Silicon Glen >
A woman called the Canon help desk with a problem with her
The Tech asked her if she was "running it under Windows." The woman responded,
"No, my desk is next to the door. But that's a good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window, and his is working fine."
Tech Support: "OK Bob, let's press the control and escape
keys at the same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the
screen. Now type the letter 'P' to bring up the Program Manager."
Customer: "I don't have a 'P'."
Tech Support: "On your keyboard, Bob."
Customer: "What do you mean?"
Tech Support: "'P' on your keyboard, Bob."
Customer: "I'm not going to do that!"
Overheard in a computer shop:
Customer: "I'd like a mouse mat, please."
Salesperson: "Certainly sir, we've got a large variety."
Customer: "But will they be compatible with my computer?"
I once received a fax with a note on the bottom to fax the
document back to the sender when I was finished with it, because he
needed to keep it.
Customer in computer shop: "Can you copy the Internet onto
this disk for me?"
Customer: "So that'll get me connected to the Internet,
Tech Support: "Yeah."
Customer: "And that's the latest version of the Internet, right?"
Tech Support: "Uhh...uh....uh...yeah."
Tech Support: "All right...now double-click on the File
Customer: "That's why I hate this Windows - because of the
icons - I'm a Protestant, and I don't believe in icons."
Tech Support: "Well, that's just an industry term sir. I don't believe it was meant to-"
Customer: "I don't care about any 'Industry Terms'. I don't believe in icons."
Tech Support: "Well...why don't you click on the 'little picture' of a filing cabinet...is 'little picture' OK?"
Customer: "My computer crashed!"
Tech Support: "It crashed?"
Customer: "Yeah, it won't let me play my game."
Tech Support: "All right, hit Control-Alt-Delete to reboot."
Customer: "No, it didn't crash-it crashed."
Tech Support: "Huh?"
Customer: "I crashed my game. That's what I said before. I crashed my spaceship and now it doesn't work."
Tech Support: "Click on 'File,' then 'New Game.'"
Customer: [pause] "Wow! How'd you learn how to do that?"
I had been doing Tech Support for Hewlett-Packard's DeskJet division for about a month when I had a customer call with a problem I just couldn't solve. She could not print yellow. All the other colors would print fine, which truly baffled me because the only true colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow. For instance, green is a combination of cyan and yellow, but green printed fine. Every color of the rainbow printed fine except for yellow.
I had the customer change ink cartridges. I had the customer delete and reinstall the drivers. Nothing worked.
I asked my coworkers for help; they offered no new ideas.
After over two hours of troubleshooting, I was about to tell the
customer to send the printer in to us for repair when she asked quietly,
"Should I try printing on a piece of white paper instead of this yellow
A man attempting to set up his new printer called the printer's tech
support number, complaining about the error message: "Can't
find the printer." On the phone, the man said he even held the
printer up in front of the screen, but the computer still couldn't find
And another user was all confused about why the cursor always moved in the opposite direction from the movement of the mouse. She also complained that the buttons were difficult to depress. She was very embarrassed when we asked her to rotate the mouse so the tail pointed away from her.
An unfailingly polite lady called to ask for help with a Windows installation that had gone terribly wrong:
Customer: "I brought my Windows disks from work to install them on my
home computer." Training stresses that we are "not the Software Police,"
so I let the little act of piracy slide.
Tech Support: "Umm-hmm.What happened?"
Customer: "As I put each disk in it turns out they weren't initialized." Tech Support: "Do you remember the message exactly, ma'am?"
Customer: (proudly) "I wrote it down. 'This is not a
Macintosh disk. Would you like to initialize it?'"
Tech Support: "Er, what happened next?"
Customer: "After they were initialized, all the disks
appeared to be blank.
And now I brought them back to work, and I can't read them
in the A: drive; the PC wants to format them. And this is our only set of Windows disks for the whole office. Did I do something wrong?"
This guy calls in to complain that he gets an "Access Denied" message
every time he logs in. It turned out he was typing his username and
password in capital letters.
Tech Support: "Ok, let's try once more, but use lower case letters."
Customer: "Uh, I only have capital letters on my keyboard."
My friend was on duty in the main lab on a quiet afternoon. He noticed a young woman sitting in front of one of the workstations with her arms crossed across her chest, staring at the screen. After about 15 minutes he noticed that she was still in the same position, only now she was impatiently tapping her foot. He asked if she needed help and she replied:
"It's about time! I pressed the F1 button over twenty minutes ago!"
After experiencing difficulties with his computer, a poor,
incognizant user called the system maker's technical support line for
Technician: Hello. How can I help you today?
Customer: There's smoke coming from the power supply on my computer...
Technician: Looks like you need a new power supply...
Customer: No, I don't! I just need to change the startup files...
Technician: Sir, what you described is a faulty power supply. You need to replace it...
Customer: No way! Someone told me that I just had to change the system startup files to fix the problem! All I need is for you to tell me the right command...
For the next ten minutes, in spite of the technician's efforts to explain the problem and its solution, the customer adamantly insisted that he was right. So, in frustration, the technician responded...
Technician: I'm sorry. We don't normally tell our customers this, but there's an undocumented DOS command that will fix the problem...
Customer: I knew it!
Technician: Just add the line "LOAD NOSMOKE.COM" at the end of the CONFIG.SYS file and everything should work fine. Let me know how it goes...
About ten minutes later, the technician received a call back from the customer...
Customer: It didn't work. The power supply is still smoking...
Technician: Well, what version of DOS are you using?
Customer: MS-DOS 6.22...
Technician: Well, that's your problem. That version of DOS doesn't include NOSMOKE. You'll need to contact Microsoft and ask them for a patch. Let me know how it all works out...
When nearly an hour had passed, the phone rang again...
Customer: I need a new power supply...
Technician: How did you come to that conclusion?
Customer: Well, I called Microsoft and told the technician what you said and he started asking me questions about the make of the power supply...
Technician: What did he tell you?
Customer: He said my power supply isn't compatible with NOSMOKE.
A worker for a local ISP told me 'Frequently we receive phone calls
that go something like this: Customer: "Hi. Is this the
Some people pay for their online services with checks made payable to "The Internet"