Just in case you think you are TC
("Technologically Challenged"), the following is an
excerpt from an article in the Wall Street Journal:
- Compaq is considering changing the command "Press
Any Key" to "Press Return Key" becuse of
the flood of calls asking where the "Any" key
- 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
- Another Compaq technician received a call from a man
complaining that the system wouldn't read word processing
files from his old diskettes. The customer had
stuck labels on the diskettes, then rolled them into his
typewriter to type on the labels.
- Another 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
- A Dell technician advised a 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 tech discovered the man was trying
to fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the
monitor and hitting the "send" key.
- Yet another Dell customer called to complain that his
keyboard no longer worked. He had cleaned it up 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
- 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 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
happened." 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?"
- True story from a Novell NetWare SysOp:
Caller: "Hello, is this Tech Support?"
Tech: "Yes, it is. How may I help
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
Caller: "Yes, it's attached to the front of
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?"
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 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
- Another IBM customer had trouble 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 that disk. When it
said to put in the third disk - I couldn't even fit it
in." The user hadn't realised that
"Insert Disk 2" meant to remove Disk 1 first.
THERE NOW, DON'T YOU FEEL BETTER!
'Hello, Welch Hall, computer assistant; may I
'Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect.'
'What sort of trouble?'
'Well, I was just typing along, and all of a
sudden the words went away.'
'Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?'
'It's blank; it won't accept anything when I
'Are you still in WordPerfect or did you get
'How do I tell?'
[Uh-Oh. Well, let's give it a try anyway.]
'Can you see the C:\ prompt on the screen?'
'What's a sea prompt?'
[Uh-huh. I thought so. Let's try a different
tactic.] 'Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the
'There isn't any cursor: I told you, it won't
accept anything I type.'
[Ah, a least he/she knows what a cursor is.
Sounds like a hardware problem. I wonder if he/she kicked out
his/her monitor's power plug.] 'Does your monitor have a
'What's a monitor?'
'It's the thing with the screen on it that looks
like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's
'I don't know.'
'Well, then look at the back of the monitor and
find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?'
[Sound of rustling and jostling] [Muffled]
'Yes, I think so.'
'Great! Follow the cord to the plug and tell me
if it's plugged into the wall.'
[Pause] 'Yes, it is.'
[Hmm. Well, that's interesting. I doubt
he/she would have accidentally turned it off, and I don't want to
send him/her hunting for the power switch because I don't know
what kind of monitor he/she has and it's 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 cable plugged into the back of it, not just one?'
'Well, there are. I need you to look back there
again and find the other cable.'
[Muffled] 'Okay, here it is.'
'Follow it for me and tell me if it's plugged
securely into the back of your computer.'
[Still muffled] 'I can't reach it.'
'Uh-huh. Well, can you see if it is?'
[Clear again] 'No.'
'Even if you maybe put your knee on something and
lean way over?'
'Oh, it's not because I don't have the right
angle - it's because it's dark.'
'Yes - the office light is off and the only light
I have is coming from the window.'
'Well, turn on the office light then.'
'No? Why not?'
'Because there's a power outage.'
A power !@#$%^&*!?!'...[AAAAAAAARGH!!!]
'A power outage? Aha! Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still
have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came
'Well, yes, I kept them in the closet.'
'Good! Go get them, 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.'
'Really? Is it that bad?'
'Yes, I'm afraid it is.'
'Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell
'Tell them you're TOO STUPID TO OWN A