Laptop Flop, Part 2

| Tampa, FL, USA | Right | January 11, 2013

(I work in a technology help desk fixing computers. A preteen girl brings in her laptop. The entire left side is damaged, and quite badly.)

Girl: “My laptop isn’t working and I don’t know why.”

Me: “Well, it may have to do with the damage on the side.”

Girl: “What damage?”

Me: “The entire left side of your laptop is smashed up.”

Girl: *surprised* “Oh! When did that happen?”

Me: “Have you dropped it recently?”

Girl: “Well, yeah, I’m really klutzy, so I tend to drop it out of my car when I go to school.”

Me: “Okay. Well, we can take a look at it and try to fix it for you so your laptop works again. In the future, try not to drop your laptop so much.”

Girl: “Oh, is it bad to drop it a lot?”

Laptop Flop

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Problem Exists (In The Impossibly Tiny Space) Between Chair And Keyboard

| Chicago, IL, USA | Working | January 8, 2013

(I write software for manufacturing companies. I’ve just written a program for a company with a plant in Iowa, and have installed it on the supervisor stations at the manufacturing sites. It has been online for about two months, and has gotten lots of praise from the people who have used it. One morning, at about 2 am, I receive a phone call from one of the night supervisors at that plant.)

Supervisor: “Your program’s screwed up! It locked up after I had put in about 90% of the data I need to, and it won’t let me finish!”

(I remember this supervisor: it’s important to note that his office makes trash cans look spacious. For someone to open the door, he has to turn his wheeled chair ninety degrees. There’s no room to back the chair up; you need to stand up, push the chair under the desk, move out of the way, and then open the door.)

Me: “Okay, tell me exactly what happened.”

Supervisor: “I was entering data, when [line boss] comes in with the orders for the morning shift. I talked with him about them for about 2 minutes, then he went back to work and I sat back down at the computer  I tried to continue typing, but nothing is happening!”

Me: “Try moving the mouse. Does the cursor move on the screen?”

Supervisor: “Yes, that still seems to be working.”

Me: “Good. I was kind of expecting this problem  Click on the SAVE button in the program.”

Supervisor: “But I’m not done entering the data!”

Me:” I know, but this way you don’t lose any of the work you have done. Let me know when it says save is complete.”

Supervisor:  “Okay, it’s done.”

Me: “Now, look at the back of the keyboard. Do you see the cable coming out the back?”

Supervisor: “Yes…”

Me: “Follow the cable back to the end.”

Supervisor: *grunts* “Okay, I can see the end.”

Me: “Is it plugged into anything?”

Supervisor: “No.”

Me: “When you turned your chair, your knee probably caught on the keyboard cable and unplugged it. If you plug it back in, everything should be fine.”

(I listen to the sounds of grunting for a minute. Eventually, he gets back on the phone.)

Supervisor: “Yeah, it works now. Tomorrow I’m getting a wireless mouse and keyboard. Thanks!”

Speedy Service For Slow Minds

| PA, USA | Right | January 2, 2013

(A customer calls in about new speeds for internet service we offer. It’s 10 minutes before I am getting off from work and she has the wrong department. She also has a very thick Russian accent.)

Me: “Tech support, this is [name]; how can I help you?”

Customer: “Yeah, I have your mega max speed and I heard you have a faster connection that I can upgrade to now.”

Me: “Yes, that’s correct: we have a 30Mbs service, a 75, and even 100.”

Customer: “Okay, great, I want it, and I want you to credit me for the amount of time I didn’t have it.”

Me: “Okay, I can transfer you to customer service department were they can help you get the new speed, but I am sorry; we cant give you a credit for service you didn’t have.”

Customer: “But you had the service and I didn’t have it! I had to hear about it from a friend that the service was available. Why was I not made aware of this service? I want credit for the time I didn’t have it.”

Me: “I understand what you’re saying, but the service has been out for about 5-6 months. We sent out letters and we put up banners and even commercials. You didn’t see anything in regards to the new service?”

Customer: “No!”

Me: “Okay, well I can help you get this new service. But, I am sorry we are not going to give you a credit for a service that was available to you and you just didn’t subscribe to it.”

Customer: “Oh, well… I’ll get the credit. I’ll just talk to you manager. Transfer me to customer service, thank you!”

(She didn’t get the credit.)

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Little White Lies On Little White Christmases

| CA, USA | Right | December 24, 2012

(I receive a call on Christmas Eve.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [company]. How may I help you?”

Mom: *after verifying her account* “I’d like to put my daughter on the line. It’s her phone that’s having the trouble.”

Me: “Sure.”

Mom: *gives phone to her daughter*

Daughter: “I can’t make any calls on my phone. It keeps giving me a recording.”

Me: “Let’s see what we need to do to fix that. What kind of phone do you have?”

(The daughter gives me the name of a phone we stopped selling about 2 years before. Looking at her account, there’s a brand new phone that we only started selling about a month before. I check the remarks and it was activated today, Christmas Eve. I put two and two together and decide to speak with her mom.)

Me: “I think I actually see what the trouble is. Can I talk to your mom again?”

Daughter: *gives phone to her mom*

Mom: “What is it?”

Me: “Did you by any chance buy your daughter a phone for Christmas?”

Mom: *quietly, barely louder than a whisper* “Yes!”

Me: “It looks like that phone has already been activated, and service is completely transferred over. We have a couple of options. First, I can re-activate her old phone, and you can give us a call or go online tomorrow and activate the new one. Second, we can leave things the way they are and she will unwrap her already working phone in the morning.”

Mom: *still quietly* “Let’s do that second one.”

(She starts talking loudly, so her daughter can hear.)

Mom: *loudly* “So, you found a network issue and you’re submitting a ticket, but since it’s the holiday the network team is on a skeleton crew and the problem won’t be fixed until morning?”

Daughter: *in the background* “No!”

Me: *to the mom* “Well-played!”

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PEBCAK & Episode V

| Vancouver Island, BC, Canada | Right | December 10, 2012

(Note: I provide desktop support for a division of the Canadian government.)

Caller: “My computer is frozen. I’ve tried everything and it just doesn’t respond…” *describes what’s on the screen*

Me: “Okay, we can fix that.”

(A bit of troubleshooting transpires.)

Caller: “No, it’s still not doing anything.”

Me: “Okay, we will try a hard power off. Hold down the power button on the tower until the computer turns off, and then press it again to turn it back on.”

(The caller answers almost immediately, which is a tad fast as it takes about 5 seconds for the tower to power off usually.)

Caller: “Okay, I did that. It’s still the same.”

Me: “What do you mean it’s still the same?”

Caller: “Nothing has changed. It’s just like it was before I turned it off. I know what I’m doing; I’m good with computers. I use one at home all the time, too.”

Me: “…So, you completely turned the computer off by holding down the power button and when you turned it back on you didn’t have to log on or enter a password, and all your applications showed up still frozen?”

Caller: “Yes, that’s it exactly. I don’t understand what’s going on! I’m good with computers. I use one at home all the time, too.”

(I ask a couple more questions before giving up fixing it over the phone. As she works in the same building as I do, I tell her that I’ll be up to see her in a few minutes. I walk in to see her holding down the power button and a blank screen.)

Caller: “I thought that if I held it down for longer it might be better.”

Me: *bites tongue* “Okay, well what we need to do—”

Caller: “See?!” *the screen lights up* “Exactly the same as before I shut it all down!”

Me: “Okay, but that is the monitor. We need to shut down the computer…”

PEBCAK & Episode IV

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