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Tell Your Tech People EVERYTHING

, , , , | Right | September 25, 2022

About six years ago, I worked for a small MSP (Managed Service Provider — basically IT). It was just my boss and me handling small- to medium-size offices with a bunch of mom-and-pop shops interspersed. We had a few contracts, but most clients were the call-as-needed type. We had a few “legacy” clients that did their own thing and only called us when they messed something up. This is one of those calls.

Me: “[Company], this is [My Name].”

Client: “Hey, [My Name]. I installed a new router last week and we’re having some intermittent network outages. It’s happening at random times throughout the day, though more frequent in the morning and around lunch.”

Me: “Oh, I had no idea you’d installed a new router. That’s usually something you should alert us to so we can update your company file and better support you.”

Passive Aggressive Professionalism is a skill.

Me: “I’ll head over to check things out and grab the new credentials from you.”

They were a block away from us and the remote connection was failing due to him conveniently leaving that configuration out of the new router. However, he did get the business necessities running for their server application. Good for him.

I got over there and started walking toward the network closet which just housed a wall-mounted switch, router, and modem with a 2012 Essentials Tower on the floor.

Client: “Oh, no, it’s not over there anymore. I hired my nephew to come and move the networking equipment to the break room.”

Me: “That’s also something you should let us know.”

Now I was thinking the cause of the network outages was nepotism, but I decided to do my due diligence before getting angry. I bottled it up and moved to the break room. The client opened a small cupboard above the kitchen counter and I immediately saw the problem.

Directly two feet below the cupboard sat an 1100-watt microwave, which was causing interference every time someone needed to heat something up. Reheat coffee: network outage. Heat up some oatmeal: network outage.

I had to start the microwave a few times to prove it to the client. I told him to move it and all would be well, and then I set up our remote access again.

You Will Not See Any Work From Me

, , , , , | Right | September 25, 2022

I run a side business doing custom-made costumes. Most of my projects are done without fanfare, but then I get these gems.

Client: “Hi. I want to do this costume. Just need the shirt. Thanks.”

The link they provide goes to a WWII reenactment supplier. The specific page is a replica of a Hitler Youth uniform. After a few moments of “yikes”, I collect myself and respond to the message.

Me: “I’m sorry, but I can’t do this commission. You may be better served to order from the reenactment site instead.”

Client: “Are you saying I should spend $90 on a shirt?! I don’t have that kind of money! I only contacted you because I thought you’d be cheaper!”

Given I charge a $20-an-hour commission fee, and it takes me five to seven hours to make a button-down shirt, I definitely wouldn’t be cheaper. And I am not about to do business with a wannabe Nazi.

So, yes, honey. That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Dogs Know How To Make Their Own Fun

, , , , , , | Related | September 24, 2022

Back when my sister was a toddler, we had a dog — a German shepherd/rottweiler mix to be specific, meaning he was both fairly smart and very loyal. He absolutely adored “the human puppy” (my sister) and was very sad when she wasn’t home. My sister also adored the dog and would play with him often.

When my sister was in the middle of her “imitating the adults” phase, she noticed that we would give the dog treats for doing tricks. She decided she would do this, too, but being too small to reach the treats, she simply settled for taking a bit of food out of the dog’s bowl to reward him with, instead.

We all thought this was very funny, and the dog didn’t seem to mind being rewarded with his own food since it made my sister happy. To keep her from making a mess, my mom taught her only to give the dog “treats” on the hallway carpet. 

One day, when my sister wasn’t home, the dog was sulking as he usually did when he missed my sister. Suddenly, he left the room. I followed him to see if he would like some treats to take his mind off things, and I found him standing by his bowl. He gingerly took a bit of food, went over to the hallway carpet, and gently put it down. Then, he did a trick, waited a few seconds, and ate his “treat”.

I found this hilarious, as did my mother when she came home with my sister and I told her.

From that day forward, whenever the dog would miss my sister, he would do this. He never did it when my sister was home but almost always did it when she was gone. 

Dogs are great.

“Welcome To The Group Chat; How Can I Help You?”

, , , , , , , , , | Friendly | September 25, 2022

Years ago, when I used to work at a fast food drive-thru, I developed an odd muscle memory tic. I was a gamer, so I wore a headset and often used a function called Push-To-Talk when in voice channels with my friends. Basically, I would push a button so that I could be heard and release the button when I didn’t want to be heard. This stopped background noise from coming through, but it also meant I had to push the button to be heard.

One night, while chatting with my friends, I realized they couldn’t hear me despite the fact I was sure I was pressing the button. It wasn’t until my husband came over and tapped me on the shoulder to point out what I was doing that I realized I was trying to push a button on my headphones — about the same location the button was on my drive-thru headset at work.

Embarrassed, I pressed the button on my keyboard, apologized to my friends that I hadn’t been present in the conversation, and explained what had happened. They didn’t stop giving me grief about it for a solid few years, even long after I lost that job.

Armed And Dangerous Means Your Arm

, , , , , , , | Legal | September 24, 2022

My mom is paralyzed from the waist down, so my dad and I take her out grocery shopping every now and then. She has a motorized wheelchair, but it’s too bulky to take with us to the store, so we bring her non-motorized (push) wheelchair with us.

Dad pushes her around while I pull stuff off the shelves she wants us to get and put them in our cart. Dad has a voice that he’s used in the past to scare people. Just ask old potential boyfriends of mine.

While we’re doing this, another customer begins yelling.

Customer: “Hey, miss?”

She then starts whistling and pointedly clearing her throat. I put the last item in the cart and turn to the customer.

Me: “Can I help you?”

She thrusts a list at me and demands:

Customer: “Get me the stuff on my list.”

I look nothing like the employees; they wear blue from head to toe, basically, and I am wearing a yellow sundress with daisies on it.

Me: “No, I’m helping my mother now. I think there’s an employee at the front desk who can help you.”

She doesn’t like this and reaches out to grab my arm.

Customer: “You will help me now or I will get you fired.”

I shove her away, shouting “NO!” Then, I feel blood running down my arm where her nails have broken the skin on my bicep. Dad looks over and kind of freaks when he sees the blood.

Dad: “Leave my daughter alone!”

My dad’s voice is loud enough to get an employee to rush over.

Employee: “Is there a problem?”

Dad: “This woman just assaulted my daughter. Do you have a first aid kit or something to help her out? I’m going to call the cops while you get this.”

Upon hearing the word “cops”, the lady just sunk to the floor crying and trying to say it was just a misunderstanding. When the cops arrived, I had been bandaged up. The manager had come up, and upon listening to my and my dad’s story, as well as the employee describing the aftermath, the cops went to the back with the manager to check the video. Meanwhile, the lady was crying, saying, “I’ll lose my kids.” — no “sorry” or anything like that. The cops arrested her for assault on a minor and took her away crying.

At the trial later, the two things I most remember are that she was on probation and did indeed lose custody of her kids (I think the father got them), and she tried to say, “It was an honest mistake; I thought she was an employee.” Whereupon the judge said, “Even if she was an employee, what gives you the right to grab someone like this?” while showing her the pictures that were taken of my bloody arm.

She broke into more tears as the judge read her sentence, including the loss of her children due to violating her probation, plus some community service, I think.

Much later, as part of her effort to get her children back, she had to write me a letter of apology, which is still in my parent’s attic in a box.