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    Clean Out Of Common Sense

    | WY, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (A caller is complaining that there is something wrong with her computer when she tries to access the internet. I run through the usual diagnostics, but nothing seems to help. I have already been put on probation for letting my calls go over seven minutes, and I am eager to get this call completed.)

    Me: “Ma’am, before we proceed, I’m going to need you to defrag your computer and when it’s completed, call us back to finish the procedure.”

    Customer: “What does ‘derag’ mean?”

    Me: It’s a maintenance task that’s basically cleaning up your computer. I can walk you—”

    Customer: “Okay, thanks!” *hangs up*

    (I assume we’ve been disconnected, so I call the customer back to finish the call.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, we seemed to have been cut off—”

    Customer: “Oh don’t worry about it! You’ve been most helpful.”

    Me: “I thought I should call you back and walk you through defragging your hard drive.”

    Customer: “That’s very kind of you, but I already started to…” *giggles* “…defrag my computer!”

    Me: “Okay. In that case, when the computer is finished, call us back and we can see if that did the trick. It should take a few hours at least—”

    Customer: “Oh, it won’t take THAT long. The rinse cycle should be done in a half hour.”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Customer: “My dishwasher has an efficiency setting. Though I admit, it was difficult getting the computer in there.”

    Me: “You put your computer in the DISHWASHER?”

    Customer: “Well, it was too big to put in the sink.”

    (At this point, I had no idea what to do. I told the customer that I would document the conversation in our logs, and she could call back for further technical support. Then I closed down my station and told my supervisor that I was sick and had to go home. He was doubled over with laughter, having listened to my calls. The call logs made their way around my shift-mates, who hung a ‘Dry Clean Only’ sign on my station. The upside is I was never bothered about my call time again.)

    Some Background Is Required

    | SK, Canada | Family & Kids, Technology

    (I provide in-home servicing of computers. My client has reported that his computer doesn’t turn on. Once on site, I do a quick check to make sure it’s plugged in and the power bar is working.)

    Me: “Okay, I’m thinking it’s the power supply. If it is, the parts and labour is [cost] plus tax. If not, I’ll have to dig a little deeper to see what the problem is.”

    Client: “No problem. Do what you have to do.”

    (I open the computer’s case and see that the wires from the power supply to the motherboard have been cut, likely with scissors or a knife. My client sees it right away as well.)

    Me: “Well, this is new one for me. Any idea what happened here?”

    Client: *clearly angry, but certainly not at me* “No. Will a new power supply still fix it? I have work I need to do on this computer today.”

    Me: “Yes, assuming nothing else is damaged.”

    (I replace the power supply with a new one, and the computer turns on. After booting, my client’s desktop background turns out to be a picture of his son and his best [male] friend having sex.)

    Client: “Well, that explains it.”

    (Turns out, the kid accidentally set the desktop background to the picture in question, and didn’t know how to change it back. In a state of panic he cut the wires, thinking dad would just get a new computer rather than get it fixed!)

    Problem Exists Between Caller And Afterlife

    | USA | Extra Stupid, Liars & Scammers, Technology

    (I have been trying to help a customer solve a common and easily-fixed issue, but he has been arguing at every point, insisting that his computer is broken beyond repair and we owe him a new, free computer. This is despite the fact that he is several years out of his warranty, and I’ve already granted an exception to help him over the phone, because of the simplicity of the issue.)

    Me: “I know this process can sometimes be frustrating, sir, but if you can work with me just a few minutes more, then we’ll have your computer just the way you like it again.”

    Caller: “I don’t have time for this! You people broke my computer, and owe me a new one. I’m not going to jump through all these hoops just to have it break again tomorrow!”

    Me: “Sir, I understand, but—”

    Caller: “This is appalling customer service. You are refusing to grant me a very simple request. [Famous Founder of Company] will be very disappointed that I’m being treated like this!”

    Me: “Um, sir—”

    Caller: “I’m a close friend of his! In fact, we’re having lunch tomorrow—”

    Me: “Sir—”

    Caller: “I’m going to tell him all about this and you’re going to get fired!”

    Me: “Uh…”

    Caller: “Not so smug now, are you?”

    Me: “Sir, I regret to inform you, but [Founder] passed away a little over two years ago now.”

    Caller: “…”

    Me: “There was a film about it.”

    Caller: “…”

    Me: “I understand it’s painful, having to hear about your close friend from me, rather than the family, but I didn’t want you to be waiting for him at your lunch tomorrow.”

    Caller: *click*

    A Feint Complaint

    | London, England, UK | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (We’ve been really busy lately. Senior management won’t approve any extra staff, so we’ve been getting a lot of abuse from customers. Because most of them want to complain about the wait before letting us get on with fixing the problem, this just puts our wait times up further.)

    Me: “I understand completely, sir. You’re right. I don’t think this is at all acceptable. I’ve been quite happy working here for the last few years, but I’m now looking for other jobs. I would, frankly, be delighted if you would put in a formal complaint to our senior management about this, because I assure you, all we want to do is fix our users issues, and instead we’re wasting a lot of our time trying to calm people down about the wait. None of us are being allowed holiday requests, we often don’t get our breaks, most of us are coming in when we’re ill, and we’re all doing overtime,. The management won’t approve any extra staff because while customers are quite happy to yell at us about it – people who, let’s be realistic, can do NOTHING about the situation – nobody seems to want to complain officially so that something might be done. About the only thing I can think of to say that might improve how you feel about the wait times is that at least you don’t work here.”

    (After a brief silence, the caller outlines the problem.)

    Me: “Right, so you’re having the issue mentioned on our recorded message which tells you to download the patch from our web site. I take it you’ve done so and it hasn’t resolved the issue?”

    Caller: “No. They just put those messages on to get people off the phones. They never change. It’s always ‘download the patch’!”

    Me: “Well, you’re right about that in a way, yes. We put those messages on so that people who have the issue mentioned don’t have to wait in a queue to be told they need to install the patch, and thereby increase the wait time for our other customers with issues that take more investigation. I assure you, the messages are changed regularly to reflect the current situation.”

    Caller: “What do you know about the messages? You don’t have to listen to them!”

    Me: “Actually, I do. I call every line to ensure that the message is clear right after I record them, which, incidentally, was on my lunch break yesterday. I’m surprised you don’t recognise my voice, as you’ve been listening to me for the last hour.”

    (Unfortunately, the caller still didn’t put in a complaint, and we still don’t have any more staff.)

    Putting The Ink Into Think

    | Edinburgh, Scotland, UK | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (We are the IT support for the British Army. Units not in our immediate area have to bring the equipment into our workshops for us to look at it. One day, we get a laptop printer brought in from a town quite a distance away. My workshop manager decides to look at it himself as it’s a slow day. The printer is picking paper up but not actually printing anything on it.)

    Manager: “Easiest job I think we’ve ever had. Would you contact the unit to send someone to pick it up?”

    Me: “What was the problem with it?”

    Manager: “The owner forgot to remove the plastic strip from the bottom of his new ink cartridge!”

    (The printer was returned with half a ream of test printouts which all read: ‘I must remove all packaging from the printer cartridges.’ The soldier who had to make two round trips of over 60 miles was not best pleased!)

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