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I Have No Power To Help You

, , , , , | Right | May 5, 2023

I work as an IT consultant and sales representative. I sell and install an office printer and copy machine for a regular customer.

A week later, he calls me at 7:00 am, furious.

Customer: “The s*** copy machine you sold me doesn’t work! Get down here right now!”

So, I did. Entering his office, still early in the morning, I noticed there was kind of a gloomy atmosphere in the room.

It turned out that the main fuses for the entire office space were blown.

Microsoft Word To The Wise: Run!

, , , , , | Right | May 4, 2023

I work in tech support for my university. A “regular” comes in one day and explains that a Word document from her email won’t open on her Mac. She is elderly and a regular at tech support, so I know it is about to get interesting.

Me: “Okay, let’s start by getting into your university email.”

Customer: *Starts logging in* “What’s my password?”

Me: “I have absolutely no idea what your password is.”

Customer: “But you guys gave that to me!”

Me: “That wasn’t me. You’ll have to go back to [office] where they reset university account passwords.”

She grumbles and heads to the office, and they handle her and send her back. She next shows me the email in question. I download it and test it on our Mac, and it works fine. I resave it in a different file format just in case.

We go to her email account, and I attach the document and email it to her. She says she’ll try it and leaves.

Ten minutes later, she’s back and walks right over to my desk, balls her fists up, raises them over her head, and yells:

Customer:Why won’t you help me?!

The receptionist comes over and tells her she needs to stop yelling. She says a bunch of things about how much money is at stake, that no one is helping her, and that she needs help desperately.

Again, I look at the file and show her that it opens just fine on our computer. I’m not really allowed or supposed to go with anyone anywhere, so I give her the phone number and tell her to call when she is at the machine in question.


She comes back ten minutes later again, and this time she is VERY angry.

Customer: “You’re not helping me! You’re doing a terrible job! They shouldn’t be paying you; in fact, you should get fired!”

My boss then came out and shuffled her away immediately. My boss actually went with her to the machine she was trying to work on. It turned out that it wasn’t a Mac but a Dell. The Dell did not have Microsoft Word on it, so the file would not open.

She returned three more times that day, one time just to talk, one time to ask for a paper clip, and one time to ask to use the phone.


, , , , , | Working | May 4, 2023

I work in IT for a retail company, supporting the employees. One big thing that is stressed as much as possible is to NEVER SHARE YOUR PASSWORD. Unfortunately, a lot of the store users either don’t see a problem with it or just think it doesn’t apply to them. Whenever we find out that someone is sharing passwords, we’re supposed to reset the password that’s being shared and submit an incident report to our security team. The user whose password we reset needs to call in for a new one, and they’re given a reminder that they shouldn’t be sharing passwords.

When I am still new to the company, I get a call from a user who says she’s having trouble with her email. We go through some remote troubleshooting, and I end up having to reboot the computer. It comes back up and I get reconnected to the workstation.

Me: “Okay, go ahead and sign in. I want to see if the error continues to pop up before you access your email.”

The user enters credentials that don’t match her account information on the call ticket in front of me.

Me: “Um, you’re [User], correct?”

User: “Yep.”

Me: “Okay, but it looks like you didn’t enter [User’s account username].”

User: “Nope. It’s my manager’s email that’s having issues, so I’m using her account.”

Me: *Head-desk* “Is [Manager] your manager?”

User: “Yes.”

Me: “Is she in the store?”

User: “No, she went home for the day and wanted me to get this fixed.”

Me: “Okay. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to reset [Manager]’s password and end this call. I’ll also be submitting an incident report to our security team, and the two of you may be contacted by them. You’re not supposed to be sharing credentials like that. She’ll need to call us to get a reset.”

User: “Well, she said it was okay for me to use her account to get this fixed.”

Me: “I understand that, but she was mistaken. It’s not okay to share credentials. If she’s having email issues, she needs to call us while she’s having trouble so we can investigate.”

User: “She doesn’t have time to do that, which is why she told me it was okay.”

Me: “Unfortunately, this is company policy. You are not supposed to be sharing credentials, and I am going to be resetting her password and ending this call. She’ll need to call us back to have her password reset.”

User: “You know what? Fine.” *Click*

I fill out my call ticket and note what happened. I also reset the manager’s password and submit the incident to security.

The manager does call back later that day to get her password reset. (We have a Single Sign On setup, so the manager was trying to check something from home and couldn’t. Also if I had to guess, the user I was talking to called and complained about me as soon as she hung up my call.)

I’m not there when the manager calls, but my coworker takes the call and tells me about it the next day.

Manager: “Someone from your team reset my password earlier for no reason! She should be fired!”

[Coworker] is able to see [Manager]’s account status, and he was sitting right behind me when I took the initial call, so he knows what happened.

Coworker: “I see that your password was reset because you gave your credentials to [User].”

Manager: “Well, of course! She was the only one who had time to call you and fix my email! The girl she was talking to shouldn’t have reset my account! I didn’t do anything wrong!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, you should not be sharing passwords. That’s why your password was reset.”

Manager: “I told [User] it was fine! I said it was, so she can use my password! Why did the girl earlier reset it like that and not give me a temporary one?”

Coworker: “Because you were no longer in the building for us to verify. I can provide you with a temporary one now and help you reset it; I just need to ask a couple of verifying questions.”

Manager: “Why do you have to do that?”

Coworker: “Company policy. I need to confirm your identity before I can reset your password. And you should not be sharing it with anyone else.”

Manager: “Ugh. Why not? I told [User] it was okay!”

Coworker: “It’s a security measure, ma’am. Just like the identity verification. It helps ensure that you’re the only one actually signing in with your credentials.”

The manager apparently grumbled but finally went through the verification steps, and my coworker was able to get her reset with another warning not to be sharing credentials. I did not get fired or even talked to or written up for doing my job, so there’s that.

Nepotism, Stupidity, Or Something More Nefarious?

, , , , , , , , | Working | May 2, 2023

I was a project manager, and my not-so-bright boss dumped a do-nothing and know-nothing employee onto my team. Why, I have no clue, but despite my objections, I was stuck with him. He had no idea what our project was even about, but I tried to find something important for him to do — like documenting our processes and procedures — that wouldn’t cause our project to fail. But he failed at that simple task, too. 

Then came annual evaluations for all members of my team. After writing them, I met with my boss for review and approval. My recommendation, complete with a list of all the screw-ups and mistakes this jerk had made, was to put him on probation for ninety days, and if he didn’t improve, he was to be let go. And he would receive no raise that year.  

Instead of my boss accepting my recommendation for this guy, he told me to promote him to a Senior Analyst position! I could not justify that, and I told my boss so.

Boss: “Do it, or you might be reporting to that guy.”

I got the drift and somehow managed to write a half-decent reason for promoting this guy.

But, I did two things: along with my promotion request, I sent all communications explaining to my boss why I didn’t want to promote him and his responses to “do it”. And in the minutia of the request for promotion, I wrote, “[Employee] is being promoted only because I was told to do it. He is not worthy of this promotion.” My boss never saw or read the negative comments; he just signed off on it, and this guy was promoted.

Thankfully, our project was over in a couple of months and my staff was reassigned, as was I, to other projects. [Employee] was assigned to a different project manager that reported to a different boss. His new project manager quickly learned just how bad this employee was and read his employee file, including the “review” I had written.  

The project manager and his boss came to talk to me about it, and I told them the entire story, complete with copies of the emails between my boss and me, where I constantly wrote and provided examples that this employee was incompetent and did not deserve a promotion, and the responses telling me to “do it”.

Then, the three of us went to the Vice President of the division and explained what happened. [Employee] and my boss were asked to resign or be fired. They resigned.

Good riddance.

So Much Roomba For Improvement

, , , , | Right | May 2, 2023

I do technical support for a company that sells robotic vacuum cleaners.

Me: “Thank you for calling [Company] customer support. What product can I help you with today?”

Caller: “I just bought your g**d*** worthless [Cleaning Robot] yesterday, and the f****** thing doesn’t work! What kind of a racket are you people running?!”

People complain about products a lot, so you learn to just let them vent until they calm down a little, and then continue.

Me: “Ma’am, what seems to be the problem with your device?”

Caller: “I charged it all night just like the instructions said. Then, I took it off the dock, put it in the middle of the room, and pressed ‘Clean’, and nothing happened!”

Me: “Ma’am, do you see the button right next to the ‘Clean’ button labeled ‘Power?’ Try pushing that one.”

Caller: “Oh! All the lights on the thingy came on!”

Me: “Now press ‘Clean.'”

Caller: “There it goes! You’re a miracle worker!”