Evil Genius helpdesk humour
"We care a lot"

I speak a language called 'english'. It's a pretty good choice for an IT worker, allowing a breadth and depth of expression that the language of say, insects, doesn't. There's also an extensive lexicon of technical terms developed over the course of a century to make communicating your situation to me easier.

Many of our customers, although they were born and educated in this country, don't speak this language. They'd like you to think they do, but there evidence is right there for all to behold...

The truth is, I have no idea WHAT they're trying to say.


















Print me out a copy of the internet
-----------------------------------

Customer: "Can you tell me if a mail is local or if it international?"

Operator: "I might be able to. What's the address it came from?"

Customer: "What you mean?"

Operator: "The email address it came from might have a country code in it. If you pull it up on your screen, we can check."

Customer: "I pull up on screen?"

Operator: "Yup. You'll just need to open your email program and display that message."

Customer: "I got it already here in a envelope."

I'm cheating a little bit here. It was genuinely an email message the customer had -- printed out and stuffed in with some work papers. But it was a real jaw-dropper to hear the customer say what's been quoted above...












'A' is for...
-------------

Operator: "Could I have your email address, please?"

Customer: [quotes address]

Operator: "I'll just confirm the spelling with you... that was 'M' as in Michael, 'R' as in Roger, 'S' as in Simon --"

Customer: "No! Don't be so stupid. It's 'M' for 'Maria', 'R' for 'Rosalind', 'S' for 'Steven'..."





Mistaken identity
-----------------

Customer: "I don't want to use Internet Explorer. I prefer Microsoft programs."




Another victory for the marketing machine...








Can't dance to it
-----------------

Customer: "Hi, I just got a new computer from my parents and I want to join [RIP]."

Operator: "Certainly. Do you have a [RIP] CD?"

Customer: "No, but I got the new Creed one for Christmas."















Some of the customers we speak with are just plain mysterious.





Mistaken identity
-----------------

Operator: "Welcome to [RIP] technical support, you're speaking with [operator], can I have your Login ID or Email address please?

Customer: "Yes."

Operator: "[uncomfortable pause] "Er...what is it?"

Customer: "What?"

Operator: "Your Login ID or email address?"

Customer: "Oh. Right."

Operator: [uncomfortable pause] "And that is?"

Customer: "What?"

Operator: "Are you a [RIP] customer?"

Customer: "[RIP]? Oops!" (CLICK)







Not talking my language
-----------------------

Operator: "After opening that, it'll take a couple of seconds and then you should see a group of icons in the window."

Customer: "Yes, I see them."

Operator: "So how big is the file?"

Customer: "About a quarter of an inch on either side."









If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck
----------------------------------------------

Customer: "Alright, finally. I'm finished with that now. How do I close this program?"

Operator: "By clicking on the 'close' button."

Customer: "Don't talk to me as though I'm an idiot!"






Don't talk to me as though you're an idiot!

















Mistaken identity
-----------------

Operator: "Enter your user name there."

Customer: "...Done."

Operator: "Click 'Ok'."

Customer: "...Done."

...time passes...

Operator 2: "Sounds like it's rejecting the user name. What do you have entered in there?"

Customer: "'click ok'. That's what the last technician told me to put in there."









These are the people using our service. People who think it's reasonable to ask millions of Londoners to do them a little favour.



London calling
--------------

Customer: "I'm having some trouble sending email to my friends in London."

Operator: [after some preliminaries] "What address are you sending to?"

Customer: "London."

Operator: "No, I mean what's your friend's address?"

Customer: "I don't know, so I've just been sending it to London. I figure if everyone there gets it, someone'll pass it on to them."




















Honk if you can't read this
---------------------------

Customer: "I'm trying to send some email to my wife. She's staying with her sister, and they have the internet there."

Operator: (Gosh, the whole thing?) [checks a few settings] "What address are you sending to?"

Customer: "24 Church street on the waterfront."

Operator: "No, I mean what email address?"

Customer: "24 Church street on the waterfront."

Operator: "Mr [customer], that's not the right format for an email address. It would have to be 'something'--at--[RIP]."

Customer: "Well, that's always worked before."









Well, yes
---------

Customer: "I can't do it, you'll have to show me how."

Operator: "This is all covered in the instructions."

Customer: "The instructions don't tell me anything! It's just a bunch of words on the screen!"






While this is technically correct, it doesn't make it any less stupid.




Not the sharpest knife in the drawer
------------------------------------

Customer: "It keeps saying the password is wrong, but it's not. Is my computer pissed off at me?"





I didn't mean it officer
------------------------

Customer: "I'm getting a message that the program has performed an illegal operation. Does that mean one of the kids has installed some pirated software on my computer?"









They call me to hear themselves talk. It's the only explanation I can think of.



Failure to communicate
----------------------

Customer: "It says 'smpp'."

Operator: "It needs to say 'smtp'."

Customer: "It does. 'smpp'. I just said."

Operator: "No, it's a little different: 'S' for Sam, 'M' for Mary, 'T' for Thomas, 'P' for Peter."

Customer: "Yes! I know! ess - em -- pee - pee!"

Operator: sigh...





Not the sharpest knife in the drawer
------------------------------------

Customer: "Well, every time I go online Navigator works, but Netscape Navigator doesn't."









Sign right here
---------------

Operator: [spends ten minutes explaining the ins and outs of web-hosting, domain names and secure-transaction setup for the business webpage the customer's thinking of creating]

Customer: [after a few moments of deep thought] "So... does that mean I'd need a computer?"















Not the sharpest knife in the drawer
------------------------------------

Customer: "I just went out and bought a modem cable. I can plug it into the phone line, but I can't seem to plug it into the computer."

Operator: "Okay. If you look at the back of the computer, you should see a socket labelled 'line in'."

Customer: "No... I can't seem to see it..."

Operator: "Do you have an external modem?"

Customer: "Yes, I just told you, I went out and bought one."









Not the sharpest knife in the drawer
------------------------------------

Customer: "Okay, I'll go and try that right now. If I have any trouble, can I call back later and get you again?"

Operator: "Yep, I'll be here up until 10 PM."

Customer: "Is that 10 PM at night?"







No, the other 10 PM.

















I think you've missed the point
-------------------------------

Customer: "I just can't seem to get a connection."

Operator: "What process do you go through to connect?"

Customer: "I open Netscape."

Operator: "Uh-huh."

Customer: "Then the 'connect to' screen comes up. That has all my account details in it, you know."

Operator: "Uh-huh."

Customer: "Then after I've checked the details, I click cancel."








Customers with a sense of humour are always welcome to call.
Open mouth, insert foot
-----------------------

Not all of the mistakes are made by customers, though. One of our very own technicians was caught when he joined in a chorus of "Suck On My Chocolate Salty Balls" (one of his favourite South Park songs) during a quiet moment while the customer was re-installing network protocols from disk -- and discovered his headset had a faulty mute button...

Fortunately, the customer was another South Park fan!








Solves my problem, anyway
-------------------------

Operator: "This is going to be difficult if you're relaying back and forth to the phone. Can you plug a receiver into the socket the modem is using at the computer?"

Customer: "Okay."

click, dialtone...





Slip of the tongue
------------------

Customer: "I called earlier and they fixed it, but it's still not working."


back to main