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    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…

    The Final Word On Passwords

    | OH, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I work in an internal technical support where we have just recently change password systems that have strict requirements for new passwords. A customer is having trouble with creating a new password. It should be noted that this customer speaks perfect English.)

    Customer: “It won’t accept any of the new passwords I make up.”

    Me: “Well. keep in mind that the passwords have to be at least eight characters long, and have letters and numbers.”

    Customer: “What does that mean?”

    Me: “It means that you have to have letters and number and all of the letters and numbers add up to eight. Like four letters and four numbers. Or six letters and two numbers. It can be more than eight characters too, so anything that adds up to eight or more.”

    Customer: “No one can come up with that many letters… This is too hard.”

    Me: “Um… Some people like to pick a word and then put some numbers at the end of the word. So long as you don’t use the word ‘password’ it will accept it.”

    Customer: “A word? Like what? What words? Can’t you just make one up for me?”

    Me: *feeling very uncomfortable and frustrated now but still wanting to help* “Well, what’s your favorite color?”

    Customer: “Green! I love green.”

    Me: “Okay… So, make your password ‘green’ and then add the year you were born to the end.”

    Customer: “But… green isn’t a word.”

    Me: “Wait… What?”

    Customer: “You said pick a word.”

    Me: “… Just type in ‘greenXXXX.”

    Customer: “Oh that worked! Thank you! But you should be more clear with your directions next time.”

    Me: “Yes, I’ll do that. I’m sorry for the confusion.”

    A Truly Confusing Exchange

    | USA | Extra Stupid, Money, Technology, Tourists/Travel

    (I have a customer who is getting ready to travel out of the country. I often have people ask about using cash, travelers checks, and credit cards while abroad.)

    Me: “… Another option that is available to you is using ATMs to get cash out once you are where you are going. That way you aren’t walking around and traveling with a large sum of cash.”

    Customer: “Yeah, I can get some money and exchange it at a bank there.”

    Me: “No, you can just get the money from the ATM directly without having to

    exchange it.”

    Customer: “But the money I get from the ATM is US dollar.”

    Me: “No, the ATM dispenses the local currency.”

    Customer: “Why can’t I get money from an ATM when I’m out of the country?”

    Me: “You can. It will just be in the local currency.”

    Customer: “This is unacceptable! Why can’t I get US money from an ATM?!”

    Me: “Because the ATM is not in the US. The same reason our ATM out front does not dispense any money other than US currency.”

    Customer: “I just can’t understand why I can’t get my money when I’m traveling!”

    Making A Mute Point

    | IL, USA | Bigotry, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I am at visiting a game store that I go to quite often, to the point that most of the employees consider me a “regular”. Due to a throat injury I received when I was younger, I am mute. I’m there to see if they have a copy of a game that had, at the time, just come out. There are only two employees working at the time; both are behind the counter as I walk in. Any ‘dialog’ of mine for this story is actually just me scribbling into a notepad and showing it to whoever I am speaking to, as it’s my main method of communicating.)

    Employee #2: “Hey, [My Name], are you looking for something?”

    Me: “Yeah. I was hoping you had a copy of [Game], since I wasn’t able to reserve a copy.”

    Employee #1: “Yeah, we have a few. I’ll show you where they are.”

    (He shows me to where they are, and leaves me to do some extra browsing. He returns to the register, where his coworker is, when another customer approaches them. He appears to be in his late-teens/early 20s.)

    Customer: “Hey, you really shouldn’t encourage her like that.”

    (The customer gestures to me, and isn’t even being subtle about it.)

    Employee #2: “I’m sorry, sir, but I have no clue what you mean.”

    Customer: “That girl over there! If you treat her like a normal person, she might get the wrong idea!”

    Employee #1: “With all due respect, what are you even talking about?”

    Customer: “Don’t play dumb! She’s clearly retarded! Won’t it look bad for business if you let a [slur] wander around? And besides, she’s a girl! She probably doesn’t even play video games!”

    (Unfortunately, people assuming I am either deaf or mentally handicapped because of my inability to speak is a common occurrence. I’ve gotten used to it, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying. Still, I do my best to ignore it. The assumption that I don’t play video games because I’m a girl isn’t as common, but it does come up once in a while.)

    Employee #2: “Please forgive me, sir, but I’m going to have to ask that you not speak about her that way. Not only is she a regular customer, but she’s definitely NOT mentally handicapped. She just can’t speak because of—”

    Customer: “Right! Because she’s retarded! I don’t think it’s safe to let her wander around the store. What if she ends up making someone else retarded?!”

    (All three of us are completely dumbfounded. As mentioned before, I’m used to these sorts of assumptions, but this was a new one.)

    Customer: “So are you going to kick her out or not? People like her don’t deserve to be in here!”

    Employee #1: *visibly angry, and doing his best to keep his cool* “No, we’re not. However, if you don’t stop insulting out customers, we are going to have to ask YOU to leave!”

    Customer: “What the h***, man?! I’m just looking out for your best interest! If you wanna treat that [slur] like she’s a person, that’s your business, but don’t come running to me if it hurts your business!”

    Employee #1: “Okay, that’s it. We tried being civil. Please leave and don’t come back.”

    (The customer is clearly pissed off, but before he can say or do anything, I walk over and slip a note into his hands. He instinctively reads the note.)

    Me: “By the way, you can call me retarded all you want, but at least I’m not the one with their fly unzipped.”

    (He looked down and confirmed that his fly was, indeed, unzipped. His face turned a shade of red, and he then stormed off in what I could only assume was a combination of rage and embarrassment. We still laugh about it to this day!)

    The Color Of Death

    | Canton, OH, USA | Funny Names, Technology

    (A customer comes in looking for a new ink cartridge for his printer.)

    Customer: “Yeah, I was wondering if you could help me find ink?”

    Me: “Sure! Do you know the brand, number, and color you need?”

    Customer: “Yeah, it’s [Brand] number eight cyanide!”

    Me: *pauses for a few seconds, not sure if he’s joking* “Um, yeah. It’s right over here.” *give him the cyan ink*

    Customer: “Great, thanks so much for your help!”

    (I don’t have the heart to correct him as he continues on his merry way!)

    Error: Tuition Not Found

    | NY, USA | Extra Stupid, School, Technology

    (I’m in grad school. I work part-time at the university IT desk.)

    Me: “This is [University] service desk. How can I help you?”

    Caller: “Hi. I’m having a problem with my computer. Could I schedule a time to come in?”

    Me: “Sure thing. What’s your student ID number?”

    Caller: “I don’t have one.”

    Me: “You can find it on the back of your student ID.”

    Caller: “I don’t have an ID.”

    Me: “If you don’t have one of those yet, you can get it from the ID office in [Building]. Do you have any documents from [University]? Almost all documents you’d get from us have your ID at the top.”

    Caller: “No. I’m not a student.”

    Me: “Are you a faculty member, or an alumnus?”

    Caller: “No. I’ve never been to [University]. I just heard you have tech support.”

    Me: “Okay… I’m afraid we only offer support to students and faculty. I have the number of a local repair shop if you need it.”

    Caller: “Will they charge me money?”

    Me: “Probably.”

    Caller: “But you offer your services for free.”

    Me: “… TO STUDENTS. This is a help desk for students of [University] ONLY. We don’t offer support to the general public.”

    Caller: “Why not?”

    Me: “Because we’re not a computer repair shop. We’re a part of [University] and we exist solely to offer tech support to students and faculty. I’m afraid we can’t help you if you’re neither. Would you like that phone number now?”

    Caller: “I don’t understand why you won’t just let me bring in my computer! It would only take a minute.”

    Me: “We can’t service your computer because you’re not a student.”

    Caller: “That’s so mean! What’s so special about being a student?”

    Me: “Tuition?”