October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

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…

Morons In Disguise

| NY, USA | Extra Stupid, Language & Words, Technology

(I work for a large cable TV company’s call center. I get a call and my customer mentions having problems with the image looking pixelated. This company gives customers a cable box to get their channels; this is the troubleshooting target.)

Me: “Okay, I’ll be sending a signal to the box and it’ll reboot. It is possible that you see some blue screens while it does that. This completely normal.”

Customer: “Okay.”

(This cable boxes usually take 2 to 7 minutes to reboot. 12 minutes after…)

Customer: “Okay, the screen went black now. Looks like it’ll restart again.”

Me: “That won’t happen; the box is looking fine from my end. Can you please turn it on and check on the channels you had issues with?”

Customer: “I don’t know. It looks very weird…”

Me: “Does the channel look weird?”

Customer: “No, the box! It has some strange symbols on it.”

Me: “Can you describe those to me?”

Customer: “They look like alien symbols, Transformers, like! You know? Their way of writing stuff?”

(At this point of the evening, on a Saturday, after this long call and three energy drinks, I take a look outside the window to check I’m still on planet Earth.)

Me: “That’s very strange. The box is only supposed to show the time. Can you check all cables in the back of the box are not loose?”

Customer: “They’re tight! What’s going on?! What did you do?! I need my TV! Fix this NOW!”

Me: “Can you turn on the box, from the button panel in the front of it, please? It’s the last button to the right.”

Customer: “I pressed the button and nothing happened. The first symbol just changed and looks like a ‘G,’ but weird looking. You have to get this fixed!”

(Another eight minutes go by trying and trying to get the box to turn on, assuming the display screen is damaged.)


Me: “I’m really sorry about this, is the first time I’ve seen someth—” *brief pause*

Customer: “HELLO!?”

Me: “Can you please press the first button to the left?”

Customer: “It worked! It’s on! The TV’s back! What the h*** happened?!”

Me: “Your box was upside down.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Hello?”

Customer: *click*

(I think Megatron abducted her…)

Not The Most Connected Of Families

| KY, USA | Bizarre, Family & Kids, Technology

(I work at a popular video game store inside of a mall. One evening I greet a boy around the age of 15. Not much time passes before I notice he’s been browsing the XBox Live cards and seems very lost.)

Me: “Hey, did you have any questions?”

Boy: “I just got an XBox 360, and my buddy said I need a live membership. What’s that?”

(I go through the explanation of how XBox Live works, how it gets you free games and everything, etc.)

Boy: “Okay. But then, how do I get it in my system?”

Me: “Well, the cards here come with a code. On your 360, you just go into the store while logged in on your account, and there should be an area to redeem the code on the back. That’ll get it attached to your account! It’s really easy.”

Boy: *seems suspicious* “So then… I guess… they mail it to me?”

Me: “Oh, no! You just enter the code that comes with the card onto your 360, and it goes on there… I may not be explaining this right, sorry. But there are detailed instructions on the card!”

Boy: “…so then, after I put it on my system, they mail it to me?!”

Me: “Ah, nope… It’s all digital.”

Boy: “But then where do the free games come from?”

Me: “They’re digital as well! You download them. It’s easy, and it pretty much explains itself as you do it.”

Boy: “And then if I download them they mail me something?”

Me: “Oh, nope, you don’t get anything in the mail.”

Boy: “But then how do I get it?”

Me: “You… download it?”

Boy: “But then what will they mail me?”

Me: “Nothing? Anything you need you download right to your XBox 360. Like, through the Internet.”

Boy: “Oh. Okay.”

Me: “Yup.”

Boy: “So I just enter that code, and then download it?”

Me: “Yeah!”

Boy: “Through the mail.”

Me: “No, nothing comes in the mail; it’s through the Internet.”

Boy: “But then what do I download through the mail?”

Me: “… nothing comes through the mail.”

Boy: “How do you make it come through?”

Me: “The Internet.”

Boy: “I can get Internet on my XBox?! I set up the wifi for Netflix, but I didn’t know it got actual Internet.”

Me: “Yeah, it’s crazy what you can do in 2014.”

Boy: “Can you explain this to my dad? He knows nothing about this stuff. Hey, dad, come here, this girl figured out that I have Internet on my XBox!”

(A man, maybe in his 40s, dressed all in camo with hunting boots and looking very scary comes up.)

Boy: “She just told me how to download things from the Internet for my XBox without mailing them.”

Man: “I don’t know how your mom will feel about that.”

(I had to repeat the entire conversation with the boy to his father and basically explain every technological advance related to Internet use. I kept looking for signs they were messing with me, but these people were just… Well… I drank a lot after that shift.)

Only Generating Contempt

| UK | Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid, Technology

(I work for an IT company that provides 24 hour support for several big buildings. As you can imagine it gets very quiet at night with a lot of down time. The only problem is that the calls come from customers who, putting it kindly, don’t have social skills. I received a call around three am.)

Me: “Welcome to [Company] support desk. You are speaking to [My Name]. How can I help you this morning?”

Customer: “Hi, this is [Location]. None of our computers are working, our servers are all down, and our phone lines. Everything is down and we need it back up and running in the next ten minutes or I will be forced to have you fired.”

Me: *concerned and shocked* “How many computers are affected and how many phones are affected?”

Customer: “ALL OF THEM. About fifty computers and the same amount of phones are not working. You have nine and a half minutes to get it working.”

Me: *now disinterested* “How many people are working in the building right now?”

Customer: “There is me, two security guards, and a couple of men replacing the generators. That’s nine minutes.”

Me: “Sir, silly question but I have to ask this but has the power been turned off to the building by the engineers working on site?”

(The customer started breathing heavily down the phone, leaving the building and walking outside. I could hear the customer start shouting to the engineer to turn on the power while using a curse word every chance he could. I could hear in the distance the workmen stop what they were doing, obvious not liking being called offensive names, and start chasing after the man down the street. The man while out of breath asked for me to call the cops as his life was in danger. I hung up and went back to sleep.)

Your Connection Is Totally Forked

| Norway | Extra Stupid, Health & Body, Technology

(I work at a call center for an Internet provider. This winter we have particularly bad weather. There has just been a huge thunderstorm over the west side of the country, frying both slams and modems all over. The call center is overloaded due to all the calls, and every time I get a new call I know the caller will spend the first 10 minutes complaining about the wait… which only makes the wait for other customers longer.)

Me: “Welcome to [Internet Provider]. Thank you for calling. My name is [My Name]. How may I help you today?”

Caller: *eerily cheery* “Oh, you sound nice! I’m so glad you decided to talk to me!”

Me: *not sure if this person is being sarcastic or not* “Um… Thanks? What can I do for you?”

Caller: *all of a sudden sounds very normal* “Oh, yeah. I kinda have a problem. You see, there is something wrong with my line. You know, into the house. And I’ve kinda fixed it myself, but now with all these storms, I’m not sure it will be good enough. So if there is any chance you could get a tech out and fix it before the next storm hits, that would be very much appreciated.”

Me: *happy this has turned into such a normal and nice call* “Sure! I’ll put in an order for a tech right now! But, just for the record, please note that we do not encourage people to fix their own lines… It could be quite a fire hazard.”

(I go ahead and get the usual info. Address, when the person is available, type of line etc. Everything seems normal.)

Me: “Okay, so just one more question. Do you know what caused damage to the line?”

Caller: “Well, it happened in another storm. In 1645!”

Me: “Excuse me?!”

Caller: “Yes! The big storm of 1645! It came loose from the connection point in my house because of the wind! And lightning! But I fixed it! With a fork!”

Me: “You… fixed it. With… a fork.”

Caller: *excited* “YES! But the fork is rusty now. It would be nice if you fixed it!”

Me: *defeated* “Sure. Why not.”

(I make a note of the whole stupid story in the tech’s order, send it on it’s way, and think no more of it. Two days later, a tech calls in and asks to talk to me. I get the call transferred.)

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name]. You wanted to talk to me?”

Tech: *super excited* “THERE REALLY WAS A FORK!”

The Request Is Not Relative To The Situation

| UK | Crazy Requests, Technology

(I work in the admissions office.)

Caller: “Can you email me to confirm that I’ve paid the deposit?”

Me: “No problem. I’ll do it as soon as I get off the phone.”

Caller: “It’s very urgent…”

Me: “Okay, just give me a second… Right, I just wrote you an email and I’m sending it now.”

Caller: “Can I get it sooner? I don’t have much time.”

Me: “Sooner than now?”

Caller: “Yes, please.”

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