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Wishing You Could Delete Them

| Learning | October 17, 2014

(I work for a university IT help desk, and we give help to anyone for free as long as we can fix it at the front counter.)

Me: “Hi. What can I do you for today?”

Student: “I need you to back up my student ID and archive my emails for me.”

Me: I’m sorry, could you repeat that again?”

Student: “I said, I need you to back up my student ID and archive my emails for me.”

(Note: your student ID is basically the username that lets you use the school’s online services, and is linked to all of your student information that the University keeps track of.)

Me: “I’m sorry. Your student ID isn’t something that can be backed up, and only you can archive emails that you receive.”

Student: “Well, I don’t want people to be able to read my emails, so I want you to print them all out for me and then delete them. And I want you to delete my student ID. I don’t want people hacking it.”

(At this point I start looking around for my coworkers who are pointedly doing something else or hiding somewhere where she can’t see them. This is an immediate red flag for me.)

Me: “There’s no way for me to access your account, much less print off every email in the inbox. And we can deactivate your student ID, but it can’t be deleted. It’s the university’s record of all of your information since you started attending the university. Legally they have to keep that information and aren’t allowed to delete it.”


(At this point, I go get my boss, and he gets the head of the entire IT services for the school.)

Boss #1: “Hello ma’am. What seems to be the problem?”

Student: “Your employee won’t back up my student ID, or delete it, or archive my emails!”

Boss #1: “It’s impossible for him to do any of those things, as only you have access to your email account and it’s illegal for us to delete your student ID.”

(The next 30 minutes or so go by with the customer asking the exact same questions over and over even though both of my bosses keep telling her that what she wants is either illegal or impossible.)

Student: “Where’s the lady that I talked to last time? She helped me much more than you two!”

Boss #2: “She is my employee, and she would only tell you the exact same thing that I’m telling you, so I’m not going to waste her time with this.”

(This eventually ended with Boss #2 telling her to leave, and then sending out an email to all of the workers saying that if she should come in again with any problems outside of our normal area, to give him a call and tell her to go to the side and wait. It turned out that the customer came in several times a week with varying crazy requests and he was tired of having to deal with it.)

Question of the Week

What is the most stupid reason a customer has asked to see your manager?

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