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    This Call Is Not Open And Shut

    | Nacka, Sweden | Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I work in a large home electronics store. We don’t offer any kind of technical support, but you can call us and ask for prices, opening hours, etc. I answer a call.)

    Caller: “I bought a notebook, and a mobile broadband, and I was told I could always call if I had any problems.”

    Me: “Okay”.

    Caller: “Well, I was wondering: how do you open it?”

    Me: “Well, usually there’s a button on the front that you push to open it. Some models are closed by magnets, and in that case you just have to—you—know, open it.”

    Caller: “I don’t see any button. Is it on the side?”

    Me: “No, it’s probably on the front. Sometimes, it’s not a button, but a slider.”

    (This goes on for some time, before I figure out what the customer actually means.)

    Me: “So what you’re really wondering is how to start it?”

    Caller: “I don’t know; maybe that’s what it’s called? I just want to figure out how to get it open and going.”

    Me: “There will be a button somewhere above the keyboard that looks like a ring with a line through it.”

    Caller: “Oh, that’s great. Thanks. Next question: how do I close it?”

    Me: “You mean shut it down? When it’s on, you click on the start menu, and then click shut-down.”

    Caller: “Start menu? How do you mean?”

    Me: “You know, the main menu—the one where you always click to do things—the one where the applications and other things are.”

    Caller: “I don’t see any start menu.”

    Me: “Well, anyhow, there’s a button in the bottom left corner and if you click it, you’ll find the shut down button.”

    Caller: “Okay… I also have problems using this mobile broadband. I have connected it to the computer, and I can’t manage to get it connected to the internet.”

    (It has already been 10 minutes, and I have gone far above the kind of services we offer.)

    Me: “I’m sorry, but all of these are support questions. For further questions, I recommend you call the manufacturer.”

    Caller: “I have to call them? Why?”

    Me: “We’re only a store. I’m a salesman, and we only sell products here. The manufacturers provide support for their products.”

    Caller: “What? But, if you get a problem with a product, then you call the store!”

    Me: “Unfortunately, that’s not how you get support. We only sell products. Support is provided by the manufacturers. Their number is most certainly somewhere in the manual that came with your computer.”

    Caller: “I have this thing… a mouse. Can that have anything to do with my problems?”

    Me: “Ehm…”