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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…

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Dealing With A Real Live Wire Here

| St. Louis, MO, USA | History, Technology

(An old guy looking at DVD players calls me over.)

Customer: “Do you guys have any of these that can take a real, high-quality cable?”

Me: *confused* “These all take your typical component cables. Some of them take S-video cables. Is that what you mean?”

(I think he might be talking about S-video since it’s higher quality, then I figure he might have been taken in by those “gold-plated” cables they sell at some stores.)

Me: “These will get just as good a video signal as those expensive cables they sell at other stores. Those are just a scam.”

Customer: “No, these all take those little cheap plastic black crap lines. I mean like a REAL cable. Do they even make good stuff anymore, or this is all just crap they make these days?”

Me: *now really confused* “You mean the component cables? The ones that have the red, yellow and white ends?”

Customer: “Yeah! They’re little plastic crap! I have a cable that I’ve used for years, it’s better than any of these things. I bought it with my VCR. It’s big and metal, not this cheap plastic crap. It’s got to be at least a quarter-inch wide.”

Me: “Uhh… when did you get your VCR?”

Customer: “When they first came out. I was right on top of it.”

Me: “You mean like in the late ’70s?”

Customer: *pause, thinking* “Yeah, that sounds about right. It’s so much bigger and heavier than the ones they made after that. It’s got all kinds of buttons on it. The ones they made after that, they’re all light and cheap and break after you use them once. I’ve been using it for years, but you can’t find tapes anymore, so I might get one of these. But none of them take the cable I have. This is all just cheap plastic crap. The one I have, it was real expensive when I got it. It’s silver and big. It’s got to work better than this trash.”

Me: “Well… um… technology changes over time. The cables we use now are smaller, lighter, and more flexible, and get a better picture. They’re pretty much the only ones used with modern electronics. The fact that they’re cheaper, well, that just has to do with technology becoming more affordable.”

Customer: “No, this cable is about a quarter-inch wide at least, probably more, and it’s silver metal. There’s no way you can tell me that some cheap plastic crap is going to get a better picture.”

(This went on until I realized that I just couldn’t help him, I could not convince him that an aged, oversize, long-obsolete cable he bought in the ’70s could be used with a 2000s DVD player, nor could I convince him that a modern component cable would in fact have a better picture and sound quality than his precious cable – the fact that his was big, silver, and expensive top-of-the-line stuff when he bought it three decades earlier was proof enough that it was better than anything out there today. He ended up not getting a DVD player because I was only trained to sell him “crap.”)

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It Just Doesn’t Click

| Los Angeles, CA, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

(I am a librarian. A patron comes up to the reference desk.)

Patron: “How can I print out pictures that I find on the web?”

Me: “Here, use this mouse and keyboard, and I’ll walk you through an example. Here’s a random picture that I found on the Internet. Press Control+P and watch what happens… Okay, good! You’re looking at the print dialog box. Now, don’t do this part now, but when you’re in the computer lab doing this with a picture you actually want to print, you’ll click the Print button.”

Patron: “And then it will print?”

Me: “Yes. Don’t click Print now, but when you’re in the lab, you’ll click Print and your picture will print out downstairs.”

Patron: *click*

Me: “…aaand here’s your complimentary printout of a random picture.”

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Brushing Common Sense Aside

| OK, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

(I work for a company that handles warranty replacements for customers.)

Me: “Thanks for calling Customer Support. My name is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “My toothbrush is not turning on.”

Me: “We can sure look at that. Can you give me the model and serial number off the bottom of the brush?”

Customer: “I do not have it with me; I’m at work.”

(Note we have to have the model number and serial number to replace the product.)

Me: “Calling us without the handle is like going to a car place and asking for an oil change, but leaving the car at home.”

Customer: “So I need to have the handle with me?”

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No Pay, No Port

| WI, USA | Crazy Requests, Money, Popular, Technology

(I work for a small wireless company. A caller is trying to port her numbers over to a competitor. Her account with us was suspended due to non-payment, about $1400 past due, and she hasn’t paid anything in four months. Once an account is suspended, there’s no way we can port a number over unless we get a payment.)

Customer: “You people always put in your port orders a day after I call. One number came through, but the others didn’t!”

Me: “That happened because your account was suspended on that day when the other numbers were ordered to be ported. It was a four-hour difference between being suspended and went the port request was made.”

Customer: “Well, if your dumb port department would do their jobs and put the request in the day I called, we wouldn’t be in this mess!”

(She goes on 20-minute tangents and doesn’t allow me to get any words in for the most part. One of the leaders comes by and sees me struggling, so she gets a cord and plugs in on the call to help me.)

Me: “Ma’am, the simple fact of the matter is there is no way we can port these numbers over unless we get a payment. I see you did talk to the financial department earlier, and they agreed to take $650 to get your services resumed. That is the amount we need today to do this process.”

Customer: “NO! I know there is a way you can turn on my account for two minutes, get those numbers over, and suspend it again. All you people want is your money, and I’m not paying for something I’m not using. I want to speak to a supervisor!”

(I put her on hold and the leader who plugged in with me takes over. By now, the call has lasted about 45 minutes. I stay and listen.)

Leader: “Hello, ma’am? I am a supervisor; the previous associate you talked with told me what’s going on with your porting issues.”

Customer: “Yes, all I want to do is get those numbers over. I refuse to pay anything. Why should I pay for something that I own? Those are MY numbers.”

Leader: “I hear what you’re saying, ma’am, and we do want to get this issue resolved today. Your only option to get those numbers over is to make that payment. I cannot resume service for two minutes because it’s all done automatically. The system will only resume your service when that payment is made. We cannot hack it…”

Customer: “YES, YOU CAN! How difficult is it to do something so simple. Call your IT guys, tell them to turn me on for two minutes, and get those numbers over!”

Leader: “Ma’am, that’s illegal. The IT department cannot go into people’s accounts because they don’t have that authority; they fix the computers or the system if it has problems.”

Customer: “Well, I’m not paying anything.”

Leader: “And that’s totally up to you. You don’t pay, you don’t get your numbers, because they are our property. You haven’t paid us anything in four months. We do not make exceptions when someone is severely past due. If you choose not to pay, you will be sent to collections and have to deal with them harassing you for the money, which is 10 times worse than anything we do. I have told you repeatedly what your only option is, and you are not listening. At this point you will have to get new numbers with [Competitor].”

(The leader promptly hung up on her since they have that ability. In all her years there, this is the third person she’s disconnected with. The call came through at 8:45 and didn’t end til 10:30. Customer would not let us talk at all. Let’s just say I’m looking for something else already…)

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Try Scamming A Mile In His Shoes

| WI, USA | Criminal & Illegal, Liars & Scammers, Popular, Technology

(A customer calls about a TV he’d ordered online that he wants to return, stating the reason is it is ‘damaged.’ Our driver goes to retrieve the item. He has an inspection form to complete so he is getting ready to open the box to inspect the TV.)

Customer: “What are you doing?!”

Driver: *shows inspection form* “I’m required to fill this out before I take the TV. This will only take a minute.”

(The driver proceeds to open the TV box fully expecting a 55″ TV only to find the box is full of gym shoes.)

Driver: “What the h*** is this?”

Customer: “What?! [Company] must have sent it to me like that!”

(Not only did we not pick up his ‘TV’ but this customer is now officially black-listed from ever ordering anything from that company again.)

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