AST technical support had a caller complaining that her mouse was hard to control with the dust cover on. The cover turned out to be the plastic bag the mouse was packaged in. *
Another AST customer was asked to send a copy of her defective diskettes. A few days later a letter arrived from the customer along with photocopies of the floppies. *
Another Dell customer called to say he couldn’t get his computer to fax anything. After 40 minutes of troubleshooting, the technician discovered the man was trying to fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the monitor screen and hitting the “send” key. *
A Dell technician received a call from a customer who was enraged because his computer had told him he was “bad and an invalid.” The tech explained that the computer’s “bad command” and “invalid” responses shouldn’t be taken personally. *
A confused caller to IBM was having troubles printing documents. He told the technician that the computer had said it “couldn’t find printer.” The user had also tried turning the computer screen to face the printer but that his computer still couldn’t “see” the printer.” *
An exasperated caller to Dell Computer Tech Support couldn’t get her new Dell Computer to turn on. After ensuring the computer was plugged in, the technician asked her what happened when she pushed the power button. Her response, “I pushed and pushed on this foot pedal and nothing happens.” The “foot pedal” turned out to be the mouse. *
Another customer called Compaq tech support to say her brand-new computer wouldn’t work. She said she unpacked the unit, plugged it in and sat there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen. When asked what happened when she pressed the power switch, she asked “What power switch?” *
Another IBM customer had troubles installing software and rang for support. “I put in the first disk, and that was OK. It said to put in the second disk, and I had some problems with the disk. When it said to put in the third disk, I couldn’t even fit it in….” The user hadn’t realized that “Insert Disk 2” meant to remove Disk 1 first. *
In a similar incident, a customer had followed the instructions for installing software. The instructions said to remove the disk from its cover and insert into the drive. The user had physically removed the casing of the disk and wondered why there were problems. *
True story from a Novell NetWare Sysop: Caller: “Hello, is this Tech Support?” Tech: “Yes, it is. How may I help you?” Caller: “The cup holder on my PC is broken and I am within my warranty period. How do I go about getting that fixed?” Tech: “I’m sorry, but did you say a cup holder?” Caller: “Yes, it’s attached to the front of my computer.” Tech: “Please excuse me. If I seem a bit stumped, it’s because I am. Did you receive this as part of a promotional at a trade show? How did you get this cup holder? Caller: It came with my computer. I don’t know anything about a promotion. It just has ‘4X’ on it.” At this point, the Tech Rep had to mute the caller because he couldn’t stand it. He was laughing too hard. The caller had been using the load drawer of the CD-ROM drive as a cup holder and snapped it off the drive. *
A woman called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer. The tech asked her if she was running it under Windows.” The woman responded, “No, my desk is next to the door. But that is a good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window and his printer is working fine.” *
Tech Support: “O.K. 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: “On your keyboard, Bob.” Customer: “What do you mean?” Tech: “‘P’ on your keyboard, Bob.” Customer: “I’m not going to do that!”
Got a call from a woman said that her laser printer was having problems, the bottom half of her printed sheets were coming out blurry. It seemed strange that the printer was smearing only the bottom half. I walked her through the basics, then went over and printed out a test sheet. It printed fine. I asked her to print a sheet, so she sent a job to the printer. As the paper started coming out, she yanked it out and showed it to me. I told her to wait until the paper came out on its own. Problem solved.
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 paper?”
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 it.
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.
For a computer programming class, I sat directly across from someone, and our computers were facing away from each other. A few minutes into the class, she got up to leave the room. I reached between our computers and switched the inputs for the keyboards. She came back and started typing and immediately got a distressed look on her face. She called the tutor over and explained that no matter what she typed, nothing would happen. The tutor tried everything. By this time I was hiding behind my monitor and quaking red-faced. I typed, “Leave me alone!” They both jumped back as this appeared on their screen. “What the…” the tutor said. I typed, “I said leave me alone!” The kid got real upset. “I didn’t do anything to it, I swear!” It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. The conversation between them and HAL 2000 went on for an amazing five minutes. Me: “Don’t touch me!” Her: “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hit your keys that hard.” Me: “Who do you think you are anyway?!” Etc. Finally, I couldn’t contain myself any longer, and fell out of my chair laughing. After they had realized what I had done, they both turned beet red. Funny, I never got more than a C- in that class.
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.”
Email from a friend: “CanYouFixTheSpaceBarOnMyKeyboard?”
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!”