'True' Computer Illiteracy Stories
One programmer was asked to write a program that faxed a document to a client. He spent days trying to figure out why his program wasn't working. He finally asked for help. When he ran the program and it said that it was faxing the document, he walked over to the laser printer and asked why it wasn't being printed?!?!?! After explaining his mistake, I eventually found out that the machine he was working on didn't even have fax capability! I'm not sure if he ever got it to work!
A clerk in CA tried to fax a document to NY. A while later, the CA president received a phone call from the NY president. "You must have a problem with your fax machine," he was told. "I have only received the first page of your document. Fifty times!" In CA, the clerk was called into the president's office. "Is there some problem?" he was asked.
"The fax machine must be broken." He responded. "I keep trying to fax it. But no matter what I do, it just keeps coming back."
Cust: My program crashes; it has to be your compiler.
Tech: What's the code that's crashing?
Cust: I can't discuss it with you; it's classified.
Tech: Fine. Send us some code that causes the problem, but change it enough that you're not violating any of your security agreements.
Two weeks later, a video tape shows up in the mail. The tape starts off with the camera out of focus, pointed at a computer screen. The picture wobbles a bit, and a pair of glasses are held in front of the lens. The customer moves in front of the camera and starts the program, which promptly crashes. The question is, how do you trouble shoot this?!
Member: Keep getting a message when I launch the software.
Me: What does the message say?
Member: Something about a protection foot.
Me: Was it a general protection fault?
Member: Yeah that could not it! (actual words no typos) Me: Do you know what module and address it occured at?
Member: Well in my living room at 1174 East 2nd street.
Me: No, on the screen did it give you an address like manager.aol at
Member: I already told you it accured in my living room!! (angry) Me: Okay, do you remember anything else about the error message?
Member: Listen, are you gonna come over and fix my problem?
Me: No, we will do it over the telephone.
Member: Well, then what the @%*(#$ are you asking for my address for?
(At this point it has occured to me that members blood alcohol was higher than his AOL version number so I explained our policy on swearing at a tech and was sworn at more times and finally belched at!)
Tech: Okay, sir, to finish opening your account, I will need you to provide a credit card number.
Cust: All right, hold on. (some rustling around) Okay, do you have it yet?
Tech: Well, no, You haven't given it to me yet.
Cust: Sure I did, I just stuck it (the card) in this (3.5 inch) slot in the front of this computer.
A customer called Compaq tech support to say her brand new computer would not 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?"
An exasperated caller couldn't get her new 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 happened."
The "foot pedal" turned out to be the computer's mouse.
Compaq is considering changing the command "Press any key" to "press return key" due to the flood of calls adding where the "any" key is.
BTW, the Computer Museum in Boston has "ANY" keys you can attach to your keyboard. I have an "ANY" key as well as a "PANIC BUTTON" -
really messes people up when they try to use my computer.... :D
AST tech support had a caller complaining that her mouse was hard to control with the dust cover on. The dust cover turned out to be the plastic bag the mouse was packaged in.
Another Compaq tech 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 head failed to diagnose the problem, it was found that the customer labeled the diskettes then rolled them into the typewriter to type the labels.
An 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 tech advised his customer to put his troubled floppy back in the drive and close the door. The customer asked the tech to hold on, was heard putting the phone down, getting up and crossing the room to close the door to his room.
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 it 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 invalid". The tech explained that the computer's "bad command" and "invalid" responses shouldn't be taken personally.
At a Canon help desk, a customer called saying his bubble jet printer was printing wiggly lines on the back of all his paper. When the tech asked the customer to take the paper out of the printer and look at the pack of them, he promptly mumbled something and hung up on her.
Another customer calling the Canon help desk complained that his BJC-610 was not printing red. After the tech ran the customer through a few unsuccessful cleanings, he asked the customer to remove the red tank and see how much ink was in it. The customer then said "No, it doesn't have any ink. On page 130 in the manual, it said to do some extensive cleanings. So, I drained the ink and filled it with water to clean it."
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 then 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 is working fine."
Tech: May I ask why you're cancelling our service?
Cust: Well, when I do database searches, I always get too long a list of files to look at, no matter what keyword I put in.
Tech: (You know, if they just wouldn't put so darn much information on the service, we wouldn't lose these customers.)
Cust: Well, I just want to know if I load this disk into my computer, won't other people be able to get into my computer and access everything I have in there?
Tech: No, that's not possible.
Cust: You see it on the tv all the time.
Cust: I was not aware that by dialing to a long distance #, that
*I* would be billed for it. I assumed that your service would pick up the bill.
(heartfelt and concerned) I really think that it should be spelled out on the disk that the customer has to pay for the long distance charges...
Cust: Do I need a monitor? I have everything else.
Tech: Yes, ma'am.
Cust: Why? That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of.
I just had a call where the customer wanted to know if a modem and mouse were going to come with the software. I told them that only the disk is going to be in the start-up kit. They couldn't believe we were going to make him pay for his own modem and mouse...!