Category: Technology

The realm of Technical Support is there to provide expert assistance to those who are not so tech-savvy. Although they still expect you to know what a computer is, and how to turn it on, and to know that you can’t ‘fix the internet’ because it isn’t pretty enough. You have been warned…

Email Fail, Part 11

| AL, USA | Extra Stupid, Language & Words, Technology

(I work as a librarian in my town. We aren’t really allowed to stay and help patrons on the computers because we aren’t qualified tech support nor do we have the time. Occasionally, I bend the rules a little and assist patrons who really need it. But today I really learned why we don’t help with computers.)

Patron: “I need help printing something from my phone.”

Me: “Is it in an email?” *this is usually what people mean by ‘on their phone.’*

Patron: “I don’t know. It’s just on my phone.”

Me: “Okay, it would need to be sent to an email and I can log you on to one of our computers to print. We can’t do any wireless printing, sorry.”

Patron: “How do I do that?”

(She leans over the counter with phone in hand asking me to do it for her. It takes a couple of tries but finally sends to her email. I log her onto a public computer and have to reset her email password for her because her “phone just knows it and she doesn’t have to log in, ever.” 15 minutes has already gone by.)

Patron: “I ordered flea bath for my cats on [Website] because I was getting a good deal.”

(I try to be polite and sound interested. However, it’s after lunch time and I’m starving.)

Me: “That’s great.”

Patron: “Yeah, but it was written in some foreign language I can’t read so I don’t trust it. I’m sending it back. But the guy was from Texas! I thought it’d at least be written in American.”

Me: *just nods head; I never respond to remarks like this*

Patron: *pointing to the screen* “The page won’t send me the return label. Why?”

Me: “I’m not really sure. It must be the website. It says to try again later. It could be running slow.”

(We try a few more times to open the email. She decides to call the website’s customer support number to get an answer.)

Patron: *on the phone with support* “I really don’t know what you’re saying. I don’t understand all this computer stuff. Talk to this girl that’s helping me.” *she shoves her phone that’s been pressed against her face into mine*

Me: “Hello?”

(I try not to act disgusted by using a stranger’s phone as I tell him exactly what the page says and he understand immediately what happened. The seller created the shipping label wrong so the site couldn’t process it correctly. It would be another week before it’s fixed and she could return her flea bath. The phone call lasted another ten minutes.)

Patron: “Well, okay. If I don’t get the label then, do I just throw my stuff away? I don’t trust it.”

Me: “I guess so. I’m just going by what the support guy said.”

Patron: “Okay. Anyways, I thought the flea bath was written in Mexican or something. I can’t read that so I asked my daughter to come look at because she took Mexican in high school. But she said “Mama, I can’t read that. It ain’t Mexican.” So I’m guessing it’s probably United Kingdom language or something. I can only read American. Thanks for all your help though!”

(She left the computer without getting her label and I rushed to lunch in bewilderment at her story. When I came back from my break, I learned that she left her contact information in case we ever sold our book carts or card catalogues. You know, the two main things we use daily. I won’t be bending the rules again any time soon.)


Email Fail, Part 10

Email Fail, Part 9

Email Fail, Part 8

Your Enemy Is Known

| WV, USA | Bad Behavior, Technology

(We often have video games out for testing. A game called ‘XCOM: Enemy Unknown’ has recently been released and we have it out for testing. I have my own personal save file on the hard drive, and a different memory unit for patrons. There is a large sign on the console that no patrons are to use the hard drive. One day, I glance up, and noticed a patron playing ‘XCOM’. As I watch him, I noticed that he is playing on my save file. I walk over to him.)

Me: “Sir, that is an employee save file. Could you please exit to the menu and use a customer file?”

(As I am saying this, the patron continues to play the game.)

Me: “Sir, do you hear me? Please exit to the menu.”

(He looks at me, but continues to play.)

Patron: “Huh? Oh, yeah, sure.”

(He continues playing. He moves one of my soldiers into a very bad position.)

Me: *urgently* “Sir, you really need to exit to the menu.”

(The game moves into the alien’s turn. It is now impossible to exit. One of the aliens shoots, and kills, the soldier that the patron moved into a vulnerable position. The patron then exits the game and goes to the menu. A few days later, the same patron comes back into the store, and walks up to me.)

Patron: “Hi, I’d like to purchase XCOM, please.”

Me: “Okay, that’ll be $50. Oh, you know, by the way, Wednesday? When you were playing XCOM on the display TV? You killed my best soldier.”

(‘XCOM’ features ‘permadeath,’ meaning that if a soldier dies, they are dead for the rest of the game.)

Patron: “What? No, I didn’t.”

Me: “Yeah, you did. When you were playing on my file, that girl that you moved to where she was being flanked, and she got killed, she was my best soldier.”

Patron: “And she’s dead?”

Me: “Yeah, she’s dead.”

Patron: “Well, sorry about that. How is she now?”


Wish You Could Print Out This Conversation

| USA | Bizarre, Technology

(I’m working the reference desk when a customer comes up.)

Customer: “Is it true I can’t print from my own laptop?”

Me: “No, actually you can print from your own laptop.” *I then spend several minutes explaining the process, as it requires downloading and installing software*

Customer: “Okay, great! Can I check one out then?”

Me: “Oh, you mean one of our laptops? Well, sure, you can print from those as well. Have you ever checked out one of our laptops before?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Great.”

(He hands me his card but not his I.D.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I need your I.D. as well. We hold onto it while you have the laptop checked out.”

Customer: “Oh, I didn’t know that. I’ve never checked one out before.”

(At this point I’m afraid I’m losing my mind, but he gives me his I.D. and I check out his laptop. He goes on his way. Half an hour later, he brings the laptop back without stopping at the print release station.)

Customer: “Here you go. I’m all done.”

Me: “Were you able to print what you needed? I can show you how the print release station works.”

Customer: “I didn’t need to print anything.”

Me: *speechless*

(At least he was cheerful and polite throughout the interaction! I just wondered if we were having two different conversations…)

Listening To The Voices Of Reason

| CT, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Technology

(I am transgender, male to female. I have an amazing voice range due to being a singer in a high school band. I am working at a call center in tech support for an ISP that caters to CT, NY, and NJ. A large number of our clients are immigrants from a country that traditionally looks down on women. I get this call shortly before the end of my shift.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [ISP]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yes, I’m having trouble with my Internet. Can you transfer me to a man who would be able to help me?”

Me: “I’m a fully trained technical support representative; I’m sure I’ll be able to help you. What kind of issues are you having?”

Customer: “No, I don’t think you can. Could you transfer me to a man, please? I’m having trouble with my Internet.”

Me: “Sir, as I just said, I am a fully trained tech support employee. I’ve been working in the IT sector for a number of years. If you could describe your problem, I’m sure I could help you.”

Customer: “No, you women don’t understand technology. You just don’t have the brains for it. Now, get me a MAN who can help me!”

Me: “One moment, please.”

(I place the customer on hold for 30 seconds. When I come back, I voice drop so I sound male.)

Me: “Hello, thank you for calling [ISP]. My name is [Fake Name]; how can I help you?”

(The customer describes his problem — router is offline. I walk him through the troubleshooting steps. A basic reset fixes his issue.)

Me: *still voice dropping* “All right, looks like that takes care of your issue. Anything else I can help you with today?”

Customer: “Nope, thank you very much!”

Me: *switching back to my female voice* “I just want you to know, you’ve been helped by a woman this entire time. Have a nice day!”

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Taking The Long Route(r)

| Israel | Bigotry, Bizarre, Technology

(I work at the IT office in the city I live in. I’m female. I get a call from a city-funded kindergarten:)

Me: “IT office.”

Kindergarten Teacher: “Hi, we have a problem with the computer here. The Internet isn’t working.”

Me: “I see. Let’s see if there’s a way we can get this fixed over the phone, so you don’t have to wait for me to get to you.”

Kindergarten Teacher: “Look, is there no way you can just send someone over?”

Me: “I’m the person who usually goes out into the field. The reason I’m taking calls right now is that it’s still early in the morning, and no one else has arrived yet. These problems are very often easy to fix, and it would be a shame for you to wait until I got to you, only for me to restart your router, which you could easily do yourself and have Internet within minutes.”

Kindergarten Teacher: “But you don’t understand. We’re all women here, so we don’t know anything about computers. Just send one of the guys out. They’ll be able to fix it.”

(Having no words, I ended the call. The kicker is that I didn’t end up getting to that Kindergarten until hours later. Needless to say that all I did was restart the router, and they had Internet minutes later.)

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