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Not Exactly Crystal Clear

, , , , , , | Right | September 9, 2021

I work IT for a bank. My name is comparatively common, with a couple of different similar-sounding variations. I’m fairly used to people almost never calling me by my actual name but one of the variations because they hear it just right/wrong through the phone.

I’m on the phone with a user and they’ve had to set the phone down for some reason. They’ve come back to the phone but aren’t quite speaking fully into the mouthpiece.

User: “Okay, Crystal, I’m back.”

Crystal is nowhere close to my name, other than they start with the same letter, so I think they are possibly talking to another teller and don’t respond. The user shifts the phone and starts panicking.

User: “Crystal! Crystal, are you there? You shouldn’t have hung up on me! Oh, tell me she didn’t hang up on me!”

As they get ready to launch into full-fledged panic mode, I clue in that they’re talking to me. Admittedly, I probably should have picked up on it sooner but I am still new enough that getting called a name that is nothing like my actual name is still surprising.

Me: “Oh, sorry! I didn’t realize that you were talking to me.”

User: “I said your name several times!”

Me: “Um… you didn’t. I thought you might have been talking to a customer.”

Bear in mind, I answered the call with, “[Bank], this is [My Name],” and they said “Hi, [My Name], I’m having this issue.”

User: “Yes, I did! You shouldn’t lie to me, Crystal!”

Me: “My name’s not Crystal.”

User: *Brief pause* “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes.”

User: “Um… Well, uh, can we fix the computer?”

I can’t exactly remember what the issue was, but we got it resolved pretty fast. While I was still at the bank, I kept getting called by the most random names. I started keeping a list just to see. By the time I left, I think the list had something like twenty names on it and there were maybe two that could possibly (if you stretched) be confused with my name.

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Things Are Heating Up STUPID Fast

, , , , , | Working | CREDIT: MacrossX | August 25, 2021

I received a help ticket for an employee in our office. “Desktop keeps overheating and shutting down. I am behind on work and missing deadlines because of this repeating issue that has resulted in lost work!”

She had a space heater under her desk pointing directly at the desktop “because her feet get too cold in the air-conditioned office.” I removed the unapproved heater and ran tests, and the desktop was fine. I checked the event logs and it had only ever shut down or crashed once from overheating. I explained this to the employee and told her that you can’t expect a PC to not overheat when heated. I made notes in the ticket and delivered the space heater to the facilities manager.

The employee raised a big stink with her manager, who talked with the facilities manager and had the heater returned with a facilities approval tag. They didn’t involve me at all, and the unit was placed exactly back in the same spot.

I received a second ticket for the employee the very next day. “Desktop is overheating again. I cannot continue to work like this. Fix it or replace my desktop with a laptop.”

I showed up and saw the heater right back where it was. The desktop was off, and actual hardware damage was done to the motherboard this time. I replaced it with a spare desktop of the same make and model. I routed all cabling and placed the computer on the desktop so it wouldn’t melt from the space heater.

The employee complained that the desktop took up too much room on her double-sized cubicle desk space and she should have a laptop. I explained that I didn’t have a laptop available, and it actually took up less space than a laptop anyhow once you factored in the docking station. I explained again that the space heater had killed the previous machine, and it should not be placed next to a heat source. I CC’d her manager on the ticket. I also let my manager know about the whole deal because both cases were totally avoidable.

The third ticket for this employee arrived two days later on a Friday. “New desktop is overheating and shutting down just like last one. I am weeks behind on project work at this point. Please give me a laptop that won’t have this type of problem.”

I showed up right after the ticket was created. She was packing up her stuff to leave and looked put out that I even showed up so soon to deal with the issue. The desktop was on the floor next to the space heater. I asked her why she had moved it back there after killing the previous desktop, and after I had clearly explained that it caused the problem. She wasn’t having it; she said it took up too much room and she should have a laptop anyhow. This time the desktop wouldn’t even post.

I noticed the heater was on the highest possible setting and was aimed directly at the PC this time. There was something about how visibly annoyed she was that I was going to fix it, like she was ready to take an early weekend since “she couldn’t work anyway.” I explained that I would have a replacement ready within thirty minutes (more to gauge her reaction than anything) and she looked even madder.

“Is it going to be a laptop?” she demanded. “I don’t see a replacement being worth it if it’s just going to melt under my desk again.”

I agreed that under your desk is probably a bad idea. If she wanted a laptop, she would have to get her boss to approve the purchase of one. I took the dead desktop and brought back a replacement desktop — we had loads of spare used stock — within twenty minutes. She was gone. Her cube-mates said she had left for the day since IT wouldn’t have a replacement ready.

I documented everything in the ticket and called my manager.

The manager didn’t seem to care at all. He did stress that I was not to give her a laptop replacement unless her department approved and paid for it, though. I was busy enough that this pissed me off. I walked over to Human Resources and explained the situation so far to the representative. She said she would talk to the user’s manager about it. I didn’t expect much.

Sure enough, the following Monday, I had a ticket to deploy a brand-new laptop to the user. The way the cubicle desks were built, there was a space behind the tops for cable routing. This meant the majority of hot air from the heater, still under the desk, would vent right up that space, which would feed directly into the air intake on the docking stations. Since that was the case, I deployed the docking station, laptop, etc., to the right of her monitor instead of the left where it would get hit with the heat.

Once again, she complained. “It’s taking up to much room there. Can’t we put it on the other side?”

I explained that heat would kill a laptop twice as fast as the two desktops she had already killed.

After closing out the ticket, I sent an email to her and CC’d her manager, my manager, and the Human Resources lady. I explained the problems the space heater had caused and that it was the employee’s refusal to listen that had caused damage to multiple pieces of company property. I told them that I’d let her know that moving the laptop to the other side of her desk would very likely damage the brand-new laptop, it should not be done, and it would result in further delays in her ability to finish her projects.

The fourth ticket came two days later. “Laptop will not turn on. Leaving for the day, please fix or replace.” It was 10:00 am on Wednesday. She wasn’t there. The laptop was moved to the left side of the desk and the space heater was still on full blast… pointing backward.

Without touching anything, I called the facilities guy. He agreed that the heater shouldn’t have ever been returned. He also agreed that this woman could have burned down the whole d***ed building. The brand-new laptop was toast.

We took photos of everything and emailed her boss, CCing Human Resources and my manager. Apparently, her manager didn’t even know she had left for the day. She was two weeks behind on a big project and kept blaming IT for messing up her schedule with PCs that didn’t work. I pulled the drive and dumped all the data, and I was able to easily show that she hadn’t done any work for said project at all in the last month.

I never saw that employee again. Much stricter rules were put in place for space heaters after that, so at least I dealt with fewer overheating issues.


This story is part of our Best Of August 2021 roundup!

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And Now I’m Frantically Mashing The “Save” Button

, , , | Legal | CREDIT: aeldsidhe | August 25, 2021

Back in the mid-1980s, when computers were just starting to be widespread in business, autosave was a thing of the very near future but not here yet.

I was a secretary at a law firm and got transferred to the newly created IT department. I did training, setups, and troubleshooting, and I reported to a newly hired but experienced IT manager.

One attorney was having a meltdown because her computer froze and she had been working all morning on a contract for a multimillion-dollar project.

Me: “No problem. We can do a reset and restore it from the last time you saved it.”

Attorney: “I haven’t had time to save it!”

She kept screaming at me to get it back. She hadn’t saved it. Not once. A multimillion-dollar deal. Worked on it for hours. Didn’t. Have. Time. To. Save. It.

When I broke the news that there wasn’t a d***ed thing we could do, I thought she was quite literally going to have a stroke. She was screaming so loud that someone called my boss, who listened to her spit-flecked tantrum. When he heard her say that she hadn’t once saved this oh-so-important document, he said:

Boss: “You didn’t save it. It’s gone. What do you want me to do, [Attorney]? Wave my magic wand to get it back? Get it back from where?”

To this day, I’m still astounded that this woman, who had four years of college and another two to three years of law school, didn’t have the common sense to save her work periodically as it progressed, and then screamed at people who were only trying to help her.

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Pretty Darn Foolish

, , , | Right | CREDIT: little_miss_bonkers | August 19, 2021

A customer calls in asking if I can convert a PDF to a Word document for them. I go through the basics of getting the customer’s name, the school, and the machine details, which she cannot provide.

Me: “You can do this yourself by finding the PDF in Downloads, highlighting the doc by clicking onto it and right-clicking, and use the ‘Open With Word’ option, and then you can save it as a Word document.”

Customer: “Oh, can’t you remote on and do that for me? I am in the middle of something.”

Me: “Our services are for technical issues like if you have no option to open with or it comes up with an error when you try to do this; this is a relatively easy task that takes only a couple of seconds. Getting remote setup on your machine would actually take longer, as you said you didn’t understand how to provide your machine name.”

Customer: “Oh. Oh, never mind. I’ll log a ticket!”

Me: “Feel free. I’ll provide written instructions to you so you can convert PDFs to Word.”

Customer: “No, no, so you convert it and send it back.”

Me: “We currently have three schools down due to power outages; it will take a while for one of us to respond to a low-priority ticket. It’ll be quicker if you follow my instructions. In addition, as I explained, this is not a technology fault for us to fix, so the standard protocol is to send you written instructions; anybody that gets the ticket will do so.”

Customer: “I thought you were here to assist us with our job? Never mind.”

Bye-bye, administrator who can’t do basic tasks.

We are here to help you if the technology refuses to cooperate and do a task for you, not to remote on and complete that task for you because you do not know how to do it. We can provide you instructions on how to do it, even training, but we will charge. Considering you have worked at the school for over fifteen years, you know how to convert a PDF. Don’t play dumb on me.

If I were having a less stressful day, and she’d provided the machine information, I would have remoted on and showed her and got her to do it and let her know why it’s the way it is. Not being able to understand basic instruction means no remote session.

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The Cooling Fans Aren’t The Loudest Thing Here

, , , | Right | August 8, 2021

A customer has recently bought an expensive piece of equipment from my company, and he called in to complain he has a problem and we need to send him a new one. The problem which apparently requires a free thousand-pound product be sent out immediately? The cooling fans are unusually loud.

A junior colleague is the one to pick up the call, and even getting the customer’s order details to make sure he bought it from us causes shouting and screaming. When we ask for a video of the problem so we can see what’s going on, he adds swearing and physical threats into the mix and the owner of our company takes over the call.

This is what our office overhears from the owner’s side of the conversation.

Owner: “Hi. I’m sorry to hear about—”

Owner: “Of course, we want to help you. We just need—”

Owner: “We’re not arguing; we want to help. We only need—”

Owner: “Please just let me explain—”

Owner: “No, I need to speak without being interrupted so I can tell you—”

Owner: “Sir, we have a policy on unacceptable communication, and if you keep shouting and swearing—”

Owner: “Of course we want to help. We’re not arguing. Just please let me tell you what we need without interrupting what I’m—”

Owner: “If I can’t tell you what we need then we can’t—”

Owner: “I think it would be best if I email since you won’t—”

Owner: “No, we won’t call you back. If I can’t say what I need to say over the phone, then why—”

Owner: “Okay, I’ll email you now. Goodbye.”

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