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    Higher Education, Not So High Common Sense

    | Florida, USA |

    (This was a few years ago, when I worked for tech support at my college.)

    Me: “***** College tech support, this is *****. How can I help you?”

    Caller: “Yes, I’m having trouble with my e-mail client. I can’t figure out how to set up my account.”

    Me: “No problem, let me walk you through it.”

    (I talk her through the account set up screens. Finally, when we’re done…)

    Me: “All right, click on ‘OK’ and you should be all set.”

    Caller: “What ‘OK’? I don’t see anything that says ‘OK’.”

    Me: “There’s a button to the lower right of the window that says ‘OK’, next to the ‘Cancel’ button.”

    Caller: “I don’t see it.”

    (This exchange goes on for about 5 minutes. I have the program open on my computer and describe the window to make sure she’s in the right spot, and she is. I make sure she’s running the same version, she is.)

    Me: “Ma’am, I have the program open right now, and there should be an ‘OK’ button to the right of a ‘”Cancel’ button…at the bottom right of the screen.”

    Caller: “That’s so strange…I just don’t see one.”

    Me: “Hmm. Well, what building are you in? Maybe I could help you better in person.”

    Caller: “I’m in the–oh, wait! You mean THAT ‘OK’ button?”

    Me: “The one at the bottom right, next to a ‘Cancel’ button?”

    Caller: “Yes!”

    Me: “…yes. Click on that.”

    Caller: “Thank you!”

    (The other IT techs were laughing throughout this whole conversation… then one informed me that the caller was actually head of the college’s financial aid department. I suddenly understood why half of my friends were having problems with their financial aid.)