseas jobs and acted as interpreter as well as booking hotel rooms and smoothing the way with the local militia. Everybody was happy, except my management.
So eventually management build a petty case and decide to lose me. The first step is gardening leave - just before the HQ is moved between sites.
What management had failed to understand is that site helpdesk is more than answering phones and changing toner carts. The phone engineer asked for a floor plan - all he got was a phone directory. Two weeks after the building went live he was still trying to find the last few users to install phones. His allocated job time was 2 days - as I would have usually done the prep work and follow-up.
The PC install guys turned up with 150 new desktops and printers. Someone had decided that the power would be on the walls but desks would be in lines, perpendicular from the wall. None of the 5m network leads would reach the printer or furthest desktops. There wasn't any power either.
The guys asked where the long leads and power bars were , management told them "your job", response was "no, your job." They then told my former management that they would cancel the job and someone would have to rebook it - with a snide remark that I would have sorted it, if they hadn't got rid of me.
I worked with a sysadmin for a local college a few years ago. They were looking to replace their fleet of PCs in the IT Centre: about 120 machines which had been bodged together many times over the years and were really on their last legs. Obviously buying so many machines at once he wanted to make sure the replacements were up to scratch. Somebody in finance made the decision that the new machines were coming from HP, so we got these three machines from HP as a sampler.
After a few days fiddling we noticed that these machines switched themselves off if not used for a while - not just power save or hibernate, but properly switched off and they would go through the whole "your computer was not switched off properly" disk scanning routine when powered up again. We tried switching off all the powersave/hibernate settings in Windows and more in BIOS but still they kept doing this. When the sysadmin contacted HP they simply said "Sorry, you'll have to contact your own IT helpdesk." He tried to explain that he was in charge of the helpdesk, but they just wouldn't have it. "It must be a problem with how it's set up and we can't help you with that - you need to contact the IT team in your own organisation."
The computers went back to HP and the college signed a contract with Dell.
"My computer is possessed by the Devil"
About ten years ago I had a frantic phone call from a woman saying that her computer had been "possessed by the Devil". Could I come round immediately, preferably with a priest?
The machine was running Red Hat linux. When I got there (alone - where are priests when you need them in a hurry?), the computer was sitting on its own in a darkened room - the woman was too frightened to go near it. I started it up and waited. After about ten minutes, the screen went blank and then slowly filled with an image of flames. A large grinning head slowly rose up out of the flames - it was smoking a pipe, but I didn't notice at the time. It gave me quite a start in that darkened room.
It was, of course, the Xflame screensaver in its default configuration. I removed Xflame and several other "problematic" screensavers, and assured her that the computer had been thoroughly exorcised. I decided not to mention anything about the daemons and zombies that were still infesting the machine.
Re: "My computer is possessed by the Devil"
Smoking a pipe? You sure it wasn't Slackware rather than Red Hat?
Re: "My computer is possessed by the Devil"
Yes, I know what you mean. It looked like the J. R. "Bob" Dobbs image from Slackware. I think Read Hat had swiped it from them. Basically, Xflame allowed you to include an image and would then show it burning in a fireplace. Originally I think it was intended to include a Yule log or similar, but then people got creative.
Service desk Number
When I first started level 2 support at a new site I had a number of walkups with odd questions. The most basic being Password resets.
Client: Hi I have just got back from leave and I need to reset my password.
Me: No worries that's all handled in the city , Please call 8887 and the service desk will reset it for you.
Client: So if I type 8887 in it will reset my password?
Me : sigh
This happened twice on the same day
I was the dumb user...
Okay, so not a helpdesk call but I remember doing this myself about 25-30 years ago... My dad had bought a new Amstrad (be nice to my dad please) 1512 (dual 5 1/4" drives) and I was busy naking myself the home expert on it. It came with GEM Desktop in it and I loved it, especially the word processor (I think it was WordPerfect) as I decided I was a budding author in the making.
After a few months though I started having problems finding my files in the GEM windows as some of them seemed to be disappearing off the bottom of the screen. I discovered that by deleting files I could see that I didn't want, my "lost" ones would reappear at the bottom. From memory I think this lasted for a few months before I discovered that you could scroll up and down within the windows.....
To this day I still believe that my Lord of the Rings beating work would have shocked the world if I hadn't deleted it by mistake...
You know there is a site for things like this...
Go take a look at:
Makes you wonder if users need a license to operate a computer, which includes a test of common sense (which it appears that many people are lacking).
Now where is that "any" key??
Not quite IT, but...
...same vein for certain.
So, here I am, one of the few engineers in a graduate dormitory at a prestigious university. It gets out I know something about computers, and so I help a few people here and there, as I've done all my life for friends and family. I'm not too bad about fixing things more generally, so eventually folks start coming to me with various problems.
One day, I'm sitting in my room, when an (East) Indian girl (not FOB by the way, well-Westernized and with significant experience living in Japan as well, and pursuing an advanced degree in international relations or language studies or somesuch) who lives around the way stops by with her lamp, tells me it doesn't work and asks if I can have a look just to see if something can be done before she throws it away. Nice girl, no problem, how hard can this be, so I say yes.
Take a look - no obvious damage to any wiring. open things up to where I can get at the switch - looks fine as well. Check with my multimeter - great. What could be wrong? Weirdest thing I'd ever seen.
Then, I think to myself, "wait a minute, really?", and I check the bulb.
I call the owner of the lamp to my room, indicate that I've looked it over and have an idea of what's wrong, and ask her what exactly happened to the lamp that caused it to break in the first place. She indicates that she accidentally knocked it off her desk, and after that, "it just stopped working". Indeed. I explain that, if anything like that should happen again, it's probably a good idea to try a new bulb before pitching the lamp.
"I don't understand it - the car just stopped, and I'd not even driven it 500 km. Time to get a new car, I guess..."
We had a phone call in from one of our re-sellers not too long ago. We manage a hosted-VoIP setup and have tiers of re-sellers below us. Usually they would have to log issues using a CRM site, but unfortunately one particular client curries alot of favor so they can get away with phoning engineers directly.
On a quiet day, we see an "Urgent" issue raised and instantly everyones phone rings. I answer, hearing a panic'd client saying "Someone just told me our phones are down!".
It took a few seconds of calm breathing before we could let him know that;
a, His company uses our system.
b, We use our system.
c, We were currently on the phone to each other.
To make matters worse we ended up being asked for a root cause analysis about a service outage that never happened.
Ticket closed ... nearly a third of a century later.
Mid 1980s ... My wife tried to plug a tape into the Betamax player. It didn't work ... I was called in, and discovered a PB&J sandwich had been stuffed into the machine. Judging by the texture of the bread, and the lack of mildew, it was done during my Daughter's birthday party the day before. The Wife panicked, as she had a potential local "snooty, high profile" buyer coming in to look at a rather expensive mare that we had for sale ... but the mare was housed on our Calaveras County property.
I took the helm, suggested my wife bow out temporarily, and explained to the potental buyer what had happened, borrowed a Beta player from a neighbor, and the customer viewed the video about fourty five minutes after schedule. She bought the mare a week later. No harm, no foul.
Spring forward to a couple months ago. The 1950's Western Electric rotary-dial telephone on my desk rings. That number is only known by family & a few select friends. There is no caller ID on that line, nor do I want it. I answer, as always:
Me: This is jake.
Me: (thinking "Oh, FUCK!", because she usually calls me "Pop" ...) Yes, it's me, what's wrong?
Daughter: Remember the sandwich in the Betamax?
Daughter: I did that ... I thought I wanted the PB&J like all my friends, but the Tuna (Albacore) alternative that you made for the adults sounded better after one bite, and I know how much you hate wasting food! ... It was the easiest place to hide it. (She's been a foodie/gourmet/gourmand since she was a toddler).
Me: :::ROTFLMAO:: Why are you calling me over this now? It's hardly important anymore ... oh, wait ... you called me "daddy" not "pop" ... What's wrong, hon?
Daughter: Your granddaughter just fed a chunk of mustard-coated mortadella into the DVD player ...
The damned thing won't stop beeping!
Back when I was a Junior software developer we had to speak directly to the customers of our software. One day a gent came on the phone asking why his computer keeps making intermittent beeping noises. After discounting POST error messages (the PC was working fine) or anything from the internal speaker (It was turned down - Some Amstrad PCs had volume knobs back then IIRC) I was at a loss.
"Can you turn the PC off and leave it off for about 5 minutes before turning it back on?"
About 3 minutes later I get a call from the chap,"It's doing it when it's turned off!"
"Sir, could it be anything else in your office that is making the beeping?"
"Well the only other thing that's near the desk is this smoke alarm that... oh, sorry to have bothered you."
Had a phone call from a lady who's company had bought a new version of our software. Unfortunately, the manager had messed up the install routine; so it wouldn't run. He had given the job to her of calling us up to get the problem resolved
After about 30 seconds of talking, it was clear that the poor lady had not the faintest clue of how to use a computer. I had to explain to her how to use a mouse to move the pointer around the screen; then once she understood that, I asked her to click on the "Start" button. Unfortunately she interpreted this as pressing the power button; she had turned the PC off.
I had already identified the main problem with the software; they hadn't followed instructions and she just needed to delete the empty licence file and then re-licence. But here things got worse; trying to explain over the phone how to navigate through the directory structure was not easy.
It took a further 45 minutes to talk her through finding the file, deleting it, and then I was able to read out a new licence key to her and talk her through entering the code. Total call time just under 1 hour.
After I put the phone down, I had to go outside and stand in the fresh air - I actually had a headache caused by this.
Power supply *has* been integrated at source...
Probably my favourite of quite a number of classics from a year or two of working on a helpdesk when a student:
User: (on phone) My PC won't turn on.
Me: Ok, have you checked that it's plugged in?
User: Yep, it's definitely plugged in - and I checked both ends of the cable.
Me: Hmm... Right then - are you pressing the correct button - the one on the box under the desk?
User: Yes, I've pressed it. I shut my PC down every night so I know which one it is because I have to turn it back on every morning.
Me: Ok, and there are no lights on the box when you press the button?
User: Nope, no lights.
Me: How about the monitor? Any lights there?
User: Nope, none at all.
Me: Ah, this is starting to make sense. Which floor are you on, exactly?
User: The third.
Me: The one with the power cut, then.
user: my computer says "Check Video Cable" what do I do?
Me: Well you can check that your video cable is connected at both ends, but the computer might simply be turned off.
User: how do i check if the computers off?
Me: should be a green light above the power button if its not on the computers off.
user: there is now power button the computer doesn't have one.
Me: *pause* Um yes it does, every computer has one its on the front somewhere. (few different models floating around wasnt sure which one this guy had)
user: no im telling you it doesnt have a power button.
I insist it does. end up walking down to his desk, lift the posted not turn it on and walk out without a word.
Methinks you might want to check on your use of English skills ... Can't fix luser problems if your communications ability is suspect.
Printers confuse me!
I used to be the network manager for a college, and when our technician was absent I covered the support desk in the IT Suite. In those days, we had a Laserjet 4 printer with a 500 sheet tray for the students to print to in the open access area. One student approached asking for paper as the printer had run out. I handed him a wrapped pack of paper and told him that it will all fit in the bottom tray.
He proceeded to put the entire pack of paper, still wrapped, in the tray and wondered why it still said there was no paper
Windows has Crashed!
Our service desk was often inundated with calls that should have gone to Facilities Service Desk. Despite the number being different, and the greeting stating ICT Service Desk. The best of these was when the receptionist rang at once centre. The answerphone message went like this:
Hi, it's Jean at ... centre. The glass in the door that leads out to the childrens play area is broken.
I used to be the Deputy IT Manager at a large manufacturing company, with a typing pool full of young (and some not so young) ladies to type up the notes from our various managers' dictaphones (remember them?) and hand written notes. One young lady, who was rather short and fairly round, was forever complaining that her Wang word processor kept inserting random spaces into her text, but whenever we tested it in our departmental lab, we could never get it to display the fault. One day, in desperation, I went down into the typing pool (at great personal risk) to observe how these spaces were happening. I observed that she was sitting on a wooden chair, and the top of the desk was about three inches below her bust. Every time she leaned over to read the next sentence of the script, her right boob pressed the spacebar, resulting in a string of spaces. Problem solved, nip down to the pattern shop for a set of four three inch cubes of deal and some four inch nails, invert the chair and attach one cube to each leg, and, voila! no more rogue spaces.
Those were the days!
Alternatively, "My Wang keeps shooting blanks."
Help Desk Hell
Several years ago I had a user from a gov't agency call the Help Desk for assistance. Her computer was not working properly. At least she called the right place! Our job was to route the calls to the proper group to help her. I asked for the asset tag number of the computer on her desk. "I don't have a computer on my desk." Okay, is it on the floor under the desk perhaps? "I have NO computer on or under my desk!" She is quite adamant about that. After a few more questions on the location of the computer causing the problem, she blurts out: "As I said, I have NO computer by me, all I have is this AIR CLEANER on my desk!!" The "air cleaner" turned out to be a macintosh cube (remember those?). I asked for the asset tag off the air cleaner so I could assign her ticket.
Help Desk Hell
When I went out in the field as a software support tech at a gov't agency, had a user in the Director's office call frantically stating her mac was typing random numbers all on its own! We had just upgraded to OS X and all I could think was somehow she'd gotten into the Darwin kernel. I spent two hours and could not reproduce the problem. Let her a note to call me when/if if happens again.
I come in next day to her equally frantic message from 9 pm night before. "It's doing it again!!!" I go up to the office, and as soon as I walk in the door, I know the problem. She has a mac laptop plugged into an external monitor, but the laptop is open and she's using that keyboard. HOWEVER, she also has an external keyboard plugged in, and on the FLOOR upside down under her desk!! I sit down, and without touching a thing, tap the keyboard with my shoe. "Is this the problem?" She starts laughing. I unplug the external keyboard.
Help Desk Hell
Again, working in the field doing software support for a gov't agency....
User calls that her scanner is not working. I go to the site and she has both a pc and a mac on her desk. I ask her about the scanner and she says, well, it's not working from my mac.
I look at the set up, and then at her, and cannot help myself. I laugh. The scanner is hooked up to the pc.
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