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If You Need Me, I’ll Be Showering For The Next Several Hours

, , , | Right | September 25, 2021

The creepiest customer I’ve ever had was at a tech support company about seven years ago when I did tech support for a company that provided free online apps across the globe. They needed help finding some files on their account.

User: “So, how old do you have to be to work there? You sound twelve!”

Me: *Laughs* “Oh, yes! I get that a lot. Definitely not twelve.”

User: “I don’t believe you! Are you single?”

Me: “Uh… married with a kid.”

User: “No, you’re not. You’re only twelve. You sound hot. You should go out with me.”

To make it worse, they either had that smoker’s voice people get or they were in their sixties. Their tone of voice was that one that creeps get when they think they’re being sexy but it’s all cringe.

Even With The Phones Back Up, Communication Is Down

, , , , | Working | September 20, 2021

This takes place around 2012. I have been at this help desk, tech support job for about four years now. I am the lead Tier 2 technician. Since no management works on the weekends, I am in charge of the half-dozen other technicians working with me. There is an escalation list of managers to contact should any issues beyond my scope come up.

One day, on what starts like any other Saturday morning, I arrive at work about ten minutes early. The two guys that work third shift are just leaving and everyone for first shift is coming in to get logged on the phone system to and to start working any older tickets.

The morning progresses like it usually does: a few calls early in the morning but nothing pressing. About an hour goes without any calls and we’re approaching the pre-lunch rush, but the phones aren’t ringing and any outgoing calls we’ve tried to make, no customers are picking up. About another thirty minutes pass and still no calls. We find this odd.

I grab my cell phone and dial the help desk phone number; it just goes to a busy signal. Oh, s***! Phones are down!

I grab the escalation list and see what manager is on call for the day and I call him using my cell phone. About twenty minutes later, phones are still down, but the manager is on the floor and he’s calling out to the phone company and then to his supervisor. With the phones being down, we cannot call out to customers to work with them on issues and we certainly can’t get any inbound calls to help customers with any current issues. So, the help desk techs and I just sit and wait for instructions from management.

Another thirty minutes go by and in walks a couple of the owners with our in-house techs to check phones on our end while they are still working with the phone company. Management and owners are trying to figure out what actions to take next because we cannot have downtime like this.

Pretty soon, one of the owners comes around and tells the help desk techs that they are working on getting some burner phones so we can start making outbound calls because it could be a few more hours before the phone company can fix the issue. In the meantime, the owner tells us that we need to start using our personal cell phones to make outbound calls to customers. They say they will reimburse us and pay us $50 to use our personal cell phones.

A couple of guys think it is a good deal, but I don’t. 

Me: “I am not using my own personal cell phone to make outbound calls to customers. Once customers get technicians’ cell phones, they are relentless and constantly call them. So, I am not going to be using my cell phone for any work-related calls to customers.”

Immediate Manager: “I understand, and I don’t blame you. I have customers who’ve gotten my number constantly trying to call my personal cell.”

About an hour goes by. The phone company resolves the issue and phones are working again, just about the same time that one of the other owners shows up with a dozen burner phones to use. With the phones up, we continue on with the workday without any other issues.

Along comes Monday, and after I get into work and to my desk, my manager tells me that his supervisor wants to see me. I head into the head manager’s office and he sits me down across the table from him.

Head Manager: “Why wouldn’t you make any calls with your cell phone on Saturday? You knew the phones were down and we needed to make calls to customers to work on existing tickets in the system.”

Me: “I already told you guys that I wasn’t using my personal cell phone to make calls to customers.”

Head Manager: “The owners said they would pay for your cell phone bill for the month, so I don’t understand why it was an issue.”

Me: “It’s my cell phone. Not a work phone. You guys don’t pay for it nor own it, and I don’t want customers to have my number to call me on my personal cell phone. If you want me to have a company-owned cell phone to use and make calls from it, I’ll be more than happy to do that, but I won’t use my personal cell for work-related calls.”

Head Manager: “Okay. Fair enough. That’s all.”

I head out to my desk and do my work, and after a few days, I forget about the incident and life moves on. Or so I think.

The following week, I’m once again asked to talk with the head manager for the help desk.

Head Manager: “The owners want to know why it was such a difficult thing to not use your cell phone a couple of Saturdays ago when the phones were down.”

Me: “I already told you. My phone. Not a company phone.”

I glare at my manager. If he can’t tell that I am pissed about being questioned about the same thing we went over about me using my personal phone for work, he needs to find a better position, because reading people isn’t one of them.

Head Manager: “They offered to pay for your time using your phone. We just don’t understand why it was so difficult for you to do. The other guys on the help desk used their phones to make outbound calls.”

Me: “I already told you! My personal f****** phone!

People outside his office can hear me yelling at him.

Me: “You guys don’t get to tell me what I can and cannot do with my phone and my property. I don’t appreciate you harassing me about it again.”

The manager sat there with his mouth slightly open and eyes as wide as can be. He took a moment to collect himself. Then, he thanked me for my time and said I could go back to my desk.

The issue was never brought up again, and a new policy was put in place that personal cell phones were not to be used for contacting customers. They would keep burner phones on hand should the phone system go down again.

Check Cabling But Also Check What You’re Saying!

, , , | Right | September 18, 2021

I work tech support for a major ISP. A customer calls because her TV set-top box won’t start up; the message is “check cabling”. Throughout the process, I have to shout to get her attention because she is chatting with roommates. Apparently, they are med students.

Customer: “[Lots of medical information about a patient].”

Me: “Ma’am, what is the TV doing?”

Customer: “[Lots of medical information about a patient].”

Me: “Ma’am, what is the TV doing?”

Customer: *As if I’m being a nuisance* “Still starting.”

Customer: “[Lots of medical information about a patient].”

Me: “Ma’am, what is the TV doing?”

The customer continues violating every privacy law on the books and probably necessitating a few new ones.

Me: “Is the TV starting?”

Customer: *Suddenly very surprised* “It works! What was the problem?”

Me: “When it said, ‘check cabling’… the cable was loose. Have a nice day, ma’am.”

If I ever need a doctor in that city, I think I’ll just die.

A Tale Of Cowboy Law And Hollowpoints

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: ClaireBunny1988 | September 18, 2021

I work for a company that supplies Point Of Sale hardware, software, networks, and the works to grocery stores all over the Americas. I have been here for just under a decade and BOY, do I love my job. I am on the support side of the house, essentially the warranty.

This story happened fairly early on.

We had this one customer, a small-time independent grocery store chain with maybe three stores and a tight budget. They were on a contract that did not include upgrades to their hardware and were still rocking Windows XP “Servers” with at most 2GB of ram. We had been having issues on the regular with one store where their poor little engine that (almost) could would lock up running batches on their inventory for price management, and the manager was properly fed up with the situation.

His main file server would lock up, he would call us, and we would band-aid it and recommend to the owners of the company that they needed to have a beefier boy installed. They would deny it every time. So, after about day umpteen million and three of this repeat issue and the manager begging both us and his bosses for a hardware upgrade… I get an automated alert that his server is offline again.

“He’s probably just rebooting it because its frozen,” I think. Boy, am I wrong. I call the store and the manager answers with an audible grin so wide I could practically get a tan from all that radiating smugness.

Me: “Hey, [Manager] this is [My Name] from [Company]. I’m calling because your server is showing offline for us again. Do you have a few minutes?”

Manager: “Oh, buddy, I’m glad you called. You’re going to have to schedule a tech out here to get this server replaced.”

Me: “Well, you know we need owner approval for that, but if you could jus—”

Manager: “Emergencies are covered under contract, right?”

Me: “Um… yes, sir?”

Manager: “And I can assure you that nothing you or I can do from where we are will get this server back online, so this is an emergency, correct?”

Me: “Fair enough, sir. I’ll get someone out there ASAP.”

I dispatch a tech and, as luck would have it, he was already in the area, just coming off working on another store. I get him to go take a look and he calls me about an hour later.

Tech: “Hey, can you schedule another dispatch for this store, emergency, to get their new server authorized?”

Me: “Yeah, I can start the process, but you know how these owners have been about buying new hardware.”

Tech: “Yeah, that’s not going to be a problem this time.”

Me: “What happened? Can we try to get the server back online?”

Tech: “That’s not gonna happen there, bud. Calling it catastrophic hardware failure over here. I’ll send you a pic.”

The tech sent my work email a picture. What I saw was a computer case that had a little hole on one side and a substantially larger hole on the other side. Opened up, the case revealed a penetrated hard drive and a shredded motherboard. The manager got his new computer.

Call It Karma Or Consequences; Either Way, We’re Stoked!

, , , , , | Right | CREDIT: jbanelaw | September 17, 2021

I’ve been an IT consultant for more than a decade now and make good money with my client portfolio, but occasionally, either the work slows down or I need some extra money. So, when this happens, I reach out to a recruiter friend who is happy to match me on a short-term contract.

About five years ago, I needed some extra cash for the holidays and decided to see if there were any desirable contract jobs in the area. After a few phone interviews, I got an offer letter for a sweet gig. It was three months as an overnight level-two tech, partially supervising the overnight shift at the help desk and taking the first stab at escalated tickets before holding them over for the day crew. I don’t mind overnight shifts; a few extra dollars in shift differential hourly pay and I can’t beat the traffic to and from work, all of which makes day work overrated in my book.

It ended up being a cakewalk of a job, mostly. The phones were dead quiet. I spent my time running server updates, checking backups, and keeping the few level-one techs honest. The occasional ticket that got pushed up to me was usually something that had to wait until a day shift systems administrator could work on it. But now time to get to the “mostly” part.

A level-one tech called me.

Level-One Tech: “[My Name], I need your help with this ticket.”

I transferred the call.

Me: “Hello! Give me a few minutes to review the ticket and I’ll see how I can help you.”

Caller: “Look, all I need is a password reset. I am locked out of my account, and I need to send this email before the office opens.”

Me: “Okay, can you give me your employee ID again?”

Caller: “It is [fifteen-digit number].”

Me: “Um, that is way too many numbers. Where are you getting that from?”

Caller: “It is right here on my employee ID card under ‘employee number’!”

Me: “Well, it should be like five digits. Are you looking at…”

I went over a few different cards employees have to access doors, etc.

Caller: “Nope, none of that. It is on my employee ID with my picture. I am staring right at it.”

He was getting really annoyed.

Me: “Let’s try this a different way; can you give me the asset tag on your laptop?”

Caller: “Okay, the sticker says [nine-digit number and seven-digit number].”

Me: “That isn’t in the format of any of our asset IDs. Are you sure you are looking at our company sticker and not, say, the manufacturer serial number?”

Caller: “Yeah, it is right here. Says ‘company asset’ right on the tag. I’m not some kind of idiot!”

Me: “Well, I’m pretty confused at this point, because none of the numbers you are giving me are formatted like anything we have on file. How about you just give me your name and department again? I’ll see if I can find your user profile that way.”

Caller: “I’m [Caller] from Sales, Director of Sales. Just like I said before!”

Me: “Hold on, let me check a few things.”

I put the guy on hold while I started scrolling through the users in Active Directory. I couldn’t find anyone with a name that even remotely resembled this guy. None of this made sense, so I decided I’d just escalate it to the day shift and be done with it.

Me: “Sir, I can’t find your account anywhere on the server and none of the numbers you are giving me are in our system. I’m going to need to get some info and escalate this to a systems administrator with the day shift.”

Caller: “All I need is my [string of profanity] password reset. You tech guys are completely worthless…”

He continued swearing for about the next ninety seconds.

Caller: “Look, the CEO needs this first thing in the morning, so you are going to need to get someone who is on call to take a look at this now.”

I did have an on-call systems administrator that I was told to only contact if absolutely necessary, but before I was about to do that, I just wanted to check something.

While this guy was berating me and swearing up a storm, I decided to see if I could find him on LinkedIn. After a few searches and wading through common connections, finally, I got his profile to pop up. And there he was, Director of Sales — NOT for our corporation, but for a very similar-sounding company in the area.

Me: “Sir, you are aware that you called tech support for [Company #1], right?”

Caller: “Umm… this isn’t [Company #2] tech support?!”

Me: “No, I work for [Company #1] and you called our tech support line.”

He swore again.

Caller: “I just wasted the last forty-five minutes talking to the wrong guys!”

Me: “It would appear so. How did you get this number?”

Caller: “It just did a quick search on my phone and must have mistyped a few letters.”

Me: “I think I found the number you want to call; here it is.”

I gave him the number.

Caller: “Oh… um… thanks. Um… my bad…”

And then, he hung up.

The story didn’t end with just a semi-rude hang-up and no apology. It turned out that the call got flagged for some form of audit or follow-up, so some higher-up ended up listening to the recording a few weeks later. One thing led to another, and I got called into the manager’s office at the end of my shift one day.

Manager: “We flagged a call you took a few weeks ago from [Caller] in Sales.”

Me: “Oh, yeah, I remember that call. Funny story, he called up the wrong tech support line.”

Manager: “Yeah, we know. We listened to the call as part of our ongoing training program, and we were really concerned about how he acted toward our employees.”

Me: “I seem to remember that he wasn’t that nice, but it’s no big deal.”

Manager: “It is a big deal to me. I don’t tolerate my employees being abused like that by anyone, especially the employee of another company.”

Me: “The guy came off as a jerk, but—”

Manager: “I had a nice long conversation with his boss over at [Company #2] and was assured that they don’t tolerate that kind of behavior, either. Seems like [Caller] will be looking for a new job soon.”

Sure enough, when I got back to my desk, I looked up the guy on LinkedIn again. He was now looking for work. What goes around comes around.