back to article All good, leave it with you...? Chap is roped into tech support role for clueless customer

Have you got that Friday feeling? Well if not, there's only one way to get it: reading this week's instalment of On Call, where readers share tech support triumphs and frustrations. This time, a story from “Trent” caught your Vulture’s eye. Now, at the time, Trent categorically did not work in tech support – but that didn’t …


    1. Anonymous Custard

      Re: I have a rule these days.

      That's probably an eloquent way of stating the second law of engineering...

    2. ROC

      Re: I have a rule these days.

      That bag must get a lot bigger over time ....

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: I have a rule these days.

        "That bag must get a lot bigger over time ...."

        I turned up at a job one day with a stationwagon packed to the brim with test equipment and didn't need any of it (or any screwdrivers). Unplugging the equipment from one outlet and plugging it into another was all was needed.

        To be fair the job had been causing trouble for 20+ years and noone had ever gotten to the bottom of it - the reason I was able to solve it was because I'd arrived after 5pm on Friday to find our equipment was plugged into non-essential power (despite the label on the outlet, the circuit number next to it traced to a breaker in the non-essential cabinet) and the batteries were running down. Plugging it into a working essential power circuit 3 feet away solved the problem permanently and the sulfated battery was replaced shortly afterwards, This was very much a "kicking it $1. Knowing where to kick it $9000" job.

        It ingrained a habit of not only checking the power for weird faults but where the power is coming from. I've subsequently found things like untightened grubscrews and other stupidity causing supply issues. A rubber mallet isn't a silly thing to carry in your "kit of things" as it can be used to jar loose electrical connections in the building wiring and breaker cabinets... (and is tempting to use on "loose nuts" who won't shut up)

      2. tinman

        Re: I have a rule these days.

        That's what known as an OCAMITE bag, "och I might need this, or I might need that"

  1. Simon Millard

    While I got you here

    This happens all the time, especially when fixing things via phone.

    "Oh thanks for fixing my smartcard. While I got you on the phone, my colleague...." and so starts another 10 minute call, and another!!

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: While I got you here

      * I've come to update Fred's computer

      * Ooo, that was quick, Jim's only just put a request in

      * No, Fred not Jim

      * Fred's not here, can you do Jim's, and then do Fred's when he gets back?

      On that occasion I phoned Dispatch and confirmed it would be booked as two call-outs, and I'd be paid for two call-outs.

  2. matt07743

    home and away

    it also happens to me at home too......

    I get you work with computers right? Me saying yes then the reply back from them ..... " can you look at my mircowave its not working"

    Hey yeh sure what version of windows it running :-/

  3. Tim99 Silver badge

    I had an acronym

    OBTW - Oh, By The Way - Usually heard just as I was heading home. Almost always it meant at least an hour extra on site.

  4. hmv

    Well The Big Problem with Helping With Your Windows, OSX Problem Is ...

    That I usually fix such matters with a Linux CD/USB stick (I've been using the same excuse for a while). "Oh yes, it's perfectly user-friendly - look" (shows laptop screen that is entirely black except for a "$" in the top left-hand side and a blinking white square).

    Works wonders; I rarely get asked to do "extra stuff" that'll only take like 5 minutes.

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: Well The Big Problem with Helping With Your Windows, OSX Problem Is ...

      Why would you use a Linux CD/USB with OSX when you can just use [Command]+[Space] type in terminal and go to Full Screen? Then type in techy stuff like ls -la ...

      I suppose you could also use [Windows]+[R] and type in cmd.exe for Windows, but the punter would still see Windows behind the command screen.

      1. Andy the ex-Brit

        Re: Well The Big Problem with Helping With Your Windows, OSX Problem Is ...

        Just press F11 quickly.

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: Well The Big Problem with Helping With Your Windows, OSX Problem Is ...

          Requires Windows 10.

          Took M$ long enough, should have been that way since Windows Vista (or Windows 2000)...

  5. earl grey

    How flexible are you?


    Bend over and grab your ankles.

  6. steviebuk Silver badge


    I'd have turned round and said sorry no. I'm here to drop the drive off, you need to get your own IT to do the install. If they say they no longer have an IT as they were all let go then I'd leave even quicker.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm

      Makes you wonder how many ParcelForce et al staff are being demanded to do IT work.

      You've delivered my drive/toner/cooker/boiler/carburetta, I demand that you now install it!!!!

      1. Annihilator

        Re: Hmmm

        Judging by they quality of some of the deliveries, I doubt they’re asked more than once..

  7. JJKing

    Not a "Oh by the way" story.

    Was waiting at a school for their IT teacher to arrive and unlock the Server room when I heard someone complaining about the padlock on the front gate was very difficult to open. Me doing nothing while being paid borrows pencil from Admin office grabs razor knife from bag and shaves pencil lead (graphite) into lock. Insert key and restored it to brand new functionality. That was Monday. On Friday it was back to the office day and I get ripped a new one for wasting time fixing their padlock. Didn't matter it would cost $60+ to replace and I got it working while waiting for the key holder to arrive. Had 800+ PCs to look after, 41 Servers, 103 printers, 50 odd 3Com SuperStack II switches that like to arrive DOA or died within 6 months of installation and about 120 laptops spread over 16 locations with 3.5 hours per site per fortnight. Bloody ridiculous so I left a few months later.

  8. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    I call this "Columbo effect" - openly

    As soon as I've done what I was there for, "One more thing"..

    And I go "Ahhh, the Columbo effect", and most of the time they get what I mean and smile. And for the younger one's I'll explain them how that psychological trick of Columbo works, his "oh, there is one more thing I don't understand. Maybe you can help me clearing it up" and hint them to watch a few episodes...

  9. VikiAi

    Time to move to a new town where no-one knows my face!

    I was recently accosted at a local office-supply store by someone who apparently knew me from a former job and needed quick advice on which cabling they needed for their network and phone at home. Happy to help since it actually was quick - they had already guessed the correct network cable and had it in their hand, so I just had to say, "Yeah, that looks right", but without knowing what sort of phone they had (VoIP, POTS) the second cable was as much a guess for me as for them.

  10. DeadpoolsITguy

    I am friends with a lawyer and we have an agreement setup where i do his IT support and he does all my legal work.

    I think we all know who got the better deal here.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author


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