back to article Fast food, slow user – techie tears hair out over crashed drive-thru till

Welcome once more to On Call, where Reg readers share the tech support moments that really made their eyes roll. This week, meet “Ronald”, who has had a range of in-house and outsourced IT jobs in his career but wrote in to tell us about his work for a famous fast food company. “I worked the night shift dealing with the joys …

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  1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    Ahhh, memories...

    Many's the time I've managed to get an nuisance caller (I mean "user") off the line by getting them to unwittingly unplug their phone. I also had a trick where if I worked out that they were on a mobile, I'd just tap the mute on/off repeatedly so they'd think they had bad reception.

    1. AbelSoul
      Trollface

      Re: Ahhh, memories...

      So, it was you I spoke to earlier....

      1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        Re: Ahhh, memories...

        Thankfully, I've been out of front-line customer support for many years now. :) I have a team doing that for me (and I'm careful not to pass on any of my bad habits).

    2. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Ahhh, memories...

      Whilst we all I'm sure would love to get away with some of the stuff the BOFH does, doing stuff like that gives IT Pros and IT Support in general a bad name. We have to deal professionally with the fools who are a nuisance and shit all over us as well as the people who hardly ever ask us for anything and are grateful for the help. It's the swings and roundabouts of the job we are in.

      1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        Re: Ahhh, memories...

        This was back in the day when the company I worked for suddenly found itself giving free support to a competitor- they'd sell kit, usually by undercutting us, and then hand out our phone number when their customers came looking for technical support- so costing us money. In the end, if I found out that the kit was bought from the competition, I'd just tell the customer that it was faulty and to take it back to where they bought it and get a replacement. This forced the competitor into having to do technical support themselves.

        1. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

          giving free support to a competitor

          In the early 90s my boss was keen on Apricot's latest offerings and recommended them to various folks.

          Apricot in their wisdom (cough) then started advertising them at a lower price than we could get them for, so one potential customer bought direct from them instead.

          The cheeky blighter thought that just because we had recommended them, we should offer free support. We had to explain time and again that if he had bought from us, support would have been included.

          He really should have known better, because he ran his own successful business.

          1. ShadowDragon8685

            Re: giving free support to a competitor

            And how do you think he got to be successful, huh? Clearly it was by doing everything he could to get a deal, the git.

        2. JimboSmith Silver badge

          Re: Ahhh, memories...

          This was back in the day when the company I worked for suddenly found itself giving free support to a competitor- they'd sell kit, usually by undercutting us, and then hand out our phone number when their customers came looking for technical support- so costing us money. In the end, if I found out that the kit was bought from the competition, I'd just tell the customer that it was faulty and to take it back to where they bought it and get a replacement. This forced the competitor into having to do technical support themselves.Worked at a retailer a while ago who sold a range of 3rd party products which were mostly "to order". There were other retailers who sold these products in other areas of the UK often at a discounted price which they weren't supposed to do. So a lady called up and asked the bemused sales assistant for information on her order. The poor sales assistant was unable to find the order on the computer and asked me for help (I knew I should have gone to the pub earlier). I asked the customer if she'd placed the order through this branch or another one with that chain. She hadn't it was with another distributor but she didn't think that was a problem. I said that we couldn't see her order as wouldn't be on our system. She told me I was being difficult and very painful "not what I expected". When I mentioned the data protection act she hissed down the phone that I was just like the last showroom she'd called. We weren't the first victims apparently and after phoning around found out she'd called a few places. The distributor she had ordered from shut at 5pm not 6pm and she couldn't get anything from them. Served her right for going to the cheaper distributor.

      2. Fatman Silver badge

        Re: Ahhh, memories...

        <quote>We have to deal professionally with the fools who are a nuisance and shit all over us...</quote>

        Are you speaking about Manglement?????

      3. GX5000
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Ahhh, memories...

        I really miss TSC...

        The guys that DDOS's it to death should be found and quartered and the site jump started.

        Mind you found http://www.notmymonkies.net/ and http://www.techtales.com/techroom.php and this site.

        As if I have the time to reads them nowadays....

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ahhh, memories...

        We have 4 actual BOFH downvoting you. Seems legit.

      5. ShadowDragon8685

        Re: Ahhh, memories...

        I'm pretty sure the stuff the BofH does gives you a murder beef.

    3. Velv Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Ahhh, memories...

      Online chat boxes.

      “OK, we need to switch to the application behind the chat window, if you press Alt-F4 the application will come to the front.”

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Re: Ahhh, memories...

        I thought Alt-F4 saved your work?

        1. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Ahhh, memories...

          "...I thought Alt-F4 saved your work?.."

          Nah...it activates the aimbot in Halo PC.

          The number of times idiots fell for that. Repeatedly.

    4. phuzz Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Ahhh, memories...

      I've somewhat accidentally made a customer unplug their phone, by asking them to check the cables and connections for their ADSL line, without specifically and repeatedly telling them not to unplug anything.

      Then you ring back and they customer says "I don't know what happened there?", and all I can do is imagine them stood there with a dead phone in one hand, and the unplugged cable in the other, utterly unable to make the link between one and the other.

      All you can do is take a deep breath, go back to being calm and helpful, and make sure you pick up some of the nice booze for when you get home.

      1. macjules Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Ahhh, memories...

        Try government IT support then:

        "You need to have your issued USB dongle to hand, do you have that?"

        "Yes"

        "Can you plug it in please?"

        "Done"

        "Now switch on the computer"

        "Nothing happens"

        "One second, have you plugged the dongle into YOUR computer?"

        "You didn't say that it had to be be my one!"

        1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Ahhh, memories...

          Ah yes Helldesk

          Customer: "My internet isnt working"

          Me: "Ok do you get any error message from your modem or computer when trying to connect"

          Customer: "Erm, let me check..."

          ***Computer trying to dial a number***

          ***Random Computer dialup noises***

          Customer: "Thats odd I get another error message"

          I do not miss 56k calls where the end user hadn't written down or recorded the issue they were having and was so glad when ADSL became mainstream.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Ahhh, memories...

            Not just you Helldesk guys..

            "My internet isnt working" was common when I was supporting colleagues as the IT lead. Except that "My internet isn't working" frequently turned out to mean "My whole fucking computer isn't working". Not being tied to a remote IT desk I quickly learnt that it was quicker to pop up/downstairs to their office than try to resolve issues over the phone. Luckily, though it meant stopping my own work to do it, that usually saved much more time than it wasted - even allowing for all the other diversions and delays on the way.

            Whereas "The email isn't working" did often mean that the internet connection was down. Oh, and sometimes "The computer isn't working" meant that the printer had gone offline when they needed it. I never got to the bottom of that, even standing next to the fully working computer with them, looking at the error message from the printer. And once, when this happened, the user pointed to the error messages on the screen and said "See, it isn't working".

            I assume we've all been through dealing with users who think the monitor is the computer, and the box is just the "hard drive". As in "Is the light on the computer on? "Yes." . When in fact only the monitor is.

            1. Pirate Dave
              Pirate

              Re: Ahhh, memories...

              The one I always loved was the call of "The Internet isn't working", when the actual problem turned out to be that the user had set the browser's startup page to some obscure website Somewhere Out There, and that website was down. Did they bother trying to go to Google or Yahoo or CNN or anywhere else? No. Start browser, get error message, call IT to complain loudly. Lovely.

            2. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: Ahhh, memories...

              > I assume we've all been through dealing with users who think the monitor is the computer, and the box is just the "hard drive"

              Yes, in the context of putting a bag of 10 3.5" HDDs out for electricals recycling and not having them collected. then having $COUNCILWORKER huffily tell me that "10 Hard drives is far too many to put out in your electricals recycling, they don't have room for that on the vehicle"

              1. Danny 14 Silver badge

                Re: Ahhh, memories...

                the 56k modem with another line was a godsend (especially with laplink!). that being said, the ones where the othwr line was in a different room was a nightmare. i remember installing tv card drivers via chinese whispers chain of people

          2. Michael Strorm

            Re: Ahhh, memories...

            > "***Computer trying to dial a number***"

            > "***Random Computer dialup noises***"

            @Captain Scarlet; A *real* geek would have been able to accurately imitate the sound of the modem at the other end and fool the computer into thinking everything had gone well. Though you might have had to drop to 14,400kbps. (I'm a reasonable man and don't expect miracles.)

            You'd also be able to cunningly implement a man-in-the-middle attack, so long as you could work out how to interpret and modify the data in your head. In real time.

            1. 's water music Silver badge

              Re: Ahhh, memories...

              > "***Random Computer dialup noises***"

              @Captain Scarlet; A *real* geek would have been able to accurately imitate the sound of the modem at the other end and fool the computer into thinking everything had gone well

              So I wasn't the only one singing to myself in my head as I read that post.

              Wheeeeeeeeeeee-owwwwwwwwwwwww ... Wheee-owww Wheee-owww ... bzzzt whoossshhshthsthssthhstyshhstshhstshstthwhoossshhshthsthssthhstyshhstshhstshstth

              +++

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Ahhh, memories...

        To be fair, even working in telecomms for a living for a while, I've done that. Absent mindedly. I blame the prevalence of cellular phones for rendering my subconscious incapable of realizing that 'examining the inner workings of the NTE' (which in the UK involves removing the faceplate with the actual socket on it) is going to kill the phone.

        I'm usually too embarrassed to call back

    5. jimbo60

      Re: Ahhh, memories...

      Recalling the "Internet Helpdesk" skit by Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie. Worth a watch if you haven't seen it.

  2. Douchus McBagg

    Re: Ahh, memories...

    have an upvote! i'd forgotten those little classics :)

    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=blackadder+goes+forth+phone+problems&view=detail&mid=63D00818FB024225332463D00818FB0242253324&FORM=VIRE

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Douchus McBagg

      You use BING?!?!?!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @ Douchus McBagg

        Someone has to.

        1. Martin Summers Silver badge

          Re: @ Douchus McBagg

          "Someone has to."

          No they don't! It's like choosing to use Edge.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

            Re: @ Douchus McBagg

            "Sorry, this video is no longer available."

            I blame Bing.

            Correct video located by google:

            https://youtu.be/3JEUChn0Jq8

            1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

              Re: @ Douchus McBagg

              I use Ask Jeeves, still waiting for him to bring me my cup of tea >_<

              1. herman Silver badge

                Re: @ Douchus McBagg

                Eh? Your tea is sitting in the retractable cup holder under your desk...

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

                2. Danny 14 Silver badge

                  Re: @ Douchus McBagg

                  i pushed the credit card in the 3.5" slot. it hasnt taken any payment for my pizza though.

                3. Montreal Sean

                  Re: @ Douchus McBagg

                  I miss laptops with optical drives.

                  I now have to carry a coaster around with me for my tea.

      2. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: @ Douchus McBagg

        You use BING?!?!?!

        You jest (and I'm right with you there) but in all seriousness did you know their by-image search is actually _far_ superior to Google's...? It offers funky features like "select the part of the image you want to search for" instead of using the entire picture as target, while Google not only fails to find almost _any_ results on by-image search for me lately (it's a relatively recent development) but also flat out removed by-image searching completely from the regional page it absolutely insists on redirecting me to, regardless of where I come from - so the only way I can access it these days is typing in the direct URL of the main by-image search page...

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: @ Douchus McBagg

          re: regional redirect ... google.com/ncr ?

  3. wyatt

    We sometimes get people asking if their data will be available for the period of a power cut, hard to get through to them that if it isn't powered on..

    I use to support finger print machines for the police. Quite a few times on nights you'd hear the panic buttons being pressed and the phone getting dropped, a few minutes later an out of breath copper would be very grateful you'd not hung up on them. More of a nuisance customer than user..

  4. groovyf

    Re: Sad times

    "Ronald"... not too hard to guess the drive-thru business!

    1. Martin Summers Silver badge

      Re: Sad times

      Yeah it really didn't help with my craving for a sausage and egg McMuffin this morning.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Sad times

      " not too hard to guess the drive-thru business!"

      And it's clear it's not just members of the advertising staff wearing hugely oversized shoes

    3. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Sad times

      >"Ronald"... not too hard to guess the drive-thru business!

      Burger King?

      1. Martin Summers Silver badge

        Re: Sad times

        No, it's clearly KFC. Ronald McDonald is a big cock.

        1. Evil Scot

          Re: Sad times

          Which reminds me...

          How do you tell the clan of a Scotsman?

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Sad times

            I dont know,

            How do you tell the clan of a Scotsman?

          2. DropBear Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Sad times

            "How do you tell the clan of a Scotsman?"

            No idea, but I would presume rather carefully, depending on how many and how well-armed they are and what exactly you are planning to tell them about said Scotsman...

            1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

              Re: Sad times

              "How do you tell the clan of a Scotsman?"

              Lift his kilt and see if he's a big MacDonald

            2. onefang Silver badge

              Re: Sad times

              "How do you tell the clan of a Scotsman?"

              I'm beginning to wonder if we'll get the answer to that question?

              Personally, I'm half Scottish on my mothers side, so I just asked mum.

            3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

              Re: Sad times

              "How do you tell the clan of a Scotsman?"

              Lift his kilt & count the blue ribbons! =-D

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