“No joke.”

So one year ago I was working off-site phone-based tech support for a very large pharmaceutical company; mostly email issues, VPN stuff, “…my printer needs ink.”

Anyway, last April Fools Day I got a call from a user saying there was a problem with their laptop. They weren’t very concerned about the laptop because this one was scheduled to be retired April 4th (that’d be the next business day, Monday), but the new laptop needs files from the hard drive in the current one. The user was attempting to back up the files when something went wrong and called me.

“No problem,” I said. “There’s almost no chance anything could have happened to the hard drive itself. Worst case scenario, I’ll have someone from your local desktop team pull the hard drive out and they can deal with backup.”

Right now I’m feeling pretty good.

ME: “So, what isn’t working?”

USER: “It turned off and not it won’t turn on.”

ME: “Okay, what happened right before it turned off?”

USER: “Um, there was just a lot of smoke.”

I’m not feeling so good anymore.

ME: “Smoke?!”

USER: “Yes. Smoke was coming out of the sides” (that’d be where the vents are) “and it smelled like burning plastic. But I unplugged it, and it’s stopped now.”

So I now realize that this is the reason I say “almost no chance”, and my stomach starts to sink. I’m pretty sure the HDD’s toasted, literally, and this guy’s not going to get any of his files back (which could be a big problem later).

But then, I remember that it’s April 1st – this has got to be a joke. One day away from retirement? Laptop up in flames? This guy’s pulling my leg.

Now, I can’t remember exactly what I said at this point, but I attempted to determine whether or not this was a prank. I tried to be subtle, but everything he said seemed on the level (his laptop retirement date checked out, records show he was online and then disappeared just before he called), so I remember ending the questions with:

ME: “Okay, I have to ask; is this some April Fools Day joke?”

USER: “Heh. No, it’s not a joke. Are you sure there’s nothing we can do about my files?” (These client’s loved their files).

ME: “Really?”

USER: “No joke.”

So I sent an urgent ticket off to their local desktop support, and got someone to check on it right away. I checked into the ticket later, sure enough the note from the desktop team: “fire damage to unit, replacement incoming.”

Also, I was shocked to see that we had a knowledge-base doc titled “Laptop on fire.” Apparently this wasn’t the first time this had happened.

via: [Reddit/TalesFromTechSupport]

[Picture Source: Sarabbit (CC)]