Funny and Humorous Technical Support Tales and Stories

Submitted Tales From Technical Support

Tales From Technical Support Content

How do you spell that?
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I was working DOS support at a major software company when a call came in one day...

Me: Thank you for calling (Big Co) product support, how may I help you today?

Cust: Smartdrive isn't loading.

Me: How do you mean it isn't loading?

Cust: It just doesn't start.

So, 45 minutes later..

Me: Sir, could you please read me the line one character at a time? I'm a bit lost here.

Cust: S M A A R oh.....

Me: That would be the problem. Anything else I can help you with today, sir?

Cust: Nope bye.

Whats your computer brand, again ?
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Well i work at a company that gives hardware support for 2 types of machines, when a customer calls i have to see if its a software or a hardware problem, and according to the type of computer take action, this is one off my calls:

Customer: My (Whatever) doesn´t work !!

Me: Ok, can ya tell me what brand is your computer ?!

Customer:Ohh.... its a Philips

Me: No, No thats your monitor, the computer is the box were all the wires connect !

Customer: ohh. hang on a sec....(sound of phone banging on table)

Customer: Ok i have it.....its a Multiread

Well after this i finally made it get the damm computer name but it was a blast ...ohhh Multiread is what it is written on a Philips Cdrw :))

Vacuum cleaner repair.
Posted 11/01/2001 by Tony Farrell

My non-technical neighbour brought me his NEW vacuum cleaner for repair. He complained that it had been working well, but had now stopped. I plugged it in and sure enought it was dead. I said that I would have to open it up, later. He walked away but came running back when he heard it burst into life. He asked me what I had done to make it work again. I showed him where the large On/Off switch was....

The idiots at MAC Warehouse.
Posted 11/01/2001 by I hate computer stores

OK, here's a good one.

I used to work for this company a few years ago. they had a 3 year old Mac performa 5xxx or something. anyway, it one day decided to not turn on. ok, so i took it to the closest retail service shop (which just happened to be a retail location of mac warehouse - those retail stores don't exist anymore) I dropped it off and 3 days later i got a call. "we need to replace your analog board, it'll be $300." well the computer was only worth about $600 at the time, but my boss said go ahead.

so 2 weeks later i got a call telling me i can come to pick up the computer. i got there, and they gave me an invoice and told me to go to the cashier, pay it and then i'll get the computer. i didn't even look at it, i just gave to to the big haired lady. she looked at me a said " ok, that'll be $1200" i almost popped a cap. to make a long story a bit longer they replaced the analog board, and it didn't fix the problem. so they went ahead and ordered a logic board. they didn't ask, they just did it.

so i screemed bloody murder, and told them i'd come back in the afternoon to pick up my computer with the old logic board back in it. after all, the computer was worth half of what the new logic board cost.

so some hours later i got a call from mac warehouse. "hi, um we have a little problem with putting back in your old logic board as we sent it back to apple. what i'd like to offer you is to keep the new logic board in the computer at our cost. which is $800" I flipped. I told him he had three days to get my logic board back to me or our company was going to sue his.

3 days later i had my old logic board back. I went to go pick up the computer and when I got there they presented me a bill for $77 - the minimum charge for repairs. I crumpled it up threw it at him and said "if you don't want me to go ballistic right now in the middle of this store you better give me that computer right now". he complied.

so on the way back to the office just for fun i decided to drive a few minutes and drop it off to the local discount computer store (CPUSED if you're in toronto) i told them the story and that if they could find a used logic board or something then let me know. i made it clear for them not to fix anything until they get my approval.

well, the next day i got a call from them. they said, "your computer is fixed and ready for pick up" i almost hit the roof. but they continued "the cost is $35" I was aghast. All they had to do was replace the EPROM battery.

Short one...
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I'm still on the phone with this one :)

Me: Type "administrator" in the name field.

Him: Okay...hold on... *whispering* How do you spell administrator?

Voice in background: a-d-m-i-n-i-s-t-r-a-t-e-r

*sound of typing*

Him: That didn't work.

Me: Did you spell it a-d-m-i-n-i-s-t-r-a-t-o-r?

Him: *whispering* You can't spell either!

Clueless Company (1)
Posted 11/01/2001 by Vypr

A couple of years ago I worked for a telephone outsource company in Glasgow. I was assigned to the companys new flagship contract - First Line Support ofr Microsoft.Now, the company I worked for was absolutely clueless about IT and how computers worked. They decided that unlike Microsfts recommended [ractice of training a few of each group everything about a single package and allow them to support that package only, they would break it up into three categories of software package with one tema for each category and have each person in these teams provide support for ALL the software that came under this heading. I ended up supporting Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Internet Explorer and Outlook Express.

After a year the company lost the contract due to poor customer surveys about our service The surveys were rather skewed, the whole thing boiled down to the last question which asked 'Were you happy with the service you recieved?'Most of the 'No' answers listed their reason for dissatisfaction at being with the product rather than the service, or the length of the waiting time for their call to be answered.

The company, of course blamed my team for this as we had the biggest abandoned calls ratio and the longest call times.

The Microsoft contract was divided into three groups

Group A (IMD) handled games and Frontpage issues. Had 6 members and answered roughly 20 calls on a busy day. Ratio : 1 agent took about 2 calls a day

Group B (DAD) Handled Office related issues, there were 10 of them and they took, typically about 40 calls a day. Ratio : 1 Agent took about 4 calls a day

Gourp C )PSD) my group which handled all the OS issues had 15 and typically took over 100 calls a day! Ratio : 1 Agent took up to 12 calls a day, on issues that invariably required us to wait on the phone while the (l)user reinstalled Windows.

I think you can see the disparity there! We had to point out that calls to the other two teams were usually quickly fixed issues (My document won't print, r this game doesn't work with my graphics card) While we had to deal with everything from installing hardware to configuring networks, not to mention all the other issues handed over from the other two departments (Document still not prinitng? Must be a Windows problem, I'll pass you to the other team).

It also didn't help that the company was being paid byt he number of calls we took, so we were INSTRUCTED that if we couldn't resolve an problem in under ten minutes, then to make an excuse and close the case. As you can guess, it takes more than ten minutes just to figure out the CAUSE of a lot of windows problems, let alone fix it. Not surprisingly, customer dissatisfaction figures rose after this bright idea was implemented.

Tis company was so IT clueless they hired this woman as an IT manager who had absolutely no idea how to use one. She wrote in her CV that she was an expert in UNIX, but was overheard asking :

"How do you find out what version of a prgram you're using?" - Umm 'Help)About' maybe?

and my personal favourite

"What's the command in DOS for format?" Was that a rhetorical question?

This is the same person that turned me down for a job in the IT Dept because I "Didn't know enough about computers" (I'm now running a cybercafe with a friend where I'm responsible for all the machines)

Clueless Company (2)
Posted 11/01/2001 by Vypr

This one actually comes from a friend of mine.

My friend used to work for a company who provided in house support for the Compaq plant in Inchinnan, Paisley in Scotland. This company had the wierdest employment system I've ever heard of. Instead of hiring people who had deomnstrated competency in the IT field, this compnay recently started hiring people depending on their relationship with the bosses new girlfriend (Who, despite the fact that she can;t even work a TV remote control was hired as my friends supervisor)

In Scotland there is a sub-culture of people called 'Neds' Neds are typified as being as thick as sh*t, speaking in a horrible nasal whiny voice, wearing only Nike, adidas or Kappa shellsuits with enough gold chains to make Mr. T jealous and for being thieving little bastards.

TO be short, bosses girlfriend got her 'best pal' hired as a technician. Best Pal was a typical ned who is heretofore known as 'Kappa Slappa'.

Kappa Slappa was a typical 18 year old Ned who had been to school for only a week before spendign the rest of her educational career behind thwe bike sheds smoking hash and trying to breed more Neds. Kappa Slappa was absolutely hopeless as a tech so she was given all the menial jobs to do.

One day, the bigwigs at Compaq were coming round for a state visit, so Kappa Slappa was given the task of cleaning the server room, which was a bit of a mess. Kappa Slappa obliginly removed the junk from the server room (old printers, broken PCs and the like) when she was done she took a look at the patch panels for the servers. Kappa Slappa noted that the network cables were 'plugged ina ll over hte place' and were many different colours. So in a bid to make the place nice and tidy looking, she proceeded to take all the network cables out, and plug them all in in neat rows and colour coded them (All the reds in one panle, all the blues in another etc)

I think you can gather what the result was. The next day, not one person in the plant was able to log onto their computers. I tokk the boss and my friend 6 hours to fix the mess, which involved calling every single employee and getting the workstation ID and what subnet they were supposed to be on (Typically, the network plan was thrown out with the rest of the junk and the only backup copy was hopelessly out of date)

To make matters worse, in their latest series of job cutbacks, the company had to shed several jobs. My friend ended up on the scrapheap, but surprisingly, Kappa Slappa is still working there.

When removing hardware...
Posted 11/01/2001 by RJ

I was helping a friend troubleshoot an old Pentium machine over the phone. The problems apparently started when he added some extra memory (this info came about an hour and a half into the phone call), so I suggested he take it out. After a minute or two, he finally managed to remove the memory (it was behind cables or something). Then:

Him: Okay, now I need to reset the machine.

Me: (Totally calm) You didn't do that with the computer on, did you?

Him: Yeah.

Me: (Calmly) Don't do that again.

At that point I knew that all the troubleshooting we'd already done was out the window, because there was a strong possibility that he fried the memory, the motherboard, or both. I gave up. I don't think he ever did get the machine working.

Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I was working late on a sunday night for **internet, a local ISP. At around 9:00 I recieved a call from some man who refused to identify him self On the caller ID it said that he was calling fromm a pay phone... all right weird. So any way he told me that he was charged 7.49 by his phone company back in 1996 for a phone number that he didn't own and that after bugging a call from the phone company he found out that the phone number belonged to us. After that he asked me to send a noterized letter to his house proving that we owned the phone number. I told him I had no idea what hew was talking about and to call the phone company then he proceeded to swear at me and say the "if I could figure out how to fix a computer I should be able to under stand him." I told him I still didn't know what he was talking about. So he asked to speak with my supervisor. I transfered him to my supervisor but stayed on the line to learn what this person was talking about. Then he satarted to regale my manager about about this big conspiricy theory about the phone company, china celluar, and the cheif of police. I finaly figured at his name when he started to refer to himself a Richard , he did this only in the thrid person though, for example "Shirlety told me Richard don't push the issue or they'll kill you" and other utterly inane things like that. All the while that he he was talking to us I noticed some really irratating music in the back ground, it turns out it was the same music that plays in the motel lobby across the street. So this old wacko was calling from the hotel next door. Finnaly we told hiim to call upper management tommarow and he agreed. I've never heard back from "Richard" but to this day I still have nightmares about him.

Please just listen...
Posted 11/01/2001 by lilbit

I am a tech for a nationwide company but on this tale I'm on the user end. My ISP recently got bought out by another ISP and I have had nothing but problems ever since. At one point, they changed my password (without notifying me) and I spent an hour on the phone with them before they would give me my new one. Then when I finally got connected, I had an email telling me my password had changed. Anyway, this one really takes the cake

*NOTE* I had gotten an administrative email the night before telling me that I had to change the DNS addresses in my dialup config before a certain date, so I went ahead and changed them. Next day, could connect but no email no nothing.

M = me

T = tech

(T) = usual spiel, thanks for calling, yadda yadda

(M) = Yeah, I got the email last night saying we needed to change our DNS..

(T) *interrupts* = Yes ma'am, do you need some help understanding the instructions?

(M) *already not happy for being patronized* = No, I've already changed them and now I can't get my email I can't get to any websites. Can I just verify the DNS addresses with you so that I can make sure I didn't mess up?

(T) = You can go to the webpage and verify ma'am.

(M) = Um, no I can't. I can't get to any webpages since I changed the DNS addresses. Can I please just get you to verify?

(T) = Ok ma'am, please just right click on My Computer.

(M) = I'm already in the TCP/IP properties box, can I PLEASE just verify the DNS addresses?

(T) = Ok let me just put you on hold for a minute.

(T) *comes back* = Ok ma'am please read to me the primary and alternate DNS addresses that you have.

(M) = Ok *reads them off*

(T) = Oh, well, those are correct. Are you using Windows XP?

(M) = No, Win2k Pro.

(T) = Oh. Well you do you have the DNS setup to use DHCP?

(M) = No, I'm using the DNS addresses that I was told to put in.

(T) = Well try these DNS addresses (reads them off) and if that doesn't work set it to use DHCP and if that doesn't work call us back. Thanks for calling, goodbye!

Moral(s) of the story: If you are tech support, at least let the user finish describing the problem before you assume you know the answer. Also, listen to the user. Just because they are calling in doesn't mean they are an idiot. AND don't assume that because you hear a female voice on the other end of the line that "the little lady" doesn't know what she's talking about.


The Phone line is 95% your connection
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Wow, I get to finally post one of my own here.

Well anyway, I work in glorious Sydney for a small ISP. I used

to work at another ISP which went bust (not mentioning name)

and I wonder why it went bust with people like this.

Me: Welcome to ...... Tech Support, this is .... speaking, how can I help you?

User: I cant connect to the Internet. It is coming up with error 629.

Okay, here I am thinking its a simple modem problem. So I took him to the Control

Panel (Win98) and got him to go into modems, and get him to do a diagnostics test

on it. Everything is working fine as it should be. Checked his settings in the DUN

and checked IE for any problems as well. Everything is working fine.

Me: Okay, did you install any fax software or any other program that uses the phone line?

User: No. I havent used the computer for a week, and I tried to use it today.

Checked his account status, that was fine. He was not suspended.

20 mins of further troubleshooting as well as reconfiguring modem and ie explorer twice, he

decided to let me in on this tidbit of information.

User: Oh, does the modem go through the phone line?

Me: Yes it does, unless you are with ADSL (even though it does) or CABLE

User: I got this notice today saying that my phone line has been disconnected due to non payment. Could that be a problem??

Me: ?????????????????


I am sure techs have asked this before, BUT WHERE DO THEY COME FROM??? PLUTO????

Close but no cigar
Posted 11/01/2001 by Fern

Almost 3 years ago, I started working as a first level tech supporter for a company that provided support for ISPs across North America. What a nightmare. I worked 18 months in total doing this...and survived to tell this tale.

The one that I remember was this lady having problems logging in thru dialup. Giving error 691 in Win98. She gave me her password (lets say it was 'password'), tried it and it worked. I checked everything under the sun, to make sure she was typing it correctly. And there was no problems on our side.

Finally, I checked the 'failed password log' (slow but useful sometimes). Her password was appearing several times in the log. Strange! And it seemed to be typed correctly. But by looking at it more closely, the password seemed to be indented a few millimeters to the right. So I asked her to retype it again...but to make sure NOT to press THE SPACE KEY, when she selects and deletes her password. Because a space in front of the password wouldn't work.

She deleted her password using the DEL KEY this time, making sure her cursor was at the very beginning of the password field. She logged on no problem. Oh well, not her fault I guess.

Parental (tech) support
Posted 11/01/2001 by John Weintraub

My parents are, shall we say, older, so sometimes their grasp of things technical isn't so good. SOme examples:

When we were first trying out e-mail, we were getting the First Official E-mail to whomever, when my father panicked and stopped and said:

Father: "Wait! Don't send that email!"

Me: "Why?"

Father: "We have to wait till the long-distance rates go down!"

Another one happened not too long ago. My parents still can't tell what they need to be online for and what they need to do locally (without internet). Thus:

Me: "We have to defragment your computer's hard drive"

Dad: "Don't we have to be on the internet to do that?"

Some other wonderful statements they have made:

"Can you boot up the internet?"

"Can you boot Amazon?"

"To print from the Internet, does the printer need to be on?"

"I can't see anything. Does the monitor need to be on?"

" I want to email the Internet. How do I do that?" (LOOOOTS of patience).


Mom: "This mouse doesn't work"

Me: "It's not a garage door opener. Try putting it down on the mouse mat."

Mom: "Well! NOW it works!"

See what I'm up against? THese are REcent too! And I've been doing this for FIVE YEARS!

Snap to install
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

OK, We have all heard the stories about forcing PCI cards into an ISA slot etc etc, but this takes the biscuit:

A while back I got a call from a friend who said that a some DIMMS he had bought really had been a 'snap' to install. I didnt quite understand what he meant until I popped round to have a look.

Standard DIMMS, no problem usually to install - just line up the notches and press gently. Unfortunately, the memory chip in question hadnt been lined up with the notches, and had bent, until it had snapped... Bye bye 256Mb dimm :(

Network Support
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This is honest to goodness true:

Just last week my husband, an attorney, called and was all upset because his office support person was having difficulty with a Word document. He needed the document for a hearing in 30 minutes and she couldn't get it corrected. First, they called their ITS staff people and were told that they couldn't help so out of pure desperation he called me. He described the problem to me so I said, OK, send me the document and I'll see if I can fix it for you. He said, "Ok, what's your fax number"?

After I picked myself up off the floor, I explained to him that I meant for him to send it to me via e-mail and he further added, "You can't do that!" but his support person laughed and said she would do that.

Kristi Castle

PC Maker Marketing Decisions suck
Posted 11/01/2001 by MegaFiend

Who are the people that work for PC manufacturers and recommend they sell brand new PCs with ultra-fast Pentium 4 processors, Windows ME, and only 64Megs of RAM? These people should be fired and forced to work in a career that has absolutely nothing to do with computers, because they are obviously too stupid to handle them.

I am sick and tired of trying to explain to people why their new $1000+ computer slows to a crawl when they have MS Word and MS Excel open at the same time.


Which keys?
Posted 11/01/2001 by Da Popesta

This guy was having keyboard problems on his laptop. Typically all it takes is the push of a button to fix the problem. Mostly as a formality, I have him run the keyboard diagnostics to demonstrate that every key is working now.

Me: Okay, now hold down the function key and press 0.

Him: The Ctrl key?

Me: No sir, the function key at the lower left of the keyboard.

Him: The Central key?

Me: No, sir, the key with the yellow F-N on it.

Him: Oh, the function key?

Me: Yes sir.

Him: Now what?

Me: Now you press each key on the keyboard, and it will light up on the keyboard on your screen.

Him: Every key?

Me: Every key.

Him: Even the F-keys?

Me: Yes sir.

Him: The backspace key?

Me: Every key.

Him: What about the keys across the bottom of the keyboard?

Me: Yes sir, every key on the keyboard.

Him: Even the Ctrl key?

What I wanted to say: EVERY key. E-V-E-R-Y key on the keyboard. What part of that is so difficult? Press them all! Every single steenking one of them! Stop asking stupid questions and start pressing buttons!

What I did say: Yes sir, and every other key you are able to press.

Actual e-mail I received!!
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter



Subject: Mail Send Service Suspension Warning

I selected all my SENT emails and marked them to go to archive. However,

when I implemented the request it told me that my archive file was not found.

OK, so then I created a folder on the left side of the inbox and called it

"Archive Sent Mail" and sent the SENT mail into this folder. I checked it,

and sure enough all the mail was there. Then, thinking I was so cleaver, I

deleted everything in my SENT box. Much to my surprise, guess what, somehow

it also deleted everything that I had just moved into a folder!

386 emails.

I give up.

little bit geeky...
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

ok, *everyone* knows of Lord of the Rings, right?? nope!

This happened to a coworker of mine just yesterday:

she's hooked with all the Lord of the Rings stuff going about, and was endeavoring to hunt down some of the playing cards that jsut came out yesterday. well, she phoned a sports card store down the way to ask after the lotr cards... which was a mistake. (yeah, it's a sports card store, but just in case they would have a special collection or something...)

well, my coworker got an employee on the phone and she asked if the store, by chance, carried any lotr cards. the employee (most likely vacant expression, too) vacantly replied, "is that, like, a wrestling card?"

what?!?! :)

(my coworder took a minute or two just to recover from that one. then she couldn't think of anything else to say... that was nice. what blatant stupidity!)

Squirrels, EVERYWHERE!
Posted 11/01/2001 by D K

Alright, a while ago I used to work for Hewlett Packard in their Pavilion division fixing pc's for the US. One day we got a call that is pretty impossible to believe.

[Tech]= Us

[CU] = Customer w/ a HEAVY southern accent.



[Tech]: Thank you for calling HP Customer care with Pavilion support, my name is (x) how can I help you?

[CU]: I need a new monitor, mines shot.

[Tech]: Okay sir, is there anything on the screen? What happened just before it stopped working

[CU]: Well our computer is on the back porch and I stopped using it, and my friend came over and now its shot

[Tech]: Did water get on it? Or possibly something got bumped against the monitor?

[CU]: No, I mean its literally shot. My friend saw a coon and shot at it and hit my monitor. I wanted to get a new one from you.

**At this time I was on the floor crying in laughter because I was the mentor monitoring the techs call**

[Tech] **after putting the customer on "hold" to check something, in reality crying in laughter with me**... I'm sorry sir, but acts of god, and friends are not covered by our warrenty. You will need to contact the store you purchased it from, or buy a new one.

You gotta love Louisianna, if it wasn't for them I would be out of a job ..



The most dangerous user
Posted 11/01/2001 by Chileheads the one that thinks they know WAY more than they actually do. My boss is one such (l)user. The crap he's thrown at me (in addition to being incredibly cheap) over the last few years boggles my mind. A few of the latest incidents:

1) We have no virus protection at all and a few months ago had a virus that ravaged our accounting server and infected the other servers and all the clients. I managed to get together all the information we needed for enterprise virus protection and set it up with a local consultant - around $800. He decided to let our private consultant (who has been trying to get our relatively small network running properly for MONTHS) talk him into getting shareware for our SERVERS. Shareware!!!! Needless to say, this was months ago and we still have absolutely no virus protection on anything. This from the guy who insists that anything that goes wrong on the network is caused by a virus and issued a memo stating that no one is to download anything because of the virus threat, even though he was told by both me and the consultant that the vast majority of viruses are transmitted via email.

2) After one of our employees got yet another virus through the email yesterday, we were allowed to download and install a 30 day trial of PC-cillin for our clients. I was walking past our admn coordinator and heard him say that her problem was that the program was scanning her entire PC every few minutes. I immediately knew the problem and waited for him to leave...sure enough, it was the email scanner as she had Outlook Express set to check email every few minutes.

The man is a menace.

No Title
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

The other day one of the women in the sales department called with an emergency. She turned on her computer and it won't start. Help me please! She's just one floor above me, so rather than waste time talking to her, I decided to go up and see what was going on.

I got to the desk and she said it was displaying a keyboard error. Fine. I check and make sure the keyboard is plugged it and then take a look at the keyboard. Sure enough, her stapler is on top of the ESC key, holding it down, generating the error. So, I move the stapler, turn on the power and like magic, the PC starts. "Wow! How did you do that?" So, I explained. She turned red, the whole department lauged and I left. But, not before I asked her to enter the information into the HelpDesk DB so we could keep track of this for future FAQs.

Embarrasing Boss
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I used to work for a graphic design company (of 6 people). I was our IT and Web Development department (yes, just me).

This is just one story I have to share, mostly all of them about our boss (one of the 6 members of the company).

The guy knew nothing. If I was to sit here writing for 3 years wearing my fingers to the bone I could never tell you the sheer amount of stupidity that I had to endure from this man.

One day, he decided it would be good for us if he hired a photoshop expert to come in and show us 'how it is done'. So the graphic design department (all of two people) and myself gather around a computer with the expert (a very knowledgable person who cost a bucket load of money to hire just for the one night) to show us how to use photoshop (which all three of us used everyday anyway).

She (the expert) loads up Photoshop and starts by asking us what we would most like to know how to do. Our boss starts to talk and we all hide our heads in shame as he asks:

B(Boss): "Tell us about the 'Save As' function".

E(Expert): "Pardon"?(She turns her head on its side)

B: "Yes, what does this do?"

E: "It saves an open document under a different name."

B: "Oh, I knew that, I meant the Other Save as function".

(We are wincing by this time.)

E: "There is no other Save As you mean Save for Web?"

B: "No, I mean Save As"

E: "I'm sorry, but I have no clue what you are talking about"

B: "What am I paying you for then if you know nothing about Photoshop!"

E: "I think you're confused"

B: (trying to cover his ass) "I know all about Photoshop. But I use a Mac. This is a PC, so it is completly different."

E: "No, they are exactly the same"

Luckily at this point my mobile rang. I left the room and missed the rest of the conversation. It was 5:00pm anyway, so I didn't go back, I hightailed it home and spent the night reminding myself of how much I needed to money I was making there.

Posted 11/01/2001 by Kevin

I work tech support for a major US-based cable internet provider; last week, I took a call from a customer in Florida.

The poor lady was completely unable to connect to the internet; this wasn't exceptional, except that while I was trying to determine the source of her problem, she explained that she wanted her connection fixed as quickly as possible, because she was leaving on a vacation to Thailand the next day that would last two months.

This struck me as odd; if *I* were leaving my house for two months, I'd disconnect my service. It's cheaper. Before I could say anything, though, she explained: 'I'm going to take the cablemodem with me, so that I can set it up in my hotel room while I'm there, and stay in touch with my family.'

I felt my IQ drop three points. I'm sure of it.

I managed to explain to her, without laughing, that she *would not*, under any circumstances, be able to connect her cablemodem to our network from a hotel in Thailand. Or from a hotel in Miami. Or, for that matter, from anywhere but her home. This confused her; she could not conceive of any reason why this should be so. I assured her that it was the way it worked, and that she should keep her cablemodem at home.

Of course, while I was doing this, I was still looking for the source of the root problem - her inability to connect. I finally discovered it by noting that the PCMCIA network card was not visible in the laptop's settings.

It had been removed, along with the CAT5 cable, and placed with the cablemodem safely in the lady's suitcase in preparation for her trip.


Slowly Slipping Away...
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This made me burst out laughing.

Background: Our customer service emails are, at this point, about three weeks behind, and yes the waits are sometimes that long.

Excerpt from one such email that I was browsing through after finishing my own queue's work:




I know the waits are bad, but "my life is flashing before my eyes" sort of response just got me.

Is that S as in Frank
Posted 11/01/2001 by Thomas

I do phone support for a broadband internet company. I had one of the most frustrating calls that I have ever had. In retrospect it is kind of funny. A lady that was obviously foreign called complaining of a slow connection. I went trough the various troubleshooting steps with her. One step is to type route -f at the command prompt to clear the routing tables. This one step took about 15 minutes. Here is why.

Me: Please open the command prompt.

Customer: Okay, its open.

M: Now type in R O U T E Space forward slash f as in frank

C: Okay

M: Now press Enter

C: It gives me an error

M: Okay, you did not type it in correctly. What did you type?

C: R O U T E Space slash S

M: Is that S as in Sam or F as in Frank?

C: What you mean S as Frank?

M: No, I said F(over-pronunciated), thats F as in the word Frank

C: I no understand S as Frank

M: I said F, F, listen closely, that is F as in Frank, F as in Frog, F as in Full, F as in First. Do you have it now?

C: Wait slow down. Can you repeat all of that?

M: No, No, do not type all of that. Just the letter F as in Frank.

C: I no understand Frank.

M: What letter on the keyboard are you typing?

C: S

M: Is that S as in Sam?

C: What you mean Sam?

Of course at this point, I had begun to raise my voice. Everyone around me was looking at me and snickering. Then I got an instant message from a colleague saying, "Is that F as in Sam or S as in Frank?"

I pressed on though.

M: Okay ma'am, look at your keyboard. What letters are to the right and left of the letter you are typing?

C: A and D

M: Okay, what letter is between D and G?

C: (After about 30 seconds pause) Oh, I get it, F as Frank.

Hallelujah, We have found the promise land.

I just thought this would get a few laughs. I was not laughing at the time, but now I can. Besides, everyone still gives me a hard time about that one.

The sad thing is, the lady was not dumb, there was just a communication problem.

Tech support Catch 22
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I'm having a problem accessing my Homepage at my ISP. I need to do some updating of the info contained there. I sent an email to the tech support department only to receive one in return from the tech support department telling me I need to contact tech support via email. When I sent the email as a reply I received an email telling me I had to call tech support. Upon calling tech support I was told by the tech that there is no telephone tech support for Homepages and to send an email to tech support. So who do you think I should call or email, tech support or tech support? I have the emals to back this one up.

Flipped Floppy
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A few years ago, I got a call from an user insisting her Floppy drive was broken. I asked her what the problem was and she repeated that the floppy drive was broken. This particular user had called for problems before and on several occasions told me that she was a great programmer and some of her programs were running at major companies. Typical KNOW-IT-ALL user.

I didn't want to deal her right there and then so I waited about half an hour. Sure enough I got a call from her Admin, pleading with me to come by and take a look.

When I arrived, I found out that it was an external floppy drive connected to a laptop. I asked what the problem was and the user tried to push the floppy disk into the floppy drive and it stopped half way. I looked at the drive, picked it up and turned it over and pushed the floppy into the drive. I smiled, walked away and laughed all the way back to my cube.

Yet another idiot tech
Posted 11/01/2001 by ladycrim

Ah yes, here we have another case of a tech person who wasn't thinking too clearly.

E-mail at my office had been down due to a bad router. We finally got that replaced, but the e-mail was still down; in fact, it was now bouncing back to the sender claiming we didn't exist.

It took over a week of stressful searching to discover the problem: when the tech replaced the router, he had typed in completely incorrect IP addresses. We fixed the addresses and our mail worked fine.

Is good support -this- hard to find?
Posted 11/01/2001 by Bruce Lane

I'm self-hosted as far as my 'net presence is concerned. What this means is that I run all my own servers, including DNS, and that I have my own router, firewall, etc. The only thing I'm dependent on my ISP for is the DSL pipe and six static IP addresses.

Like anyone else who's spent any time on the 'net since about 1997, we (my wife and I) get spammed occasionally. The influx of such is kept to a tight minimum, thanks to our use of the SPEWS and DNSBL listings at and a personal 'Deny Access' list that I maintain locally. Like any red-blooded spam-fighting SysAdmin, I also make it a point to notify the originating ISP that they have a problem.

Sometimes, though, notification is not as easy as it might sound. Not all ISPs have a registered 'abuse' address to send spam complaints to. Sometimes they do, but they don't think to register it at

Such was the case with a particular spammish note I received recently. The ISP seemed legitimate, but had no listed 'abuse' address, so I decided to call them to verify that they had an anti-spam policy in place, and to find out where to forward the report. This is a somewhat paraphrased transcript of that call.

(ISP): "Thanks for calling Tech Support, this is (name deleted), can I help you?"

(Me): "I hope you can, yes. I'm the SysAdmin for (my company name), and one of your users has just spammed my 'postmaster' address. Would I be correct in assuming that your terms of service prohibit such activity?"

(ISP): (after struggling to find their tongue). "Uhhh... well, I... Could you tell me that again? And who is it you're calling for?"

(Me, beginning to get a sick feeling in my guts): "I'm the SysAdmin for (my company name). One of your users has spammed me. Can you please verify that your policies do not allow this, and can you please tell me what address to send the report to?"

(ISP): "Ahhh... Ok. Could I get your number and E-mail address? I'm going to contact my supervisor to find out how to handle this. You see, I'm still really new on the job, and this is the first call about anyone spamming that I've taken..."

(Me, interrupting gently, but firmly): "Let me make sure I understand this. You have no access to your company's Terms of Service, and you can't even confirm that spamming violates those terms. You can't even tell me where to E-mail the report?"

(I continued along these lines in a polite-but-firm fashion. By now, you could just -hear- the sweat starting to bead up on this poor newbie. Finally, it came to this).

(Me, after withstanding a long spiel on how his 'manager' was the only one with answers, and after getting asked for a number where I could be reached). "O-kayyy... fine, I'll take that callback (I give my number). But let me make my position very clear.

I view spam as theft of my computing resources and my bandwidth. I want to hear back from your company within ONE HOUR. If I don't hear back from you in that time, I will personally place your entire IP range into our domain's local 'Deny Access' list,

and I'll report my findings to an anti-spam newsgroup..."

(ISP, somewhat harried): "Yes, I understand all that sir, but I'd rather get my manager involved than give you wrong information..."(etc.))

To the fellow's credit, he called back in no more than 20 minutes with all the info I could possibly want, including an abuse address. I thanked him, made sure he knew I was satisfied with the outcome, and then gently suggested that his company register

their abuse address at (it's a database that serves as a central clearing house for ISP abuse-reporting addresses).

Yes, the call ended on a good note, and I'm sure the spammer that sparked my report will be looking for a new dialup account before the weekend is out. However, questions about the whole thing still stick in my mind.

It's a no-brainer to make a copy of any ISP's Terms of Service available, either on its web site or as hardcopy distributed to the tech support section. Why didn't they? Or maybe they did, and this poor guy had no

idea where to find it?

Even if that's true, what does it say about the training, advance preparation, and experience of the ISP's "support" people? The ToS and abuse-reporting address are two simple things that should be drilled into any

support person's skull their first day in training or on the job, along with a thorough briefing on the evils of spam and spammers.

Doesn't ANYone take time to train their people any more? Sheesh!

It's not just the customers that are cluless
Posted 11/01/2001 by Jason H

I have worked for this company for 1 year now and we support multiple subjects. I am a support tech for ISP, Sony CDRW's, Sony Tape, cable and phones. I tell you this place is a headache. Anyways I get to deal with all the idiots also. Companies like this are such morons they just give you multi task jobs with little or no training and then stick you on the phones with morons. I have to watch my phone screen when it rings to know which support I have to put into my mind. We have to handle each call in 8 minutes or less or we get chewed out. That can be so impossible dealing with these customers who when you say double click on my computer and they say I don't see my computer. Then you tell them to read what is on the screen in fron of them and they say My Computer. My supervisor for the ISP side was monitoring my call one day when I had this customer who kept getting the username and password screen when trying to log onto the internet. Now our company who supports over 15 ISP's don't even have any way of seeing the customers information or what's the account status. I did the little troubleshooting there was which is to make sure they are using the right username and password and then advise them to contact the main ISP office the next day to make sure they don't have any billing issues. (It's terrible to call tech support who can't even give you your username or password or check your account status if needed) I also used an online e-mail database and put in their e-mail address and password to help see if they are typing the right information in their system. Well I was unable to access their information. That gives me the idea that they may have billing issues or completely have the wrong username or password. After the call my supervisor comes over and tells me I should have done more troubleshooting with her dial-up connections. I got red in the face because this management staff we have are clueless. I looked at her and said "Well if you where monitoring my calls you wo

uld have known this was a DSL customer". It has been a week and she still insist we need to troubleshoot everything if they get the username and password error. Now imagine me with the same supervisors trying to do tech support for $5,000.00+ Sony Tape drives talking with Network Administrators.

It's in the mail!
Posted 11/01/2001 by Lostboy

This tale goes to show that it's not just USERS who do silly or even truly idiotic things. ANYONE can have a lapse of judgement, resulting in all kinds of chaos.

Many years ago, long before the internet became popular, there was only one local ISP available to me. The service was very expensive, but heck, what could I do?

To log on we used Trumpet Winsock and a script which was specific to that ISP.

Things worked (usually) fine for a couple months, then suddenly one morning I could no longer log on. I knew I had plenty of hours left, (internet access was sold in "blocks" of hourly use) so I called tech support.

They, of course, claimed everything was just peachy keen on their end and walked me through some really entertaining troubleshooting to see if maybe intruders had maliciously unplugged the modem, verifying my winsock version was actually the one I claimed it was, asking if the modem was properly seated in the card slot, etc.

The tech finally concluded that a bolt of (non-existent) lightning had most likely FRIED my modem, and I should go buy a new one.

I had by this time decided that it was probably the only option left to anyhow, so I would try a new modem.

We were about to conclude our conversation when the tech wondered out loud if maybe I was having problems with the NEW login script.

I asked the tech what the heck was he talking about and he told me that the login script had been updated, had I installed the new version?

I replied that I was completely unaware that any changes had been made, how was I supposed to get the new script.

He told me they had send it out to all users that morning, all I had to do was check my email.

In the following silence I could literally HEAR the gears turning in his head. His immortal words will forever be imprinted on my mind.

"UH OH!!!"

No Title
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Lady calls up complaining that the Internet had destroyed her computer and she wanted us to buy her a new one. The conversation went something like this.

Lady: Your internet destroyed my computer and I want it replaced right now or I am going to take you to court.

Me: Maam,could you please...

Lady: Everything is black and it doesnt work, the cursor doesnt move, theres no picture and therese no sound.

Me: Could you please tell me what happened...

Lady: Your going to buy me a new COMPUTER!

This goes on for about 10 minutes at which she finally tells me that when she went to turn on her computer that morning nothing happened, and that nobody else had used the computer all the while insisting we are going to replace her computer with a better one.

Ive dealt with enough customers to know she is a few bricks short of a load. I get her to describe what her computer looks like and she says "Its the square TV on the desk" Loose cable on the back of the monitor or box or maybe it got unplegged, no biggie.

It takes me nearly 20 minutes to convince her to check her cables all the while she keeps cutting me off saying "instead of a 15 inch your going to get me a 19 inch bla bla bla The internet destroyed my computer and your going to replace it with a better one bla bla bla"

To make a long story short the video cable came unplugged on her box and she says rather sheepishly "No new computer"

and I say "Thats correct maam, no new computer. Goodbye"

Five minutes after dealing with the lady, I get a phone call from her husband it starts out like this

"Ive been trying for the last 30 minutes to call you and complain that the internet destroyed his wifes computer and were going to buy them a new"

VERY nice callers...
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Just got off my most interesting call of the month. Five college girls on a speaker phone (and just 4 hours away) trying to get their laptop to play a DVD on their TV. All we had to do was fix a bad video driver by reinstalling, and it worked fine.

The thing is, at the beginning of the call one of the girls muttered "he sounds cute". A bit later, another straight-out told me the same. While rebooting, a third asked me if I was single. I said no. When they got a picture on the TV, the first one (Ms. "he sounds cute") asked "Is there anything at all we can do to repay you?"

I had to hold my breath to keep from saying something that might get me fired.

Good thing I'm engaged, or I might have actually said something, and been serious about it.

Librarians do tech support too
Posted 11/01/2001 by Stephen Shipley

Posh dim student: "I'm looking for Twelfth Night"

Me: "Have you checked the catalogue?"

PDS: "Yeah, but it's not there".

Me: "Twelfth Night isn't on the catalogue? Are you sure?"

PDS: "Yeah, I've been looking for ages".

Me (after doing a second long catalogue search):

"Yup, we have quite a lot of copies actually".

PDS: "Oh, is THAT how you spell it? Where is it?"

Me "822.33 Q7"

PDS: "Oh, what does the '822' bit mean?"

Me: "It's part of the shelf mark"

PDS: "What does the Q7 bit mean?"

Me: "It's the other part of the shelf mark."

PDS: "What's a shelf mark?"

Me: "It's a classification number to tell you which shelf the book is on".

PDS: "Cool". [Exits to find play]

5 minutes later.

PDS: "I couldn't find it".

Me: "Did you find any of the Shakespeare books".

PDS: "No. Would it be with the Shakespeare books?"

Me: "Um, yes. He wrote it."

PDS: "Oh, right".

Me: "I'll come to the shelf with you".

At shelf:

PDS: "Oh, I wasn't looking here. I was looking over there".

Me: "Right. But see, it has a different shelf mark".

PDS: "What's a shelf mark?"

Me: "Actually, it looks like all the copies of Twelfth Night are

out on loan at the moment. Is it just the text you need?"

PDS: "No, I need to read the play".

Me: "Yes, but is it just the text of the play,

um, the words of the play you need.

You don't need an introduction?"

PDS: "Um, no, yes, um, don't know, no. No".

Me: "Right, it's just that there's a complete works of Shakespeare up there.

PDS: "Will it be in the complete works of Shakespeare?"

Me: "Yes, it's the COMPLETE works of Shakespeare. And he wrote it".

PDS: "Cool. Do you have any other complete works of Shakespeare?"

Me: "Why would you need another one?"

PDS: "Just in case Twelfth Night isn't in that one"

Me: "I'm going now".

PDS: "Before you go,

you couldn't tell me where I could find a copy of Hamlet could you?"

(Leeds University)

No Title
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Had training for our new system this week, and our instructor shared a couple of his good ones with us:


One class he was teaching, there was this guy, big burly dude, nicest guy you could imagine, but when it came to computer basics he just didn't get it. He'd move the mouse with his right hand, and use the index finger of his LEFT to click the buttons!

So the instructor told him, you know, you're supposed to use your right finger to click the mouse buttons. So what does this guy do? He SWITCHES HANDS, starts moving the mouse with his left, clicking with his right!

They nicknamed this guy "Chevy Truck", because he was "Like a Rock".


The other one was when the instructor did servicing for clients, before he started teaching. This one time he was at a site and needed the superuser logon to make a config change. Asks the computer room operator, he notifies the sysadmin. Sysadmin asks a few questions, says they'll need to notify the president of the company. Bring HIM in, explain the issue, he gets on the phone with someone else. A few minutes later this uniformed security guard, complete with gun, shows up, sits down, enters the password. Instructor does his change with these four other people waiting, then signs out. Security guy changes the password, writes it down, seals it in an envelope.

Turns out this company's method of master-password security is: The password is on a piece of paper kept in a sealed envelope, in a safe, acquiring it requires permission from the senior sysadmin AND the company president, freakin' NORAD here, and the people actually in charge of the master password are... the security staff. The lowest-paid, crappiest-job employees in the company. THEY are the only ones who have root-level access to the system.

What ever happened to common sense?
Posted 11/01/2001 by Matthew Carpenter

First thing's first: Imagine this scenario, you buy a new computer, and the instructions to use it (including turning it on), along with self-troubleshooting tips for when it won't boot, are not on paper, BUT ON THE HARD DRIVE!!! YES! THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR PLUGGING IN AND SETTING UP THE COMPUTER ARE IN C:\MANUFACTURER'S_NAME\HELP\HOW_TO_SET_UP_THIS_PC.TXT!?! I wouldn't be suprised if I buy a new CD-Rom drive (on the box it says "For computers without CD-Rom Drives. NOT PLUG-AND-PLAY compatable. Driver disk included") opening the box to find the drivers on a disk all right... A COMPACT DISK!

Then, Since my Dad was a newbie to the internet, I created a start page on his local hard disk (remember this) with links to search engines. When he tries it out, he calls me up, saying that something was wrong. I went up to his "Office" in the attic, and he points out that it doesn't connect to the net until he clicks on a search engine. I point out that it was on his computer, not the internet, so it didn't need to connect because the start page was right there. I don't blame him. He was a newbie.

And then we got an upgrade our (brand removed) internet from normal dial-up to AOL style. Installed fine on the "cow-spotted" computer.(Hint, ISP was also Cow-spotted) However, my dad's Packard bell was a mess. Had to delete TONS of files. (Almost 100 Megabytes was temp on his poor 1gig HD, speckled all over with bad sectors) Finally freed up enough space to install the new software, but had to install several times because of errors. Finally, I had it installed, preparing to bask in glory when the modem failed to dial-up. It recognised the Pace Microlin modem as a Rockwell. (yeah, the modem had a rockwell chipset, but it's still a Pace Microlin.) Just to be sure though, I called the award winning cow-spotted tech-support. They finally diagnosed the problem as not enough ram, not touching my suggestion that it did not recognise the modem properly, saying,"Pace Microlin huh? Probably has a rockwell chipset. It'll work. It's not our software, its your ram. So I bought some new ram at more than $50 (luckily my mom paid). I then pulled apart the poor packard bell, having to remove the drive cage to get to the ram, installed the new ram, pulling it up from 16megs to 48. Then I made sure the BIOS recognised the ram: It did, Tested the ram: It worked, tried to dial up to the ISP: It didn't. By now I was furious, 50 bucks down the drain, with nothing to show for it, but managed to gain my composure long enough to call the "award-winning" tech support back. They told me it was still the ram. I managed to convice them to walk me through manually selecting the modem driver. They told me it wouldn't work, but they would help me set the driver anyway. Finally, I got to the software's modem setup, Changed it from rockwell to the Pace Microlin that we had, and voila! I proved their tech support wrong,and continued my day.

Then one day, I was at school in Science, which was in the media center this time, so we could work on some reports. A classmate called the teacher to help him flip a picture of the front of a man. The science teacher's effort did not prevail, so he called the media teacher to help. Finally, the media teacher found out exactly what the student was trying to do and said,"Sorry, you can't flip the man over to show his back." The student puts on a disappointed look and sighs, "Gee, that sucks." The teacher suggested that he find a picture of a man's back and left. Then a girl asks me for help (lets call her Jill). She wanted help drag-and-dropping an image. I went to Jill's computer and asked her to show me what she was doing. She was doing it properly, however she failed to notice that she was trying to drag a Java Applet off of an HTML document. I pointed this out to her, she thanked me, and I was back to work.

*Sigh* It never ends.

Out of warranty??? But you guys MADE the computer!!!!
Posted 11/01/2001 by Daystrom@edmcvgs

I work tech support for HP computers, the pavilion line.

The systems would not be all that bad, except that they are loaded down with so much crap, the sole purpose of which is to entice some dimwit to spend his hard earned money on that computer. I have been working tech support for just over a year now, and in that time, I have come across many a dumb F**K.(don't mean to offend anyone, but my tolerance has been decimated by working here)

We get a lot of calls from people who's computer is older than one year, thus...they are not covered by their manufacturers warranty.(referred to as OOW)

They call in, wanting us to fix it, for free, and they want it to run the newest programs, as fast as they think they should be run.

Prime example.

Customer calls in, wants tech support.

Me: Thank you for calling......blah blah blah. Can I get the serial number?

Cust: The computer doesn't work, can you help me?

Me: Sure, no problem, but first...can I get the serial number?

Cust: Where is it?

Me: On the back of the comptuer, would be 2 letters followed by 8 numbers.

Cust: The systems ID?

Me: No.....the serial number.

Cust: OK, here it is HWBOM...

Me: NO NO NO, that is not it, TWO letters, followed by EIGHT numbers.

Cust: Do you really need that?

(at this point in time, I have already brought up the records for this computer, stating that it is running windows 98, and it is OOW, but what the hell, I got nothing else to do with my time?) After five or so minutes, she FINALLY finds it.

ME: OK, I'm gonna bring up your records.


Me: it says here that your computer is no longer covered by our warranty, if I have to help you out, it is a charge on a credit card.

Cust: guys made this computer???

Me: right...but the warranty IS expired, so I will have to charge you.

Cust:Yeah I KNOW it is not covered by your warranty...but your company has to support it, you all made it!!!(she is getting more and more angry...guess I shouldn't have made her crawl all over the place looking for a serial number I already had huh? oh well)

Me: well ma'am, I can only support what is covered by your warranty, and it is expired, so I WILL have to charge you on a credit card(mentioning the credit card ALWAYS pisses them off MORE)

Cust: look here, either you help me, or you get me your supervisor RIGHT NOW!!!(she is obviously a mother, as I have heard the same tone from MY mom, but if MY mom doesn't scare me with that tone, this woman on the phone aint got a snowballs chance.)

Me: A supervisor will tell you the exact same thing as I just did and since it's.....(she cuts me off)

Cust: go get one right goddamned now!!!

Me: fine, (then I put her on hold)

Supervisor comes over, and after telling this woman the same thing, she starts in on him, telling him how she will never recommend HP to anyone else, and how she would sue ect. then she ends the call by saying "thanks for nothing shitheel"

Now, at the end of every call, we are suppoed to say a stupid line "thank you for calling HP customer care", I wonder If I lost marks on that call, not saying it before she hung up??

Welcome to Mcdonalds...I mean tech support
Posted 11/01/2001 by Daystrom@edmcvgs

Hi again.

I felt I should give you some background on where I work, as it is amusing to other techs who actually care about doing tech support, and don't give a damn about stupid useless policies.

I work at convergys, outsourced tech support for HP computers. This place is more concerned about what kind of cup we drink pop out of than actually helping the guy on the end of the phone.

They pressure us to be off the phone in less than 17 minutes. 17 MINUTES, to fix god knows what scewup the user had done on their systems.

They sit there and listen to almost every call, and if we don't phrase something in JUST the right way, or we neglect to ask if HP can contact matter how many times that question has been asked that day...we are punished.

(sounds like a nice place huh?)

We are sanctioned if we take our breaks or lunch late. Well, last time I looked, it takes as long as it take to fix a problem...I mean sure, I could always have the customer reformat the comptuer, make my call times LOW.

I find it humerous that in a call center filled with hundreds of techs, there are only about ten who know ANYTHING about tech support, the rest use searches ect. to figure out how to fix problems.

So here is the humor...

A guy buys a HP computer, calls in, and after ten minutes of punching in numbers, finally gets on hold with "tech support", then he is answered by someone who is under more pressure to get the intro and exit lines correct than to help the cutomer resolve the issue. While on the phone with this "tech", he is asked all manner of questions the have NOTHING whatsoever to do with the problem, and then, within the space of less than 17 minutes (it takes tim to get e-mail ect) the "tech" is supposed to find out the answer to his problem, and get the user to implement it. And if the problem is not fixed, we make him jump through all manner of hoops, just to prove that it is ACTUALLY the computer that is on fire and smoking, and not the software installed on the system. Tehn that poor guy, who is now seriously reconsidering his opinion of HP, is dropped into the repair system, where his order is dropped, rerouted, transfreered and finally filled out, a mere month later.

I don't hate the users that call in, but I do pity them.

So, if you go into work, try looking around for some of the things that I have mentioned, you might find your workplace a more hunmerous place than you expected.

Thicker than water
Posted 11/01/2001 by Markie Mark

Customer tells me he has lost the ability to launch Word by double-clicking on a *.doc file. I take him by the virtual hand and guide him through the steps to restore this association, but much to my surprise it doesn't work.

Client then tells me he can't find Word in his list of applications. I wonder out loud because i know it should be there (i installed it myself). We struggle on but to no avail. Then, after much to-ing and fro-ing client tells me he has a new harddisk... duh! Worst of all: i can't tell him off becuase after all, he is my father and i love him warts & all

Where do they find these people...
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A few months ago I moved into my new apartment and decided to sign up for DSL from V*riz*n. They said it would be 10-20 days before my service would be connected. I disappointedly agreed to the long wait. Well after about 12 days I finally recieved the modem in the mail (YAE!). I went to the computer, plugged everything in, and waited for the 3 green lights to come on. Only the power light lit up so I figured they just haven't flip the switch to give me access yet. Well they did still have 8 days left. I waited the 8 days everyday coming home from work (as a techie) to see if the lights were on yet. On the 8th day I call them to find out what the hold up is. I hate being a techie calling tech support just for the simple reason that no matter what you say they still treat you as a regular "luser". Here's how the conversation went.

Support: Hello this (name). How may I help you today.

Me: yes I signed up for you DSL service exactly 20 days ago and have been waiting for the 3 green lights to come on.

Support: Are any of the lights on on the modem.

Me: Yes one

Support: Which one?

Me: The power light (DUH! which other could be on if there was only one)

Support: OK I'd like to check your IP Address.

Me: (Wow that would be amazing for me to have an IP Address with no data coming in) OK I'm looking at it right now.

Support: What You'll need to is click on start and select Run.

Me: No I'm already looking at it.

Support: Then in the dialog box type winipcfg.

Me: Don't waste your breath I'm already there.

Support: What do you see in the drop down menu.

Me: My network card called Blah Blah Blah whatever it was.

Support: Ok and what does it say for IP Address.

Me: Nothing, I don't have incoming traffic. I believe it's a problem on your end.

Support: OK what I need you to do is to click the button that says release.

Me: I already did a release/renew. Like I said check your side and make sure everything is OK over there.

Support: OK I just want to be sure. Now click the button that says renew.

Me: OK whatever you say. (Now becoming slightly agitated)

Support: Whats the IP Address now.

Me: The same.

Support: Well let me write out a ticket and someone from our Tech Support will call you in a few days.

Me: A few DAYS!! I have already waited the number of days you told me too.

Support: I realize this, but one of our Tech Support guys will be able to better assist you in solving your problem.

Me: (Knowing there is nothing I can say to get it into her head that it's a problem on there side) OK Bye

Well because you already know where where this is going and because this is already a long story, I'll shorten it up.

A few days go by and finally one of there tech support calls me and tells me it should be working now. I go to the computer and still only 1 light is on. he bumps my modem from his computer and magically all three lights come on. I asked him what the problem was and of course he would never admit to it being a problem on their side. He wanted me to check everything out again just to make sure.

So I hung up on him knowing full well it was working.

I hate when I flat out tell them I'm already 4-5 steps ahead of them and they keep treating me like a normal user.

Thanks TechTales for letting me vent my frustration.

Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

My secretary told me that a user was having problems with the AV system in one of our University classrooms. I grabbed an AV technician in case there was an equipment issue I couldn't resolve and headed out the door. My co-workers shook their heads and said "you probably don't need to bring a techinician, I'll bet you can fix this one yourself" Apparently they had helped this user out before.

Oh well, I'd be on the safe side, I thought.

We got to the classroom and the instructor said that the VCR wasn't working. I dropped in the James Bond tape I had stolen from my ex-girlfriend, it worked fine. The instructor talked on, waiting for us to fix the problem and get out. We were puzzled, and dropped in the tape the instructor wanted to play. It immediately started rewinding when we pressed play. I tried it again, and the same thing happened.

The tech pointed out that the instructor's tape was locked at the end of the tape, and the VCR auto-rewound it when PLAY was pressed. I felt pretty stupid for not checking the tape myself first, but then I was spared the embarassment when the instructor realized that the tape was working.

Prof: "what was the problem anyway?"

Me: "well, your tape wasn't rewound at all, so it wouldn't play until it was rewound."

The tech and I exited while the entire class smirked and snorted with laughter at their professor.

well, it's good enough for Bill Gates
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I'd recently attended a trade show, and gotten my card scanned by a few vendors so I could receive their info. One company was badgering me to see their rep when he was in town, and I relented because I wanted to see their product eventually.

The rep came in and got set up, except his computer wouldn't boot. "non-system disk error", but no floppy or CD was in the drive

me: have you cracked the case at all?

Rep: of course, I have to open it up to install the product (a hardware add-on)

me: OK, open it up. Now plug in your hard drive to the power source.

BONG! Works great.

later in the presentation, our manager asks:

well, how does the product actually work?

Rep: I don't actually know. But Bill Gates just bought 8 thousand of them for the computers he's giving away!

Manager: great, but we want to know how it works!

Rep:, well, it works! Why does it matter how it works, it does. This is the best product...blah blah blah

Apparently, just because it does what is is supposed to, means it's worth spending multiple thousands of dollars. I supsect this guy knows that his car works when he turns the key, but not much else.

Think Outside the Picture
Posted 11/01/2001 by Graham W. Boyes

Me: So, I'll just print this picture out, eh?

My teacher: No. We'll have to wait to use Bob's printer because his can print on the eleven inch side of the [Letter size] paper and this one can only print on the 8.5 inch side.

Me: Uh...I could rotate the picture?

(Dead silence for about five seconds, then hysterical laughter and head banging from my teacher. At least she realized it.)

Bugs and Viruses
Posted 11/01/2001 by Coyote Holmberg

I am a field technician for my company. One day, as a favor, I installed the Microsoft Plus "Dangerous Creatures" theme on our accountant's PC. She anxiously contacted me the next day, concerned that her new wallpaper had given her computer a virus. She knew it had one because her computer was showing her a "graphical representation" of the invading virus or bug, by changing her mouse pointer to a picture of a wasp. (For those who are unfamiliar with the theme, it shows a nice picture of a cougar, and changes the icons and cursors to images of insects and other critters).

DNS trouble
Posted 11/01/2001 by GrapeWine

I’m a costumer of a large Danish cable TV and Internet access company (S*******). After having installed net network card and connecting the modem configuring the software and so on, I was still unable to connect to the IRCNet server in Copenhagen. I got the message that the server was unable to determine my address (The server only accepts connections from .dk, .no .se .fo). I quickly determined that their reverse DNS lookup didn’t work. I called tech support and got a girl on the phone, and she said: “I don’t know what a reverse DNS lookup is, but we’ll just run over your settings once”. Needless to say that didn’t work. I progressed to 2. level support and got the message: “We don’t support reverse DNS lookup”. I knew that this wasn’t true and after some time I got to 3. level support. Here I meet the first competent technician who confessed that he couldn’t help me since the DNS server had broken down and the backup apparently didn’t run 100 %. He called me back later that day to say that the problem had been fixed and that the reverse DNS lookup was now functioning.

Hot in the office
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Most days I walk by an office, a smallish one, not

any bigger than about two parking spaces, with 2

people working there. Lately they've had their

door to the hallway open all the time, with two fans running, pointing into the room.

I wondered what was going on, I asked one of the wilted-looking denizens, they say "room too hot". I shake my head in sympathy and move on.

This sight of fans always running went on for weeks.

Finally I took a better look in the room. For ventilation, all they had was one small ceiling vent, putting out about a baby chihuahua's worth of warm air. The room felt uncomfortably warm and muggy.

On a nearby desk, whoa!, the biggest Dell server I've ever seen. Must be about as big as a apartment refrigerator.

It's on 24/7.

I feel the back of the server. Strong warm breeze from several fans. About 800 watts I guess (3000 BTU).

(later I look up the exact specs: closer to 1000 watts max).

I gently suggest "maybe that's whats heating up the room".

Them: "It doesnt LOOK like it could do that"

I even offer to help them find space for it in another room.

Them: No thanks.

You can lead them to water, but you can't make them drink......

One way to feel superior to your supervisor...
Posted 11/01/2001 by Tviokh

..since I no longer work at the company in question, and said supervisor is no longer a boss of mine, I can finally post this one! :D

I used to work graveyard tech shifts, and my supervisor's shift started at 6am.

He came in one morning looking like he was ready to spit nails, AND looking like he'd had no sleep.

I ask, "What's wrong?" and the conversation is as follows:

S: "I didn't get any $#*(&#@ sleep last night!!!"

Me: "Why not?"

S: "I was up all night trying to get my two Macs networked! It wouldn't work!"

Me: "You mean just a peer to peer network?"

S: "Yeah. I tried EVERYTHING! Reinstalling, changing settings, troubleshooting with the manual, I even went out and got new NICs, new cables, I reinstalled the OSes on both Macs TWICE, and couldn't get those two @#(*&$ computers to talk to each other!!!" he's speaking, an internal grin is breaking out...I know what his problem is...but I let him finish.

Me: "Were you using crossover cables or straight through cables?"

S: *blank stare* "What?"

Me: *repeats the question*

S: *blank stare* "I just used the normal kind you by at Best Buy.

Me: *trying not to fall over laughing, or smile, or smirk, or anything because he'd KILL me* "*supervisor's name*, you need to use a crossover cable if you don't have a hub between the two won't work otherwise."

So, my supervisor, who always delighted in making the dialup techs feel like morons sits there...and lets this all sink in.

....after a minute or so he says, "$(&*#$!!!! You mean I was up ALL NIGHT and did ALL that $(&#*$ and all that was wrong was the cable type?!?!"

Me: "Yep."

He then started laughing, and got up to go make some coffee.

He had one of the systems people make him a crossover cable during the day, took it home, plugged the Macs in of surprises, they could see each other! :D

He made no mention to the system techs about the early morning exchange; I, however, was delighted to tell everybody on the tech floor about it as this particular supervisor wasn't well liked.

So, somebody explain why this guy was getting twice my salary?

No Title
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

A man called to ask about his unlimited hours per month internet plan with our company.

Customer: What happens to any usused hours? Do they roll over to the next month?

Me: Erm.....

The WordPerfect "too stupid"
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

The WordPerfect "too stupid" tale is arguably the most well-loved stupid user tale of all time. This charming anecdote has been kicking around on the Internet since approximately 1996, and it has morphed into a number of variations identifying it as an actual call received by Microsoft, Novell, Corel, or IBM, with some versions adding additional flourishes such as:

This is a true story from the WordPerfect helpline. Needless to say the helpdesk employee was fired; however, he/she is currently suing the WordPerfect organization for "Termination without Cause".


There is no spoon
Posted 11/01/2001 by E.Lee

Computers are sophisticated devices that require time and effort in order to be used to best effect, but that doesn't explain why users seem to have such difficulty in using relatively simple devices, like keyboards and mice. To illustrate this, here is what a person, who provides support for, say, eating utensils, might encounter when receiving a call from a typical large-ISP customer:

"Hello, flatware support...None of your guests can pick up their steak?...Have you tried using the other end?...No, the end with the pointy bits...Yes, the end that looks like a fork...No, the silver plating isn't poisonous...Well, it sounds like that person is suffering from food poisoning...The first step is to get that person to a hospital...A hospital...H-o-s-p-i-t-a-l...No, it's a "p"...Yes, it is...Yes, it is...We can worry about the spelling, later - do you understand that your guest needs to see a doctor as soon as possible?...A doctor...Yes, the person who dresses in white and uses a stethoscope on you...Yes, they work in hospitals...Yes, they do...Ok, just call 911, all right?...9-1-1...The number, not the letter...No, don't dial it now, do it after you're finished talking to me...Well, yes, unless you're having any other problems with your flatware...No, you don't use forks on your soup, you use spoons...Yes, the ones with the large, round ends...No, I'm afraid you can't claim warranty service if--...You have my sympathies for your son-in-law, who tragically, accidentally stabbed himself in the stomach with his fork, but if you read the--...No, there really isn't a secret worldwide conspiracy to starve Humanity by providing them with shoddy spoons and forks..."

Help Me, Help You
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Well there is no resolution to this problem but it does show how some people should not own technology.

My mother-in-law has been use a computer both at home and at work for some years now. She only uses her system for Juno mail so its a basic computer. The main purpose of the computer is really to look good to her freinds, sort of like what most executives do.

For several years, everytime I talk to her she complains she can't boot her computer. Thats all she can tell me. She never records any messages or errors. And everytime I go over to visit I check the computer. And it always boots without any problem. She of course acts shocked and is in disbelieve, demanding to know what I did. I explain I did nothing and she stays confused for the remainder of the visit.

She will never learn that she has to help herself before I can help her. I figure I can milk this for sevaral more years, and have fun with it.

Its evil and I don't care.

Uninstall means Upgrade
Posted 11/01/2001 by Steven Surjaputra

One of our clients downloaded our upgrade package. For some odd reason they thought the UNINSTALL icon in our program group meant UPGRADE. So now I have to spend a good part of the morning trying to restore their data.

I guess the U confused them.

Moron and the LSD tripout???
Posted 11/01/2001 by Aarooga

I literally just got this call. Now you may think that some people are stupid but this guy takes the biscuit.

Me: Good afternoon, blah, blah

Moron: I need an installation code please.

I enter his postcode to bring up his company details. However, there are 2 companies...

Me: What company are you calling from?

Moron: on (in background here) Who are we

Gives me the company name (he works here???)

Me: Ok, what cd are you installing

He then goes on to give me the name of the cd. The thing is we produce 2 cd's with similarish titles. Firstly, he asks how will he find out what the title is (um...hello!! it's on the fucking CD you just put in the drive).

He then reads out the title. Except it isn''s a combination of both. I get him to say it again and he gives me the same answer, again.

Me: We don't have a CD of that title. Can you read it again please?

Moron: Hold on, i put it back in the drive.

Takes it out the drive and says practically the same thing as before.

Me: Are you sure??

Moron: Oh, no it's..(correct title)

What the hell was this guy seeing.



No Title
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anthony

I work as OnSite Support person in large telecoms company located in Finland. Once a user told me over the phone that his mouse didn't work at all. I recalled that just few days ago one of his workmates had a similar problem and I found out that she was a victim of the classic 'scotch tape in mouse' practical joke.

So I asked him if mouse's ball was covered with scotch tape. 'No, there is no scotch tape' he said and I thought his mouse had just got broken. So I went on site to replace his mouse. When I examined his old mouse, I was quite surprised: there really wasn't any scotch tape in his mouse, but the whole ball was removed. Later one guy from the same office admitted the ball removal, we had a good laugh then =)

Computer HIV???
Posted 11/01/2001 by Pi

I'm a network/computer tech at my high school but I got this hearsay from one of my friends (Confirmed by the comp teacher though):

Someone called in, saying that their computer had a virus. They were panicky, so the comp teacher, calmly, said something like "That's ok. Tell me what you see on the screen"

them: "A lightning bolt. Isn't that the Computer HIV virus"

her: "That's all right, i'm sure it's not (b)that(/b) virus, let me send out a tech"

the tech gets there, and finds that someone had set the WinAmp logo as the desktop background...

Help Desk
Posted 11/01/2001 by Michael

I was walking a client through a printer problem. I had him check his drivers and they were fine. Then I asked him if the ink cartrige was new and he said that it was. I then asked him if the printer worked previously he said "yes." I did try a bunch of other things they all did not work. I then said " I am going to hav you print a test page." He replied "ok, do you want me to have paper in the printer."

I then informed him (as I was tring to hold the laughter) that paper in the printer would be a good idea.

mouse tale.
Posted 11/01/2001 by sweetiek

Earlier this evening I was sitting around minding my own business when my phone rings. It's my friend with her friend on three way saying he has a computer problem and needs help. I am in no way a computer tech..nor do I possess any computer degrees. But among us I am considered the tech because I've owned and used a PC the longest. The conversation went something like this:

F= friend

M= me

F: Hey yo!! What's up? Listen I have a problem with this computer.

M: Isn't this the new one you just bought? Why not call tech support?

F: Because I don't know all the info about the numbers and things. And my father's not home. ( His dad is a techie)

M: Okay...what's the problem. ( Praying that it's a simple problem)

F: Well the mouse isn't working right.

M: Okay is it moving at all? ( Maybe it's not plugged in right to it's port)

F: No it's moving around but I can't open any programs.

M: Alright just click on the program you want....

F: No you don't understand there is no clicking thingies on the mouse.

M: (Being sarcastic) Well turn the mouse over.

F: OHMYGOD it worked. You are a genious.

I really couldn't believe it... He is so computer illiterate he didn't know which end of the mouse was up.. Apperently he had been moving the mouse by it's ball.

Talk about a sarcastic answser being the right one.

I hung up and laughed about it for a good fifteen min.

No Title
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Ok, this is more of a story about myself and my own laziness.

I had a problem with my printer, and my father was trying to print off a few documents, usually stuff on gardening, but he kept getting a "paper out" error. Plenty of paper in the tray. I really don't give it much though, and since I could print a test page from the printer rather than the OS, I figured it was a problem with the OS or the drivers. Being lazy, I didn't really give it much though until I really had to print off my resume.

So I go through the process of checking the drivers, uninstalling and reinstalling them. Nothing. Double check the printer, print heads, rollers, all look good. Changed the inksupply, which was probably good, still nothing. Thinking I might have to wipe and reinstall my OS, I start backing up. As I'm now thinking as a tech rather than a lazy user, I go through a few scenarios if the reinstall doesn't work.

First thought - call the manufacturer.

What will they tell me? - Have you checked the cables sir?

Look behind - they seem good. Remove and reseat - Bing.

Printer now finally decides to print, only thing I can figure is the cable had a bad contact, and couldn't read the proper signals, which is why it came back with 'paper error' rather than 'no printers attached'.

Fast foreward to me regaining consciousness after banging my head on the table one too many times. :-)

No Title
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I am a university student working part-time at the helpdesk. I also do some tutoring on the side, mostly for "mature" students who are computer novices.

One day I am approached in the cafeteria by a woman who says she was referred to me by "Kathy" (a former student of mine). This woman says she needs to do a Powerpoint presentation, but doesn't know anything about computers and would like me to help. We arrange a convenient date and time for me to come to her home, and I give her a few preliminary instruction.

Then I say "I never know how to broach this subject gracefully, but Kathy paid me $10 per hour plus transportation..."

She interrupts me: "What??? You expect me to PAY you??? But this is your job! You work at the helpdesk!"

I explain the misunderstanding as nicely as possible, and tell her that if she wants me to help her in my capacity as a helpdesk employee she will have to do the work in the lab and come for help during regular helpdesk hours. However, she was not impressed and went off in a huff. I later found out that she had emailed my supervisor's supervisor's supervisor, complaining that not only had I refused to come to her home to help her on my own time and at my own expense, but I had also had the audacity to demand payment!

He said he was tempted to email back: "I'm glad to hear that! That means that my employee is not stupid!"

Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I am tech support for a local ISP. One day I receive a call from a gentleman who works for one of the state offices. He claimed to be the computer tech for the whole department and had been assigned to the problem of suddenly not being able to connect to the internet. He tells me he has worked for 2 weeks on the problem to no avail. I ask for the account number. he couldn't stop laughing when I told him the problem...deactivation for non-payment. I tried not to laugh, until he explained they are shelling out overtime for his services.

Customers arn't always the problem...
Posted 11/01/2001 by Wickkit

A little back ground first: (sorry if it gets a little long)

I work at an ISP/DSL provider (that is soon to take over the world if they have their way). Like many support centers we work for an outsourcing call center and we are not the only outsourcer to take calls for this ISP. There is another center in another state that we ALWAYS have problems with. They punt their calls, they don't know what to do or the correct way to do it and more often than not, they love telling their customers that we have server issues in that area and call back tomorrow (we don't have server issues very often at all). Needless to say, this particular call center makes my job a lot harder.

Well, today I had one that blew my mind.

A little more info, and I'll tell you the tale. We provide our DSL customers with an external router. The lights (especially the LINK light) on the modem indicate the connection status. A solid Link light means they are trained to the CO and a flashing link light means the modem isn't picking up the DSL signal.

I don't know if the tech who spoke with my customer (before me) was NEW, or just STUPID, but he told this poor customer that a flashing link light was just fine (your modem isn't seeing the signal, no problem it doesn't need a *signal* to connect to DSL!) He also told the customer that he was able to ping just fine (with no internet connection he can ping??) This I gotta see. So I have the customer ping and it comes back like this

Reply From address of the router) DESTINATION NET UNREACHABLE Sent 4 Recieved 4 0% loss

Yes it appears to be able to ping if you don't notice the IP it replied from or the Destination Net Unreachable!

Then he told the guy that he didn't even have a DSL account, we had him signed up for a dial up account (our records plainly show that he has had a strong DSL signal going to him for a month) Now I don't know about anyone else out there, but would you want to speak to this tech when you call for tech support?? Not me. He is the kind that give us hard working techs a bad name! Except for those of you who don't know how to spell or use correct Grammar....

Market research?
Posted 11/01/2001 by Aarooga

Is it just me or is the world mostly populated by morons.

I mean, as techies we all take calls day in and day out. And day in and day out we speak to beings of little or no intelligence.

If this was market research you'd ask questions say, from 100 people. If 75% of those people liked a certain brand of coffee then you'd say that "Most people in our country like our coffee better than anyone else."

Well, at least 70% of my callers are morons so what conclusion should we draw from this. (I'm one unlucky bastard ha ha!)

It's worrying too, because the kind of people who call me up work in the legal profession. So lawyers, judges, can they be thick sometimes. Hope I never get one representing me in a court!

So I guess in conclusion;

No matter how qualified you are, you still have the ability to be a fuckin moron!!

"Female" mice
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Story 1:

I work as a Tech at a small IT company and was working back recently with a co-worker.

While waiting for a new RAID array to initialise I wondered if the new optical mouse sitting on another co-workers desk would work if I put clear tape over the "eye" on the bottom. Much to my satifaction it didn't, so, I decided to leave it there as joke (the things you find funny at 1am :-)

Anyway - after arriving a bit late the following day I learned that the co-worker who's mouse I'd played with had spent about 10 minutes trying to work out why his mouse didn't work and ended up replacing it.

Story 2:

We were telling stories about our most stupid mistakes recenly over drinks and the boss told us about the time he spent about 5 minutes trying to work out why one of the "service department" mice (the box full we use on customers PC's) didn't work - only to find that someone else had pinched the ball.

It ain't always the machine
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I had an E series Gateway that was troublesome for years. Lockups, sudden reboots, you name it, the thing did it. I jumped through all of the Gateway tech hoops, to no avail. For years this thing was my bane. Finally the day came when I could surplus it with clean conscience. I stripped out all of the saveable components (hard drive, floppy, cables, etc) then none too gently tossed it on the stack of surplus cases. ... I heard a rattle ... Thinking I missed a cable I popped the top and looked inside. Nothing. A gentle shake and glimpse of chrome showed beneath the motherboard. A harder shake and a 1934 Chicago Bears tie clip slides out from under the board, complete with faint but visible scorch marks. Apparently fallen off of the Gateway assembler an plaguing me for years. Man I hate the Bears. (G)

Squirrels and the Cabling Outside
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I used to do tech support for a cable isp... Basically this customer's cable light on his cable modem was flashing, and when I attempted to help him with the (required) process of unplugging his cable modem; he then began to inform me that he has several large pecan trees in his backyard that house large amounts of squirrels. He then also began to explain to me (as i was attempting to get his modem info) that he believed that the squirrels in his backyard had somehow dug up his cable in his backyard and were intermittently chewing on it... Needless to say i transferred him to customer service as soon as i could ...

Complete service
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I have an emachines computer ( right away all you techs out there know where this is going) and one day the power supply went out. Being the happy brainwashed customer of corporate America that I am I also purchased the EXTENDED WARRANTY, with my employee discount it costs about 30 bucks, worth its weight in gold as far as free parts go, plus after 4 repairs I can get a refund of my $, where can one go wrong?. Thats the little piece of paper that keeps 20% of us employed. Anyways I recieved prompt and courtious service when the technician came to my house to fix the power supply. He popped the new one in,fired up the computer and went home. One day later is when the problem started. My computer has a secondary hard drive and zip drive. When the tech left he took my power supply Y adapters with him. So now only my C drive and cd rom drive work. When I called to see if the technician would be able to bring me my Y adapters back he said "thats not my problem, you have to deal with (company)'s service dept." I asked him "let me get this straight, you came to my house, took stuff you weren't supposed to (not OEM) and then won't give them back or reimburse me for them and you are saying it's not your fault and i have to call the (company)'s service dept to have them order new parts that arent even included with the computer?" He replied yes. Well, he didnt know I was the manager of the (company)'s service dept and two phone calls later that bantec technician is now no longer working out there giving the rest of us techs out there a bad name. So for all those that read this remember duct tape, epoxy,and speaker wire do not belong in computers so quit making more work for me.

they are after me?
Posted 11/01/2001 by Mikey

me:- good morning tech support

cust:- i have some problems with my computer, it is trying to accuse me of something?

me:- what do you mean?

cust:- i have got a blue police screen along with the message "you have performed an illegal operation", but i have not done anything wrong? (cust is really started to panic)

me:- are you sure?

cust:- of cause i am sure, i am a honest person, they must have the wrong person? (getting upset)

me:- (about to collapse with laughter and feeling kinda sorry for him) don'tpanic sir, that error message means that windows has performed an illegal operation and not you? :-)

cust:- oh?, ok bye

i think cust felt quite stupid after i told him but it kept me happy for the day LOL;P

Busy CoWorker? Productive Sidejob? Stupid User?
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

To make it short I am working for a Onlineshop that also hosted till shortly was the host to a free Webmail.

Anyway as it is with Free Webmails there as are a lot of people using it. And not all use it only to tell "hello" to their friends.

So also in this case some of the people use it to sent erotic invitation mails to the people.

Who in return mail 'daily' to us at the Online shop and tell us to "take us from this mailinglist" or inform us that someone seemed to have gotten onto our server or to simply "Stop mailing them" (after all they thought us to be a serious onlineshop).

Our latest wrote with quote to our E-Mail policiy:

)(bla bla) Will not be missused

"You CoWorker Ruth_22 does! and over your adress!"

It is getting harder each day NOT to tell them that we want to thank them for the laughter they gave us at work. And that they complains are passed on to the amusment of all.

The sad thing is..I know there will be mails again when I come back to work. ~sigh~

Posted 11/01/2001 by Gregory Powell

I once was working at a company, where the executive director had asked me to create some space on the server for construction projects. After creating the folder, and each sub-folder for each site, I informed the director that his folders were ready, and that the permissions were set accordingly per his request.

A few hours later, I received a phone call from the director, and they were angrily asking me where the documentation was for the construction projects at each of the sites. I was bewildered.

I asked the director if there were some documents that were elsewhere on the server that I should have placed in these folders. Nope! They weren't aware of any, but were still angry that there were no documents in the folders.

I then asked if perhaps some of the people that had permissions to the folders had these documents. They didn't think so...

I then asked how the folders were intended to be used. The reply was to keep track of the construction projects. Then I was asked why I hadn't created the word documents in the folders...then it was all clear....

Then I asked if they thought I should be developing the documents for the construction projects as well....the answer was a definite YES!

Moral: Sometimes when a user (especially one that high on the food chain) asks for something, they may think more is going to happen than what you're actually doing....

In this case, the director somehow thought that when I created the folders for them and their users, that the documentation for the construction projects would magically appear. I informed the director as nicely as possible that I was the IT guy, and that any documents related to construction would need to be created by the project team....sorry! (Do the users think we are superman or what?)

"I'm Stupid" Signs (or disclaimers)
Posted 11/01/2001 by Wickkit

I can't take credit for writing this. I don't know who did, but I felt it deserved to be posted at this site. It's not a tech tale, but it's pretty funny and worth reading:

Stupid people should have to wear signs that just say, "I'm Stupid." That way you wouldn't rely on them, would you? You wouldn't ask them anything. It would be like, "Excuse me...oops, never mind. I didn't see your sign."

It's like before my wife and I moved. Our house was full of boxes and there was a U-Haul truck in our driveway. My friend comes over and says "Hey, you moving?" "Nope. We just pack our stuff up once or twice a week to see how many boxes it takes. Here's your sign."

A couple of months ago I went fishing with a buddy of mine, we pulled his boat into the dock, I lifted up this big 'ol stringer of bass and this idiot on the dock goes, "Hey, y'all catch all them fish?" "Nope — talked 'em into giving up. Here's your sign."

I was watching one of those animal shows on the Discovery Channel. There was a guy inventing a shark bite suit. And there's only one way to test it. "Alright Jimmy, you got that shark suit on, it looks good... They want you to jump into this pool of sharks, and you tell us if it hurts when they bite you." "Well, all right, but hold my sign. I don't wanna lose it."

Last time I had a flat tire, I pulled my truck into one of those side-of-the-road gas stations. The attendant walks out, looks at my truck, looks at me, and I SWEAR he said, "Tire go flat?" I couldn't resist. Said, "Nope. I was driving around and those other three just swelled right up on me. Here's your sign."

We were trying to sell our car about a year ago. A guy came over to the house and drove the car around for about 45 minutes. We get back to the house, he gets out of the car, reaches down and grabs the exhaust pipe, then says, "Darn that's hot!" See? If he'd been wearing his sign, I could have stopped him.

I learned to drive an 18 wheeler in my days of adventure. Wouldn't ya know I misjudged the height of a bridge. The truck got stuck and I couldn't get it out no matter how I tried. I radioed in for help and eventually a local cop shows up to take the report. He went through his basic problem. I thought sure he was clear of needing a sign...until he asked " your truck stuck?" I couldn't help myself! I looked at him, looked back at the rig and then back to him and said "No, I'm delivering a bridge... here's your sign."

Who's boss????
Posted 11/01/2001 by zack

I was working at a local ISP and a user called and couldn't get connected. Surprise... It went something like this:

Me: Thank you for calling how can I help you?

Cust:Yeah, I can't get connected.

Me: Do you get an error message or anything?

Cust: Yeah it says "cannot connect to your boss."

Me: I don't think that was the error message, please call back with a real error message.

Bad username
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work for a mid-size southern ISP, sometimes we get some pretty bizarre username requests, and sometimes we have to recommend our customers to try something else. The most bizarre was from a man who wanted to use This was a little touchy because this was his name, but I tried, delicately, to encourage him to use something else due to the potentilly negative connotations. He finally consented, and I heard no more, until about two years later. His name was in the paper, he had been arrested for kiddy-porn.

Even SHE wasn't THAT stupid
Posted 11/01/2001 by Lars Kortsen

I just had one of my favourite lUsers come into my office not knowing whether to laugh or cry. I babysit a 10 seat network at a cell/pager/satellite store (affiliated with Canada's largest phone-cell-internet-DSS satellite company) and Darlene is one of our best showroom reps but she is, to be politically correct, technology challenged. But she had just finished with a 'time sink' customer and needed to vent. A HEAT sink is a dense inanimate object that absorbs your heat and makes it dissapear. A TIME sink is... you do the math.

This DSS Satellite customer made her look like a Cobol coder. The 2 questions that jumped to the fore were:

1) Do I need a TV to get satellite television?


2) Can I have it put on my phone bill? This was a trick question because the customer didn't have a phone; ergo no phone bill in his name.

Now she knows how I feel when she storms in to tell me "My Microsoft doesn't work!"

The Ultimate Dumb Client
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I worked doing programming & support for a small software house. One of the clients I dealt with on a regular basis has a distinct lack of computing knowledge. I and my colleagues have had many laughs from him. He has never phoned up with a cup holder or Any key type problem, but instead goes ahead with whatever he thinks will sort the problem, then when it inevitably makes it worse, phones up and asks me to fix it and can't remember what he did (he "changed something" but can't remember what).

Such tales include the following:

* One time I needed to update something on his computer, so I asked him to "double click the PC Anywhere icon on his desktop". After hearing papers being shuffled around, he said to me "Sorry (name), I can't find PCAnywhere anywhere on my desk."

* He has asked me many times how to transfer the data from his desktop to his laptop. Despite having written a set of instructions for him which he responded with "Thank you. We will keep these for ever" he still asks. I have set up an icon to run a batch file to do this for him, so lets see what happens...

I tried to get him to buy a network card for the laptop, but he refused to do so.

* He can't tell the difference between clicking the left and right mouse button, so each time I have to say "click the left button" or "Click the right button".

* Two minutes after disconnecting PC Anywhere after installing a new version of a piece of software,

I had a phonecall from him saying "it doesn't work, all I get is a big white screen". It turns out he clicked a shortcut for "Word for Windows" rather than the one for our piece of software, next to it.

* Once he phoned up and said that a computer wouldn't start up and says "Non system disk or disk error".

I asked him if there was a floppy disk in the drive, "No" he says. Aaargh, I say to myself, with thoughts going through my head imagining that the hard drive has gone kaput, or system files have been deleted.

Well, he can survive without this computer for a bit as he has two others on the LAN and I was due to visit his office for something else in a few days time. I pencil in a detailed look at this PC, with a possible virus scan and reinstall, in addition to my other tasks.

I look at the PC as I arrive and what do I see? a disk in the floppy drive. Pressing eject I found it had got stuck in with a post it note. I was able to prise the disk and post it out using a letter opener and it worked fine after that.

I set the machine to boot off the C: drive in preference to the floppy to stop this happening again.

* I installed a new computer on his network to replace an ageing Pentium machine and copied over the documents

and user files from the old machine to the new one. The old machine had Office 97 SBE on it, whereas the new one only had Word. He then started moaning about how he can't open some files on the new machine. When asking what he meant by "some files" they turned out to be Excel spreadsheets. D'Oh.

* He phoned up complaining of strange behaviour from his computer, which sounded like me suspiciously virus like.

I logged onto his system with PC Anywhere and found that there was a virus. I removed it by editing the registry

to stop it loading at startup and getting him to reboot the computer. I took the opportunity to check his Norton Antivirus and found that the signatures were: 1 year old exactly. Yes - no wonder Norton didn't pick it up.

I gave him a lecture on how it was necessary to keep the signatures up to date to ensure that the latest are picked

up. The silly thing was that this was a high profile virus which received major media attention.

Scanning his drive with a demo version of another scanner downloaded from the Internet found that there were 26

viruses on his C: drive and network. Again, most of these were high profile viruses.

Do as your told!
Posted 11/01/2001 by Aarooga

Don't you just love those guys who call in for support and don't answer your questions. Here's a call I just took.

Me: Tech support, how can I help?

Luser: (All huffy - must be important) I just tried printing and all the letters are offset by an inch or so.

Me: (Wow! real awful problem to get soooo worked up over) Have you checked your paper settings?

Luser: There's nothing wrong with them, they haven't changed.

Me: So have you checked your paper settings.

Luser: They're automatic. They haven't changed.

Me: I see. So you haven't checked them. Can you click on file - print, etc.

Luser: It says Letter.

Me: You'll need to change it back to A4. Thank you

What a knob! You people are complete arseholes! You call us up all annoyed as if it's our fault without doing the slightest bit of problem solving yourself, and then, at the end, it turns out to be completely YOUR error. All you end up doing is showing the whole world how much of a prick you are. Ha Haa!!

And straight after that call...

Customer calls in because his software isn't working. The error he had meant it needed to be re-installed over the top of the existing one. So we get to the bit where it asks for the install directory and he says...

Luser: Ok, where would i have installed it to?

Me: Up your own arse perhaps. Or would you like me to psychically find it? (if only we could get away with these answers).

This tale isn't tech but still quite amusing.

Where I used to live a couple of years back me and my house mates were cooking a meal and invited a few friends round. Anyway my friend Tracey turns up and parks the car in the drive. She rings on the bell and a bit later she hears the chains coming off the door, to which she shouts out,

"Ooh chain me up! chain me up!"

The next door neighbour opened the door quite suprised...she'd parked next door.

Cheers tech tales...wicked site.


We're Watching You!!
Posted 11/01/2001 by GDucot

I work in tech support for a major hardware manufacturer (think BubbleJet). A few months ago I took this call on one of our printstations.

I don't remember all the details, but they were having problems printing, wasn't printing black. So i think great, its just out of black ink, so i start walking this guy through the self test and other test prints , having him push different buttons here and there, the whole time the guy is laughing and saying things like "This is amazing!"

He later asks me if i could see what he was doing and of course i said no. Later ing the call i was doing somthing on his system and told him to click on sothing or other and he said he couldnt find it, i got a funny idea and said "A little to the left sir" he said he found it and the exclaimed "You can see what im doing!!" I just said not and that i was joking. He started laughing and the call was pretty much normal from there but he left happy.

No Title
Posted 11/01/2001 by Julie H.

I think that anyone that works in ANY service industry has a full grasp of just how dumb people can be. I work at a hotel, and we get some great stories too. This one is actually somewhat tech-related, and it happens at least once a month...

Like most hotels, the phones in the guest rooms have the nifty little speed-dial buttons that are supposed to connect to the front desk, housekeeping, room service, etc. These get deprogrammed fairly easily - I don't know if it's from unplugging the phones to plug in computers or what, but if the buttons don't work, most people can figure out that dialing '0' will connect them to the hotel operator who can help them out.

Most people. Then there are the times when we get an incoming call to the hotel - from our outside local line - and it goes something like this:

M: Thank you for calling ** Hotel, how can I help you?

C: Yeah, I'm in room (whatever) and my phone doesn't work!

M: You're in the room right now?

C: Yes, the phone doesn't work! I push the little buttons and nothing happens!

...So what they've done is dialed 9 and then our local number to call the hotel and talk to the hotel operator and tell them that their phone doesn't work. And we do charge for local calls too, so they've just added $.75 to their bill. Which we'll refund if they say anything about it, but I think they deserve the stupidity charge. :)

Phone doesn't work, indeed!

Some of the most obvious things...
Posted 11/01/2001 by flyin_falcon

Not sure whether this is one to take a stab at support guys, EU's, EU's doing support, or which, if not all of the above.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, apart from the bare essentials, I support a fairly large distributed UNIX monitoring environment for 'Big Blue'.

Recently, one of our UNIX servers was upgraded, so the app on the server was migrated to another box. Might not sound like any big deal, but...

... suddenly all alerts from this new box were disappearing into the ether for some reason. Six weeks of troubleshooting (including dragging another big company in to check their monitoring product) all with no luck.

I mean, we had escalated calls within our company and with the vendor for weeks and still no resolution, sys admins, you name it, all coming and going and taking a shot at resolving this problem. A real 3 ring circus.

To get back to the point, server upgrade was done on the first box so it was time to switch the app back. Get called asking if aliases in the DNS servers were going to cause problems??

Check the DNS entries: the answer below gained me several drinks from the support teams and cost me a couple to HP!

#nslookup oldserver

#nslookup newserver


I guess it should say that no matter who does what and how much they know, should know, and think they know, that some things you just don't expect from experienced IT people...

IT Managers?
Posted 11/01/2001 by flyin_falcon

Just a quick one this time...

Obviously, working for a major IT company, you'd think that the staff (and the managers) would have something in their favour. I guess I was wrong!

Recently had a new manager come in, high up the tree (head of all the Asia Pacific tech support teams) and have a brilliant idea to get everyone certified.

Now, I can't say that I disagree with that, but this particular person has been pushing hard to get all the support staff to do their MCSE & MCSP. Fair enough, you may think, but...

... then they wonder why there's a kick back from the staff not wanting to do it. Obviously, no-one told this manager that all the staff they'd been pushing the certification on are all die-hard UNIX fans.

Still... makes you wonder...

A day in Roamer Support
Posted 11/01/2001 by Shawn Hatfield

I work for a major cell phone company as a roamer support tech. One day I got a call from a guy who was frantic.

The conversation follows:



M: Roamer Support,My name is Shawn, can I have your mobile number to assist you?

C: Man, I need to make a call and your guys's system must be screwed up!!! I have to make an emergency call to this girl right now!!

(If you can't figure out where this is heading....Lord help you.)

M: Sir, I'd be glad to help you if you give me the cell # and the city you are in.

C: I'm in XYZ My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx

M: Hmm....there are no restrictions being shown here, how are you dialing?

C: One and the area code, C'mon man just put me thru I have to talk to her.

M: Sir, hold on i am Troubleshooting the Problem.


M: Sir, i am going to run a call trace, it allows me to see how the system has read out your numbers dialed. Okay?


( I run the call trace, and after a few minutes, It shows 52 1-900 numbers dialed in 30 minutes time!!)

M: Sir, I have determined the problem.

C: ok

M: Unfortunatley sir, You can't dial 900 numbers from cell phones.

C: 900's?

M: yes sir I see a bunch of 900 numbers on here.

C: I know what you are thinking, I am calling those dirty numbers.

M: Sir, I am drawing no conclusions as to what you are trying to call, I am merely stating what the system says.

C: So I can't dial those lines from my cell?

M: No sir

C: Well then, I'll go use my mom's phone again


nothing's wrong on our end
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

The other morning I was shopping on ebay when explorer crashed. I finished my bidding race (successfully), and rebooted. No internet (I have a cable modem with @home). I check the modem lights, all are as they should be. I double-check the cables, make sure none are loose. Perhaps a glitch? I power-cycle the modem several times, no effect.

So I call tech support. They can see my modem, but not my computer. The man suggests that possibly the computer has erased my network name, or that explorer wizard needs to be re-run. He gave me the computer name on the phone to double-check I had the right one. I tried both of these things, to no avail. My computer's name was as he said (I am not stupid enough to change those settings on purpose, and have never heard of them being changed by the computer itself).

Call back time. The second man checks my connection throughout their system, checks my data files, etc. I was on the phone with him for at least 30 minutes as he tried his best to find out what was wrong. Finally, he suggested I run winipcfg, and check those settings. He told me what to look for and what to change if necessary. No dice.

Call again. This man has me reinstall the drivers, tcp/ip connections, and retype the (same) computer name under network. The idea was to force the computer to recognize the modem. None of this worked.

I called again, and got the promise of a truck the next morning. Sure enough, the truck comes, and the tech asks what's been happening. I tell him, and he sits down at the computer. He opens the network to double-check, in case I'm a clueless user, and says, "There's your problem right there!" The computer's name on the network had been changed, and no one had bothered to inform me. It took the tech an entire 10 seconds to identify and fix the problem.

Why they couldn't mention this little change on one of my many phone calls, I don't know. They were still giving me the old computer name. The tech didn't charge me for the call, as I had been given false information, helped me with a few minor annoyances that had nothing to do with the internet, and double-checked to make sure that they hadn't changed any of my email passwords.

So because @home couldn't tell me over the phone that they had changed my setting, they had to eat the price of a tech visit. I wonder why their cable prices are going up?

Great One-Liners
Posted 11/01/2001 by Vanessa Gatsch

I work for a nationwide ISP (Think, lots of orange, little globe logo) that tries a little *too* hard to recruit former "AO-HELL" users. The stupidity of some of these people really astounds me.

If I've had these conversations once, I've had them a thousand times. For example:

Me: What is your email address please?

Caller: 555 South Main Street, Anytown, USA

Me: *sigh*


Me: What program do you use to check your email?

Caller: I dunno.

Me: Okay, what does the icon look like that you click on when you try and get your email?

Caller: I dunno. I'm not a computer guru like you are.

Me: *sigh*


Me: What version of Windows are you using?

Caller: Windows 5.0 (I've also gotten Windows 99, 97, and 96...Or, "Well I bought in in 2000, so it must be Windows 2000"...)

a variant of above

Caller: I'm using Windows ME 2000.

Me: Is it ME or is it 2000?

Caller: Its Windows ME 2000.

here's a good one...

Me: (after trying to get the caller to properly type in win*.cab for like 20 minutes) I'm sorry, sir, but if you don't have those files I'm going to have to refer you to your original equipment manufactu---

Caller: (hastily interrupting) Oh, you said win*.cab! I though you said win*.tab...well, it found them now.

Me: *sigh*

my favorite...

Me: Okay, I want you to close everything so you're just at your desktop.

Caller: For the last time, I've told you, I'm using a laptop, not a desktop!!

Let's not forget the guy who was getting disconnected from the internet everytime someone rang his front doorbell. (!!)

And some of the terminology that these people use, is just downright cute. I had a fellow who wanted to know if he should "de-fraga-tize" his hard drive.

Here's another one that never ceases to amaze people...If you're using internet explorer *clear the temporary internet files* at least once a decade! It's not a magic trick! You can do these things yourself!

My final gripe...Why, why, why is it that 90 year old grannies living alone are always using Windows NT? Never fails! Or how about the people who bought a Windows 3.1 machine for 50 bucks at a garage sale call wondering why they have a slow connection and they can't download streaming video with their MOSAIC browser! Seriously! What were you expecting to do with that thing besides look at ASCII porn?


Sorry about the rant, it was a long day at work today.

My Side (reconstruct the Other Side yourself)
Posted 11/01/2001 by dteleki

No, I won't give you rights in the Inventory Management program to change the pricing of a product we sell. That's the job of the Inventory department, or the Marketing Department. Ask THEM to change the pricing for you. No, I won't do it for you without telling THEM. Yes, I *can* do that, but I *won't*. No, I *won't*. I said, I *WON'T*!!

When you save a document, it goes physically SOMEWHERE. Yes, it really does. The program you're using tells you where. Oh yes it does, in the box labeled "Save In". Save it on the server, not on your local drive C; the server is backed up every day, your local drive C isn't. Our server is the one named [CompanyName]. No, not the one named FAXSERVER, the one named [CompanyName].

Yes, I know the email's slow. That's because when you send an email to your friend in the next cubicle over, it goes all the way to Oklahoma City and back. Yes, I agree we should have an email server here in Chicago, but Corporate has dictated this arrangement. No, we can't override Corporate; that's what Corporate MEANS. No, we can't do it without telling them.

No, you are NOT using Microsoft WordPerfect. Microsoft Windows, and WordPerfect, are two different programs made by two different companies. Microsoft does NOT sell an upgrade to WordPerfect, they'll sell you Microsoft Word instead. No, "competitive upgrade" does not mean they upgrade the program you already have. They DON'T. Yes, I know the PHRASE "competitive upgrade" contains the WORD "upgrade", but that still doesn't mean that it's an "upgrade" of the program you already have.

No, I don't know your grandma's home email address. Or your hot prospect's email address. Or your mother's. Or umpty million other people's email addresses. Ask THEM what their email address is. Check their stationery or business card. Or check email they sent YOU. Or tell them YOUR email address, and look at what they send you. Or you could try searching Yahoo. Yahoo's web address? It's W-W-W-dot-Y-A-... (phone line goes dead) You're very welcome.

No, I don't already know what happened. What error message did you get? No, YOU have to tell ME what the error message was. There are thousands of them. I can't begin to guess what was wrong if you don't tell me what the error message was. No, I do NOT already know what error message you got. Next time it happens, write down the error message so you can tell me. Why? Because I DON'T KNOW!

No, I don't know if the important email you sent the customer was received. Ask THEM if they got it. No, that only tells if the COMPUTER got it; it doesn't say if the HUMAN got it. Only the human knows if the human got it. No, I can't change that.

Just because some of their software can use XML and some of our software can use XML, that doesn't mean there's a connection between them and us that works.

Yes, I know web browsing is slower during the day. The connection is shared between all the users here, and when more people are using it, each one gets a smaller piece. No, I won't tell everybody else to stop so it's faster for YOU. No, I won't fake a "technical problem" to do it for you.

No, I won't show you how to get naughty pictures off the web.

You can't hear any sounds from the speakers? Please make sure their power light is glowing. No, I don't think you're an idiot. Please check it now anyway. It should be on the front, near the power switch or the volume dial NOT THAT LOUD!! You're welcome.

You don't know where your printouts go? In your program, do File, Print; look at Printer, Name. That's the printer's name. You're very welcome.

No, I can't make your modem at home run 10 times faster for free. I know it's slow, that's what cable modems and DSL are for. No, I can't get them for you for free.

a Joyful Noise is more than just music
Posted 11/01/2001 by dteleki

I'm a computer consultant; some of my customers are blind, but they've had installed a Screen Reader program that reads everything on the computer screen aloud to them. So without seeing the screen, they can edit Word documents, send and receive email, and even browse the web. And read e-books.

Customer: Why does my computer keep saying "Bang" at odd places?

It turned out that the Screen Reader had a setting enabled, "pronounce punctuation". For the ":" character it would pronounce ALOUD the word "Colon", for "?" it would pronounce ALOUD the phrase "Question Mark", and for "!" it would pronounce ALOUD the word "Bang".

This customer was a minister, so I couldn't resist typing in, and hearing, one of my favorite Bible quotes:

Computer: (deadpan monotone voice) "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord BANG!"

I ended up disabling Pronounce Punctuation at the customer's request.

Another customer complained that her computer consistently used the most peculiar pronunciation for the word "Hallelujah", and produced witnesses who agreed and also claimed to have heard the oddities; but when I tried, her computer's Screen Reader always pronounced it perfectly. HER computer never said "Bang", and even raised its voice for words and sentences with "!" at the end; so when I typed in the following, it made a Joyful Noise indeed:

Computer (deadpan monotone voice) Hallelujah! Halleluhah! Hallelujah!

disapproving of Bill Bradley's derriere
Posted 11/01/2001 by dteleki

I'm a computer consultant; some of my customers are blind, but they've had installed a Screen Reader program that reads everything on the computer screen aloud to them. So, without seeing the screen, they can edit Word documents, send and receive email, and even browse the web. And read e-books.

A customer calls to report that her Screen Reader keeps dying when she tries to read a particular email; she subscribes to the e-mailed electronic edition of the Christian Science Monitor, and sure enough, when I test it, her Screen Reader keeps dying at the same story in the same email.

The story describes an incident during a primary election when reporters jokingly say to Bill Bradley, "We're on your tail"; then, according to the story, Bradley

"bends his knees and elbows, sticks out his derriere, and says 'Cover it baby, cover it'."

The Screen Reader always reads aloud to the word "elbows" then dies, and the computer has to be rebooted. I test this repeatedly, and the Screen Reader always dies in exactly the same place, at exactly the same word.

After some cut-and-pasting into Windows Notepad, with the Screen Reader dying or not dying depending on what I force it to read aloud, I prove that the Screen Reader dies because of the word "derriere". Specifically, in the original email, there is a French accent mark over the second "e" in the word "derriere", and the Screen Reader is choking on the accent mark. Also, just like a human reader, the Screen Reader reads a few words ahead of what it's saying, which explains why it chokes on "derriere" before it pronounces the words "sticks out his". The Screen Reader pronounces the word correctly, and reads the rest of the story normally, when I remove the accented "e" and put an ordinary "e" in its place.

I explain all this to my customer, but the part she likes best is how I start my explanation:

Me: (dramatically) "Your Screen Reader is dying because it disapproves of Bill Bradley's derriere."

And it's actually literally true!

Lies, and pain, and sorrow
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I am partly a computer tech, partly an accountant. Where I work now, everybody comes to ME first with questions about our financial package. If I can't solve it, we then call the consultant who installed the package and has over 10 years of experience with it, and only if HE can't solve it do we call the publisher. At different times, I've been both the "clueless luser" tech support callER, and the "worthless ignoramus" tech support callEE, and in this situation I sometimes find myself in BOTH unpleasant roles at the same time.

One day when the consultant was visiting about something else entirely...

Me: The users are trying [exotic feature] and can't get it to work; I can't either.

Consultant: Don't bother calling [publisher] about [exotic feature]. It doesn't work. It never did. When you call their Tech support about it, you only get lies.

Me: (inspired) (singing) You only get lies, and pain, and sorrow....

Consultant: Huh?

An hour later, my inspiration was in its final, polished, utterly perfect form....


(sung to the tune of

I'll Never Fall In Love Again

by Burt Bacharach)

What do you get when you call Tech Support?

You only get lies and pain and sorrow,

So for at least until tomorrow

I'll... never call Support agai...n,

I'll never call Support again.

What do you get when you call Support?

"I never heard THAT one! Gee, that's novel!" --

Then a golden chance to scrape and grovel;

I'll... never call Support agai...n,

I'll never call Support again.

I'll tell you what it's all about:

I'm in on-hold hell, and I can't get out...

Out of that fog, that fog that blinds you...

That is why I'm here to remind you

What do you get when you call Support?

Clueless techs, and useless typing,

but NOTHING fixed -- that's why I'm griping!

I'll... never call Support agai...n,

I'll... never call Support agai...n,

I'll never call Support again!

P.S. Two years later, after two version upgrades, [exotic feature] STILL doesn't work.

No Title
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Im not Tech Support Per Se, but I do have an IQ.

Caller: Hi, I just signed up and the computer whiz next door connected me to the net. Can you tell me how to send an email?

Me: (Explains Outlook Express) Seems to understand.

Them: So does it cost an international phone call to send email?

Me: no, just the local phone call to connect to the net.

Caller: So how much do I have to pay for the email?

Me: Nothing, its included in your monthly bill

Caller: But what if I want to send more than one email?

Me: (Start Pulling Hair) Its included in your monthly bill, sir

Caller: All of them?

Me: Yes, (inward sigh) all of them

Caller: Really. wow. thats pretty good. So how do you send email again?

And this goes on for about half an hour before we have finally sent a test email to me. Agh.

Tech Support Lament
Posted 11/01/2001 by The Dopefish

Hey people, i just thought this would be a good song for all you hard working techs out there!

By illiad, User Friendly Comic Strip:

Tech Support Lament ( Sung to "I will Survive"

At first i was afriad that i had lost my mind,

The phone would ring i'd do my thing and get maligned,

But then i spent so many months helping users dial out,

Filled with doubt,

About my ability not to shout,

At users who can hardly think,

i showed them how to click on things and even pulled them from the brink,

i should have known they'd never learn and realized they wouldnt see,

If i'd known for just one second that they'd be back to bother me,

So here i go,

put them on hold,

just take a nap now,

I'm sure they'll wait until they're old,

Werent they the ones who tried to say i lost their files,

they thought id help them and now im rolling in the aisles!

-The Dopefish (

I did just what you said not to do!
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Perhaps you've seen the IT commercial where the poor IT guy gets told "I sent out an e-mail about our e-mail being down", and "I opened the virus just like you told us not to". I thought those were exaggeated but then I thought back... wayyy back....

Waay back to around 1990. I was writing some software for the Macintosh for a client. The software was mostly done and it was time to write the user's manual. I'm usually pretty good at acting dumb, so I'm quite good at writing very explicit instructions that the average guy can follow.

For this macintosh program, I recalled that lots of software installation instructions were unclear

and often led to total failure. On Mac's those days,

there rarely were "Install" programs, instead you just dragged the stuff off the floppy onto your hard disk.

One major gotcha: some programs expected you to drag the whole floppy image onto your hard disk, thus making a folder holding all the stuff. Others expected you to drag individual files, with no enclosing folder. It often made a big difference. Some programs absolutely had to be in a folder alongside their data files, others would not run that way at all!

So I write the careful install instructions. The client, being an expert, crossed out whole paragraphs of my precise instructions. Ok, he's paying the bill, he gets what he wants.

The next week, I hand him the first "beta" version of the software. I go home. The phone is ringing as I enter my house (this was BEFORE cell phones!!). It's the client, frantic: "I can't get it to work, I dragged the stuff to my disk, and it can't find the data files!!"

I patiently explained: one of the paragraphs he crossed out of the instructions as being too obvious was the one that said "Be sure you drag the whole folder to your hard disk. The program works best when all the parts are in the same folder".

So he had read the instructions, marked them for removal,

then failed at that very same step he thought was "obvious".

Why oh why didnt I go into ditch-digging?

Users & their data
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

When rolling out new computers, why do these muppets always insist that there is nothing on their local-drive until their old computers are on a truck winging their way to Afghanistan, then they remember that they want their 2 year old resume and their Elvis Presley screen-saver.


Was that English?
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

I work one level down from 'tech support'; we get the trouble reports after Customer Service(?) takes the info

and writes it up for us to investigate. This is the actual

text of a recent trouble ticket sent to the site. Names have been disguised to protect me.

International Call Completion problem (including VPNs) Other

Op Srvcs Agent customer can not kamplet hes call hes try to do sand a fa

x to china but the call did not kamplet in the madel of the trnsfer hes fax

he gaet intrabshin in the fax he sand he try whith xxx hes call its fin

and hes fax go fine but he hav braplim withe xxx....thx

This just in
Posted 11/01/2001 by Aarooga

(Luser) I received your CD but it says 1998 on the cd. Can you send me the latest one?

(Me) We only ever made 1 CD.

(Luser) Oh. So is this the latest one?

(Me) ???

Power problems
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

This happened a few years ago, I'm doing field installation on a site in Mexico. Our system, a supervisory control system, is running on a cluster of VAX 4000 workstations. As the site is a bit dirty everything is in a rack with the monitors and keyboards running over remote serial and RGB links.

Get to site, run cables and run everything up. Customer looks at one screen and starts ranting - there is a slight hum on the video. I check all my cables, all OK. Bell everything out, all OK. Right resistance and everything. Everything is on the same phase so what gives. Eventually customers instrument department puts an oscilloscope on the mains, there's a spike when I put the scope between live and ground.

This plant has some big hairy drives (including a couple of mills with drives measured in megawatts) so grounding noise is possible. I swap monitors, problem stays in the same place. I swap computers, problem stays in the same place. I rerun cables, remake connections, problem stays in the same place!

Customer saying "But there is a problem, it MUST be your equipment!" I'm saying "so what about the spike on the mains between live and ground?" he says "but that's SUPPOSED to be there." Yeah right, this guy's the chief electrical engineer on this site.

Eventually I jury rig an extension without a ground, plug the monitor into that, hey presto, problem disappears. Customer's response? "You should not be running this monitor without a ground" I'm figuring that no jury will convict by this time.

Customers instrument department have also figured out the problem and are running another, better, ground, problem sorted.

Two days later, I am finally finished, three days late and customer calls me in saying he isn't accepting the system. Eh? He points to one monitor bellowing "That is faulty" I'm confused, don't know what he's on about. He says "Look at the flaws in the picture. Yes, those flaws, those two lines across the screen" My response - "That is a 19" tube. Those lines are wires that are supporting the tube"


Help in a Hurry
Posted 11/01/2001 by life imitates art

I support a web application with 200+ users. At the end of a work day, a change goes through that points the app to a TEST database instead of working data. First thing next morning, I get a flurry of problem calls. Luckily, I figure out what went wrong and get it fixed in a few minutes. But it's important to notify the users immediately about what happened. A request to the Help Desk to send out a broadcast notice gets denied requiring a higher authority's approval. It takes 25 minutes to write this up and get it approved. Now the Help Desk says they have no list of users for the app so they won't send the message. (No mention was made of this when I first called). I end up emailing them the list of names, AND the text of the message to send out and it still takes another 45 minutes for them to send it out. Time needed to fix the problem, less than 10 minutes. Time needed to notify users, 2 hours (and what did the Help Desk actually do that I couldn't have done myself?)

Tough guy
Posted 11/01/2001 by Darkblood

Shalom everybody!

I didn't exactly experience this encounter firsthand however a coworker relayed it to me.

Tech: Sir, it appears you have a problem with Windows. I'm afraid to correct this problem, you'll have to contact your system manufacturer.


Tech: Okay then, you're going to have to contact Microsoft.

EU (mumbling under his breath): No, you're gonna have to contact Microsoft.

(Yep, big man trying to act tough)

Playing with their heads
Posted 11/01/2001 by Darkblood

One time as a customer was restarting the computer, I heard the familiar sound of the Dangerous Creatures desktop theme. So I started talking about the cougar wallpaper. He said "You can see my screen?" So I decided to play along. I explained how I couldn't actually see his screen, but I could create an image in my head based on aural signals. How each color of light emits a certain frequency of sound and how if you combined each of the audio signals together, you could get an idea of what the picture looks like. He responded "Really... you're pulling my leg aren't you?"

Hey, it's at least a half truth.

Posted 11/01/2001 by DumbWizard

One of my very best friends just told me about this story. He works for an ISP on their helpdesk. He got this call from a very irate customer, and it went a little like this:

T = Tech

C = Cust

T = (opening schtick)

C = Yes, please transfer me to your legal department.

T = Um, sure, can I ask what this is about, to give them a heads-up and get things going a little faster?

(My friend had to find out what this was about)

C = I was using the internet while I was taking a bath and I dropped the mouse in the water and when I went to get it out the monitor cable got tangled on me and the monitor fell in the water. I got shocked and had to go to the hospital and my monitor's broken, and I want (ISP deleted) to pay for my hospital expenses and replace my broken monitor.

Don't ask me how the customer managed to get their computer equipment into the bath with them or why they didn't make the connection between computers, electricity, and water. I don't know how the story turned out; my friend transferred the call to his supervisor and let him handle it.

And now here's a personal experience--

I just recently bought a brand-new GeForce2 Ti card (A lot better than my old POS TNT2) from a local electronics retailer. Since I've had problems with defective hardware in the past, I decided to open the item in front of the cashier before I left the store. Well, it turns out that the card was defective (one of the cylinders was totally broken off and fell to the floor when I opened the anti-static bag). I asked the cashier if I could return it, to which her response was to direct me to the customer service desk. I went and explained my situation to the moron behind the desk, who offered me an exchange. I said sure and went back to the shelf and there were no more cards there by this manufacturer, but there was one *for the exact same price* from another manufacturer. I explained this to the moron behind the desk, and he said that exchanges have to be done for the exact same item only. So I then asked if I could get a refund and purchase the other card. He then began to explain the store's open-box policy and restocking fees. (What a moron, huh?) Now, I know its not his fault and he's just following his training, but common sense should override here. I then asked to speak to the manager, who promptly came out and told me the same exact thing that numnuts-customer-service-guy just said. I asked her if she could waive the restocking fee because of the circumstances. She then responded that if I were given a waiver on the fee, then she'd have to give one to everyone that had an open-box item. I turned around and looked behind my back to see an absolutely deserted store (it was a weekday) around me. I asked her who would know. Long story short (this went back and forth for about 20 mins) she finally gave up and told me that she was just going to do this as a customer service thing and it was against store policy, blah blah, but she finally let me exchange the defective card for one from the other manufacturer. I then told her that I was going to also open this one to verify that it wasn't defecti

ve like the first card. She then told me that if I opened the box, I would be subject to the RESTOCKING FEE.

Gimme a break here, people.

Keyboard Issues
Posted 11/01/2001 by Brenda

Hey everybody! I had a guy the other day whose keyboard was typing the wrong letters right after running a recovery. After normal troubleshooting for the keyboard, I discovered that Mr. Dvorak had chosen the dvorak layout for the keyboard during Windows setup mistakenly thinking he needed the one with his last name...hehehe. If you get a problem similar to this, check the keyboard language. Just a funny bit from the world of tech support!

I want to download the internet!
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

While doing tech support for a major desktop computer manufacturer I received a call from a lady who wanted to download the internet. She stated that she wanted to be able to use AOL and EBay. I thought about trying to explain why she could not do this, but instead fell back on one of my favorite lines, commonly used to get out of helping helpless people: "That is, unfortunately, out of our boundaries of support". Obviously not easy to give up, she then asked if I could send the internet to her on CDROM. I again told her I couldn't do this, but said I could put her on hold to check and make sure. Ten minutes later, after making everyone's day who would listen to me, I went back to the phone and explained the basics of connecting to the internet, i.e. modem, ISP, etc. A great story I will never forget, and I still wonder how long it would have taken her to download the internet using the 56K modem she had.

how to make the mouse "click"
Posted 11/01/2001 by K-mentor

There once was a lady who called up our tech support claiming her mouse didn't work. With a little questioning I discovered that, while it moved around on the screen properly, it wouldn't do anything when she "clicked" with it. I had her click on a desktop icon, and heard a noise when she did this. I asked her what was making this noise, and she said that it made the noise every time she "clicked" with it. I confirmned my worst fears when I asked her to describe how exactly she was clicking. It seems she thought she had to actually pick the mouse up and tap it on the screen to make it work! Rather than potentially make her upset, I politely explained that the type of mouse she had was designed to be left on the mouse pad, and broke down the theory behind proper right and left clicking. She thanked me, and I am thankful for her call to this day.

Saying a lot, yet nothing at all
Posted 11/01/2001 by Darkblood

ME: "What appears to be the problem?"

EU: "It won't print."

ME: "Does the printer respond?"

EU: "I told you, it doesn't print."

ME: "Did the computer display an error message when you tried to print?"

EU: "Yes there was a box that came up on the screen, saying there was some sort of an error."

ME: "How is you printer connected to your computer, with a wide parallel cable or a small USB cable?"

EU: "It's the cable that goes from my computer to my printer."

Icons cramped, Folder Full?
Posted 11/01/2001 by Pi

I was helping a guy with a digital camera. He copied files from the camera over to the hard drive and looked at the icons, which had overlapped and gotten out of line (Auto arrange wasn't on). He got this really blank look on his face and asked "The icons are all cramped like that. Does that mean the folder's full?"...

ugh.. I reached over and hit Arrange By Name.

New Wave of the Future
Posted 11/01/2001 by Anonymous Tech Supporter

Ok, I admit. Sometimes we get these calls that make us reach for the mute button to save our own jobs. This was one of them. Often we have to troubleshoot by asking questions about the caller's connection to the internet and such. Here's a call I had a few minutes ago.

Me: So, what kind of connection do you have to the internet? Cable modem or dial up modem?

Caller: Oh, I have a cable modem. My computer is linked with cables. I don't have a wireless computer.


That's right. Silence.

I never did find out.

Tales From Technical Support Index

Tales from the Techs
November 2001
  1. How do you spell that?

  2. Whats your computer brand, again ?

  3. Vacuum cleaner repair.

  4. The idiots at MAC Warehouse.

  5. Short one...

  6. Clueless Company (1)

  7. Clueless Company (2)

  8. When removing hardware...

  9. Richard

  10. Please just listen...

  11. The Phone line is 95% your connection

  12. Close but no cigar

  13. Parental (tech) support

  14. Snap to install

  15. Network Support

  16. PC Maker Marketing Decisions suck

  17. Which keys?

  18. Actual e-mail I received!!

  19. little bit geeky...

  20. Squirrels, EVERYWHERE!

  21. The most dangerous user

  22. No Title

  23. Embarrasing Boss

  24. Thailand?

  25. Slowly Slipping Away...

  26. Is that S as in Frank

  27. Tech support Catch 22

  28. Flipped Floppy

  29. Yet another idiot tech

  30. Is good support -this- hard to find?

  31. It's not just the customers that are cluless

  32. It's in the mail!

  33. No Title

  34. VERY nice callers...

  35. Librarians do tech support too

  36. No Title

  37. What ever happened to common sense?

  38. Out of warranty??? But you guys MADE the computer!!!!

  39. Welcome to Mcdonalds...I mean tech support

  40. Thicker than water

  41. Where do they find these people...

  42. rewind!

  43. well, it's good enough for Bill Gates

  44. Think Outside the Picture

  45. Bugs and Viruses

  46. DNS trouble

  47. Hot in the office

  48. One way to feel superior to your supervisor...

  49. No Title

  50. The WordPerfect "too stupid"

  51. There is no spoon

  52. Help Me, Help You

  53. Uninstall means Upgrade

  54. Moron and the LSD tripout???

  55. No Title

  56. Computer HIV???

  57. Help Desk

  58. mouse tale.

  59. No Title

  60. No Title

  61. overtime

  62. Customers arn't always the problem...

  63. Market research?

  64. "Female" mice

  65. It ain't always the machine

  66. Squirrels and the Cabling Outside

  67. Complete service

  68. they are after me?

  69. Busy CoWorker? Productive Sidejob? Stupid User?

  70. Consultant

  71. "I'm Stupid" Signs (or disclaimers)

  72. Who's boss????

  73. Bad username

  74. Even SHE wasn't THAT stupid

  75. The Ultimate Dumb Client

  76. Do as your told!

  77. We're Watching You!!

  78. No Title

  79. Some of the most obvious things...

  80. IT Managers?

  81. A day in Roamer Support

  82. nothing's wrong on our end

  83. Great One-Liners

  84. My Side (reconstruct the Other Side yourself)

  85. a Joyful Noise is more than just music

  86. disapproving of Bill Bradley's derriere

  87. Lies, and pain, and sorrow

  88. No Title

  89. Tech Support Lament

  90. I did just what you said not to do!

  91. Users & their data

  92. Was that English?

  93. This just in

  94. Power problems

  95. Help in a Hurry

  96. Tough guy

  97. Playing with their heads

  98. Electrocution

  99. Keyboard Issues

  100. I want to download the internet!

  101. how to make the mouse "click"

  102. Saying a lot, yet nothing at all

  103. Icons cramped, Folder Full?

  104. New Wave of the Future

Past Tales from the Techs:
go back