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  • Talking At-At Cross Purposes
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    He Must Be A Theorist

    | USA | Extra Stupid, Math & Science, Technology

    (I support the scientists in a large research building. I get a call from one of them.)

    Caller: “I need help removing my extended absence greeting from my voice mail.”

    Me: “Okay, to do that you need to login to your voicemail and select option 4.”

    Caller: “How do you do that?”

    Me: “You press 4.”

    Caller: “I don’t know how to do that. Can I get an onsite visit?”

    Me: “We can’t generate an onsite visit for this issue; however, if you go to our intranet site there is a chart with all the menu options.”

    Caller: “That’s too complicated.”

    Me: “…you’re a scientist with several Ph.D.’s.”

    Rage Against The Machine

    | Tempe, AZ, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

    Me: “Thank you for calling [Company]. My name is [Name]. May I please get the phone number associated with the account you are calling about?”

    Caller: *enters phone number without saying anything*

    Me: “…I’m sorry; I need you to tell me the phone number, please.”

    Caller: *again enters the phone number without saying anything*

    Me: “…Hello. This is a live person, not the automated system. I need you to actually tell me the phone number, not enter it on the phone, please.”

    Caller: *to someone in the background* “It’s not working! Just hang up and we’ll try again.”

    Me: “Hello. I can hear you. I’m a live person, if you—”

    Caller: *click*

    Doesn’t Look After His Property

    | Houston, TX, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I take tech support calls for computer-aided design software. I get a call from a customer who is having issues remembering a certain command prompt for his software.)

    Me: “Good morning, this is [Company Name]. My name is [My Name]; how can I help you?”

    Customer: “Yeah, I’m having trouble remembering one of my tool commands.”

    Me: “Okay, sir, do you know what the command does? Maybe I can help you figure out which command you’re looking for.”

    Customer: “Yeah! I can click on a line or shape and it’ll give me the properties of that thing. What’s that command called? It’s like ‘help’ or ‘information’ or something like that.”

    Me: “The ‘properties’ command, sir.”

    Customer: “Yeah! The one that gives me the properties of something! I want that. What’s it called?”

    Me: “Sir, it’s called ‘properties.’”

    Customer: “Yeah, the one that gives me the properties! It’s called ‘help,’ I think.”

    Me: “Sir, to find the properties of an item in your model, you will use the ‘properties’ command.”

    (I tell him how to start the command. Afterwards, there’s a long pause on the other end of the line, when suddenly the customer shouts.)

    Customer: “OH! It’s called ‘properties!’ Got it! Thanks, bye!”

    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.)

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