The True Meaning Of Being American

, , | Right | November 21, 2018

(I work tech support in the US. I have a slight accent, but was raised in the US and have a degree from a US university.)

Me: “Good morning. [Company] technical support. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Are you in the US?”

Me: “Excuse me? We are a US company.”

Caller: “Yeah, but are you one of those Indian vendors? You are, aren’t you? I can tell you have an accent.”

(For the record, my accent is French.)

Me: “Ma’am, we are a US company, no subcontractors. I assure you I am working from the US.”

Caller: “Bulls***! This is why our country is going to Hell: because greedy little f***s like you are stealing all the American jobs. You aren’t even competent! You haven’t helped at all!”

Me: “Well, ma’am, perhaps if you would tell me what your problem is, I could help you.”

(The call degenerates from here, and she demands to speak to my manager… who is full-blood Navajo and also speaks with a slight accent.)

Manager: “Good morning. Can I help you?”

(I only heard screaming from the phone, obscenities, and yelling that he was not American. He hung up after getting documentation of her racist tirade.)

It’s A Drag To Copy And Paste

, , | Right | November 20, 2018

(I work in the technical department of a web system used to record pupil data in schools. It is a complex system, so we are used to customers needing help with some of the advanced functions. We prefer to direct customers to the manual and encourage them to learn the functions as we are only a small team. A call comes in.)

Customer: “I need you to move the pupils from [Year #1] into [Year #2].”

Support: “Okay, it is normally straightforward to just drag the pupils to the new class. Can you tell us what you’ve tried, and what the problem is? We’ll look into it.”

Customer: “I haven’t tried; I don’t have time to do this myself! You should do it!”

Support: *click*

Do As I Say, Not As You [Do]

, , | Right | November 17, 2018

Me: “Then, I just need you to press the green button. After that, select [option].”

Customer: “It just says [not option].”

Me: “Did you press the green button?”

Customer: “No, I pressed [not the green button].”

Me: “Yeah, that’s the problem with pressing [not the green button]; it doesn’t take you to [option].”


, , , , | Working | November 15, 2018

(I work as a network specialist for a large manufacturing company. One day my supervisor receives a call from a very irate secretary saying that a certain VIP’s computer is not turning on and he is furious. He is in his office that he uses once a year; he is an overseas executive for the company. My supervisor sees that I am the only person in the office at the moment and asks me to take care of it. Naturally, I want to know exactly what the problem is before I drive across the manufacturing plant, so I call the secretary back.)

Me: “Hello, this is [My Name] from the IT department. I was told that [VIP]’s computer is not working; what exactly seems to be the problem?”

Secretary: “Yes, he is furious. He came in and the computer would not turn on. He wants his computer working by the time he comes back. You’d better come out here immediately; he has the power to fire everyone in your entire department.”

Me: “Um, okay. Well, before I come out there, I need to know exactly what is not working. Are you in front of the computer right now?”

Secretary: “Just come fix it, right now!”

Me: “Ma’am, I will gladly come out there to work on it, but I need to know exactly what the problem is, so I know what I might need to bring with me. Are you in front of the computer right now?”

(She sighs, and I can hear her get up and walk around.)

Secretary: “Fine. Now what?”

Me: “What happens when you press the power button on the computer?”

Secretary: “Nothing!”

Me: “Can you please press it now for me?”

Secretary: “Nothing happened. Just come fix it.”

Me: “Nothing? Did any lights come on? Did the button flash amber, or white, or blue, or anything?”

Secretary: “No, nothing.”

Me: “Will you press it again and watch the button for me?”

Secretary: “Okay, it flashed yellow and turned off.”

Me: “Okay, keep watching.”

Secretary: “Okay, it flashed white… Now it’s steady white.”

Me: “Okay, please look at the monitor.”

Secretary: “Oh, it’s on. What did you do?”

Me: “Don’t worry, ma’am; it was just a PEBCAK error. It should be fine now.”

(My supervisor literally face-palmed when I told him. He laughed when he read my report, in which I actually used “PEBCAK error.”)

PEBCAK, Episode VI
PEBCAK, Episode V

Giving The Internet A Place To Roost

, , | Right | November 15, 2018

(I’m working for a small IT company. We’re in Germany, and most people we provide service to have little to no idea about computers, or the English language.)

Me: “[Company], [My Name] speaking. How can I help?”

Customer: “This is [Customer]. My Gockel does not work.”

(Note: she pronounces it gock-l. “Gockel” is a South German word for “rooster.”)

Me: “Excuse me. I believe I misheard. Your what?”

Customer: “My Gockel!”

Me: “Um… Does it not crow?”

Customer: “What?! I’m not talking about a rooster! I mean my Internet Gockel!”

Me: “Um… Could you give me an exact walkthrough what you’re trying to do when the error occurs?”

Customer: “I open my Internet, and then there should be Gockel. But instead, there’s a dinosaur.”

Me: “You open your browser, but you get a dinosaur instead of a rooster? Wait…”

(It turns out her Internet provider had a problem, so their Internet didn’t work. She was confused because when she opened her browser, Chrome, the page indicating a connection error with the little dinosaur game showed instead of the usual Google startpage. She just completely mispronounced “Google.”)

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