Tech support war stories
August 12, 2002 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Tech support war stories compiled by category for your viewing pleasure. Every nuance of hardware and software is represented in this extensive collection. This is why the tier 1 techs wake up screaming at night.
posted by dr_dank (14 comments total)
Guess what job I started today!

The hours of fun that lie in front of me.....
posted by saintsguy at 10:40 AM on August 12, 2002

I really doubt I've the patience to be a tech support guy. Through personal experiences of helping others with their problems(family, classmates, etc), I really doubt I could handle a full day of catering to the ignorant.
posted by Scottk at 10:42 AM on August 12, 2002

pop ups, pop ups, everwhere!

my favorite tech support war story, from the files of a friend:

phone rings. she picks up. voice on the other end asks, "hey, what are those slots on the side of my computer case for?" she replies, "well, they're vents to allow air to enter and cool the machine." "oh," says the voice.

(long silence.)

"so popping a couple of quarters into the side, that would be a bad thing, right?"
posted by grabbingsand at 10:44 AM on August 12, 2002

Lovely. This ought to tie in nicely with the recent thread relating to CS and MIS majors: this is your future! Well, it could be.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:04 AM on August 12, 2002


I worked tech support for an ISP for about 4 months. First and last time I ever just walked out of a job.
posted by Localemperor at 11:18 AM on August 12, 2002

Perhaps it would be easier if, when you register for a new product, the company would just call you up and call you an idiot to your face.

Ha ha. Look at the stupid user.

While it's not the job of the end user to understand (otherwise, why would they need support), it is the job of the support staff, who often don't.

Oh yeah, and before you laugh at this, think about what it would be like if your doctors all got together to complain about the stupid questions you ask them.
posted by Caviar at 11:27 AM on August 12, 2002

Caviar: they include this section to balance things a bit.

And I would bet my glass eye that doctors do exactly what you say.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:36 AM on August 12, 2002

think about what it would be like if your doctors all got together to complain about the stupid questions you ask them.

Oh they do, they do.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:38 AM on August 12, 2002

It all balances. I make fun of doctors all the time. A couple of favorite medical chart notes:

"Physical exam unremarkable except for patient having no testicles." (Orchiectomy following testicular cancer.)

I'll bet the patient thought it was pretty remarkable.


"Wound extremely pussy."

I had to walk around for a while after reading that.
posted by Skot at 11:56 AM on August 12, 2002

Customer: "Sorry to bother you again, but I think my son threw a stone in my PC. It tells me, 'Your PC is Stoned!'"
(The common "stoned" virus displays this message on infected computers.)

either that or your kid has been hiding his stash next to the powersupply... or maybe his sister...
posted by sixtwenty3dc at 1:18 PM on August 12, 2002

Too bad most of the content was stolen from other sites and ancient Usenet posts, without attribution.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:07 PM on August 12, 2002

Okay, I take it back. Many of them are very familiar, but perhaps not stolen. People just make the same mistakes, I guess.
posted by Mo Nickels at 4:25 PM on August 12, 2002

These sound just like the Tech Support stories. Only medical.
posted by jopreacher at 4:55 PM on August 12, 2002

People just make the same mistakes, I guess.

Yep. The thing is, if you've actually spent a few months (hopefully no more than that) doing tech support, all the Funny Tech Support stories get pretty...dull. Like, I don't really need to be reminded about the old "cupholder" story every time I mention that I've done tech support. Really.

The real funny -- not really the ha-ha sort, to be clear -- thing about tech support is how the demoralizing nature of the work pretty much guarantees shoddy service, which encourages a (not-consistently-deserved) poor image of tech support folks (and lower bids -- hence crappier salaries -- on outsourced tech support jobs), which brings it all back around to an unpleasant and unrewarding job environment for the tech support technicians. Rinse, repeat.

The fact is that tech support can be -- for a variety of reasons -- a very difficult job, and there is (in my experience) a tendency to hire people who are not very well suited to customer service and telephone rapport simply because those people seem to be technically qualified to "support" a product or service. The individuals -- herein known as "crapheads" -- then render crap, non-productive support to users, who then need to call back and hope to god they get a non-craphead to actually resolve or escalate their problem. The presence of the service-diluting crapheads escalates the whole notion of "crappy tech support," which is all the more insidious of a problem because the crapheads tend to have good production numbers -- their willingness to dump callers off the line with a quick-and-wrong fix keeps their call rate nice and high. Good techs see this, feel the atmosphere of rewarding-the-crapheads, and are (a) depressed by the hypocrisy, (b) pulled into trading good service for good production numbers, or (c) both. The crapheads don't get fired unless a supervisor actually observes, or recieves a direct complaint about, the craphead's woeful operation.
posted by cortex at 9:18 PM on August 12, 2002

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