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Email Fail: The Golden Years

, , , | Right | October 19, 2021

One of my jobs is taking in email addresses sent in by the clients of a pension fund. Obviously, not every client has an email address. Some people, after all, don’t own a computer, especially some of the elderly. These are some of the replies about this.

Client #1: “I cannot afford an email address on my pension!”

Client #2: “Are you mad? You really think I want a computer? There is so much hacking! Computers can’t be trusted!”

Client #3: “I don’t own a computer! I’m over seventy! Show some respect to elder people!”

I’d say that it would be far more disrespectful to automatically assume that all people over seventy do not own a computer, but who am I to judge?

Email Fail, Part 34
Email Fail, Part 33
Email Fail, Part 32
Email Fail, Part 31
Email Fail, Part 30

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Back In The Old Days, This Probably Happened A Lot

, , , , , | Right | October 18, 2021

Many moons ago, before the Internet, I was involved in telephone support helping end-users who are just learning about computers.

It was the Windows 95 era, most people were emerging from the DOS era of PC interfaces, and using a mouse and a GUI was very strange to them. One call involved a confused lady who was having some problem or other.

Me: “Please right-click on the desktop and tell me what comes up.”

I listened and heard a lot of strange scraping noises, and eventually, she said:

Caller: “Okay, I’ve written ‘CLICK’ on my desktop and nothing’s happened; what do I do next?”

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There Is Sadly No Cure For The Programming Bug

, , , , , | Working | October 12, 2021

I’m a software engineer, aka programmer, aka code monkey. I share a cubicle with one other programmer who has a tendency to talk to himself on occasion. He says it helps him focus and he already spoke to me about it. I assured him it didn’t bother me.

One day, while working, I hear him muttering.

Coworker: “Curse you, computer. Why you no work?”

A few minutes later:

Coworker: “Ahhhh. That’s why. Got you now…”

A few minutes later:

Coworker: “But then… why does it work at all?”

I couldn’t help but feel that he had accidentally summed up what it means to be a programmer in those few minutes of debugging. Either it won’t work when it’s supposed to, or you don’t know how it is working when it shouldn’t be.

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Do Old Ladies Dream Of Electric Refrigerators?

, , , , , | Right | October 12, 2021

A nice lady comes into my store and orders a new refrigerator. This is a basic model with no bells or whistles. We set it up for next-day delivery, and she pays, thanks us, and leaves. The next morning, she calls.

Me: “Good morning! Thank you for calling [Store]. This is [My Name]; how may I help you?”

Customer: “Hi! I placed an order yesterday for a fridge and I need to cancel it.”

I get her information pulled up.

Me: “All right, I can do that for you right now. Since you paid with your store card, it will be refunded to that card within forty-eight hours. May I ask why you are canceling?”

Customer: “Yes. I had a dream last night and the digital came out of that fridge and killed me.”

Me: “The digital? Ma’am, there is nothing digital on this model.”

Out of nowhere, the customer bursts into hysterical tears and starts screaming from fear


Me: “Okay, ma’am, please calm down. I’ve already canceled the order. The… digital… won’t get you.”

Customer: *A bit calmer but still crying* “Thank you so much!” *Hangs up*

I stared at the phone in my hand for a moment before slowly hanging it up. My coworkers and I never did figure THAT one out! I hope she’s okay.

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This Stupid Technology With All Its Numbers

, , , , | Right | October 12, 2021

I work for a call center for a major grocery store chain. Something I can do is make a temporary password for an account that’s a mix of numbers and both big and small letters. Most people understand when I say something such as “capital A as in ‘alpha’” or “lower case T as in ‘Tom’.” Today, I get a call regarding a password reset.

Caller: “I just got off the phone with another lady and I didn’t understand a thing she was saying about the temporary password she gave me. It made absolutely no sense.”

Me: *Thinking* “Okay, maybe she didn’t make sure she had the right letters.” *Out loud* “Not a problem. How can I help you?”

Caller: “Yeah, it was just a mix of random numbers and letters. What’s a capital?”

Despite dying inside, I try not to sound condescending.

Me: “It’s a large letter…”

Caller: “Well, can’t I just make up my own temporary password? Like a string of numbers?”

Me: “You have to use the temporary password we provide you; however, after that, you can change the password to something easier to remember.”

Caller: “Well, I don’t understand what she told me.”

Me: “I can generate a new password for you and walk you through the password reset over the phone.”

Caller: “Fine, but I don’t see why I can’t just do the numbers like what I had back when I first made my account in 1992.”

We did get her password reset. It was worse than pulling teeth. She kept asking why she couldn’t go back to like it was “before technology took over.”

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