Unfiltered Story #209654

, | Unfiltered | September 24, 2020

I do I.T. Support for a multi-national, USA based, insurance company, and have all manner of ridiculous conversations with the people calling to ask for my help…

As an example, last night someone called to report a network outage, and the following conversation took place while I was trying to get them to confirm their basic information…

And where are you located?

We’re contractors…

Okay, and where are you actually located?

I think our head office is in Miami…

Okay, and where exactly in the world are YOU currently located?…

We’re contractors…

Okay, I get that you’re contractors, but you have a problem and we need to know where you are so we can fix it. So can you tell me where you are please?

Oh, I don’t know that. I’ll have to put you on hold…

A Different Kind Of Anti-Vax Rant

, | Right | September 23, 2020

I’ll start by saying anyone has been around as long as I have will recognize this is an old story because the VAX was one of the big mainframe computers, not one that took an entire room, but a good portion of one. Relevant to the story is the fact that the software for these computers was put on reel to reel tapes that were shipped to the customers.

I work for a company that manufactures software for these computers and it is quite easy for a bug in the software to cause the computers to crash. I take a support call:

Caller: “Your software crashed our system!”

This is how the caller announces himself, so immediately I do the apologetic that’s so awful and I’m so sorry, etc.

Me: “Could you tell me where you loaded the software?”

Caller: “I walked into the computer room and set it on top of the computer and the whole system went down.”

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

Caller: “I sent the tape reel on top of the computer and it crashed! You crashed my VAX!”

Me: “Could I have you hold just a moment please, sir?”

I mute my headset and start laughing. My coworker next to me notices.

Coworker: “What’s happening?”

Me: “Apparently we crashed this guy’s computer by osmosis.”

Coworker: “How?!”

Me: “We apparently are that powerful. Merely touching our software to the outside of the system caused the entire system to die.”

I return to the customer and give him instructions on how to send us his crash log of what was happening when the system went down. Spoiler alert: Our software was not the cause of the problem.

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Unfiltered Story #209636

, | Unfiltered | September 23, 2020

(I’m working at a small IT service provider. A customer wants me to install a certain constellation of hardware and software on a server. Once I set up the hardware, he hands me two licenses for the operating system.)
Me: “Uhm… there’s a problem here. This is a [License type 1] and this is a [License type 2]. It’s not allowed to mix both types on the same hardware.”
Customer: “Says who?”
Me: “[Well known software company using 4 rectangles in their logo].”
Customer: “And why is that?”
Me: “It’s their policy.”
Customer: “So it’s not going to work?”
Me: “It is, but it’s not allowed.”
Customer: “Ah, who cares. Just do it, I’m not going to purchase another license.”
(I shrug and have the customer sign a form stating that he is aware of the constellation being not allowed by the manufacturer and that I informed him about it. I install everything the way he wants it.
Two weeks later, the phone rings.)
Me: “[Company], [my name] speaking, how can I help?”
Customer: “I have a problem with my [service].”
Me: “Ok, let me…”
Customer: “Don’t bother! I already spoke with a technican from [manufacturer] and he checked the server via remote maintainance. Do you know what he told me?!?”
Me: “Tell me?”
Customer: “He told me the license constellation you put on there is illegal! They won’t help me and may even consider sueing me! Now I need to buy another license! Did you not know that they don’t allow this?!? Your company is going to pay for this license and you will also pay if they sue me!”
Me: “Seriously? I told you it’s not allowed to mix [license type 1] and [license type 2] on the same hardware!”
Customer: “No, you didn’t! I would remember!”
Me: “You signed a declaration that I told you and you wanted it anyway! I even gave you a copy!”
Customer: “Nonsense! If I had signed such a declaration and if you gave me a copy, I’d have it right…”
Me: “Yes?”
Customer: “… I have it right here…”
Me: “So…?”
Customer: “It’s still your fault! You had me sign this although I didn’t really understand what it meant!”
Me: “It’s my fault you signed it althogh you didn’t know what it meant? It’s my fault you didn’t ask if you didn’t know?”
Customer: “Well, I…”
(At this moment my boss, who had heard me, waved at me.)
Me: “One moment please, Mr. [Boss] wishes to talk to you. I’ll transfer you.”
(The following exchange would be too long to write down, even though it was amusing. In the end the customer apologized, bought the license – which I installed for him – and paid us in full. I wish I could talk people into the ground like my boss can.)

Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 41

, , | Right | September 21, 2020

This was around 2003 when most, if not all, cellphones had removable batteries. It was also my first tech support call in my first call center job.

Me: “Hello! Thank you for calling [Company]! My name is [My Name]; how may I help you today?”

Customer: “Your store sold me a broken phone!”

Me: “Oh no! That’s no good! Let’s get this figured out okay?”

Customer: “Fine! Whatever!”

We spend the next twenty minutes going through a basic tier 1 troubleshooting guide–which getting her to actually do is like pulling teeth with the occasional “Your store sold me a broken phone!” rant, which is missing a very VERY important step!

Me: “Well, huh. This is a doozy. Let’s get you to our tier-two support because we may need to order you a new phone.”

Customer: “There’s also this black box in the box the phone was in.”

Me: *Lightbulb moment* “Really? Could you do me a favor and take off the back cover and tell me what you see inside?”

I hear the sounds of her doing so.

Customer: “Nothing! I see nothing! Not even a battery!”

I am now definitely feeling like the idiot you all think I am.

Me: “That little black box, does it have little metal pieces that line up with the little metal pieces in the back of the phone?”

Customer: “Yeah. What of it?”

Me: “Can you put the box in the phone, making sure the metal pieces all align. The put the back cover on and try turning on the phone?”

Customer: *Huffs* “I don’t know what this will do but—hey! It works!” *Instantly nicer* “It came on! Thank you so much!”

Me: “Not a problem! Have a nice day, ma’am, and thank you for calling [Company].”

Yes, the battery was removed from the phone when the store sent her home with it. Yes, I made sure to raise a stink about the guides so checking for a battery was added in case of other scared newbies like myself. I still have NO idea why the store took the battery back out.

Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 40
Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 39
Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 38
Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 37
Not-So-Smart-Phone, Part 36

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No Speed Test For You!

, , , , | Working | September 14, 2020

At my workstation, the computer I am using is acting balky and sluggish when I try to process customer’s orders, so I try using a popular speed test website to test my connection. I am getting approximately 900kB down and 100kB up while all the terminals around me are getting a typical 5MB down and 640kB up. It’s clearly a connection problem, so I put in a trouble ticket to the people in IT.

The next morning, I come in and my computer is still sluggish, so I go to run a speed test and a message advises I do not have authorization to access that website. This time, I phone someone in IT.

Me: “Hi. I’ve reported a problem with my workstation computer and now I’m not able to access [website] to run a speed test. What’s wrong?”

IT: “One moment, I’ll check… Ah, yes, you don’t have authorization to access that website.”

Me: “Oh, really? I put in a trouble ticket explaining that there is something wrong with my connection and your department’s solution is to take away my ability to prove it’s broken? You will give me access to [website] again so I can prove to you there is a problem.”

IT: “I don’t have the authority to give you access to [website]; only a manager does.”

Me: “I don’t care. I am not letting this call go until I have access to [website] back.”

Disconnecting on an internal call can bring down real grief on whoever does it.

IT: “I’m going to call my supervisor.”

A few minutes later…

Supervisor: “I’ve been advised that you want access to [website]?”

Me: “Yes.”

I repeat what I told the IT tech.

Me: “Now, get my access back so I can prove my system is broken, and then you can get someone to fix it. I’ll wait.”

The supervisor authorizes me to have access to [website] again, and I run the speed test and give him the numbers.

Me: “Now that you have the information, do you mind getting someone to fix my system this time?”

Supervisor: “We’ll have someone look into it.”

Me: “Thank you.”

It turned out I had a bad port on the server and it had to be replaced. Afterward, my workstation performed normally.

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