Note quite IT related, but close enough…
This takes place on first line technical support for a major satellite television company. This call center was particularly configured to attract young college aged kids, and many of them still acted like it. I had a team member who sat next to me who was quitting the next day and didn’t care what his customers thought of him because it wouldn’t affect his job anymore.
So a call comes in to him and it’s a very basic “My service is out” call that we get all the time. It was a time of year that there were frequent thunderstorms in the south of the country which would knock out service. My teammate tries to get the older lady to unplug her receiver and plug it back in, which should have fixed the problem. After 20 minutes she finally gets it powered back on but it still isn’t working.
The next step in the troubleshooting was to resend the authorizations to the receiver, essentially reprogramming the control card. Here is where my teammate got creative. He told the poor clueless user to get a potato from her kitchen. Once she got a potato he had her place it on the receiver and give it a spin. As she spun the potato on the receiver he resent the authorizations and her picture came back on. The lady thanked him and ended the call.
What is worst about this is I imagine the poor lady having the same problem later and telling whoever was there with her she could fix it by spinning a potato on top of her receiver. Our team later found out that the phone call was actually recorded and is, as far as I know, still talked about in the new hire classes as something not to do.