Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 14

, | Houston, TX, USA | Extra Stupid, Popular, Technology

(I work for a large cell phone provider.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Cell Phone Provider]. This is [My Name]. How may I assist you today?”

Caller: “Yes. Every time my phone rings and I try to answer it, my phone shuts off. It happens every time.”

Me: “Well, that is pretty odd. Let me see if I can figure out what the issue with your handset is.”

(After spending almost an hour trying to look up account info and diagnose what could possibly be wrong with this woman’s phone with no luck, I am about to give up and replace the phone.)

Me: “So that I can write up in your account what exactly is happening so we can replace your phone, what button are you pushing when trying to answer the phone?”

Caller: “The ‘Push When Ringing’ button.”

Me: “I’m sorry, which button?”

Caller: “’Push When Ringing.’ You know? P-W-R.”

Me: “I think I know the problem…”

Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 13
Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 12
Not-So-Smart Phone, Part 11


Can’t Get With The Program(ming)

| Boise, ID, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

(I receive a phone call from a user who is trying to get admin privileges on his computer and he needs assistance with getting the update for those privileges.)

Me: “Sir, I need you to open a program for me called Command Prompt. To open it, can I have you click on Start?”

User: “I am the engineering lead for three departments and have a degree in computer programing. Do not patronize me and assume I don’t know how to open Command Prompt. I have it open now.”

Me: “All right, sir, can I have you do a Group Policy update?”

User: “Okay.”


User: “The command failed.”

Me: “Okay. Just to verify, what did you type in for the command?”

User: “’Update.’”

Me: “Sir, let’s try this instead: ‘gpupdate /force’.”

User: “’gp/force’.”

Me: “No, sir.” *I spell it phonetically*

User: “’gpupdat /for’.”

Me: “Like this, sir.” *spells it again*

User: *angrily* “There. I got it.”

Me: “All right, sir, now we need to restart the computer.”

User: “Why?”

Me: “For the group policy to apply, just like you learned in programming.”

User: “We didn’t use Command Prompt in programming.”

Me: “…”


The Final Word On Passwords, Part 4

| MS, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

(I often have to reset passwords on various systems. Because of strict password restrictions, these systems require lowercase, CAPS, numbers, etc. To make it easy on users, we always reset to “Password123” without quotes. This is a very typical phone call:)

Me: “All right, I’ve reset your password. The new password is ‘Password123’ with a capital ‘P’.”

User: “That didn’t work.”

Me: “Are you sure you typed it in correctly? It’s the word ‘Password’ with only the ‘P’ capitalized and the numbers ‘123’ after. There are no spaces.”

User: “No, that still didn’t work. Do I have to type in my username?”

Me: “Yes, you use your same username, and where it asks for the password, it’s ‘Password123’ with the ‘P’ capitalized.”

User: “I know; I’m typing in what you tell me but it isn’t working.”

Me: “Are you sure your CAPS Lock is not on?”

User: “Yes, I’m sure.”

Me: “Can you tell me exactly what you are typing in as you type it?”

User: “p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d-1-2-3-c-a-p-i-t-a-l-p”

Me: “Okay, it isn’t the phrase “capitalp” at the end. The word ‘Password’ has a capitalized letter ‘P’ at the beginning.”

User: “Oh! Okay. P-p-a-s-s-w-o-r-d-1-2-3. Nope, that still didn’t work.”

The Final Word On Passwords, Part 3
The Final Word On Passwords, Part 2
The Final Word On Passwords


Out Of Control Panel

, | Portugal | Technology

(I work in a tech support company that is outsourced by some of the largest ISPs in the country to provide IT support to their customers. The average customer knows almost nothing about computers. This is a sample of a conversation that happens with several customers, too often to count…)

Tech: “All right, now I’m going to ask you to open the start menu and go to the Control Panel.”

Customer: “So where do I click?”

Tech: “The start menu.”

Customer: “And where is that?”

Tech: “It’s that little round button with the Windows flag on it, usually on the lower left corner of your screen.”

Customer: “So, do I open the Internet?”

Tech: “No, the start menu.”

Customer: “…”

Tech: “Do you see the time and date? On the lower right corner?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Tech: “On the opposite end of the task bar, which has the time and date… all the way to the left… What do you see?”

Customer: “I see… Oh, I see a ball with a Windows symbol inside. Is that it?”

Tech: “Yes. Click there, please.”

Customer: “Do I click once or twice?”

Tech: “Once.”

Customer: “Left or right mouse button?”

Tech: “Left.”

Customer: “Ok, I clicked it. It opened a rectangle on the left with many options.”

Tech: “Ok, so if you look closely you’ll see that rectangle is divided in two columns, correct?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Tech: “And on the right column you can read ‘Documents’, ‘Pictures’, ‘Computer’, etc… And if you continue going down you’re going to find the Control Panel.”

Customer: *taking an unusual amount of time to read half a dozen options on a menu…* “Oh, yes, I see it. Do I click it?”

Tech: “Yes, please.”

Customer: “Once or twice?”

Tech: “Once.”

Customer: “Left or right mouse button?”

Tech: “Left.”

(By now, it had been like five minutes, and all we had managed to do was open the Control Panel. And that was when we were lucky enough to manage even that! These calls weren’t free. And we often had to hear the customers complaining that they’re “spending a lot of money and the problem hasn’t been solved yet!”  Well, at this pace, it’s no wonder…)


Cents-less Attempts To Browse

, | Portugal | Extra Stupid, Technology

(I work in a tech support call center. The calls aren’t free, and the cost of the call per minute is clearly stated before the customer is put on hold for an operator. One of the ISPs that hires us has recently changed their webmail platform and people are having some issues adapting. I start my shift at 8:30 in the morning. It’s 8:29 and I see a call waiting, so I decide to login a minute early to help this customer.)

Me: “[Company], good morning. My name is [My Name]. How may I help you?”

Customer: *very rudely* “Miss, at 30 cents per minute, I just payed to listen to half a minute of music. But let’s get to the point. I’m trying to access my webmail and the page looks weird. It’s all disfigured and I can see a kind of grid all over the screen. When I click on something it doesn’t respond correctly. I want to know if [ISP] is having any issues with their new webmail page.”

(We have no access to any ISP’s client database, so the first thing I do every time I get a call is run the phone number through our search engine to see if the client is registered on our database. When a customer is a first time caller, I have to ask for his information to insert him in the system.)

Me: “Okay, we’ll get right on fixing that issue for you, but first I need some information.”

(I ask him for the minimum data possible to be able to help him, as I notice he is clearly impatient and I don’t want to anger him any further.)

Me: “All right, so, you told me you’re having trouble viewing the new webmail page correctly. Do you have another browser you can try to see if there might be a problem with the one you are using now?”

Customer: “I use Internet Explorer. I have no other browsers and I will install no other browsers. I’ve always used this browser and it works just fine for [Popular Worldwide Webmail Provider]. I only have a problem with [ISP]’s new webmail page, because the old one worked just fine! Just tell me if [ISP] is having any temporary issues with their webmail!”

Me: “I have no information regarding a problem with [ISP]’s webmail page. The problem must be on your browser. I can guide you through the process of…”

Customer: “Don’t try to outsmart me, young lady, because I am not illiterate when it comes to computers! I bet I know more than you! I’ve dealt with computers all my life and I know my browser is just fine! It works fine with [Popular Worldwide Webmail Provider]; it’s only [ISP]’s webmail page I have a problem with!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but there really seems to be nothing wrong with [ISP]’s webmail page. Most of the time when there’s a problem viewing a webpage correctly, clearing your browser history, cache, cookies, temporary files, and restoring your advanced browser settings is enough to solve the problem. It’s a fairly quick process, and as I was saying before, I can guide you through it to get everything working again.”

Customer: “What?! You want to change my browser settings? I suggest you start having milk for breakfast instead of brandy. Good day.” *click*

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