Milking Young Minds

| Right | April 22, 2017

Me: “Good morning. You’ve reached [Company]. [My Name] speaking.”

Caller: “Hi, I’m calling from [Local Kindergarten] regarding your products.”

(I’m surprised but think she might want to know something for educational reasons since I can’t think of any possible way our products could be used in a kindergarten.)

Me: “Sure, go on! I’m happy to help you with your questions or put you through to somebody who can.”

Caller: “We’re soon hosting a carnival and I just wanted to make sure: Are your products safe to use on small children?”

Me: “Wait… WHAT?!”

Caller: “Aren’t you [Makeup Company]?”

Me: “No… we’re a manufacturer for mechanical milkers… for cows.”

Caller: “Oh… Oh, dear! I already thought your company name sounded weird. I’m very sorry. Please don’t tell anybody about this…”

(Turned out said makeup company had the same number as we did, only with a different area code. However, “But can we safely use that product on small children?” still is a running gag in our technical department.)

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Faster Than The Speed Of Nothing

| Working | March 1, 2017

(I’m an industrial automation technician, so I do know a fair share about computers and networks. However, I’m not “IT”, so for them, I’m just another clueless user. I work in an industrial manufacture that is 5km away from the other office where the local IT tech resides. And to top it off, the main offices are 200km away. A few months earlier, the IT team came over from the main office to spend a weekend upgrading equipment and stuff while the production was halted. The very next Monday, everybody around notices that everything on the network seems to be a lot slower than usual. We pretty much all figure that the upgrade isn’t fully done and give them some more time. A few of us complain verbally to the IT department, but it falls on deaf ears. Things are getting worse and worse. I finally have enough so I write an e-mail to the IT leader.)

Me: “This is getting ridiculous. The network is way slower since you upgraded the switches. It takes me over 30 seconds to log a remote desktop session to [Computer A], while I logged in within 5 seconds before whatever you did two months ago. Once I’m in, it’s fast.”

IT Department: “We did nothing. We changed Internet providers. In fact, the new one is way faster than the old one.”

(Along is a print screen of an Internet speed test. I do the same test and have the same results. I write back, including my print screen, but also movies captured with my phone to show how slow things are.)

Me: “I’m not complaining about the speed of the Internet, but the speed of the intranet. That PC I log with remote desktop is located under my feet, in the server room. It shouldn’t take 40 seconds to log-on to. I can’t even download a PDF from the web. After two minutes, it’s still stuck at 80%, while I get it in 12 seconds with my phone.”

IT Department: “It’s probably a problem with your PC. I’ll ask [Local IT Tech] to go have a look.”

Me: “Well, in that case, [Coworker #1] and [Coworker #2] and [Coworker #3] and [Coworker #4] and [Supervisor] and [Manager] have the same issues, and that’s only those around me. I can’t say for other departments, but I’m pretty sure they have the same issues.”

(Unknown to me, my manager has had the same idea of recording his logging session into another remote desktop session, to no answer from IT. Two weeks later, no change, and no visit from [Local IT Tech]. I’ve had a chance to talk to everybody, and they all have the same issues. So, instead of sending an e-mail to the IT leader, I go through the “proper channels” and open a service ticket, stating that every PC at the mill are having similar issues. The next day, [Local IT Tech] is there. My PC is the first target. Within the time she is on it, at least three other people ask her to have a look at their PC when she is done with mine, because theirs too is slow. Two hours later, still on my PC:)

Local IT Tech: “Well, I don’t know. Everything seems fine.”

Me: “No, it’s not. Is it possible that there’s a bad configuration in a switch, or a hub somewhere?”

(I couldn’t believe I was troubleshooting the IT department.)

Local IT: *through closed lips, as if not allowed to say it* “Well, I think [IT Leader] did changed some security protocols.”

(I suggested they have a look at their configuration. She didn’t look at any other PC. Three days later, all of a sudden, everything is fast again.)

Boss: “Well, [My Name], seems your complaints gave some results. Everything is fast again.”

Me: “Well, IT said they did nothing in the first place. They found nothing wrong on my computer. So technically, they fixed nothing by un-doing nothing. Are they really getting paid to do nothing?”

Boss: “I… I prefer not to answer that.”

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Get Your Fax Straight

| Right | February 9, 2017

(I work for a furniture manufacturer. We send assembly guides with every order we ship out, but sometimes the warehouse misses one here and there. There are copies of the instructions for each product on our website, but most customers (no surprise) can’t find the button to bring them up. Because of this, when a customer calls in to say they didn’t get the assembly instructions, I usually don’t even mention that they are available on the website, and just offer to email them a PDF copy instead.)

Customer: “Hi, I ordered a [product] from you guys, but it didn’t come with instructions on how to put it together.”

Me: “I’m sorry about that. I can email you over a copy. What is your email address?”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to do that.”

Me: “Okay, we also have copies available on our website. I can walk you through how to find them. Are you near a computer?”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to do that either. Can you just fax it to me?”

Me: “I can, sir, but this particular guide is 45 pages. I’m concerned that a fax of that size may not transmit properly and you may end up missing some pages. We really do recommend email for things like this whenever possible.”

Customer: “No, just fax it. If you email it to me, I’m just going to have to print out 45 pages, and I don’t want to do that.”

(Yes, I printed out the 45 page document and faxed it to him from our dinosaur fax machine. I wonder where he thought those 45 pieces of paper were going to come from.)

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Should Have Framed It Differently

, , , , | Right | December 26, 2016

(I am a picture framer. Generally my waiting list is around 4 – 6 weeks. It is the week before Christmas. A customer comes into the shop and I greet them; they start discussing the job and I make sure to mention I will not be able to complete any orders in time for Christmas; just to check before we go through all the detail.)

Customer: “No, that’s fine; I don’t need it for Christmas.”

(We carry on and it’s a fairly big job with lots of lots of different mouldings to be ordered. I tally it all up.)

Me: “It could be done for the end of January.”

Customer: “Oh, but I need it for Boxing Day.”

(Boxing Day is Dec 26th and a bank holiday in the UK…)

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Mass Email Fail

| Working | August 16, 2016

(I am temping as a production clerk. It’s my responsibility to collect certain data on the previous night’s production and put that data into a spreadsheet, which I then send out in an e-mail to a mailing list. One day, I neglect to include [Specific Data] in my report. Ten minutes later, I rectify this by sending out an updated copy. A few minutes later Payroll Clerk calls me asking a question about Specific Data. Several minutes after that, Purchasing Manager calls…)

Purchasing Manager: “Why didn’t you include [Specific Data] on your report?!

You know I need [Specific Data] every day!”

Me: “Oh, I sent an updated report out about ten minutes ago. Did you not get my second e-mail?”

Purchasing Manager: “I got your e-mail, but the report was not updated!”

Me: “Okay… I just spoke to [Payroll Clerk] about [Specific Data], so I know the second e-mail included the update.”

Purchasing Manager: *belligerently* “Well I didn’t get it!”

Me: “So, let me get this straight; in a mass e-mailing to a specific mailing list, I managed to send everybody the update except you?”

Purchasing Manager: *still belligerent* “That’s RIGHT!”

Me: “…”

(Thankfully, he was only there a few months before he was let go and I was eventually hired permanently!)

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