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    Intelligence Unplugged

    | Pocatello, ID, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (A customer’s cable box has an error and needs to be reset to correct it.)

    Me: “Okay we need to reset your box. We can do that by unplugging it for 15 seconds and plugging it back in.”

    Customer: “It’s not plugged in.”

    Me: “It’s not plugged in?”

    Customer: “No it’s never been plugged in.”

    Me: “So it’s not plugged in?”

    Customer: “Right.”

    Me: “The power light is on right?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “And we have that error message on the screen correct?”

    Customer: “Correct.”

    Me: “But it’s not plugged in?”

    Customer: “Right, it’s never been plugged in.”

    Me: “…let’s check just to make sure.”

    Customer: “Alright, but you’re wasting my time. This has never been plugged in since you guys hooked it up a few years ago.”

    Me: “I understand. Just humor me.”

    Customer: “Oh… it is plugged in. What did you want me to do?”

    Me: “Unplug it for 15 seconds, and plug it back in.”

    (After that it works just fine!)

    Doing Right(click) By The Aged

    | Montreal, QC, Canada | Technology, Top

    (I work for a company that produces a word processing software, which I am supporting.)

    Me: “Thank you for calling technical support. Can I have your case number?”

    (The customer provides the information. Just by the voice, I know the customer is an older lady. Usually, this means a 45+ minutes call, just because of the technology challenges.)

    Me: “Could you right-click on the start button?”

    Customer: “Okay, I have programs, documents, settings—”

    Me: “That’s left-clicking. Could you please right-click on the start button?”

    Customer: “Okay, but I still get programs, documents, settings.”

    Me: “Could you describe to me, visually and step by step, what you are doing?”

    Customer: “I’m putting the mouse cursor over the right part of the word ‘start’, and I click.”

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry; I was not clear. Is it possible for you to click using the right mouse button?”

    Customer: “What do you mean?”

    Me: “Okay, please pick up your mouse by the wire, and hold it up in the air.”

    Customer: “I feel stupid.”

    Me: “No, ma’am, you’re not. We’re all starting from different points. I’m a geek, so it’s normal if I’m a bit ahead of the curve, as far as this stuff goes. I just need to make sure that we’re on a level field, here.”

    Customer: “Okay, it’s in the air.”

    Me: “Great! Between your wire and your palm-resting are—”

    Customer: “What do you mean?”

    Me: “Okay, put it flat again, and put your hand on your mouse, as if to use it.”

    Customer: “Oh, I get it, the place where my palm is resting.”

    Me: “Exactly. Pick it up again. Between the wire and the palm-resting area, there is an area that is divided vertically. How many sections are there?”

    Customer: “Two”

    Me: “Great! Ma’am, I would like to formally introduce you to your left mouse button and your right mouse button. So when I ask you to right-click—”

    Customer: “You want me to use the right mouse button!”

    Me: “You’re a smart one!”

    (It turns out that the older lady is 96 years old. She was doing her shuffleboard association’s newsletter, and her software had become thoroughly corrupted and needed to be reinstalled. We spend over an hour and a half. This lady had seen the advent of movies, TV, color TV, had seen the Model T, saw the first planes, radio and all. When I will be 96 years old, I just hope I am as technologically savvy as she is!)

    Unable To Think Outside The Box

    | Ireland | Crazy Requests, Extra Stupid, Technology

    Me: “Good morning, thank you for calling Tech Support.”

    Customer: “Hi, I bought a [brand name] laptop, and I want to get it set up. Can you talk me through it?”

    Me: “Sure, when you turn on the computer you’ll be asked to type in the user name you want to use—”

    Customer: “I haven’t gotten that far yet. How do I open the box?”

    Me: “Really, you want me to talk you through opening the box?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “Is this a prank call?”

    Customer: “No…”

    (The customer actually kept me on the line for 30 minutes asking me how to open the box her laptop came in!)

    Time And Relative Dimensions In Cyberspace

    | London, England, UK | Geeks Rule, Movies & TV, Technology, Theme Of The Month

    (Part of my job involves managing the helpdesk for an online research panel. Because the panel is made of just two daily surveys, panelists receive a survey reminder every morning. I take a call from a panelist.)

    Panelist: “You’re sending me too many emails! I’m getting two every morning!”

    Me: “Alright, it sounds like you may have registered with us twice. Could I take your email address?”

    (I look the panelist up by his email, and find that he has indeed registered again. This isn’t normally possible, because the system checks against name, email and address. I do notice one thing, though…)

    Me: “Alright, looking at our system, I can see two accounts to your name. The reason you were able to register again is because your address doesn’t quite match between both accounts.”

    Panelist: “Well how’s that possible? I haven’t moved anywhere!”

    Me: “Well, on one account you put your address down as THE TARDIS.”

    Modem Warfare

    | NY, USA | Technology

    (I’m a tier-one tech support rep for internet issues. I receive a call from a customer who is very angry, because his internet still isn’t working, despite multiple calls and field tech visits.)

    Me: “How may I help you?”

    (The customer begins a tirade of how inept my company is, including everything that’s been done so far. I begin basic troubleshooting as per policy, which doesn’t get the customer back online. I’m about to schedule another field tech to go out the customer.)

    Customer: “This is great! You’re too f****** stupid to fix anything, and now I have to waste another f****** day so you can send out another f****** tech! Everything’s already been replaced! They replaced all the lines; I replaced the router and the modem! Why can’t you do your f****** job and fix this?!”

    Me: “Did you say you have a new modem? I’m only seeing the one that was installed 10 years ago.”

    Customer: “Yes, why?”

    Me: “Did you call to have the new modem added to your account, sir?”

    Customer: “Why the h*** would I do that?”

    Me: “That’s why I’m not seeing the modem, sir. We need to add it to your account so that our system knows where to send the signal.”

    (I proceed to enter the new modem to the account, which results in my being able to see good signals. I have the customer try to access the internet, which is now working.)

    Me: “I just want to make sure the computer isn’t remembering a website from earlier. Could you try two random websites for me so we can be sure everything’s working?”

    Customer: *embarrassed* “I did; it’s fine now!” *click*

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