Hey, we can have two stickies now!
So, something like 90% of the mod removals are posts that obviously don't belong here.
When we ask if they checked the rules first, almost everyone says, "O sorry, I didn't read the sidebar."
And when asked why they didn't read the sidebar, almost everyone says, "B-b-but I'm on mobile!"
So this sticky is for you, dear non-sidebar-reading mobile users.
First off, here's a link to the TFTS Sidebar for your convenience and non-plausible-deniability.
Second, here is a hot list of the rules of TFTS:
Rule 0 - YOUR POST MUST BE A STORY ABOUT TECH SUPPORT - Just like it says.
Rule 1 - ANONYMIZE YOUR INFO - Keep your personal and business names out of the story.
Rule 2 - KEEP YOUR POST SFW - People do browse TFTS on the job and we need to respect that.
Rule 3 - NO QUESTION POSTS - Post here AFTER you figure out what the problem was.
Rule 4 - NO IMAGE LINKS - Tell your story with words please, not graphics or memes.
Rule 5 - NO OTHER LINKS - Do not redirect us someplace else, even on Reddit.
Rule 6 - NO COMPLAINT POSTS - We don't want to hear about it. Really.
Rule 7 - NO PRANKING, HACKING, ETC. - TFTS is about helping people, not messing with them.
Rule ∞ - DON'T BE A JERK. - You know exactly what I'm talking 'bout, Willis.
The TFTS Wiki has more details on all of these rules and other notable TFTS info as well.
Thanks for reading & welcome to /r/TalesFromTechSupport!
This post has been locked, comments will be auto-removed.
Please message the mods if you have a question or a suggestion.
(Remember you can hide this message once you have read it and never see it again!)
edit: fixed links for some mobile users.
One fine day, while attempting to work, I got the call we've all gotten. Mom was in an absolute tizzy because her computer didn't work. Agh.
My retired Mom loved to Click All The Things, as Moms do, and had gotten one of those viruses that locks your computer for "security violations" or something, with a dire warning to call "Microsoft" at the number provided.
Sadly, she actually called the number and listened to the pitch in broken English. Happily, once the guy at the other end started demanding a credit card number, she finally got suspicious and hung up (despite her mortal fear of appearing "rude") and called me.
However, she had recently moved to a farm several miles from her remote ancestral village, at least four hours away from me, and there was no way this was something I could coach her through without tears on both sides.
Man, I would give $100 to get out of this predicament... and thus the light dawned.
"Mom, on the tiny road to your remote village, there should be a little house with a sign outside saying "COMPUTERS" or "COMPUTER REPAIRS" or something like that. Do I guess correctly?"
"Um, yes, I've seen something like that..."
"Good, there's one in every village, even yours. OK, here's what you need to do. Take your laptop, along with the power adapter, to this house tomorrow morning. Inside that house will be a man with a large beard."
"Wait, how do you know he has a beard?"
"He will have a beard, trust me. The bushier the better. Anyway, give this man your computer, and tell him exactly what happened, and ask him to fix it."
"Oh gosh, I'm so embarrassed..."
"That's OK, he's heard it before. But it's very important that you do not lie to this man. Answer his questions, if he has any. If you don't know, that's fine, just say you don't know. He will probably seem a little gruff and grumpy, but don't worry about that. He will grunt and tell you to pick it up in a day or two."
"He sounds mean..."
"No, he's not mean. Just, um, well, that's how the best computer people are sometimes. He's probably not really a people person."
"Oh, like your Father was."
"Uhh, yeah. Anyway, pay the man with the beard -- it will probably be about $100 -- and then follow his instructions. He'll install software, to make sure this doesn't happen again, so make sure you read and do what it tells you."
And lo, dear readers, so it came to pass, exactly as predicted in every detail.
Tiny house, gruff man, wildly majestic beard, $99 and all. Mom had her computer back in a day or two with a clean Windows install and a decent AV installed. Mine was not the only Mom in the village who clicked All The Things.
Even better, she returned to Beard Guy when she needed other help and followed his advice when it was time to upgrade.
Thank you, bearded man.
Caller: Hi tech support, how are you doing?
Me: Great thanks.
Tell me what wrong
Caller: Hows the little one doing?
Me: Doing well.
Please tell me what's wrong
Caller: Terrible weather we're having, isn't it?
For the love of god, i could have fixed it by now if you told me the issue
Caller: I bought a new car yesterday, did you see it?
We're going to be here a while
Caller: 5.2L V8 engine, goes like stink! Should i wax it now or wait a week
Me: Whatever you feel is best
Come on and bloody tell me your issue!
Caller: Fair enough, it should be alright as long as i don't park under the trees.
Me: Yes, anyway, what's your issue?
Finally got a word in edgeways!
Caller: Yeh, can i get my password reset?
Me: Sure, it's XYZ123. It'll ask you to change it on login.
Caller: Great, thanks for that. Have you got any plans for the wee-
Oh fuck off.
I was reminiscing with an old colleague of mine and he reminded me of his favourite story about me.
In the early 2000's, SIP devices were becoming all the rage in the communication business. I was tasked with installing a largish phone system of about 400 handsets and 8 conference phones. The conference phones were Polycom IP4000's. It's telling that I remember the exact make and model here. Those 8 phones consumed nearly 40 hours of my life figuring out how to make them work. At least 10 of those hours were calls to tech support for both the Phone system support and the device support. There were integration guides but they were very sparse on detail. My main sticking point was dialing out from the device. All dialing patterns needed to be designed and the default did not allow for prefix digits like a 9. Once I got it all figured out, I wrote a very detailed description of my working dial plan. I added my notes to the resolution for the tickets I made and called it a day.
Fast forward a few years and I'm working with my colleague on another install. Again we have Sip Polycoms and I am dreading it. This time though, when I was reading the integration guide, there on the last page, word for word including formatting are my resolution notes from the earlier install. I was both elated and offended but mostly proud. I'd never had my work validated so effectively before and it still remains a proud moment
EDIT: I got curious just now about what I did in the interim between my challenge and when it was added to the manual. Then I remembered a tech support site I used often at the time. I found my thread on there and I suspect this is what I used for reference.
I don't know the rules about linking to external sites so if it is not allowed, let me know.
Here are my notes from that exact incident Tek-Tips Link
Hi there, decided to share another story with you.
I'll start with bit of a backstory again. Our customers are paying in advance. We have money back policy for newly purchased products but not for renewals. We try to find other ways to compensate our customers if they renew a package and in two months they don't don't want it anymore but not direct refunds. All of that is explained in our T&C which, of course, nobody reads. We are sending invoices a month before the renewal dates, to give our customer's time to decide if they still want their package, and/or sort out payment issues (e.g. expired credit card), also we are sending them info how they can cancel a product if they don't need it anymore. If they have difficulties and questions, they have listed ways to contact us. All of this information is included in the emails with invoices.
Now, cut to my conversation with a customer, let's call him Ben. He won't be named Ken, since he was a nice guy. He gave me a headache, yes, but he was nice. I don't know how old was Ben but he didn't sound old, maybe in his 40s or 50s. I'll skip verification lines in our conversation.
Me: Thank you, Ben, how may I be of assistance?
Ben: You've taken money from my card, even though I told you I don't want your package anymore. I want them back.
Me: When did you contact us about that? I can't find any cancellation requests for this service?
Ben: I told you on the day I received your invoice.
Me: OK, let me have a look at your notes.
Fine, if Ben contacted us, and a colleague advised that the product is cancelled, without actually processing cancellation, this would be on us and I might be able to do something about that. Didn't find notes about the customer contacting us recently, maybe he opened a ticket? No, newest ticket was about 1 year old. No trace of Ben requesting his service to be cancelled so far, let alone proper cancellation request. OK, so there is still a chance he gave us a call maybe and a colleague didn't leave a note? That happens sometimes, no big deal, as long as I get some details, approx. date of contact and supervisor can check call logs.
Me: Hey Ben, can you advise me how did you requested the cancellation of your service? I can't find any recent information about you contacting us.
Ben: I wrote you a letter
Now, I am thinking he just replied to the no-reply email, from which invoices are sent, happens all the time but if that is the case, sadly, not much I can do about it.
Me: I see but if you replied to the automatic email, we never received it, if you open the email, you will see that we are suggesting how you can contact us if you have any difficulties to request cancellation of your service.
Ben: No, no, I didn't send an email, I wrote you a letter.
Me: How did you send that letter to us?
Ben: I went to the post and sent it to you head office.
Somehow I convinced Ben that this is not proper cancellation request, advised him what to do for future references to not end up in that situation anymore, since he had other services with us, which he still needed for the time being. We finally cancelled the service properly but I don't quite remember what happened with his payment and if we made an exception to refund him, or we credited another service instead.
And that's the story how we've been sent an actual letter, written on an actual paper and sent in the post office (In the middle of pandemic and everyone working from home, I might add). And how Ben managed to bring back all of the childhood memories of a random phone support agent and to make her think for a while how much times have changed. Until the next call at least.
Long time lurker first time poster.
A long time ago (like 20 years ago) I worked as a middle-manager in a middle sized company. Since I was the most tech-savvy person, and was young and stupid, I became the de facto first, second and third line of support and also the company's IT-manager long before I had that title (and salary) for real.
The company had several subsidiaries in other cities. But since all subsidiaries were small I needed to support them as well (remotely).
This was a business that ran 24/7, 365 days a year. And any interruption in anything costs a butt-load. So ANY problem needed fixing ASAP. It mostly worked fine since most places were run by young people that knew computers. I also had written detailed instructions (with pictures) to how everything was supposed to be run, so normally not a big problem.
We had two subsidiaries though that were a huge problem and this is the taleof one of the two.
All sites used the same program. The subsidiaries needed to run this program through a RDP (remote-desktop) window after they connected to our server through a VPN (yeah I hadn’t the skills to make it better at that time).
In the rdp windows there was one and only one icon and that was the program they were supposed to run. As I said most subsidiaries had no problem with this at all and it worked well enough.
When we acquired this subsidiary I knew that this would be a problem. Most other subsidiaries had employees that were interested in computers. But this was a subsidiary where the manager, an older lady, had hired her own daughter and her daughter's party-girl friends as the only employees. I will be clear here. This is not a gender issue. Many of the most knowledgeable persons in other subsidiaries were in fact female, but these girls at this particular subsidiary knew nothing about computers and were not interested in learning at all. They even took pride in not learning any of the “geek-stuff”.
When we brought them on as a subsidiary I saw this upcoming problem and informed my boss about it. He didn’t believe me, since we at this time never had any problems with technical issues from a subsidiary.
The launch went better than expected. Mostly because I lived in the city for a couple of days, and worked side by side with the users showing them exactly how it was done. After that I relaxed and thought that they knew enough to run the program.
This is just a couple of the things they managed to do in their first 6 months.
Called me every time they had a power outage. And since they worked right outside a huge construction site where they repeatedly dug through the cables it happened at least once every month. They could never understand that it wasn't the computers fault (since the computer and screen worked when the rest of the building became dark, due to a UPS) and that I couldn't help them (after the UPS died).
Managed to kick the power cord out of the computer 5 in the morning; calling (and waking me) and then insisting that all cords were connected. So I needed to travel to this city (a 4 hours round trip) go to that office, see the cord and connect it. They explained to me that the cord was connected to the wall (since I specifically had asked about it through the phone) and that no one had explained to them that the other end actually needed to be in the computer.
Managed to turn off their monitor and not understand how it turned on. They called me in panic and tears during the evening and it took around 30 minutes before I could calm the user down enough to actually dare touch ANY of the buttons on the monitor because she was afraid that she had broken the computer and touching buttons would make it worse.
After those 3 I put up an extra workstation, up and running. Ready to take over if anything happened.
The weeks after that three of the girls called me crying during weird times. Just telling me that “NOTHING WORKS”. I tried to get the person to tell me what didn't work. But the person couldn't explain and just repeated that “NOTHING WORKS!”. All three times I needed to go to the office (4 hours… yay) and see. Once it was the cord to the mouse that had slipped out. Once it was a windows update that went wrong and the computer had got stuck (needed a hard reset, couldn't really fault her for that one), and the last time she had clicked outside the RDP window somehow and didn't understand how to get back.
The extra workstation? They always claimed it didn't work. When I got to their Office it always worked. And I showed them again and again that it's just to log in and start. But since they never used it, they got scared of it.
After these times I put up two signs. One with detailed baby-instructions with pictures on how to log in to the extra computer (the EXACT same way as the computer they already worked daily on).
And an extra sign with the text
“Are you in a dark room that's on fire? If not, Then something actually works. Before calling “me” please think about what actually is not working so you can describe the problem.”
They never got better. I did get better though and actually quit. My best decision ever.
The other subsidiary? Maybe I will post that another day. But that problem is a combination of my fault and users with no experience.
Hello all, short tale from today actually in the magical land of AV tech support. The players in this story are as follows;
$Me: self explanatory
U1: user 1
U2: user 2
To set the stage. I'm on site support for a large office buildings av systems. My day to day is mostly tier 1 stuff, however I am a former engineer and programmer so more technical questions and issues end up in my lap.
I receive an email from U1. The email is pretty straightforward, they pretty bluntly state "on Thursday we will need a hand held microphone in X conference room". My response was pretty short and straight to the point;
"U1, conference room X does not support the use of lavalier or hand held wireless microphones for local voice lift. The room can only utilize it's currently installed ceiling microphone for conferencing,"
I receive a generic "ok $me, thanks for the clarification" in response from U1.
Fast forward to today
U2 pings me and requests I come to conference room X to help get the meeting connected. I arrive and the conversation is as follows...
$me: ok you're connected and all set up.
U2: where's the microphone?
$me: ... In the ceiling
U2: my colleague emailed asking for a hand held mic to be provided, she said you would be bringing one.
$me: no I pretty clearly stated in my email to her that it wasn't possible to set that up in this room....
U2: well somebody said they would be bringing a microphone....
P: -in a very raspy voice- did you bring the mic?
$me: no. I was very clear that we wouldn't be providing one for this meeting. The room is not set up for it and can't be on short notice.
P: well I have laryngitis, how is anyone going to hear me? You have to do something about this....
$me: .... I'll be right back
Immediately excused myself, went back to my office, and closed myself inside. I'm currently debating if I report U1 U2 and P to their supervisor for violation of covid and sick leave protocol. The ironic part is being a hybrid meeting, the best solution would have been for P to stay home and present remotely using her headset with built in mic
Sorry but gotta vent a bit.
user: A PC has a problem.
me: Is the PC currently available? I can fix it in 3 minutes.
user: (Offended tone) Not during business hours. So why can't you fix it?
me: I need access. Can you call me when its available?
user: We have 50 patients and it needs to be fixed now!
me: Can you call me when its available?
user: The DR is very angry!
me: Can you call me when its available?
user: Is your boss named ..........?
me: Can you call me when its available?
user: OK, thanks. (Hangs up)
user: (Calls next day) WHY IS THIS NOT FIXED????
me: Is it available?
user: NO! I'll call you back. (hangs up and never calls back despite my 5 follow-up calls)
These people are entrusted with patient's lives.
I was out sick last week. One of our clients sent me an e-mail in the morning (I'm sick, I'm not reading e-mail) to say he was getting an error message while trying to do something, and wanted to know if I knew about it.
I get a text message late in the afternoon about this, because an employee of that guy wanted an update on the situation. They called in to our helpline, and had said the ticket was assigned to me. Even though I was sick, the helpline person (one of my employees) pinged me to check on this, because she couldn't find the ticket.
All the client had done was send me an e-mail. He hadn't called our helpline, or submitted a ticket over the web; in fact, no ticket was created for it at all. No one else was having that problem, so no one on our team had any idea those errors were occurring. But this didn't stop the guy's employee from being upset that we hadn't fixed their problem all day. They did calm down once they discovered that no ticket had been created.
It doesn't matter how many e-mails and Yammer announcements and web sites we plaster with "Please start support requests or incidents by calling our helpline, or submitting a ticket over the web," clients won't do it.
Inspired by one just posted …
As a teenager, back in the time-sharing days, I got a job working for my dad's one-man (now two-man) consulting company. The company he worked for had just switched to a new kind of computer. My dad gives me his login and the manual and tells me "figure out how this thing works and explain it to me".
As I go through the manual, all the passwords in all of the examples are "xxxxxx". After a while, it dawns on me that this is how the systems are shipped. I give it a try, and sure enough, I'm logged into the main admin account.
"Hey Dad, this system still had the default admin password. I have complete control."
My dad gets on the phone to their head guy and tells them they have a serious security problem. Reminds them that they just fired a bunch of disgruntled employees. They talk for a bit and my dad turns to me and says "He says you can't actually do anything".
Me: type type type type "Have him log into his own account".
My dad says to the phone "My son says try logging into your own account. Yeah, I'll wait." A minute later "Yeah, I think we need to do something about this."
So I started a new job yesterday. First things first get a log in. But it's more complicated than asking the person next to me to do it. You see, I now work for a large Group, I am IT Support for a sub section. This means that I have to call up the Group IT to get my log in. So from my personal phone I do so. Only needing to confirm my name and boss to have them find my account and inform me that the details have been emailed to my boss.
An hour later, my new boss hasn't received my info and has decided they might have not told the truth, directed me to call them again. Speak to the same person, they give me an ID and password. I log into my "new" laptop, going through the Outlook and Teams first time log ins I notice something odd. Should a day old account really be downloading so many emails? Why do I have a Teams profile picture? Why is it definitely not me?
Show my boss I have been given access to the account of someone with the same name as me that already works there and log off. Yes, I was given full access to someone else's account without needing to answer a single security question, why calling from my personal, definitely-not-registered-with-Group phone. I think this isn't good.
Boss, understandably, calls Group IT and gives them a good bollocking. I sit around all day waiting for this mess to be sorted. Today I have been sent on site, still don't have a log in. Fun Times.
Tl;Dr Trust, but verify.
Edit: better Tl;Dr "Trust, Don't Verify."
I'll keep this short - i think 🤣
So my isp has a super janky connection to my home. They literally left indoor rated cat 5 in the sun, IN AZ.
it's hardly connected, their big greasy cable comes out of my back yard and it's this loose nest of wires.
A while back the neighbor sent somebody to use a string trimmer to clean up our yard (I'm disabled and have young children) - he didn't see this nest of wires left in the dirt and whacked through them.
So i had fixed them, a crappy fix admittedly, but a fix nonetheless.
Until today. My wife watered where she's trying to grow grass, and dropped the hose near the spigot when she was done, and just like that, the Internet went out in my house.
So i went to check it out, expecting my shoddy work to be the problem, and it turns out the indoor rated cable had gotten so much sun that one of the 2 tiny cables that matters sheared clean off when the hose head hit the ground.
I repaired the line with a crimping connector with heat shrink, nice the rats nest of cable under my house (single wide prefab) and blocked it in with a chunk of cinder block.
Works again and hopefully nobody breaks it for me a third time 🤣 it's extremely taxing for me to do the work physically, even a teensy job like that.
TLDR: indoor rated cable outdoors in AZ became brittle and snapped when accidentally hit.
Tech specialist for 3 public schools here. I received a work order this morning from a kindergarten teacher. Work order stated that 3 of her 4 student desktops suddenly lost network connection. I go there this afternoon. I look and see that the long table that the desktops are on has been pushed far to the right side. In doing so, the patch cables at the drops got yanked out of the wall. Teacher walks in. I explain to her what happened. She states she has no idea how that happened. She says no one moved that table at all. I just go and put them back in and move the table back. Luckily, none of the ends were damaged. As I'm leaving the students come in from an activity. The teacher aide is with them. She asks me what was the problem with the computers. I explain it to her. The kids all yell out Mrs. Watkins (the teacher) moved the table to get our dodge balls. I just laughed and walked off. Dealing with the teachers is like dealing with children many times. Always remember - users lie.
Way back in the previous century, I worked as a field tech for computer company. I covered a large territory of the U.S. Southwest, I had one large customer in the town I lived in and a bunch scattered around in other towns and cities. I had one smallish customer about 4 hours away by car, but I didn't have to visit them very often. Until they received some training from a lady from our support office.
I had never met or dealt with training lady (TL) before but I had heard of her, but I knew very little about her.
One of the things I had set up at this customer were some hand held laser scanners. This were not very common at this point, and they had to programmed to read different types of labels. Each scanner came with a quick start card, you scanned a label to put the device into "program mode", then you scanned the type of label(s) it needed to scan, the you scanned a "save and exit" label, and all was cool. It took maybe fifteen seconds to program a scanner, pretty easy, right? Needless to say, I had left all the installed scanners programmed and working when I installed the equipment.
Anyway, I get a page from my boss one day. I call the office, he's in a panic. TL has been calling complaining that "nothing works", I didn't complete the install, she can't do training, and so on. My boss at the time was a spineless jellyfish who lived in terror of everyone (except his own minions). I knew I had to stamp on this right away, I had heard tales from other techs about the boss selling his staff down the river to appease anyone being critical. I calmly but forcefully refuted that nothing worked. I had left everything just fine. We had had NO support calls from this customer since I had done the installation. I would call them and find out what was going on. My boss instantly changed his tune, he knew it couldn't be true, I was one of the best techs, blah, blah, blah.
I call the customer and talk to my contact there, she's very nice, did I want to talk to TL? Yes please. TL gets on the phone, a couple of the scanners aren't working. OK, I say, its easy to reprogram them, I'll walk her through it, it will take less than a minute. Sorry, she's busy, can't I just come out and do it? Yes I can, but its a four hour drive so I can't be there until the next day, is she sure she can't try it?
As an aside, I've trained multiple customers to do the programming on their own. Take one of the quick start cards and number the labels in order. This is meant to end user friendly.
No, she won't do it, its not her job, its mine. She'll see me tomorrow.
I was about boiling with rage when I got off the phone. I called the support office and spoke to one of my buddies there that did phone and remote support for customers. I explain what's going on and ask if they don't normally talk customers through stuff like this. My buddy explodes. He's had multiple problems with TL, she's horrible, should be fired, he hates her. My buddy is a pretty mild mannered guy, I am shocked by his reaction, but its clear the TL has a history of making waves so I decide this isn't a hill I want to die on. I call my boss back and explain that there are two scanners that need to be reprogrammed. TL will not do it even though its totally simple, she wants me to drive out and do it. I was not surprised that my boss wanted me to go. He was too chicken to raise the issue with TL's boss, easier to have me drive 8 hours.
Next morning I wake up early and drive to the remote site. TL is very polite and professional while I reprogram a couple of scanners. I make sure there isn't anything else they need and leave. So, 8 hours of driving for about five minutes of work (with my paperwork included). All because I had a chickensh**t boss and sociopath TL.
A couple of months later my boss moved on to a different company. There was collective sigh of relief in the whole department from everyone. I also found out later that he had allowed our billing to get totally screwed up, hundreds of newly installed devices had not been added to our maintenance contracts, he probably cost the company a couple of hundred thousand dollars in lost revenue.
I used to work for an insurance company. We had one of our long time employees give notice and quit. That person was responsible for running all of the reports for accounting and staff using Crystal Reports. So after a lengthy search we hired someone with six years of experience to take over the position. A week into this person's time with the company I get a call from an executive VP asking me to see what I can do to help the new hire do their job. The conversation went as follows:
Me: I hear you're having some troubles with running the reports. How can I help? New Hire: Thanks! I can't find the button. Me: What button? New Hire: The report button. Me: Can you open Crystal Reports and show me? New Hire: Sure. (opens the program) Me: Okay, so what seems to be missing? New Hire: The button for the report. Me: (I'm still a bit lost but I'm getting worried) Can you tell me exactly what Report they asked you for? New Hire: All data for (specific policies) for the last two weeks. Me: Okay, so open this area and write the query. New Hire: Do what? Me: You need to write the query for the report. New Hire: How do I do that? Me: (I briefly explain that our previous guy wrote queries for every report and ask if they have a clue how to write even a basic query) New Hire: That's stupid! There should be a button. My last job had a button for every report. There should be a button.
Turns out that their six years of Experience with Crystal Reports was just opening up the program and clicking on previously written and saved report links. Zero idea on how to do anything that wasn't already set up.
Rather than looking for someone that knew how to use Crystal Reports and kick this person to the curb the company sent them for training for eight weeks. Even after all of that, they still had zero clue how to use the program. We ended up hiring the guy that quit on a part-time basis and spent a couple more months looking for someone else.
As for the "New Hire", they got shuffled around the company from department to department as a gopher and lackey. Turned out that the rest of their skill-set and experience was grossly exaggerated.
I work in a tech related field. All my team members interact on some level with troubleshooting code, from actual dev work to copy-paste QA checks. None of us are end users.
We're at a team lunch. And as with most resturants in my city the ordering is digital. There's a little puck on the table with a QR code and a NFC tag that links to their ordering page for that table. The puck is very clear about it's ability to do either with words and images.
Also for background info, here in Aus contactless payment has been the norm for over 10 years now. We all know how contactless works. Or atleast, we all should.
One of us was having trouble scanning the QR code. I think it was bad lighting from their angle or something.
The following conversation is paraphrased, and context is spelt out for you, the reader.
me: "Just tap your phone on it instead"
them: "How do I do that?"
me: "What do you mean? Just touch your phone to the thing. Same way I saw you pay for coffee this morning"
them: "...ok? So i open the camera app and then what?"
me: "No camera app, forget about the camera. Touch your phone to the puck thing"
them: "I'm not really sure how to do that..."
me: "This is actually begining to stress me out that you wont even try. Here, watch"
I touch my phone, which is clearly on my home screen with no apps open, to the puck and it opens the ordering webpage automatically
them: very unsure of themselves, opens the camera app again, then holds the phone about 5cm above the puck (camera cant even see the QR code at this angle).
After several seconds of this hover action and me holding back from losing it, it finally drops close enough to scan the NFC and open the page.
What is it about tech that breaks peoples brains? Physically placing something down onto the table should be a simple instruction right? I dont understand the utter refusual to do the ONE thing that would work. And then when finally convinced to try, still mistakes "touch it" with "hover above it like some sort of force field is in the way".
That day, my friends, was today.
I’m part of tech support at a company that integrates with patient data softwares in my industry to cut back clients’ time on certain aspects of their job. If the client updates data on a patient in one and wants it to sync immediately, they need to refresh their browser. Simple, right?
Not today apparently. I took a call from a client who said the sync was off (not in those words as she does not know what sync means, but that’s beside the point).
User: It’s not pulling data for XXX and I know I entered it. It’s not working.
Me: When did you change the data?
So I remote in to take a look, and the information she entered “yesterday”was clearly entered seconds before she called. I let her know that it looked like the data had just been updated, and she started yelling that it didn’t matter and our product didn’t work.
Me: If you refresh your browser right after you update the data, it will sync and you’ll be able to see it.
Client: (literally screaming) I SHOULD NEVER HABE TO REFRESH MY BROWSER!
Me: You just click this button right here.
Client: (still screaming) I refuse to refresh my browser! You should have built a product that works!
Me: Refreshing your browser will update the data immediately.
Client: That is too much work! I should not have to take that extra step! I’m cancelling your garbage product now and I want a refund!
Well ok then. I’ve never had someone so upset about that, but if she’s refusing to do it, there probably wasn’t much hope for her learning the product anyways. Was the screaming necessary though
Early in my IT career, I was a systems and network administrator at a medium sized company with a 5 state wide regional territory. The IT department was quite small and I was the only real technically capable member of the department. The head of IT and my other colleague were more on the database and business analytics side. Since this story happened a number of years ago, I'm going to embellish some conversational parts for the sake of storytelling. Some of the exact conversation is a little hazy, but the details of what happened are likely etched in my memory forever. Also, keep in mind some of the details like exact indicator light colors are probably a little hazy, too.
The network was originally a fairly simple one, with a single hub and spoke of regional sites connected by bonded T1's using MPLS. One of my first network projects was to upgrade the LAN infrastructure at each site with the eventual goal of implementing a more robust network. The company decided to invest in technology and wanted a wireless network, VoIP phones, VPN connections and faster connectivity between the regional sites. Now at the time of this story, wireless networks and VoIP phones weren't nearly as common as they are today. It wasn't bleeding edge or anything, but it just wasn't everywhere.
Our story starts on the morning I left for the third site to have its network equipment upgraded. The first site to get the upgrades was the hub site at our corporate headquarters. The upgrade went great and had been quite stable for several weeks. I felt pretty comfortable moving ahead with each site's upgrade. I left around 6:00 AM with an arrival time planned for 10:30 AM. At a little before 8:00 AM, my cell phone rang. I glanced at the caller ID and it came up as the corporate office. I didn't generally take support calls by cell phone, so i was a little nervous that someone would be calling me this early and on a travel day. Of course, I answered and the voice of the head of IT (my boss) came across the airwaves.
$Boss: Hey, where are you at?
$NyteWyyrm: About 2 hours from $corporate and about 2 1/2 hours from the destination site.
$Boss: Oh, I was hoping you hadn't left yet or were close by. The whole network is down.
$NyteWyyrm: Well, I'm literally in the middle of nowhere. I'm not turning around, so let's talk through through some initial troubleshooting steps. With any luck, maybe we can resolve it together. Otherwise, you may have to wait until I get to my destination.
Now, like I said, the boss wasn't very technical with systems or networks. He wouldn't have been my first choice for boots on the ground, but as i was hurtling along at 65 MPH with nothing but him and my phone between me and the outage, it was the best I was going to get. I just hoped it would end up being something simple and I wouldn't have to walk him through an SSH session or anything like that.
$NyteWyyrm: OK, let's start with power. Go down to the closet, err, data center and verify everything has power.
$Boss: Ok, I'll call you back from down there.
I hang up and my mind starts going through the possibilities. 5 minutes later, my phone rings again. The boss was calling back.
$Boss: OK, I think everything has power.
$NyteWyyrm: Are any of the UPS's beeping, and does everything have blinky lights and whirring fans?
$Boss: No beeping from anything and everything looks like it has lights.
Well, so much for the first easy option.
$NyteWyyrm: Ok, let's start with the core switch. It's in the first rack and has $vendorName on it. What do the lights look like?
$Boss: I think I found it. it has the sticker "core-switch-1/0" and "core-switch-1/1?"
$NyteWyyrm: Yep, that's it.
$Boss: The lights are green and blinking all at different times.
$NyteWyyrm: OK, well that's good, but if the entire network is down it's not really what I might expect. Did you verify that all of the different site areas were down?
The data center, (a term very loosely used here) had the core switches, distribution switches for both the site and the server network, and access switches for one part of the site, including IT. Other parts of the sites had IDF's with access switches for those areas.
$Boss: Um, no not really. Let me call you back.
Well, now things seemed a little fishy. I hung up, and about 10 minutes later I get the call back.
$NyteWyyrm: What did you find out?
$Boss: Well, it's still a little early and very few people are in the office, but everyone else seems to be just fine.
So, the original panicked call about everything down was just a bit of Chicken Little? My first question probably should have been along these lines, but live and learn.
$NyteWyyrm: So, is anything down?
$Boss: The IT department is.
$NyteWyyrm: Well, that's a little strange. When did you notice it?
$Boss: Just after I came in to work and got my coffee. I sat down to check my email and I had no network connection.
$NyteWyyrm: Ok, so look for the switch that has a tag on it "2ndFloor-Access-1/0." What do the lights look like on that one?
$Boss: They're the same as the core switch, oh, no, wait...there's a solid amber light on one of them.
Now, at this point, something fishy was definitely going on. You know how you get a feeling about what the issue might be. There's no solid reason for the idea, other than past experiences and the feeling that the universe is about to get a big laugh at your expense. Yeah, so I was getting one of those feelings.
$NyteWyyrm: That's strange. It really feels like BPDU guard has squashed a port, but there's no reason for that to happen. I mean, we've removed the vast majority of those little sub-switches that used to be everywhere. Unless something is faulty, I wouldn't think there would be any reason for BPDU guard to kick in.
Now, for those of you not in networking, I'll explain BPDU guard momentarily. However, for the sake of a little background, whoever built the original network prior to me had installed a few large managed switches in the, um, data center and a boat load of those little 8 port unmanaged switches. Those little things were everywhere. In fact, even years after the network upgrades, I would stumble across one that had been hiding somewhere. I have no idea how I could have missed them, but it's like they had a life of their own and very strong sense of self-preservation.
$Boss: Ok, so what's BPDU guard? in layman's terms.
$NyteWyyrm: So, it's a feature enabled on a switch port that watches for a rogue device. If someone were to plug in a little router like what you use at home, it would shut down the port. Those devices don't play nicely with the big enterprise grade switches and so they get squashed. But there's no reason one of those devices would be on our network. I'm thinking it could be some type of an unmanaged switch I missed, or something gone faulty. It makes sense for the symptoms, but not really for how smooth everything has been for the past few months with the new equipment.
$Boss: Oh, hey, let me call you back in a few minutes.
$NyteWyyrm: OK, sure.
He hangs up, and I'm driving myself crazy trying to think of a different reason for what he's describing to me. It just doesn't make sense. I'll need to have him SSH into the switch so I can check the logs for anything unusual. I'm not thrilled to do that over the phone, but it's either that or wait for a few hours until I arrive at my destination. Just as I'm pondering the universe and my place in it, the phone rings again.
$Boss: So, I think I found it, and I think it should be fixed now but it's still not working.
$NyteWyyrm: You found it? What was it and how do you know?
At this point, there's a very awkward silence, and I knew I was in for the Universe's big laugh I mentioned earlier. The $Boss did something, and he didn't want to admit it.
$Boss: So, you know the other day when we were talking about the wireless network?
$Boss: I have that new tablet and I really couldn't wait to be able to get it on the network and show it off to some of the other executives. I thought it would be really cool if IT had it's own wireless network now, before we installed the company wide wireless.
$NyteWyyrm: You didn't?
$Boss: If by didn't, you mean I didn't bring in a spare router from home that had WiFi capability built in, then...yes...I did? I mean, it works at home, how could I know about that BPDU guard thing?
$NyteWyyrm: Well, you wouldn't, but that class of device just shouldn't be used on this type of network.
$Boss: Can't we just turn off the BPDU guard so this will work and we can have wireless here in the IT office?
$NyteWyyrm: No, that's not how this works. If we shut off BPDU guard and plug in your device, it'll likely cause an actual network outage of at least some parts of the network. Let's just say those devices aren't compatible with the type of equipment we're using.
$Boss: So, there's no way for me to get wireless here in the office?
$NyteWyyrm: Yes, there is. Just wait for me to install the company wide wireless like we planned!
$Boss: So, if I've unplugged my little router, why won't my computer work again?
$NyteWyyrm: This entire time you've been telling me the IT department was offline, it was really just your computer wasn't it?
$Boss: Yes, I guess. I plugged the router in before I went to get my coffee, and when I came back I couldn't get my email.
I let out a nice long sigh at this point.
$NyteWyyrm: Once the switch port is squashed, we have to re-enable it administratively before it'll work again. At this point, you'll just need to wait until I get where I'm going. Other ports nearby are probably working, so you can grab a long ethernet cable from the supply closet and just stretch it across the floor for now.
$Boss: You know if we just had wireless...
Long story short, i worked in a pc repair shop which mainly dealt with the general public rather than b2b which certainly had its entertaining moments to say the least… this one frequent customer comes in one time to see if we had any DDR3 which we didn’t at the time. A few days later he comes back in with his pc asking if we can take a look as he recons he may have fried his board and to quote him for a replacement.
He then goes on to tell us that he couldn’t get ahold of any DDR3 sticks locally so rather than ordering online he took it upon himself to… SAW a notch into a DDR2 stick he had believing it would work…
This shall forever live rent free in my memories as one of the funniest encounters i have had in this trade.
I'll try to keep this short. Recently I was assisting a older person with issues with his iPhone. I was assisting him over the phone (not face-to-face). He had some app open, and I needed him to press the Home button on his iPhone. He didn't know what the Home button was.
"Okay" I thought. Maybe he doesn't know what the Home button is called. So I asked him to press the button below his screen. I told him this button looks like a circle. I also told him this button isn't on his screen, but below the screen. He said he couldn't find it.
"Okay" I thought. Maybe he's got vision issues. So I asked him what button does he press to switch to a different app (such as the Phone app or the Gmail app). He said he didn't know. I asked him how he would get to the Gmail app from whatever screen he was on now. He said he didn't know.
At this point I thought I was in no-man's land. Until I found out he had a laptop with a camera. So luckily we were able to share a video-conferencing session. I had him use one hand to hold the iPhone up to the camera, and another finger pointing at the iPhone. From there I slowly showed him where the circle button was.
I needed him to press the circle button several times throughout our call. He forgot each time where the button was, so I had him show his iPhone to the camera each time.
This call was an hour. Oh what would I have done if he had one of those newer iPhones that doesn't even have a Home button...
Now maybe this person has some vision issues. Maybe this person has a case of the forgetsies (it happens, especially in the elderly). It also doesn't help that I was assisting him virtually, and it appears he may have never been quite comfortable with computers or smartphones.
Maybe I'm also not the best communicator. So it was a perfect storm of a hot mess, when it comes to customer tech support.
If y'all have any tips for me to handle calls like this, please share. I definitely need help. Kinda feel like I'm losing my mind; I've been doing this for four years!!!
I'm thankful for my job, co-workers, and clients btw. Could be far worse (I worked in fast food for 9 years, and I volunteered at a homeless center for 7 years).
I worked with supporting business phone systems. In this particular case, the customers system was hosted and everything was connected via the internet. This customer had made a reputation for themselves by calling in multiple times for issues that could not be duplicated. I had not had the pleasure before of speaking to them but I sure enjoyed the results this time.
On the day in question I was working late and I chose to pickup the call. It was after hours for us but I was on-call anyway so I decided to save some time in case it was an emergency. As it happened, it was an emergency (somewhat) in that the customer was saying all their phones were down (again), that they are very upset (again), and that they better get it fixed (or else). I wasn't paying much attention to their rant as I was instead logging into their hosted system to see what was wrong. I had just finished logging in when the customer started demanding a supervisor. I gently reminded them that I was the after hours tech and the only person available and that I could concentrate on the problem better if they gave me some time to investigate. Unfortunately, the system looked completely healthy and all phones were up. I asked the customer to confirm that the phones were working and they said they didn't know as they were on the way to their bus. I asked how they knew it was down earlier and they said when they called to check if it was working it went straight to voicemail instead of ringing first which is how it worked every other time it failed. They had got into the habit of checking based on previous history. Somehow, with just the this information, I had a good idea what the problem was. I asked the customer if their phones failed every day when they left the office and they said it was most of the time. I asked if they had seen the same issue when coming into work and the answer was yes. I asked if the phones ever failed during the day and the answer was no.
Solution: some idiot of a security alarm installer had installed their splitter jack (prioritizes Alarm use for dialtone) on the internet ADSL line before before the ADSL splitter. [Insert Username Here] every time the customer set or released their alarm, the alarm system killed the internet (hosted phones) to call in the status to the alarm company. Issue was resolved fully the next day.
This was likely one of the most intuitive leaps of troubleshooting that I've ever made in 30+ years of service and I still get that satisfying feeling thinking of it.
This happened many years back when a friend of mine had a problem with his computer.
He needs it to be fixed asap and the computer repair shop he goes to is not open, so he came to me for help. I tried to run him down the troubleshooting steps to see what the problem was. The troubleshooting didn't produce any results, so I concluded that the PSU (Power Supply Unit) is probably fried.
I met up with him to shop for a PSU and went back to his house. Just to be sure, I ran the same troubleshooting steps in case he did it wrongly. The first thing I did was to swap the power cable from the monitor to the PC. To my surprise, it actually turned on. I looked at my friend and asked him if he actually did any of the troubleshooting I told him to do. He looked at me sheepishly and said he actually didn't bothered.
So my friend now has a shiny new PSU that he can't return due to store policy. Told him with a "smile" to be more careful next time so he won't waste other people's time and his money.
Hi TFTS, long time reader, first time poster. I've worked for a small MSP with about 80 clients for a year, and have many stories I can share here.
I work 50/50 onsite at clients offices, or remote from home. I have an office, but rarely go in, as neither does anyone else from my team.
Last Friday, 4:15 in the afternoon and I'm sitting at my desk at home, thinking I might get lucky and not have anything come up in the next 45 minutes and get off early. As I'm easing into a game, I get an email with an attached voicemail from my boss.
"Hey Kazhmyr, can you go out to Client's office and see why their internet is out? It's not a Comcast outage, maybe they unplugged something again."
The voicemail "Hi guys at MSP, this is Client, out internet has been down for an hour and we have a project that needs to go out ASAP, we'll be here till 8 at least, but we need internet back up, can someone come take a look?"
My dreams of getting off early shattered, I jump on our remote management system to double check, and sure enough, their server and all workstations are offline. Clients office is on the far side of the next town over, and it's close to 5, which means the freeway is going to be a parking lot, so I take a moment to make a sandwich and fill my water bottle. I take one last look at their remote system and they're online! I called client to see what happened.
Me: "Hey I see you guys are back up, what happened? Did the intern unplug the switch again?" (This happened a couple weeks ago)
Client: "No, it's was, uh, quite a bit simpler than that."
Client: "Do too a clerical error, we apparently haven't paid out internet bill in 4 months... We just got that settled and they turned back on our service."
I fired off an email to my boss explaining what happened, swapped my water for a beer, and sat back at my desk to enjoy my sandwich and an evening of games.
Once upon a couple of decades (or more) ago, I used to do tech support (over the phone) for a company that make software for dentists. This software would do scheduling, medical records, billing, etc. It would even interface with a blood pressure cuff through a card that plugged into a standard (ISA, at the time) slot on the motherboard.
I would talk to all kinds of people from the dentists offices, but for whatever reason (I have a few related theories) calls with the dentists themselves tended to stick in my head more.
There was Dr. Dork (not his real name, but what we techs really called him among ourselves). He wasn't (to my knowledge) ever rude to a tech, but he would, now and then, set the phone down to shout horrible things at the hygienists and office staff. And, when someone else from the office called us, we would nearly always hear him yelling at people in the background.
Another was the dentist that was the official dentist for his local professional hockey team. His specialty was implants.
And there was the dentist that called because they needed help turning the computer on and off. When i answered, they explained that they were in after hours to do a little work, and needed help turning the computer on and off. I explained how to look for the power button. When the computer booted up, they found the icon for the software, thanked me, and the call was over. They called back to get help to shut it down when they were done. Two easy and pleasant calls.
The most embarrassing was when I was on with a dentist, and we were waiting, maybe while an update was installing or something. I was humming quietly to myself, without thinking of what song it was. The dentist suddenly asked me if I knew what song I was humming. When I thought about it, I did. It was a catchy little tune by Ray Stevens called, "Get Your Tongue Out of My Mouth 'Cause I'm Kissing You Goodbye." Luckily, the dentist felt amused rather than harassed.
Backwoods Tech back again. I just want to say, that no matter what industry that I've done IT in - education, state government, federal government, or finance - that some people seem to treat their jobs as more important than their very lives. I'm sure you know the types. They are the ones that would live in the office if it wasn't for the fact that it was banned. They have an unhealthy dedication to their job, even in the face of extreme danger to health or life.
On this afternoon a couple of years ago, I get a call on the emergency tech line. It is only activated during times of extreme emergency such as natural disasters - and is open and dedicated to us helping the financial advisors and their staff try to prevent damage ahead of time, or to help recover from damage after. In this case, the line was activated a few days before a major hurricane was ready to go up the east coast.
I had been dedicated for those days in helping offices in the potential affected path/cone with verifying their business continuity plans, how to properly store equipment to help reduce the chances of it being damaged, etc. Normally, the financial advisors are pretty good about being prepared ahead of time.
Let us move a few days down the line. I get a call from an office early in the day. They are within eyesight of the shore. The user I am talking to is cursing their coworkers for being cowards, and saying if it wasn't for the forced evacuation orders by that state's governor, they would have already fired everyone for dereliction of duty.
This is not my first rodeo with people in the finance industry who have no sense of propriety or safety of others, much less themselves. Just prior that year, I had dealt with an office that was mad they couldn't conduct business after a wildfire had burned down all the cell towers in their area.
Anyway, back to this madlad who had finally calmed down enough to get to the point of the call.
User - I thought the NWS (national weather service) was pranking us about the hurricane. I then wake up this morning to forced evacuations because it is supposed to hit at high tide and have us under 15-20 feet of water here at the office. I came in to try and save my equipment.
Me - Why are you still there? The hurricane is about 4-5 hours off shore, you can still get to safe ground.
User - I had to come in and grab my computers, and I'm calling to review my recovery plan.
Me - Call back after the hurricane is past and you get phone/internet service back. Get yourself safe.
User - Can you stop the hurricane?
Me - I wish I could. It'd save a lot of damage in your area.
User - I'm serious. Can't you contact the government and tell them to steer it away from the coast with HAARP?
Me - Just get yourself safe before it is too late to get out.
As a followup - I later talked to this user. They were very much chagrined and hyper-apologetic for their idiocy. They did lose their business's physical location in the storm surge. Thankfully, in the past, they were apparently much more forward thinking and had a wonderful insurance policy set up for just such an occasion, and got a much better building/office out of it.
This story dates back to when I first started working tech support in the late nineties. These were the days of big beige boxes and cd drives that whirred in or out when you pressed the eject button.
At the time there was a joke about an old lady calling tech support to say that the cup holder on her computer had broken. I’m sure you’ve all heard it but to ruin it for those who haven’t she thought the cd drive tray was a cup holder.
Every IT worker thought it was funny the first time they heard it, manly because we all know users that stupid. The joke soon made it past the walls of the IT office and suddenly you were being told the joke by every non-tech person who knew what you did. It gradually got less funny, although it was still worth a chuckle when you knew the person asking you had done things just as, or even more ridiculous.
There was however, always someone who took it too far.
The office I worked it had polystyrene cups for hot drinks, you remember the kind. The ones that have probably banned for being an environmental nightmare. They weren’t great for drinking out of, and they broke if you happened to squeeze too hard.
One “funny” guy (probably a broker or a middle level accountant loves the story and realised that the cups fit snuggly in the cut out portion of the cd drive so thought it would be hilarious to actually use it as a cup holder. When inserted about 1/3 of the cup protruded below the level of the drive tray, with the rest above.
When I first spotted it I laughed politely and then asked him nicely not to. He, not so politely refused. From that day, every time he saw me coming he would make sure his cup was sitting neatly in his fun new cup holder, and would point it out to me and everyone around him, eliciting gradually decreasing amounts of laughter.
I asked him not to on several occasions pointing out the danger of liquids around computers but every time he refused to stop. I raised it with my boss but the idiot was higher up the tree than both of us and our warnings went nowhere. After I couple of days I gave up.
Probably a week later I was out on the floor and passing his desk so he stuck the cup in the drive, and prepared to make a joke about it.
He reached out to point at the cup and misjudged how far away it was, accidentally catching the eject button with his finger.
The drive whirred, retraction the tray slowly but forcefully, and neatly cut straight through the cup.
Coffee went everywhere. Across his desk, into the CD drive and through the grills on his PC.
The PC emitted a quiet cracking noise, and buzzed. With a pop his screen went out and smoke started to waft lightly from his desktop.
I think he ended up having to pay to replace the machine as it had been damaged due to stupidity and he had been warned.