It’s Not Easy, Screening Green

, , , , , , | Right | August 3, 2020

Back in the 1980s and ‘90s, my father used to work as a repairman for TVs, VCRs, and similar. This is a reconstruction of something that happened back then.

Dad: “[Repair Shop], how can I help you?”

Customer: “Every time I close my back door, my TV turns green.”

Dad: *Pause* “I’m sorry, what?”

Customer: “My TV works fine when the door is open, but when I close it, the whole screen turns green!”

Dad: “This I’ve got to see. I’ll be right over.”

He goes down to the customer’s house to have a look at the problem. Sure enough, when the back door is open, the TV works perfectly, but when it’s shut, the screen turns green. Dad examines the door in question to see if there’s anything weird about it, and as he does, he notices something in the back yard.

Dad: “I see you’ve lost a tree.”

Customer: “Yeah, lost it in that storm last week. It got hit by lightning.”

Dad: “And was that when your TV started acting strange?”

Customer: “Come to think of it, yeah!”

The door was a steel storm door, and the electrical charge of the lightning bolt so nearby had polarized it into a giant magnet. Opening it put it just far enough from the TV that it wouldn’t affect it, but when it was closed, the magnetic field was enough to warp the picture and make it turn green!

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A Complete Num-Dum

, , , | Right | August 3, 2020

I work for a small IT service provider. A lot of our customers are rather inept with computers, but at least they know what they need to do their jobs. Every now and then, however, there’s one that takes the cake. The phone rings.

Me: “[My Company], [My Name] speaking; how can I help?”

Customer: “This is [Customer] from [Company #2]. My keyboard is broken.”

Me: “Okay, what seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “Well, the number buttons don’t work anymore.”

At this point, I have to admit I don’t make the connection. I figure, since he can’t type numbers, remote support won’t, either, as our remote support software works in such a way that we give the customer an ID comprising eight numbers he has to punch in. However, since the customer’s office is only a five-minute walk, I grab a spare keyboard — we always have those laying around — and go there. I arrive and try to reproduce the problem.

I type the numbers via the number keys above the keyboard.

Me: “I can’t seem to reproduce the problem. The number keys work just fine.”

Customer: “Not those, the others.”

He types on the num pad, and indeed, no numbers.

Me: “…”

I press the Num key. The customer types and numbers appear!

Customer: “Oh. Oooh… That’s what that button does? I never used it.”

Me: “Yes. Sometimes it turns off when you restart the computer. Just make sure the LED is on. If it isn’t, press the key.”

The customer thanks me and I leave. At this point, I am slightly annoyed, mostly at myself for not making the connection. But being a professional, even in support, it’s hard sometimes to consider that people don’t know even the simplest stuff. Then again, there are lights on my car’s dashboard of which I don’t know the meaning, either.

The following day, the phone rings.

Me: “[My Company], [My Name] speaking; how can I help?”

Customer: “[Customer] from [Company #2] here. I think my keyboard is really broken this time. It won’t type numbers again.”

Me: “Did you check the light?”

Customer: “Of course I did! It was off and I pushed the button. It’s on now, but it’s still not working.”

At this point, I considered trying remote support, as I now knew he could still type numbers, he just insisted on using the num pad. So, again, I grabbed a spare keyboard, just in case, and walked over.

The customer remembered he had to push “a button on the right side of the keyboard which turns on a light”. However, he couldn’t remember which one. He also couldn’t remember which light was supposed to turn on. He actually found a button that turned on an LED, but it wasn’t Num; it was Roll. The customer now has a post-it on his screen stating, “In case numbers don’t work, press NUM” with a drawing of where the key is located and which light is supposed to be on.

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It Takes A Minute To Register The Pain

, , , , | Working | August 1, 2020

The wiring at the gas station I work for is notoriously bad. Any time the weather turns, or even on a day with a particularly stiff breeze, the power flickers. It rarely goes out, but the flickering is enough to force our registers to reset, which takes three or four minutes to finish. However, this can be avoided; if register A is allowed to cycle through its reset before B, C, D, or E are used after a flicker, those others will NOT reset. The problem is, register A is on the other side of the building.

One night, the power flickers off for about three seconds while I have a room full of people wanting cigarettes and a line through our drive-thru window. I am completely on my own as we are short-staffed today, and the other worker is on their lunch.

Me: “Well, this is less than ideal. Excuse me, folks, but I need to run next door really quickly!”

I sprint into the back room to the other side of the store and throw the door open to call over to my supervisor.

Me: “Hey! I’ve got a building and drive-thru filled to the brim! Call me as soon as register A is back up!”

I then sprint back to where I’d been, but as I slow down to turn a corner, I manage to slam my elbow into a metal filing cabinet. However, with the adrenaline, I don’t feel it at first.

Me: “Okay, everyone, good news! They’re gonna tell me when I can run the register again! Give it like, three or four minutes! I’m gonna start grabbing orders, so one at a time, tell me what you’re after! I also need to warn you that I managed to slam my elbow into a corner on the way back up here because I’m just that good. I can’t feel it yet — I’m a little hopped up on adrenaline — so in a minute or two, after I’ve calmed down, I may suddenly screech in pain. Nothing to worry about, though, so please don’t freak out!”

Luckily, from as long as I’d worked there, they all knew me well enough to not mind. I got my call and could calm down and get everyone out of the store. And, yes, about a minute after everything settled down, I screeched in pain because I could finally feel where I’d hit my elbow.

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The Problem Googled Itself

, , , | Right | July 30, 2020

Our campground has a Wi-Fi network.

Old Lady: “I’m having a hard time ‘hooking to my Wi-Fi.’”

Me: “What site are you on?”

Old Lady: “Site 84.”

Me: “Try moving to the clubhouse; your site is too far away.”

She comes back up later, still unable to get connected.

Old Lady: “I still can’t get hooked up. I’m trying to search for [Campground Network] like you told me to, and it’s not finding anything. I brought my laptop so I can show you.”

Me: “Okay, let’s see what’s going on.”

The old lady begins retracing her steps and I’m forced to stop her as she begins typing [Campground Network] into Google.

Me: “You should get a job in tech support! You’re already online!”

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Wait Until He Finds Out You Stuck A Whole Cloud In There

, , , | Right | July 29, 2020

Customer: “Hi. I don’t want voicemail on my service anymore, so if I take the little tape recorder out of the back, will I void my warranty?”

Me: “No, sir, your phone does not have a little tape recorder in the back; your messages are recorded digitally.”

Customer: “I want your boss; you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.”

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