Send, Wait, Ask, Repeat

, , , , | Right | October 18, 2018

Me: “Okay, so I just sent you out an email. There are a few steps within that email we need to complete now. Let me know when you receive it, so I can walk you through the steps.”

Caller: “Okay, I’m waiting for it now.”

(A few minutes will pass without hearing anything.)

Me: “Have you received the email yet?”

Caller: “Oh! I was supposed to open that now? Let me log into my email.”

Porn And Handsome Men = Microsoft Outlook

, , , , , | Learning | October 18, 2018

(It is the dawn of computer usage in the service industry, before 2000. Personal computers are not brand new, but new enough for the European Community to grant budgets for teaching “new technology” to workless young adults. With ten years experience in a technology nobody is taking seriously at the time, I become an IT teacher for evening courses and job-oriented trainings. I am currently in a training center for jobless women. Everybody but me is female, so I sometimes have problems with credibility. During an “IT communication” — Outlook and Internet — lecture, it takes me ten minutes flat to determine that they will not listen to a word from a course about configuration and parameters in a browser. Overhearing their babbling, an idea crosses my mind.)

Me: “Now, class, the part you have been waiting for!”

Class: *inattentive* “Huh, whatever.”

Me: “I have named it, ‘How to know that your boyfriend is watching porn on the Internet.’”

(Suddenly, the whole class looks at me as if I am a rockstar, drinking in every word, asking really smart technical questions. Two hours later, they know all about cookies, temp files, the erasing of bookmarks, and confronting timestamps. I have to take up the Client-Server architecture and DNS protocol to answer to some savvy questions. I can’t do the same trick twice, obviously, so the Outlook course promises to go sour. Once again, their babbling gives me the key to teach about Message Rules Strategy.)

Me: “Now that you have all the cards in hand, here is a little exercise.”

Class: “Sir, we don’t understand anything. Why do we have to bother at all?”

Me: “I am sure that you are brighter than you think. Let’s say you have met a handsome guy…”

(The class pays attention.)

Me: “You don’t want to show him that you are interested in him. So, when you are receiving an email from him, your Outlook will send an auto-reply stating to not bother you and kick his message to the garbage. You don’t wish someone to find his message on your PC, do you? But you want the advice of your best friend, so you transfer all his messages automatically to her. I’ll let you try until the break.”

(Most of them jumped on their mouses and clicked frantically. Some ran from screen to screen to see who had a good solution, screaming clues and advice at each other. One even ran to the library to borrow a Microsoft book. They didn’t stop at the break, and hushed me when I tried to give hints. All the solutions that they found by themselves were far more sophisticated than anything I could have hoped to show them. Years after, I met some of them. They had been hired as secretaries but became IT specialists, webmasters, or network technicians.)

It’s Going To Take A Winding Route(r) To Get There

, , , , | Right | October 17, 2018

(A customer has just asked me to answer some questions. In Australia, it is still the norm to have data-limited plans for home Internet, although many ISPs sell higher-tier unlimited plans.)

Customer: “So, will this ADSL modem and router give me unlimited Internet?”

Me: “Yes, if you pay your ISP for such a service; the router is not what stops you from getting unlimited data.”

Customer: “So, the router will give me unlimited Internet?”

The Directions Require The Direct Approach

, , , , , | Related | October 16, 2018

(My mother and I are driving home from another state. The GPS worked wonderfully on the drive there, but is refusing to actually start navigating home. After the third try at talking the phone into giving directions, my mom picks up her phone to do it manually.)

Mom: *under her breath* “Moronic piece of s***.”

Phone: *cheerfully* “I hear you!”

The Smaller The Screen, The Bigger The Problems

, , , , , | Right | October 16, 2018

(It’s nine pm when a man comes up to the photo lab counter. I ask him if he needs help and he does. I walk him over to a kiosk and start showing him how to work it.)

Me: “All your sizes for photos are at the top; currently we’re on the 4×6 size. Also, each photo that you select will have to be cropped to a 4×6. If you don’t do it now, it’ll have you do it before you checkout. It’ll be a lot smaller, though, so it’s easier to do it right when you click on the photo that you want.”

Customer #1: “Wait! I have to crop every photo?!”

Me: “Unfortunately, yes, or else it won’t let you check out. Each photo has to be cropped to the size print you want it to be.”

Customer #1: “That’s f****** ridiculous! Can’t I just send it to you guys through my email and have you do it?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, we can’t do that.”

(He slams in his chair and leaves, taking the phone cord we lend to customers to use at our kiosks with him. Then a woman sitting at another kiosk calls me over.)

Customer #2: “Ugh. The computer is all messed up!”

(Somehow the checkout page is now only an inch large, and I have no idea how she did this. I try everything I can to fix it, but nothing works.)

Me: “I’m sorry, I think the computer is broken. Perhaps we could work with another one?”

Customer #2: “Ugh. Whatever.”

(She then moves to the next kiosk over. Then the man next to me asks for help.)

Customer #3: “So, would a DVD be done before you close?”

Me: “We close at 9:30, so I would think so!”

Customer #3: “Also, it never asked for my name; how would you know it’s my order?”

Me: “It should have asked for your name when you checked out. If it didn’t, then the order wasn’t placed.”

(This happens everyday; a customer hits a wrong button when they’re done and instead of being sent to checkout, they delete their order without knowing it.)

Customer #3: “Can you check?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, I haven’t received your order. Looks like it wasn’t placed.”

Customer #3: “So, what do I do now?!”

Me: “I’m really sorry, but unfortunately if it didn’t ask for your name, then the order wasn’t placed. So, we’re going to have to reorder your DVD.”

(He picks a kiosk and starts scanning his photos. He puts four pictures on the scanner, and one isn’t picking up.)

Customer #3: “What’s going on? It’s not getting one of them.”

Me: “It seems to work better when you do one at a time; I know it takes longer, but a lot of people have more luck with it that way.”

(He then puts two in, and it still only picks up one photo.)

Me: “Yeah… Looks like it’s being stubborn; maybe try one at a time?”


(He then storms out. The woman from before calls me back over.)

Customer #2: “How do I get the underscore?”

Me: “Press shift.”

Customer #2: “Oh. I did control and it made the screen smaller.”

(So, that’s how she messed up the computer!)

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