back to article Shopper f-bombed PC shop staff, so they mocked her with too-polite tech tutorial

Welcome yet again to On-Call, The Register’s weekly reader-contributed story of the brutal business that is tech support. This week, meet “Ant” who used to work for a prominent UK PC retailer. Folks who work in such situations dread the days after major holidays because they mean a flood of product returns. One Boxing Day ( …

  1. AndyS

    "She was so vile... She was an arse"

    Good to see nice, succinct character descriptions used so appropriately!

  2. hatti

    PC world

    I never knew you had to take the f*ck!ng CD out of it's f*ck!ng sleeve. I never had a computer before so don't f*ck!ng blame me, those guys at the store were really f*ck!ng helpful but f*ck!ng patronising f*ckers.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: PC world

    Not convinced! Obviously the CD could not have been in a jewel case, but even if you placed a CD still in it's square paper or plastic wrapper into the drawer, would it even close?

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Re: PC world

    She may have used the old engineering method of

    - if it doesn't fit: force it

    - if it can't be forced: use a bigger hammer

  5. Chris King Silver badge

    Re: PC world

    She probably forced the door shut when it didn't slide in.

    I've seen people manage to force CD/DVD drives shut with two discs in the tray, and then wonder why they can still see what's on the first disc.

    Everything fits, given sufficient force - but It probably won't work again afterwards.

  6. macjules Silver badge

    Re: PC world

    Just thank God that CD/DVD drives are on the way out. If you have ever had to wade through the list of user-created problems associated with an ejecting tray ..

    1) FOUR replacements of a computer: the idiot operator BIOS level was too low to understand that it is a tray for a disc, not an ejectable cup holder.

    2) "Can you try ejecting the disc?" "No, it is already out - I use the tray for holding my handbag"

    3) "I pushed the little button just under the CD tray and the computer switched off. Its your fault now,"

    etc., etc., ad nauseam.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: PC world

    "Not convinced! ...even if you placed a CD still in it's square paper or plastic wrapper into the drawer, would it even close?"

    With full height CD drives, yes it certainly would. I've seen it done too.

    And, and this is the paradoxical bit, by a woman who used to work for PC World. I am not making this up.

    Mind you, this woman was a walking disaster area. She also demanded support because her new emails weren't visible (try not sorting in reverse date order) and lost a customer spending several £k a year by suspending their account and blocking a big shipment because they were querying £30 on a bill.

    Needless to say perhaps, she was promoted to sales director shortly before I left the company to become a contractor.

  8. Andrew53

    Re: PC world

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/dullhunk/7214525854

  9. Schultz Silver badge
    Happy

    ...I've seen people manage to force CD/DVD drives shut with two discs in the tray...

    That's nothing. Our DVD player happily played the lower disk in the stack -- so my kids were quire surprised when the mechanism got stuck on disk #3 or #4. I had to seriously disassemble the device before I could unstack those disks.

  10. hatti

    Re: PC world

    It does close with a f*ck!ing hammer

  11. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

    Re: PC world

    I seem to recall having a CD-ROM drive that came with a caddy, so I could certainly see that someone might try and stick a CD in its case into the drive (assuming the caddy was somewhere else of course).

  12. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: PC world

    There was a time, back when dinosaurs roamed the land, when CDROM drives required the CD to be placed in a tray or caddy, before being inserted into the drive:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caddy_(hardware)

    This may have been the issue

  13. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Re: - if it doesn't fit: force it

    - if it breaks, it needed replacing anyway.

  14. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Trollface

    Re: PC world

    "There was a time, back when dinosaurs roamed the land,"

    Are you trying to imply something? Be warned, I may get offended :P

  15. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    Re: PC world

    @Antron Argaiv

    Yeah there was, was used on our school's RM computers for Encarta 95 and other such software.

  16. Cubical Drone

    Re: PC world

    -and if it breaks, you needed a new one anyways.

  17. Piro

    Re: PC world

    It's clearly one of those thin flimsy plastic ones with the fabric backing. It would have required a good shove to force it in.

  18. BobDowling

    Re: PC world

    - and if it breaks: it needed replacing any way.

  19. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Re: PC world

    @Sir Runcible Spoon - Chickens taste like T Rex. The other white meat was Brontosaurus.

  20. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Re: PC world

    "Not convinced! Obviously the CD could not have been in a jewel case, but even if you placed a CD still in it's square paper or plastic wrapper into the drawer, would it even close?"

    Two possibilities come to mind, the first being it was so long ago it was a caddy based CD drive (I still have a SCSI based IBM one somewhere) and second, though unlikely since a manual eject was mentioned, is a trayless CD drive.

  21. fobobob

    Re: PC world

    Seen it done in both CD-ROM drives and 5.25 floppies (in paper sleeve)... I've even managed to shove a few CDs in the 5.25 when not looking, so I'm generally pretty lenient on that sort of cockup.

  22. fobobob

    Re: ...I've seen people manage to force CD/DVD drives shut with two discs in the tray...

    I've had no shortage (really 3 or 4) of CD-ROM drives that would occasionally jam, require a manual eject, and not leave the disk in the tray... in a couple of instances, I assumed it had just gotten stuck, load a second CD, then was surprised when it jammed and shredded the disk... I then disassembled the drive, and found the second disk, also shredded...

  23. PNGuinn Silver badge
    Trollface

    Re: Being offended - @Sir R

    This is elReg, if you don't want to be offended - try PC World.

    How long have you been coming here?

    Don't want to offend, but my bridge is danker than your bridge, so there.

  24. KegRaider
    Thumb Up

    Re: PC world

    1) FOUR replacements of a computer: the idiot operator BIOS level was too low to understand that it is a tray for a disc, not an ejectable cup holder.

    Cup holder?! Rubbish! It works fine as a cup holder. It's only when you use it as a step ladder than the bloody cheap plastic drawers let go!

  25. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Re: PC world

    "There was a time, back when dinosaurs roamed the land, when CDROM drives required the CD to be placed in a tray or caddy, before being inserted into the drive:"

    We arrived at a customer site to install some systems only to find that the customer had already unpacked them.

    All the caddies which came with the systems had "walked", leaving us without the means to run hardware diagnostics or install any software.

  26. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
    Happy

    Re: PC world

    Encarta! A whole encyclopedia, genericised of course by a uritanical American company for the international English market to remove all the boring, rude and communist bits!

  27. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

    Re: ...I've seen people manage to force CD/DVD drives shut with two discs in the tray...

    I once had a the joy of hearing a CD spin up and I kid you not, explode inside the drive! A load bang and when I pulled the drive from the case it sounded like Royal Mail delivering a parcel containing an expensive china vase. Needless to say the CD and drive were toast as there were bit of CD disc and thin silver coating material scattered to the four corners of the drive's internals.

  28. John Presland

    Re: PC world

    "its" not "it's"

  29. Marshalltown

    Re: PC world

    You left out, "that cup holder too cheap. It broke when I out my mug in it." No joke. I took the call myself. My first bewildered response was "cup holder?" Since we were an ISP and only sold internet connection, the hardware calls were particularly aggravating. But our boss was sure that we would get more business by helping the folks that had gone to some local assemble it while you wait shop.

  30. This post has been deleted by its author

  31. Bitbeisser

    Re: PC world

    [b]Not convinced! Obviously the CD could not have been in a jewel case, but even if you placed a CD still in it's square paper or plastic wrapper into the drawer, would it even close?[/b]

    Absolutely! I have had this very same thing happening with a customer in our shop. Cardboard sleeve or jewel case, that would be a tough one, but those thin paper sleeves, on anything but a slimline notebook drive, where you have to press the CD/DVD onto the drive ring, no problem. And even then, there are clients who manage to put a CD/DVD in a drive "shiny side up", which also results in them complaining "that drive doesn't work"...

  32. BlackKnight(markb)

    Re: PC world

    seriously, never ever underestimate users.

  33. Ruisert

    Re: PC world

    In school my chem teacher had a list of Murphy's Laws and other such - I believe it was Zumwalt's Corollary (iirc) that stuck with me most: If it doesn't fit, force it. If it breaks - it needed replacing anyway.

  34. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Happy

    Re: Being offended - @PNGuinn

    You can offend me all you like (or you can try) because as you can probably tell I've been around these parts a while now and have fairly tough (dinosaur-like) skin, apparently :P

    I'm also happy to hear that your bridge is danker than mine, and that was certainly the last thing I expected to be typing today when I awoke this fine crispy morn.!

  35. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    Re: PC world

    if you placed a CD still in it's square paper or plastic wrapper into the drawer, would it even close

    Anything will close if you hit it hard enough (for a somewhat unfunctioning version of "close")

  36. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    Re: PC world

    uritanical

    Sounds... biological.

  37. Jelder

    Re: PC world

    I think you will find that it's 'never overestimate users'

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The customer is always right....

    ...unless they are loud-mouthed fucking idiots.

  39. jake Silver badge

    Re: The customer is always right....

    Firing customers who are a more of a pain in the ass than they are worth is one of the truly great joys of being self employed.

    About three times per year, or thereabouts, I quite literally use the phrase "you're fired" to a client of mine, or of the wife[0]. Frankly, I quite enjoy it. The look on their face when they realize I am dead serious is priceless.

    [0] She's a softy, so I draw this detail by default.

  40. Andy Taylor

    Re: The customer is always right....

    At the fruit store, ex employees who were let go are often referred to as "promoted to customer".

  41. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Coat

    Re: The customer is always right....

    "About three times per year, or thereabouts, I quite literally use the phrase "you're fired" to a client of mine, or of the wife[0]"

    I've tried using that line on my wife, but I always back down when she starts talking about severance pay!

  42. Chris King Silver badge

    Re: The customer is always right....

    "I've tried using that line on my wife, but I always back down when she starts talking about severance pay!"

    Start worrying when she starts talking about severing other things !

  43. psychonaut

    Re: The customer is always right....

    "Firing customers who are a more of a pain in the ass than they are worth is one of the truly great joys of being self employed"

    oooh yes. i haven't used the "you're fired" line yet but i look forward to deploying it in future

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The customer is always right....

    re jake's "you're fired" to clients.

    Thanks for this! You've given me the perfect line to use with a certain client of mine right now. I'll just have to get it past my lawyer...

    AC for obvious reasons!

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: The customer is always right....

    "I've tried using that line on my wife, but I always back down when she starts talking about severance pay!"

    Animal husbandry at work there, methinks.

  46. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Re: The customer is always right....

    I usually end my firing-a-customer email with 'please do not contact us again about this or any other matter' or 'there is no need to contact us ever again'.

  47. TRT Silver badge

    Re: Promoted to customer...

    That's chilling. Seriously bone chilling.

    That's the ultimate corporate take on an integration of Human Resources and Customer Service. "The customer is the most valued item in the shop, and all negatives are turned into positives through the use of inspirational language".

  48. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: The customer is always right....

    yes but you have to admire the STUNNING BRILLIANCE of the staff in their treatment of said "always right" customer, with pure respect, apparently also with smiles and no obvious condescension.

    Truly, it's a LOT funnier this way!

    An IRL example of the same *kind* of performance exhibited by the support guru in that old 'Internet Help Desk' video. "Well, that's entirely my fault" over the phone, while simultaneously displaying his middle finger...

  49. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Holmes

    The worst customers...

    Are always the ones starting with : "Do you know who I am ?"...

    (And no, giving a funny answer to that question won't make the situation any better...)

  50. wolfetone Silver badge

    Re: The worst customers...

    Friend of mine used to work at a Blockbusters frequented by Karen Brady (of "The Apprentice" fame, as well as famously being on the board for Birmingham City and now West Ham FC). She pulled that once as she jumped a queue, to which he replied "Yes I know who you are, but I'm a Villa fan so you can wait your turn."

    She did not like that.

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