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    Stuck In A Vicious Triangle

    | Dusseldorf, Germany | Bizarre, Extra Stupid, Technology, Theme Of The Month

    (I work as IT support for a law firm. Usually I am very understanding when someone asks me a question with an obvious answer, since most lawyers don’t know PCs very well.)

    Lawyer: “HELP! My PC is going crazy! Triangles EVERYWHERE!”

    Me: “Triangles? What kind of triangles? Do you mean error messages with a warning sign?”

    Lawyer: “No, triangles! And a lot of them! I can’t finish my email. Please help me!”

    Me: “One moment please, I will connect to your PC to see what’s going on.”

    (I start the software and connect to his PC, and see Outlook doing ‘^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^’ without pause.)

    Me: “Mr. [Name], is it possible that something is lying on the keyboard?”

    Lawyer: *silence*

    Me: “Maybe on the upper left corner?”

    (At this moment, the ‘triangles’ stop.)

    Lawyer: “I guess it wasn’t a good idea to place the book on the keyboard. Please wait a second.”

    (He deletes the symbols and tries to write a normal sentence. Without the book pressing a different button, it obviously works.)

    Lawyer: “I think I could have figured that out myself. Usually I’m very good with the computer. Thank you. Bye.”

    (The lawyer hangs up and my coworker turns to me.)

    Coworker: “Hey, Mr. [Name] again? How many times did he call us this week?”

    Me: “I had him eight times on the line. I don’t know about the others.”

    Damaging Their Reliability

    | London, England, UK | Extra Stupid, Liars & Scammers, Technology, Tourists/Travel

    (I am called for technical support to a customer’s house, since their wireless internet is not working.)

    Customer: “So, my son got this wireless router but it doesn’t work, and I can’t connect to the internet anymore either.”

    (I look at the modem to find that it has been completely unplugged. Instead, they have a wireless router without a power supply, and an ethernet line leading to the PC, but it’s not wired into anything else.)

    Me: “Well, here is your problem; you have unplugged your modem and your new router won’t work unless it’s plugged into the modem, which you still have. I would be happy to wire the system back up for you if you have the old power supply available.”

    Customer: “Well, I threw it out because my son said we didn’t need it.”

    Me: “Er, right. You are aware that the modem and power supply are not your property? They are leased to you with your internet connection. I have a spare one, but it comes with a part cost and I will need to charge you for the loss of the old one.”

    Customer: “I see what’s happening here; you’re trying to scam me out of money. I don’t want it.”

    Me: “I can’t restore your connection without replacing the part. If it was broken or faulty, I would be able to do it for free, but since you just told me you threw it out, I have to charge you for it.”

    Customer: “You won’t charge if it’s broken, right?”

    Me: “Yes…”

    Customer: “If the modem is broken, you can give me a new one right?”

    (I think I see where this is going…)

    Me: “Yes, if the modem is broken, I can give you an updated unit with a new power supply, but since your old unit does not appear to be faulty, I can’t replace it.”

    Customer: “Okay, can you test it and see if it’s faulty?”

    (I figured at this point that there is no harm, and that if it was showing fault I could replace it for free.)

    Me: “Okay, let me just go and get the power supply from my van.”

    (As I’m halfway out the door, I hear a massive bang, and the sounds of stamping. I head back upstairs to see the modem now on the floor, and the customer’s foot planted firmly on top.)

    Customer: “It’s broken, so get me a new one.”

    Me: “I just saw you destroy it.”

    Customer: “I’ll pay you £30 to say you didn’t see anything.”

    Me: “But it would have cost you £8 for a new power supply.”

    Customer: “It’s not the amount; it’s the principle!”

    (I eventually replaced the whole unit for a cost of £15 and left. Next month I heard the customer called back. The next technician that went there said that the customer’s son had come by and told his mother she didn’t need the modem, then unplugged it and threw it away. The company, after reading both our reports, decided to cancel the contract then and there.)

    Spelling Bee Bee Cee

    | UK | Extra Stupid, Language & Words, Technology

    (The customer has issues with accessing the internet and getting the standard ‘Internet Explorer cannot display this webpage’ error message. After doing various checks it turns out to just be a simple reset that is needed. We normally check it by asking the customer to try going to various web pages.)

    Me: “So we’ve got Google up on the screen. That’s great. Okay, I want you to try going to BBC’s webpage now.”

    Customer: “What website?”

    Me: “Er, the address is www.bbc.co.uk.”

    Customer: “How do you spell that?”

    Me: “Which part? ‘co?’”

    Customer: “BBC.”

    A Certain Number Of Attempts

    | Boston, MA, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I’m helping a user with an issue, and it becomes obvious that I’ll need to connect over to her computer to see what’s actually going on. I start walking her through the procedure to allow me to do so.)

    Me: “Okay, you should see a nine-digit number at the top of your screen. It looks kind of like a phone number. I need you to tell me that number so I can connect over.”

    User: “I can’t see any numbers on my screen.”

    Me: “Do you see anything at the top of the screen, like a little tab? It’ll have the numbers in it.”

    User: “Yes.”

    (The user starts describing all the icons in the tab, with no mention of the numbers.)

    Me: “That’s the one. There should be a nine-digit number in there. Looks sort of like a phone number, with dashes every three digits.”

    User: “No.” *pause* “There’s a phone number there, though.”

    Me: “Yes, that’s the one. A nine-digit number. Looks kind of like a phone number.”

    User: “Oh.” *pause* “Yes, that’s it.”

    Me: “Could you read it to me, please?”

    *long pause*

    User: “Do you need me to tell you what it is?”

    Me: “Yes, please.”

    Networking Notworking

    | Stockholm, Sweden | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I am working as a shift leader in tech support for a global Swedish telephone company. I usually take phone calls from the agents where the customer is rather upset. I get called to an agent, where the customer is furious and yelling at him. I take over the phone.)

    Me: “Hi, this is the managing shift leader; I hear you have a complaint. May I ask what this is about?”

    Customer: “Yes! I called you guys yesterday about not getting network connection in my office, and nothing has happened yet! Do you have any idea how much money I am costing the company, unable to work?”

    Me: “Okay, I understand; just give me a minute to check the logged issue.”

    (I read the ticket and get suspicious immediately, because information about basic troubleshooting is missing.)

    Me: “Sir? When you reported this, did the agent ask you to try another outlet?”

    Customer: “Yes! It wasn’t working with that one either! Send me an onsite technician right NOW!”

    Me: “I’m sorry to say, but I believe there has been a misunderstanding here of the real root cause. May I please ask of you to just troubleshoot one more thing before I can escalate?”

    Customer: “H*** no! I spent over 30 minutes on the phone last time and that didn’t do s***! Do you have any idea how much money I make? I could have 20 of your so-called onsite techs following me constantly and it wouldn’t even show on my salary! I demand a priority top issue on this matter, right now!”

    Me: “Well sir, I am sorry to say that it is not allowed for a single user issue, no matter how much money you make. I am fairly certain the issue does not lie with the outlet, but in fact with your network card. So sending someone to ‘fix’ the outlet isn’t going to solve the issue. If you on the other hand, let me verify my suspicions, then this can be sorted out in a matter of minutes instead of days.”

    Customer: “D*** it! You are all worthless pieces of s***! Fine, what do you want me to do?”

    Me: “Just press the start button. In the run field you enter ‘cmd.’ Is there a black screen there now? Good. Please type ‘ping 127.0.0.1.’ What does it say?”

    Customer: “‘Request timed out.’ What does that mean?”

    Me: “It’s as I suspected. Your network card is broken. So instead of waiting for an onsite technician, how about I refer this ticket to your walk-in-center, and you just give them the ticket number and get a loaner PC while they fix your network card? That way you can start working again.”

    Customer: “Erm… well, yes. That would work. Er, thanks.”

    Me: “You’re welcome!”

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