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    Not A Creature Was Stirring, Not Even A Mouse

    | Boston, MA, USA |

    Me: “Hello, [computer company] support. How may I help you?”

    Customer: “My son just bought me a computer today. He showed me how to use things like internet. But now I can’t close the window. When I click the close button, it directs me to a search page.”

    Me: “Are you sure you’re clicking the close button?”

    Customer: “Yes, I am. I’m putting the mouse on the top left corner of the mouse pad, in the same place where the close button on the window is. I’m clicking the mouse, and the search page pops up.”

    Me: “Ma’am, you actually need to drag the mouse on the mouse pad until it’s over the close button. Then you click the mouse.”

    (There are five seconds of extremely loud clicking, followed by a frustrated grunt.)

    Customer: “It still isn’t working.”

    Me: “Okay. There are other ways to close the window. Try pressing alt and F4.”

    Customer: “Oh, that sounds far to complicated. I’ll just get my son on the next flight from Arizona to come fix it.”

    Not Remotely Intelligent, Part 5

    | Ontario, Canada |

    (A caller is saying that her cable isn’t working. I determine that her TV simply is not switched on.)

    Me: “Okay. I just need you to press the power button on your remote, and your TV will work.”

    Customer: “I can’t find the remote! Make it work!”

    Me: “Don’t worry. Just press the power button on your TV for me.”

    Customer: “I don’t have a power button on my TV!”

    Me: “Okay. Can you do me a favor and read out the buttons you see on your TV?”

    Customer: “The first one says ‘pooer’.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

    Customer: “Pooer.”

    Me: “Can you spell that for me, please?”

    Customer: “P-O-W-E-R.”

    Me: “Great, that’s your power button.”

    Customer: “No, it says ‘pooer’.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I assure you that’s your power button. Please just press it.”

    Customer: “Well, they must have misspelled it.”

    Related:
    Not Remotely Intelligent, Part 4
    Not Remotely Intelligent, Part 3
    Not Remotely Intelligent, Part 2
    Not Remotely Intelligent

    Bad Data, Good Outcome

    | Seattle, WA, USA | Top

    Client: “My printer keeps printing junk.”

    Me: “You have to turn off the computer and the printer, then turn on the computer first.”

    Client: “Okay.”

    *pause*

    Client: “It’s still wrong.”

    Me: “Did you restart the computer first?”

    Client: “No.”

    Me: “Why not?”

    Client: “The computer is too far away. It saves time if I just turn the printer off and on.”

    Me: “That won’t fix the problem.”

    Client: “I don’t see why not. I don’t have time to go back and forth.”

    (We go through the procedure several times, with the client short cutting the directions each time.)

    Me: “Okay, I think I know what to do. There is bad data in your cable.”

    Client: “Oh. How do I get it out?”

    Me: “First, turn everything off. Then disconnect the cable.”

    Client: “Okay.”

    Me: “Lay the cable out in the hall. Then pick up one end and shake the cable two or three times. Shake it very hard.”

    Client: “Just a minute.”

    (Time passes with strange noises coming through the phone. The client comes back on out of breath.)

    Client: “OK, I did it.”

    Me: “Good. Now reconnect the cable to the printer and then connect it to the computer. Then turn everything on.”

    Client: “That did it! Thanks!”

    (About a year later, one of our trainers called to tell a funny story about the client who insisted on shaking the cable whenever the printer messed up. She said it was, ‘To get rid of the bad data’. I kept my mouth shut.)

    Not Remotely Intelligent, Part 4

    | USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I am working remote control to reinstall and configure a laptop. The customer asks if I am going to install a printer.)

    Me: “Ma’am, what kind of printer is it?”

    Customer: “It’s a [printer model].”

    Me: “Let me look in the driver folder. Ah yes, here it is. I will start up the install program.”

    (The program is running, the drivers are being installed. The program now changes screen with the message, ‘PLEASE PLUG IN THE PRINTER AND POWER IT UP’.)

    Me: “Please plug in the printer and turn it on.”

    Customer: “Do you send the printer over remote control?”

    Related:
    Not Remotely Intelligent, Part 3
    Not Remotely Intelligent, Part 2
    Not Remotely Intelligent

    Getting To The Out Source Of The Matter

    | Tempe, AZ, USA | Language & Words, Technology

    Me: “Hello, you have reached [business name]. This is [name]. How can I help you?”

    Caller: “Oh, thank God! I was just talking to some mush mouth who couldn’t speak English right at all. You shouldn’t outsource; do your employers outsource? People can’t understand you when you outsource.”

    Me: “Well, I am sorry for that. How can I help you?”

    Caller: “I want my password. That mush mouth changed it, and now I can’t log in.”

    Me: “I am sorry, ma’am. May I have your ID and what you want your password to be?”

    Caller: “Just change it back to what it was.”

    Me: “Well, I apologize, but I can not do that. For security reasons we can not see a password, only set it to something else. I can set it to a default or anything you request.”

    Caller: “Well, I am requesting the old password. Just fix it.”

    Me: “I am sorry, ma’am, but it’s impossible for me to know.”

    Caller: “Well, my internet knows. It tries to use the password. Just take it from that.”

    Me: “I can not take a password from your browser. If your login was working, why did you call to change your password?”

    Caller: “The news told me people can take that information and steal all your files, so I was worried.”

    Me: “Ma’am, your information is safe, I assure you.”

    Caller: “Then why can’t you just change my password back to ‘Password’?”

    Me: “Your old password was ‘Password’?”

    Caller: “Yes.”

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