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Gems from the Net: Tech Support Call

Wednesday, March 12th 2014 ∑

It's been a long time since I posted an article that I've filed under "Gems from the 'net". These are theose hilarious stories that float around online - many of them have been around for 20 years - and you don't really know how many or how much of them are true. It doesn't matter, because they're hilarious.

I probably first read this tech support call online in the 90s. It's by no means the only funny help desk transcript I've read, but it's a good one.

Customer: Iím having trouble with WordPerfect.
Tech Support: What sort of trouble?
Customer: Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.
Tech Support: Went away?
Customer: They disappeared.
Tech Support: Hmm. So what does your screen look like now
Customer: Nothing. It's blank; it wonít accept anything when I type.
Tech Support: Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?
Customer: How do I tell?
Tech Support: (Uh-oh. Well, letís give it a try anyway.) Can you see the C:\ prompt on the screen?
Customer: Whatís a sea-prompt?
Tech Support: (Uh-huh, thought so. Letís try a different tack.) Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?
Customer: There isnít any cursor. I told you, it wonít accept anything I type.
Tech Support: (Ah Ė at least she knows what a cursor is. Sounds like a hardware problem. I wonder if sheís kicked the monitorís power plug.) Does your monitor have a power indicator?
Customer: Whatís a monitor?
Tech Support: Itís the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when itís on?
Customer: I donít know.
Tech Support: Well, then, look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?
Customer: (sound of rustling and jostling) [muffled] Yes, I think so.
Tech Support: Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if itís plugged into the wall.
Customer: [pause] Yes, it is.
Tech Support: (Hmm. Well, thatís interesting. I doubt she would have accidentally turned it off, and I donít want to send her hunting for the power switch because I donít know what kind of monitor she has and itís bound to have more than one switch on it. Maybe the video cable is loose or something.) When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?
Customer: No.
Tech Support: Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.
Customer: [muffled] Okay, here it is.
Tech Support: Follow it for me, and tell me if itís plugged securely into the back of your computer.
Customer: [muffled] I canít reach.
Tech Support: Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?
Customer: [clear again] No.
Tech Support: Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?
Customer: Oh, itís not because I donít have the right angle. Itís because itís dark.
Tech Support: Dark?
Customer: Yes Ė the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.
Tech Support: Well, turn on the office light then.
Customer: I canít.
Tech Support: Why?
Customer: Because thereís a power outage.
Tech Support: A power -- !?! (AAAARRGGGH!!!) A power outage? Aha! Okay, weíve got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?
Customer: Well, yes, I keep them in the closet.
Tech Support: Good! Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from.
Customer: Really? Is it that bad?
Tech Support: Yes, Iím afraid it is.
Customer: Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?
Tech Support: Tell them youíre TOO STUPID TO OWN A COMPUTER! [slam]

In an odd case of truth being stranger than fiction, according to Snopes, it turns out that while the tech support guy here didn't actually deliver the final line to the clueless user, he did in fact end up marrying her.

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