The holy trinity of electricity – the positive, the negative and the ground, amen.

(I’m still flabberghasted I took this call.  It starts out pretty normally, but ends in a complete loss for word)

Caller: “I have two monitors on my computer, and there no image on my left monitor, where everything normally is shown”

Me: “Okay, is there any power lights on the left monitor at all?”

Caller: “No, just the one on the right monitor”

Me: “Okay, we need to ensure all the power cables are plugged in securely to the wall outlets”

Caller (after shuffling around a bit): “Yeah, they all appear to be plugged in.”

Me: “Okay, that’s odd.  Can you swap the power cables for each monitor, so they are plugged into each other’s power outlet?”

Caller (shuffles some more, much longer than it should require): I can’t get one out.  Is there a trick to getting it out?”

Me (alarmed something just went wrong): “No….it’s a power cord.  You just pull.  No power outlet has a lock-in system….”

Caller: “You mean the cord on the back of the monitor, right?”

Me (realizing what’s going on): “Nonononono!  I said the POWER cord at the OUTLET.  You know…in the wall.”

Caller: “Well….what do they look like?”

Me: (dumbfounded)

Caller: “I’m not a computer person”

Me: “Uhhhh…It’s a power cord.  It has three prongs, and looks like a power cable that you would plug in for your TV, your radio, your blender at home…’s a POWER CABLE!”

In the end, I had to send a technician out to check power cords.

A doctor by any other name…

NOTE: The names have been changed to protect the uber-guilty


Co-worker: “Hi, thanks for calling the Helpdesk.  May I start with your first and last name, please?”

Caller: “Hi, my name is Doctor Anna Schneider.”

Co-Worker: “Okay, Doctor Schneider.  When you call in, you need to press Option 1 for…”

Caller: “I’m not a doctor”.

Co-Worker: *speechless for a moment* “…but, you identified yourself as ‘Doctor Anna Schneider’..”

Caller: “That’s right”

Co-Worker: “Okay, then you need to press option 1.  I’ll transfer you over there…”

Caller: “But I’m not a doctor”

-Wait, what just happened there?  – Rob

Picture Source: [aeu04117 (CC)]

All PCs are the same, right?

NOTE: This is a co-worker’s call.  Much of it is paraphrased, as the conversation is re-constructed.

Caller: “I cannot log into Windows!  I know I’m typing in the correct username and password!  It keeps saying ‘The information you provided does not match an existing account. The domain may be unavailable, try again in a few minutes’, and I’ve been trying to get in all morning!  I even tried on two different computers!”

Co-Worker (noticing that the user is not locked out): “That’s odd.  You’re not locking out, which you should do eventually, regardless of which PC you’re on.  What does the ‘Log on to…’ box say on the login screen?”

Caller: “There is no ‘Log On To’ box….”

Co-Worker: “There should be…”

Caller: “There is no such box…on this computer OR my sister’s computer”

Co-Worker: “Wait…what?  Your sister’s computer?”

Caller: “Yeah.  I’m at home, trying to use my computer and my sister’s computer, and neither will let me log on”.

Co-Worker: “So these aren’t our company’s computers?”

Caller: “No”

Co-Worker: “Yeah…..that’s not gonna work.  Those aren’t ours, so we don’t control the accounts for those.  You need to use your sister’s password if you’re getting on her PC”.

Wow.  Just Wow.

Never underestimate the unintelligent or the uninformed. I’m usually both. -Scott

Because It’s A Numbers Game

I’m guiding a user through registering her profile on a password system, so she can reset her own password in the future without calling the helpdesk.  The first thing to fill out is a 4-digit PIN.

 Caller: “So, what goes in here?”

Me: “You need to enter a four-digit PIN, which is how we’ll verify your identity in the future”

Caller: “Oh, okay.  So does it need upper and lower case letters?”

Me: “No, it’s not your password.  It’s a PIN: Personal Identification NUMBER”

Caller: “So, what do I need to put in there?”

Me: “A four-digit number.  It can’t be the same number in a row, like 4-4-4-4-, or it can’t be four ascending or descending numbers, like 1-2-3-4 or 9-8-7-6″.

Caller: “Ohhhhhhhh!  So it can be any number, as long as it’s a numeral”

Me: *speechless*

-As long at it’s a numeral, yes. -Scott