Someone Has To Be The Voice Of Reason

, , , , | Right | February 26, 2018

(I work as tech support in a government office filled with people who have PhDs but no understanding of technology. We get requests for help for all kinds of things and often have to provide one-on-one support. The IT department starts getting phone calls from one user saying voices are coming out of her computer. Our computers do not have built-in speakers, and we confirm she does not have external speakers; plus, whenever we go down there we hear nothing. One day I pick up and it is this user.)

Customer: “I keep hearing those d*** voices!”

Me: “I am really sorry. Are the voices happening now?”

Customer: “No, but that is the problem: I call and tell you guys to come fix this, but by the time you come down, it is gone. It keeps happening, though! Has someone hijacked my computer? Can they see me?!”

Me: “This is what I am going to do. I am going to come down and sit with you until the voices come back.”

(I tell my manager where I will be and go to her office. I sit there for three hours playing on my phone while the customer goes about her business. I am about to give up when I hear a muffled voice.)

Customer: “See?! You hear it, too! I am not crazy; something is in my computer. I want you to make the voices stop!”

(I begin to play a game of hot-or-cold, slowly walking around the room trying to figure out where the voice is the loudest. Doing this, I find myself by the wall behind her desk. I walk out of the room, take two steps to the door to the next room, and see that the person is on speaker-phone. They hang up and go back to typing. I go back to my customer.)

Me: “Did the voices just stop?”

Customer: “Yes! What is it?!”

Me: “Well, it appears the walls are really thin, and you are hearing the person next to you every time she picks up the phone. Her desk is right up against the wall, too.”

Customer: “That makes no sense! Why would I hear her? It has to be coming from something else!”

(The phone in the other office rings and the voice comes back.)

Me: “By any chance, does the voice start after you hear a phone ring?”

Customer: “That is not the voice I am hearing!”

Me: “I am really sorry; I don’t think we can make your voices go away.”

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