Customer: "Your sound card is defective and I want a new one."
Tech Support: "What seems to be the problem?"
Customer: "The balance is backwards. The left channel is coming out of the right speaker and the right channel is
coming out the left. It's defective."
Tech Support: "You can solve the problem by moving the left speaker to the right side of the machine and vice versa."
Customer: (sputter) (click)
Tech Support: (snicker)
Customer: "I'd like to return this scanner."
Store Clerk: "Excuse me?"
Customer: "This scanner I bought. I paid eighty dollars for this scanner, and it doesn't work!"
Store Clerk: "Uh . . . sir, that's a trackball."
Customer: "No, it isn't. It says 600 dpi tracking resolution right here!"
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 came 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
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 co-workers 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 construction 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!
Customer: "Hello? I'm trying to dial in. I installed the software okay, and it dialed fine. I could hear that.
Then I could hear the two computers connecting. But then the sound all stopped, so I picked up the phone to see if they
were still connected, and I got the message, 'No Carrier,' on my screen. What's wrong?"
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 soft-ware 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?"
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 teacher
over and explained that no matter what she typed, nothing would happen. The teacher tried everything. By this time I was
hiding behind my monitor and quaking red-faced. I started to type, "Leave me alone!" They both jumped back,
silenced. "What the . . . " the teacher 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.
I have a friend who just bought a computer and was instructed to load a program by typing "A:" and then the
name of the program. My friend told me it would not work because his keyboard was no good. He said he couldn't type the
"dot over dot thingie" and that every time he tried to type the "dot over dot thingie" he kept getting
the "dot over comma thingie" no matter how careful he was to press only on the very top of the key. When I taught
him about the shift key, he thought I was a genius.
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 user name 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:
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 and 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 pushed the F1 button over twenty minutes ago!"