November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

Category: Technology

The realm of Technical Support is there to provide expert assistance to those who are not so tech-savvy. Although they still expect you to know what a computer is, and how to turn it on, and to know that you can’t ‘fix the internet’ because it isn’t pretty enough. You have been warned…

Rudely Out Of (Con)Text

| MA, USA | Rude & Risque, Technology

(To cater to our deals-obsessive demographics, we have text-messaging promotions where you can receive coupons on the spot. These are used in conjunction to meet our daily quota of pushing certain items such as our own brand garment bags. A 60-year-old man is buying suits and having them altered. I am ringing him up.)

Me: “Would you like to get a garment bag?”

Customer: “How much are they?”

Me: “The retail price is [higher amount], but if you use your phone, you can get it for [lower amount].”

Customer: “Sure thing! Would you help me? I’m not that handy with smartphones.”

(I give him the instructions, and it looks like his texting has reached its limit, so it won’t go through. I explain this to him.)

Me: “I don’t think it’s going to work. It seems like your service plan doesn’t allow it.”

Customer: “But I have [Provider]! Would you help me? I’m 60 years old and my grandchildren are way ahead of me in this area.”

(At this point I see that every text that had been blocked because of the plan’s limits is going straight to his notifications, of which there were thousands. I pull down the notification menu and scroll down. At several points I notice that there are notifications that are titled ‘Download complete: pornvid.mpeg.’ He immediately takes his phone from my hands.)

Me: “Maybe I could try one more time, but it doesn’t seem like it will take.”

Customer: “No, but I would really like the bag!”

(He goes back to his phone and taps on the Internet app instead of the messaging app. His most recent tab was an adult website. He angles the phone away from my eyes.)

Me: “You should hit the Home button.”

(He hits the Home button and then hits the Internet app again, and the same website pops up again. Again, he angles the screen away from my eyes.)

Me: “Now let’s try again…”

(At this point a line has formed. He eventually asks if a manager can help him and in the end is able to get the bag without doing the text message promotion. Later, after I regale the tale to the manager.)

Manager: “I hope he washed his hands before coming here.”

Me: “Thanks for reminding me that I touched his phone…”

666 Error

| Bluffton, SC, USA | Religion, Technology, Theme Of The Month

Customer: “I’d like to return this laptop computer.”

Me: “Okay, do you have your original receipt?”

(The customer produces the receipt.)

Me: “Ma’am, this computer was purchased six months ago. It is outside of our return policy. Is there something wrong with it, that we might be able to fix at [Repair Center]?”

Customer: “My computer is possessed by the devil and I need to return it. Jesus told me I need to return it.”

Me: “…Excuse me?”

Customer: *getting frantic* “I was on my computer during that storm last week and after a loud lightning strike Jesus appeared before me and told me that my computer is possessed by the devil and I needed to return it immediately. Please, you need to take this computer from me. It’s possessed!”

(At this point my coworkers at customer service are starting to stare, along with other customers in line.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but your computer is outside return policy. I can’t take it back. I can have [Repair Center] take a look at it and maybe we can figure out what the problem is—”

Customer: “NO! They can’t fix it; it’s possessed! I need to return it and get it out of my house! I don’t want the devil in my house! PLEASE, you must take it!”

(At this point, the manager and loss prevention person had come over to escort this lady out of the store. As she was being led out, she tried to cast some sort of voodoo spell on the staff. A supposedly Christian lady tried to cast a voodoo curse on us because we wouldn’t return her possessed computer. She left it and never came back for it.)

When Crazy Requests Reach The Stratosphere

| Tulsa, OK, USA | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid, Technology

(I work for a major satellite TV provider providing tech support when this customer calls in:)

Me: “Thank you for calling [TV provider]. My name is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Customer: “Yeah, there’s nothing on my TV!”

Me: “When you say nothing is it a black screen?”

Customer: “No! It says searching for satellite signal. What is that?”

Me: “Oh, that means that for some reason either the dish isn’t picking up the signal from our satellite or else it isn’t getting from the dish to your receiver.”

Customer: “Well, then put a new satellite up there.”

Me: “Sir, I don’t believe that would—”

Customer: “You’re not paid to think, so just put a new satellite up.”

Me: “Sir, am I correct in hearing that you want us to launch a new satellite, knowing that such a process would take several months and cost millions of dollars?”

Customer: “Yes, but we both know it won’t take months. I want it done tonight, and it better not affect my bill.” *hangs up*

The Machines Are Already More Intelligent Than Us

, | Paris, France | Extra Stupid, Money, Technology

(I work at a library’s copy store, a fairly large room within the main branch of the library. At the entrance of our store there are three huge copy-card dispensers – about the size of a cupboard – with a different slot for each way to pay: coins, banknotes, and credit cards. On every wall of our store, several A3-sized posters inform customers that they have buy cards to do their copies.)

Customer: “Excuse me, but I paid and I didn’t get my card.”

Colleague: “Did you pay with credit card, bill, or coins?”

Customer: “Bill.”

(My colleague goes to the card dispenser with the customer.)

Colleague: “I’m truly sorry, sir, but it seems I can’t find your bill.”

Customer: “Oh, that’s because I didn’t put it there.”

(Then he pointed at the coin slot. And indeed, there was a tiny piece of paper sticking out of it: the corner of his banknote, folded in four…)

On A Preaching (Hard) Drive

, | UT, USA | Religion, Technology, Theme Of The Month

(This occurs in northern Utah in a city where the majority religion is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a.: “Mormons”), to which I belong, but this is a big enough city that Christian churches were quite common. A couple approaches me about buying a computer.)

Me: “So, what do you need the computer to do for you?”

Customer: “I need to make some presentations.”

Me: “What kind? Business proposals? Slide shows? Videos?”

Customer: “Well, I’m a preacher, and I need something to make presentations and project them onto the wall for my congregation so they can have some visual aids during my sermons.”

Me: “Got it. Let me show you a few things.”

(We discussed specs, capabilities, accessories, security software, productivity software, and we’re just getting to the service contract options when the conversation takes an abrupt turn.)

Customer: “I just need to be sure it’s going to last a while. I have a small congregation right now, and we don’t have a lot of money. You see, I used to go to [Non-Denominational Christian Church] west of [City], but I didn’t like the pastor there, always lording over the people with what he thought was his authority and power. So I did some studying and started my own church.”

Me: “…I see. And you want to make sure the people coming to worship with you understand the important parts of your sermons.”

Customer: “Yes. PowerPoint will help.”

Me: “I’m sure it could. Now—”

Customer: “Do you have a church?”

Me: “Well, I don’t HAVE a church, but I go to one.”

Customer’s Wife: “Oh, good. It’s always nice to meet another Christian.”

Customer: “What church do you go to?”

(I state my religion and mention which building in town I usually attend services. I’m about to steer him back to the service contract conversation when his whole posture changes. His face turns a little red, his back stiffens, his hands curl as if about to form fists, and his eyes widen.)

Customer: “You’re Mormon! Oh, Heaven help you! I preach the apostolic gospel of Paul as is written in The Bible. I left [Non-Denominational Christian Church] because [Pastor] refused to preach that gospel. Jesus declared that anyone who should preach anything other than the gospel of Paul will be cursed! That’s why I only preach from The Bible, and I only preach the apostolic gospel of Paul. You Mormons don’t even believe in The Bible!”

Me: “Actually, we do, but I try not to discuss my religion at work. Now, would you be interest—”

Customer: “No, you DON’T! You don’t even believe in Jesus! If you don’t give up your wickedness and become Christian and be saved, your soul will be destined for Hell. It is my duty, as a Christian and as a preacher and as a follower of Paul, to save your SOUL!”

Me: “I’m quite happy with my faith, thank you. Now, if you’ll look at this flyer, you’ll see we have a variety of pricing options for the service contracts, if you want to get one, and—”

Customer: “Here! Take my card! Come to my church! Save yourself! Let me save you!”

(His wife clears her throat and interrupts to tell me which service contract they might be interested in but that they need some time to think about the whole purchase. She thanks me for my time and turns to go.)

Customer: “It’s not too late! We meet in my living room every Sunday at 10:00 and every Wednesday at 7:00. Please come! Uh… Do you have a spec sheet for that second model?”

(I send him on his way. I notice a few other customers staring at me and at the two customers as if we are some gory train-wreck spectacle. I turn to the one who has been waiting the longest.)

Me: “Sir, are you here to save souls or to save money on a computer?”