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Gateway 2000 Stories

Gateway 2000 Stories

Once upon a decade ago, I was an online tech for Gateway 2000 in Sioux City, IA. Being an online support person, we fielded calls from whoever needed help. This was back in the days of Windows 95/98/Me so you can imagine the fun…

Me: Hi, thank you for calling Gateway 2000, my name is, how may I assist you today?

Customer: Well, I got this new computer and it won’t turn on. I plugged it all in just like the pictures said and it still won’t turn on!

*Troubleshoot for 10 minutes*

So ma’am, you’ve got everything plugged in?


And the surge protector is plugged in?


And the switch on the surge protector is in the ‘on’ position?


Could you unplug the surge protector from the wall and plug in a light or radio to make sure it still works?


You mean the surge protector plugs in to the wall and not the surge protector???


Okay, so what does your command prompt say?

It says d:>. What should I type?

C : Enter… (see, colon, enter)




*After about 30 minutes of troubleshooting a new laptop*

Caller: I’m so sorry. I can’t remember what the start button is.

Me: It’s the icon in the lower left of the screen with 4 colorful boxes and the word start next to it.

Caller: There is only one icon and he is Jesus.

Me: Jesus? Jesus…

Caller: Yes.

Me: I’m sorry. The button in the lower left hand corner.

Caller: For what?

Me: We want to click on start.

Caller: I’m sorry sir, but my memory is bad and my dementia gets out of hand in the afternoon.

Me: Is there anybody else there that could help us?

Caller: Just my husband. But he’s got really bad Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Me: I’m sorry. We’ll just keep pushing on if you’re okay with that?

Caller: That’d be fine. What time are you going to be here for dinner?

Me: What?

Caller: We’re having dinner at 4:30.

Me: …. Um…

Supervisor: Hi ma’am, this is name’s supervisor. How may I assist you today?

Caller: Are you coming over for dinner too?

*2 hours later*

Caller: I’m sorry, what is the start button again?

Supervisor: It’s the icon in the..



[Picture Source: apr77 (CC)]


  1. I used to do support out of utah for Gateway after they joined up with eMachines (shudder). I had to lower my expectations of common knowledge of the end user to the point that, if they understood that the “screen thingy” and the “brain thingy” where 2 separate parts. And that the “hard drive box” was where the “magical elves” lived, it was going to be a *good* call. That “wireless” on a laptop did not mean “wireless charging” or “Satellite based internet service”. It was even common for people to think that broadband internet was included free or with the price of the system.

    During one such experience an old woman called. Her principal complaint?
    Client: “They’re stealing my megahertz!”
    Me: “Who is stealing *what* ma’am?”
    Client: “Them internets! They put something on here that’s stealing my megahertz!”
    Le 20 minutes of figuring out WTF…
    Me: “oh, i see. You have some kind of malware thats slowing your system?” – facepalm
    Client: “That’s what i told you all along. They’re stealing my megahertz so i cant use em! How do i get em back?”


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