IJMC - Sad, But True
I have little to say about this one, so that's all I'll say for now. -dave
Listed below are (sad, but true) excerpts from a Wall Street Journal
article by Jim Carlton (Austin, Texas):
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
The "foot pedal" turned out to be the computer's 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?"
Compaq is considering changing the command "Press Any Key" to "Press
Return Key" because of the flood of calls asking where "Any" key is.
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 Compaq technician received a call from a man complaining that
the system wouldn't read word processing files from his old diskettes.
After trouble-shooting for magnets and heat, and still failing to
diagnose the problem, it was found that the customer labeled the
diskettes then rolled them into the typewriter to type the labels.
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 Xeroxed copies of the floppies.
A Dell technician advised his customer to put his troubled floppy back
in the drive and close the door. The customer asked the tech to hold
on, and was heard putting the phone down, getting up, and crossing the
room to close the door to his room.
Another Dell customer called to say he couldn't get his computer to
fax anything. After 40 minutes of trouble-shooting, 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.
Another Dell customer needed help setting up a new program, so a Dell
tech referred him to the local Egghead. "Yeah, I got me a couple of
friends," the customer replied. When told Egghead was a software
store, the man said, "Oh, I thought you meant for me to find a couple
Yet another Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard no
longer worked. He had cleaned it by filling up his tub with soap and
water and soaking the keyboard for a day, then removing all the keys
and washing them individually.
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.
My favourite was a secretary who called out a service engineer I know
(at some expense) to inspect a computer because she said there was
nothing on the screen. When he got there he turned the computer on and
removed a "Post-It" note from the top left corner of the screen, where
it had been obscuring the flashing cursor. Another time, he was told
"Oh, yes, we have back-ups", and was shown floppy disks pinned to a
Only two years ago, most calls came from technologists seeking answers
to complex problems, but now most questions are so basic that they
could be answered by opening the manual. One person called Dell's
toll-free line to ask how to install batteries in her laptop. When
told that the directions were on the front page of the manual. The
woman replied angrily, "I just paid $2000 for this damm thing, and I'm
not going to read a book."
It seem that if there is a manual and a phone side by side the phone
wins every time. One frustrated customer called Compaq they had
unpacked their new Contura plugged it in and nothing had happened for
20 minutes. When asked what happened when they pressed the power
switch, they asked "What power switch."
There are also the lonely hearts who seek out human contact, even if
it is a computer techie. One man from New Hampshire calls Dell every
time he experiences a life crisis. He gets a technician to walk him
through some contrived problem with his computer, apparently feeling
uplifted by the process.
Caller: "Hello, is this Tech Support?"
Tech Rep: "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 Rep: "I'm sorry, but did you say a cup holder?"
Caller: "Yes, it's attached to the front of my computer."
Tech Rep: "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? Does it have any trademark on it?"
Caller: "It came with my computer, I don't know anything about a
promotional. It just has '4X' on it."
At this point the Tech Rep had to mute the caller, because he could
not stand it. The caller had been using the load drawer of the CD-ROM
drive as a cup holder, and snapped it off the drive.