Tech Support Retort

, , , , , | | Working | June 17, 2019

(A minor note before I go into this story. I work in tech support. We’re not talking the “have you rebooted it,” outsourced type, but serious tech support — the kind that deals with digging through code to fix issues, patching, and some hardware support. Recently, I found myself thinking about upgrading my graphics card, not because I really needed one, but I thought it’d be just a nice change compared to what I had. So, with that in mind, I head down to the local big-box tech store on my way home after work. I head inside, wander back to the parts department, and start looking through the shelves for the specific card I’ve had my eye on. It’s about this time that one of the salesmen approaches.)

Sales: “Finding everything you need?”

Me: “Not entirely sure.”

Sales: “Well, what do you need help with?”

Me: “I’m looking at getting a new graphics card, but…”

Sales: *cutting me off* “Well, it depends what you’re doing with it. Take this—“ *grabs a cheap card* “—It’s good for most things, but you don’t want that. Nah, you need this.” *grabs the most expensive card*

Me: “You think so, huh?”

Sales: “Oh, yeah. I’m an expert!”

Me: *muttering* “Sure, you are.” *aloud* “I get that you’re trained in these things to some degree, but you didn’t let me finish explaining the issue.”

Sales: *rolling his eyes* “Oh, go on, then.”

Me: “As I was about to say, I’m looking for a graphics card, but I’m not sure what kind of connector this type has, or if it’s for a laptop or tower. It doesn’t say it on the box, and I need a specific type to fit my system.”

Sales: “They’re all the same thing! I don’t know what gives you the idea they’re different.”

Me: “Education, training, experience…”

Sales: “What?”

Me: “Ever hear of [Well-Known Tech Support Company]?”

Sales: “Yes. And?”

Me: *producing badge* “I’m a technical support agent for them. So, yeah, the connections are different. I don’t need the upsell into something more expensive than what I want, and I don’t need the condescending ‘I know everything’ attitude. I just need to know what kind of connection this is, or if it’s for a laptop or tower.”

Sales: “Whatever. They’re the same [censored] thing! Here.” *grabbing a box off the shelf* “That’s the one you want.”

(With that he left. I ended up having to go back a second time, returning the one he picked up when I found out that yes, it was a laptop card. I also had a long talk with the department’s manager and the store manager about my experience. They ended up trading me the PC version — which was fifty bucks more — even for the laptop card I’d picked up, and assured me that they were going to have a long sitdown with that employee. I got the impression that this wasn’t the first time something like that had happened.)

He’s Smiling From Gill To Gill

, , , , , | | Working | June 16, 2019

Our new head of marketing suggested to the company CEO that some management training would be useful. The CEO — we rated him not as a Type A personality, but a Type AAAA personality — signed up for an “Interpersonal Skills” retreat.

The upshot was that he smiled more when he returned, but no other determinable change in his personality had occurred.

My office partner pegged it: “It’s the teeth! He went to ‘Congeniality Training for Sharks’!”

The Only Thing They’re Grabbing Is A Way To Get Kicked Out

, , , , , | | Working | June 15, 2019

(I have recently started working at a restaurant as a waitress. About halfway through my shift one evening, a group of four men are seated in my section. I head over to take their drink orders.)

Me: “Hello there. My name is [My Name] and I’m going to be your waitress tonight. Can I start you all off with something to drink?”

Customer#1: “Well, aren’t you a pretty little thing!”

Customer #2: “Good thing the ol’ wives aren’t here, or we’d be in trouble tonight!”

Me: “…”

(I’m feeling uncomfortable, but I do my job and take their orders. When I return to the table to hand them their drinks, I notice [Customer #2] looking me up and down with a creepy grin. He scoots to the side of the booth and leans over, hand out-stretched, clearly intending to slap me on the butt. I leap to the side as he swings, causing him to miss his target and lose his balance, sending him tumbling to the floor. As he pulls himself off the ground, he begins yelling at me.)

Customer #2: “You little b****, how dare you?! You flaunt yourself around in those f****** tight pants and can’t take the consequences? You’re a f****** teasing b****!” *shoves my shoulders* “Get me your manager! Now, b****!”

(My supervisor runs over to the scene and places a protective arm around me.)

Supervisor: “Sir, you need to calm down.” *turns to me* “Go take your break, I’ll handle this.”

(I run to the back and take my break. My supervisor kicks the men out of the restaurant. When I arrive for my shift the next day, the manager calls me into his office to speak with me.)

Manager: “Now, [My Name], I heard about what happened last night. So, consider this your first warning. If it happens again, you will be written up for it.”

Me: “What? What am I trouble for?”

Manager: “You made some loyal customers very angry and lost us a lot of money. We had to give them a gift card for their trouble.”

Me: “What?! He tried to sexually assault me!”

Manager: “[My Name], don’t turn this into one of those ordeals. You know what really happened.”

Me: *stunned silence*

Manager: “Situations like these are just what comes with being a waitress. The guys can’t help it, so you need to get used to it.”

Me: “I quit.”

(I walked out of his office and right out the door. I’ve never gone back.)

Up To Your Elbows In Newbie Ignorance

, , , , | | Working | June 14, 2019

(My brother is in the Navy. He isn’t high enough ranked to tell the captain, “She cannae take the strain, sair!” but he works with the ship’s engines and is high enough ranked to boss around the newbies. A number of his underlings are older and more experienced than he is because they had a civilian career before switching to the military, whereas he enlisted fresh out of high school. Those guys he’ll listen to, but some newbies are exactly as useless as you would expect.)

Brother: *finds a newbie struggling to loosen something*

Newbie: “It’s not working! It won’t budge.”

Brother: *waves it off* “Ah, just use some elbow grease!”

(Now, some people do not speak English as a first language. You would expect slang to go over their heads. Not this guy — Anglophone from the cradle. He gawks at my brother and asks:)

Newbie: “Where’s that, sir?”

(My brother blinks and thinks for a moment. He is not debating whether to prank this guy. I don’t know if this is universal to militaries or if it’s just Canada, but it’s believed that if you’re dumb enough to fall for something, you deserve the fall. So, it’s just a question of which prank to pull.)

Brother: “It’s in the bilge.”

(The ship’s bilge is… unpleasant. It’s not helped by the fact that military funding in Canada is a tad sporadic, leading to a culture of neurotic hoarding in case you can’t ever get a certain widget again – hoarding done largely by young men who are either bachelors or else effectively bachelors while deployed with the family at home, with all of the organization and cleanliness one would expect from such a group.)

Newbie: “Okay!” *toddles off to the bilge*

(My brother restrains laughter until the guy’s out of earshot, laughs, and gets on with the workday. Fast forward a couple hours: a superior officer comes up to him, trying desperately to suppress enough laughter to talk.)

Superior: “Hey, [Brother’s Nickname]! Did you send [Newbie] down to the bilge to look for elbow grease?”

Brother: “Oh, s***! I forgot about that! Is he still down there?”

Superior: “Yeah! He told me what you said, so I told him, ‘Keep looking! It’s always way in the back!’”

(As soon as my brother finished dying of laughter, he sprinted off to go rescue the newbie… who never did realize he’d been had.)

Not An Industry-Standard Greeting

, , , , | | Working | June 14, 2019

(I am a woman in my mid-20s. In February, I go with my company to my first conference focusing on our industry. The first day is wonderful. I am meeting peers from other states and countries and learning a lot about the goings-on of our business. The second day, I am walking around with a coworker who is also a woman, in her 60s. She also happens to be part of the LGBT community.)

Me: “I love how they have all the vendors set up in the ballroom so we can check the booths out on breaks!”

Coworker: “Yep! It’s a great way to see what everyone else is working on this year.”

(We approach a vendor booth and start looking at their brochures when one of their reps, a man who I assume is in his late 40s or early 50s, comes over to talk to us.)

Company Rep: “Good morning! Let us know if we can answer any questions for you!”

Coworker: “Thank you! We’re just looking around before the talks start.”

Company Rep: “Which company are you with?”

Me: “We’re with [Company], from [Southern State].”

Company Rep: “Of course! I know exactly where you’re located.”

(My coworker begins to walk down the line of booths, and I move to join her when the guy stops me.)

Company Rep: *looks at me expectantly* “So, are you originally from [Southern State]?”

Me: *thinking maybe he’s visited there* “Yes, born and raised. Haha…” *looks to see my coworker has already moved a couple of booths down* “I should go join my…”

Company Rep: “[Southern State]’s had a lot of trouble with [slang, derogatory, term for LGBT people], huh?”

(I stare at him for a second. It’s no secret that many southern states in the US have had rocky legislation and communication with the LGBT community, but I am of the opinion that things are starting to move in a more positive direction. I try to deflect the subject because this is a business setting and this man’s job is to make our company want to hire his. Plus, he has no inkling of my opinion on this subject, so why would he bring something like that up?)

Me: “Well, I haven’t been a fan of many of the state’s decisions in recent years, and I have friends in that community, so…”

Company Rep: *interrupts me and cranks the topic up 100 notches* “Well, you know, there was a kid in [Other State] who was assaulted in a bathroom by a man dressed as a woman.” *smug look*

Me: *barely keeping my voice calm* “I had not heard that. Was it an actual transgender person, or was it a predator pretending to be one?”

Company Rep: *looks panicked for a second that I actually asked a real question about his comment* “Well, uh, he had a wig and stuff on.”

Me: “I see. Well, it appears I’ve lost my coworker. Excuse me.”

(I walked quickly away, found my coworker, and told her what happened. I was so angry I had to excuse myself for a few minutes to calm down. We both sat down with our manager that evening and told him what happened. He is also a staunch believer in professional behavior between businesses, and made it a point to contact the rep’s superior to let him know how his employee was talking to potential clients. Turns out, this guy had gotten in trouble for bringing up touchy political topics with strangers before — apparently, he liked to get a rise and arguments out of people — and was already on the superior’s radar for disciplinary action. He thanked my manager for letting him know this was still going on. I was so glad that my manager stood up for me, and for our coworker, instead of dismissing my experience as something this guy “just does,” or something that “wasn’t a big deal.” It doesn’t matter what side of a topic like that you fall on, or if the other person agrees with you or not; don’t ambush a stranger in a professional environment to get a rise out of them, especially a stranger who could potentially make the decision to spend thousands of dollars with your company.)

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