D*** You, Jean-François!

, , , , , | Working | January 22, 2020

(I am female, living in a complex of three identical small apartment buildings. I’m going about my day when I notice that the Internet and phone lines are down. A few minutes pass, and someone knocks on the door. I’m stoked, since it’s a technician from my telecommunication company.)

Tech: “I’m here to hook up Jean-François.” *a typical French MALE name*

Me: “Sorry, no one by that name lives here.”

Tech: “You’re not Jean-François?!”

Me: *getting annoyed, since it’s clear that I’m neither a man nor am I actually moving in* “Nope, but can you check my connection? Everything’s down..”

Tech: “We can’t do that; we’ve disconnected this place since Jean-François has contacted us to say he was moving here, and that the old renters were gone.”

Me: “There’s been a mistake. I never contacted you to disconnect me, and no one has moved in.”

Tech: “Well, that’s the info we’ve got. You’ll need to give the company a call, and they’ll send a tech to reconnect you.”

(I tried insisting, but off he went. I had to go find a payphone — this happened a bit before cell phones were as generalized as they are now — and finally got through. Jean-François had moved into the same apartment number, but in the neighbouring building. I had to wait more than a week for them to come and connect me again. They never gave me any type of discount for the days for which I wasn’t connected, so I switched companies.)

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Stupid In Surround Sound

, , , , , | Right | January 18, 2020

(This story happens when I’m working as a supervisor at a call center, on an account which provides inbound customer service for an electronics company. In this case, a call is being escalated to me regarding a customer who is demanding service for his in-warranty TV without being willing to do any of the basic, required troubleshooting. This user’s TV is having an issue with the picture intermittently experiencing interference or jumpiness, across all connected devices — a problem which has become more and more frequent for him. I’ve been on the phone with the user for about twenty minutes before he says something which triggers my “spidey-senses,” and which the front-line agent didn’t mention.)

User: “I know it’s your TV’s fault! My A/V guy hooked everything up; it’s six feet in the air, and I can’t get to the power plug or any of the cords! I’m not taking it down to do anything! Just send someone to fix it!”

Me: “I understand the frustration. There are some troubleshooting steps we must take before sending a technician out, however, just to ensure the problem really is with the television. Additionally, based on what you’ve described, the TV would need to be taken down prior to the technician’s arrival anyway. I did want to ask, though — you mentioned you have an A/V guy; are all of your connected devices running through a single system, such as a receiver or surround system?”

User: “Yeah, so what?”

Me: “Out of curiosity, have you tried connecting something directly to the TV, instead of running it through the receiver, and seeing if the problem continues?”

User: “I’m not doing that! I told you I can’t get to any of the cords; everything’s behind the TV and the wall!”

Me: “I understand that; however, this is something we’d need to do in order to rule out the possibility that the problem is actually the receiver or surround system.”

User: “It’s not! My guy is a professional and this was expensive equipment! Just send someone out!”

Me: “Again, the TV will need to be taken down before a technician could look at it anyway. Also, the first thing they’re going to do is connect something directly to the TV and see if the problem happens there. Could I have you get hold of your A/V guy to take the TV down and try connecting something directly to the TV? If you do, and the problem continues on that device, we’ll gladly send someone out to take a look.”

User:Fine! I’ll call him tomorrow, but it’s not my equipment; it’s your TV! When it doesn’t work, I’m calling back and demanding you, and you will send someone out to replace it with a brand-new TV!”

Me: “We can definitely look into that, but if this is an issue with the TV — and I’m not convinced it is — we would first try to repair it.”

User: “Ugh, whatever. I’ll be calling back to talk to you!” *click*

(Out of curiosity, I followed up on their case file periodically over the next couple of weeks. They never called back. Guess my hunch was right. I’ll never understand how people can insist it’s not their $2,000 surround system that’s broken, it’s their TV… which also cost them about $2,000.)

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I Use Office For Office  

, , , , | Right | January 15, 2020

(I recently started working for the tech department of an office supply chain store, and I quickly started to learn that the customers who need to buy software and hardware for their computers aren’t always the brightest bulbs of the bunch.)

Customer: “I am looking for MS Office.”

Me: “Sure, right this way.”

(I start to lead the customer toward the software section.)

Me: “Just out of curiosity, what are you going to be using it for? For work, or for college…?”

Customer: “HP.”

Me: “Sorry?”

Customer: “On an HP laptop.”

Me: “Oh, sorry. My mistake. I was actually wondering what you were going to be using it for?”

Customer: “MS Office.”

(I almost facepalm and rub my eyes as I sigh, trying to hide my frustration.)

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Voicemail Jail

, , , , | Legal | January 12, 2020

(I used to be a telephone operator for a telco. At one point, some customers in one exchange — for example area code 222, prefix 456 — begin having a problem. Someone in the exchange has set up an automated system that is sending them advertising voicemails — probably one of the forerunners of robocalling. This is in the days where basic voicemail has a capacity of ten messages. My coworkers and I have talked to managers about the complaints, but what is happening is not illegal. Then, one day, I have a caller who says that he is getting the voicemails every twenty minutes, so in a little over three hours, his mailbox is full and he cannot get any more. Ah-ha! I go back to my manager and relay what is happening to my caller.)

Manager: “We’ve talked about this before and there is nothing illegal happening.”

Me: “My customer loses the use of his voicemail box after three hours. Voicemail advertising may be legal, but a DOS attack is not.”

(My manager got a strange look on his face and reached for the phone. The problem stopped very soon after. I suspect he called legal.)

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Rename In Your Membrane

, , , , , | Working | January 8, 2020

(I am new to the office that I am working in, but I have quickly gained a reputation as the go-to guy for helping out with technical issues. This means that I’ll often get coworkers calling me over to help when the programs they are working in have bugs or unexpected errors. One particular coworker has an annoying tendency to try and “predict” my advice while I’m trying to help her, which means she’ll end up charging ahead, pressing buttons, and making selections, without actually paying attention to what I am saying that she should be doing. The following is an example of a fairly typical interaction.)

Me: “Your old lock is still active, which is preventing you from getting into the program. However, we can bypass that by renaming this file, refreshing the folder, and then changing the name back, so go ahead and change the name.”

Coworker: *make a copy of the file instead*

Me: “No, you don’t need to copy the file; you just need to rename the original.”

Coworker: *tries to rename the copy, gets an error, cancels, and then quickly deletes the original*

Me: “No, no… All right, well, renaming the copy should work now, so go ahead and change the name back.”

Coworker: *goes back into the program again without renaming the file and tries hitting the update, which crashes the program because it can’t find the file*

Me: “No! You need to rename the file, or the program won’t be able to find it.”

Coworker: *starts paging through the program, opening a few menus*

Me: “No. Rename the file, rename the file, rename the file.”

Coworker: “Okay, okay, you don’t need to shout. I can hear you.”

Me: *thinking* “You really don’t do a great job of showing it.”

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