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    It’s Gonna Be A Long Call, Part 5

    | Louisiana, USA |

    (I work as a tech support agent at a university. I receive a call from a woman working in another office, asking if she can direct a student to me to assist with setting up his email account. A minute later, I receive a call from a young man.)

    Me: “[University] Computing Call Center.”

    Caller: “Hi, I’m trying to get my password.”

    Me: “Yes, sir. Did someone just call me about you?”

    Caller, to people in his office: “Did somebody just call about me?”

    Caller, to me: “Yes.”

    Me: “Alright, sir, in order to determine your username and password, you’ll need to be in front of a computer. Are you at a computer now?”

    Caller, to people in his office: “Am I at a computer?”

    Related:
    It’s Gonna Be A Long Call, Part 4
    It’s Gonna Be A Long Call, Part 3
    It’s Gonna Be A Long Call, Part 2
    It’s Gonna Be A Long Call

    What She Needs Is A Skynet

    | Flagstaff, AZ, USA |

    Customer: “Hello, I have a problem. My computer doesn’t do anything.”

    Me: “You mean that it doesn’t turn on?”

    Customer: “It turns on just fine, but then it doesn’t do anything after that.

    Me: “So you mean that after turning on, you simply get a blank creen?”

    Customer: “No, it shows the manufacturer’s logo for a moment, then it says ‘loading’.”

    Me: “And it just gets stuck there, then?”

    Customer: “No. After that there’s a picture of a green field and a blue sky.”

    Me: “Well, that’s the default desktop. That all sounds right.”

    Customer: “But it doesn’t do anything! I’ve left it for hours and hours and nothing will happen once it gets there!”

    Me: “So even if you click on an icon or a button or try to move the mouse, there’s no response? Could you try to be a little more specific about the problem?”

    Customer: “Mouse? Icons? Why would I try to click on anything?! My friend told me this thing could do my taxes and my homework but it just sits there all day and doesn’t do anything!”

    Do Not Pass Go

    | Haarlem, The Netherlands |

    (My company provides web-design and hosting. A new customer, who’s just been sent his e-mail settings and password to his private account, calls.)

    Customer: “I followed the instructions on setting up my e-mail, but my mail client keeps giving an error.”

    Me: “Okay, what’s the error?”

    Customer: “It says ‘error logging into remote server’.”

    Me: “Right. You’re sure you entered the correct credentials from the mail we sent you?”

    (The customer affirms that, so I logon to the mail server to examine the logs.)

    Me: “Okay, I’m looking at the logs right now. Can you try to login again, so I can see what the exact error message is the server is giving?”

    (Over the next ten minutes or so I try a few other things.)

    Me: “I’m sorry sir, I’m running out of options. Just to be sure, could you literally copy and paste your password into the password field? Every so often people mistake a zero for an ‘O’ or such.”

    Customer: “That’s not necessary. I always use the same password for all my email-accounts. I think I know it pretty well.” *chuckles confidently*

    Me: “Sir, how would we know your preferred password? You’ll need to enter the one in the account mail we sent you.”

    Customer: “Ah, I had been wondering what that funny word was.”

    Attempting Mouse To Mouse Resuscitation

    | USA |

    Customer: “I plugged a mouse into my computer, and it died. Now I can’t get it out.”

    (We review for a few minutes and I deduce that he has plugged a mouse into his USB port, but it’s stuck inside and won’t work.)

    Me: “Okay, so grab the cord and try to pull on that.”

    Customer: “You mean the tail? That’s already in the port.”

    Me: “Well, the cord shouldn’t be. You’re supposed to plug in the other end.”

    Customer: “You mean the head? I don’t think it would fit.”

    (Suddenly realizing what the customer has done.)

    Me: “Did you plug in a live mouse to your computer?”

    Customer: “Yes, I believe I said that.”

    (I put customer on hold for several minutes. When I recover I realize I don’t know what to tell the customer I call my supervisor who instructs the customer to bring the laptop into a repair shop. I get the customer back on and tell him this information.)

    Customer: “But Mickey’s gone for good now, right?”

    In Need Of A Better Outlook

    | Riverside, CA, USA |

    Customer: “I’m having issues with my Outlook.”

    Me: “Show me the problem you’re having so I can see if I can fix it for you.”

    (She has six passwords each over twenty characters long, Bios password, Windows password, Zone Alarm Password, Outlook Password, etc…)

    Me: “You don’t need to have your passwords that long for security’s sake.”

    Customer: “I read on the internet that sniffers give up if the password is too long.”

    Me: “I’m happy you did your research, but you don’t have to have it longer then 15 characters long.”

    Customer: “Well I’m afraid if someone steals my laptop, the programs that can recover passwords can’t detect past twenty letters.”

    Me: “That’s true, but no one really does that anymore. In this business we have customers coming in all the time to have us remove the password for them because they forgot it. For instance, I can get into your laptop in less then 2 – 3 minutes without your help.”

    Customer: “No way. I’ve made precautions.”

    Me: “I will be more then happy to show you that I can. But I would have to charge you a half hour fee and you would have to sign the work order giving me permission to.”

    Customer: “And if you can’t? ”

    Me: “Then I will be more then happy to refund you the money and you would have won this war.”

    (Customer then pays the fee and signs the work order.)

    Me: “Give me a moment.”

    (A minute later.)

    Me: “Here you go, I’m logged in to your Outlook.”

    Customer: “Oh my God! How did you do that?”

    Me: “If your really worried about someone stealing your laptop, you shouldn’t have laminated your passwords to the laptop.”

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