"She was so vile... She was an arse"
Good to see nice, succinct character descriptions used so appropriately!
Welcome yet again to On-Call, The Register’s weekly reader-contributed story of the brutal business that is tech support. This week, meet “Ant” who used to work for a prominent UK PC retailer. Folks who work in such situations dread the days after major holidays because they mean a flood of product returns. One Boxing Day ( …
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She probably forced the door shut when it didn't slide in.
I've seen people manage to force CD/DVD drives shut with two discs in the tray, and then wonder why they can still see what's on the first disc.
Everything fits, given sufficient force - but It probably won't work again afterwards.
That's nothing. Our DVD player happily played the lower disk in the stack -- so my kids were quire surprised when the mechanism got stuck on disk #3 or #4. I had to seriously disassemble the device before I could unstack those disks.
I've had no shortage (really 3 or 4) of CD-ROM drives that would occasionally jam, require a manual eject, and not leave the disk in the tray... in a couple of instances, I assumed it had just gotten stuck, load a second CD, then was surprised when it jammed and shredded the disk... I then disassembled the drive, and found the second disk, also shredded...
I once had a the joy of hearing a CD spin up and I kid you not, explode inside the drive! A load bang and when I pulled the drive from the case it sounded like Royal Mail delivering a parcel containing an expensive china vase. Needless to say the CD and drive were toast as there were bit of CD disc and thin silver coating material scattered to the four corners of the drive's internals.
"Not convinced! ...even if you placed a CD still in it's square paper or plastic wrapper into the drawer, would it even close?"
With full height CD drives, yes it certainly would. I've seen it done too.
And, and this is the paradoxical bit, by a woman who used to work for PC World. I am not making this up.
Mind you, this woman was a walking disaster area. She also demanded support because her new emails weren't visible (try not sorting in reverse date order) and lost a customer spending several £k a year by suspending their account and blocking a big shipment because they were querying £30 on a bill.
Needless to say perhaps, she was promoted to sales director shortly before I left the company to become a contractor.
You can offend me all you like (or you can try) because as you can probably tell I've been around these parts a while now and have fairly tough (dinosaur-like) skin, apparently :P
I'm also happy to hear that your bridge is danker than mine, and that was certainly the last thing I expected to be typing today when I awoke this fine crispy morn.!
"There was a time, back when dinosaurs roamed the land, when CDROM drives required the CD to be placed in a tray or caddy, before being inserted into the drive:"
We arrived at a customer site to install some systems only to find that the customer had already unpacked them.
All the caddies which came with the systems had "walked", leaving us without the means to run hardware diagnostics or install any software.
"Not convinced! Obviously the CD could not have been in a jewel case, but even if you placed a CD still in it's square paper or plastic wrapper into the drawer, would it even close?"
Two possibilities come to mind, the first being it was so long ago it was a caddy based CD drive (I still have a SCSI based IBM one somewhere) and second, though unlikely since a manual eject was mentioned, is a trayless CD drive.
[b]Not convinced! Obviously the CD could not have been in a jewel case, but even if you placed a CD still in it's square paper or plastic wrapper into the drawer, would it even close?[/b]
Absolutely! I have had this very same thing happening with a customer in our shop. Cardboard sleeve or jewel case, that would be a tough one, but those thin paper sleeves, on anything but a slimline notebook drive, where you have to press the CD/DVD onto the drive ring, no problem. And even then, there are clients who manage to put a CD/DVD in a drive "shiny side up", which also results in them complaining "that drive doesn't work"...
Just thank God that CD/DVD drives are on the way out. If you have ever had to wade through the list of user-created problems associated with an ejecting tray ..
1) FOUR replacements of a computer: the idiot operator BIOS level was too low to understand that it is a tray for a disc, not an ejectable cup holder.
2) "Can you try ejecting the disc?" "No, it is already out - I use the tray for holding my handbag"
3) "I pushed the little button just under the CD tray and the computer switched off. Its your fault now,"
etc., etc., ad nauseam.
1) FOUR replacements of a computer: the idiot operator BIOS level was too low to understand that it is a tray for a disc, not an ejectable cup holder.
Cup holder?! Rubbish! It works fine as a cup holder. It's only when you use it as a step ladder than the bloody cheap plastic drawers let go!
You left out, "that cup holder too cheap. It broke when I out my mug in it." No joke. I took the call myself. My first bewildered response was "cup holder?" Since we were an ISP and only sold internet connection, the hardware calls were particularly aggravating. But our boss was sure that we would get more business by helping the folks that had gone to some local assemble it while you wait shop.
Firing customers who are a more of a pain in the ass than they are worth is one of the truly great joys of being self employed.
About three times per year, or thereabouts, I quite literally use the phrase "you're fired" to a client of mine, or of the wife. Frankly, I quite enjoy it. The look on their face when they realize I am dead serious is priceless.
 She's a softy, so I draw this detail by default.
That's chilling. Seriously bone chilling.
That's the ultimate corporate take on an integration of Human Resources and Customer Service. "The customer is the most valued item in the shop, and all negatives are turned into positives through the use of inspirational language".
yes but you have to admire the STUNNING BRILLIANCE of the staff in their treatment of said "always right" customer, with pure respect, apparently also with smiles and no obvious condescension.
Truly, it's a LOT funnier this way!
An IRL example of the same *kind* of performance exhibited by the support guru in that old 'Internet Help Desk' video. "Well, that's entirely my fault" over the phone, while simultaneously displaying his middle finger...
Friend of mine used to work at a Blockbusters frequented by Karen Brady (of "The Apprentice" fame, as well as famously being on the board for Birmingham City and now West Ham FC). She pulled that once as she jumped a queue, to which he replied "Yes I know who you are, but I'm a Villa fan so you can wait your turn."
She did not like that.
Not strictly IT related, but some years ago, I boarded an early morning flight from Edinburgh to Heathrow, one of those 10am meeting, 12 noon flight home occasions. Soon after door closure a smell of burning plastic filled the cabin... It turned out ground crew had used a starter generator not designed for the aircraft type, and had reversed it too close, and the hot exhaust pointed straight and too close to the skin of the aircraft - something plastic behind the skin was melting. Not unreasonably, the pilot said he wanted an engineer to check that all was well before departing.
We stayed on the ground for about 2 hours, very frustratingly, of course, but we were all in the same boat, as it were, and the situation was a clear one. Eventually they said if anyone wanted to leave the plane, they could, and as I had missed the meeting I went to wait at the door. Somebody came up from the back of the plane, and absolutely ripped into the poor stewardess, saying he had "very important" clients with him, and this was unacceptable, and he wanted the captain to come and apologise personally to him and his guests etc, a real over-the-top rant, far more to do with his ego than the problem with the aircraft. The stewardess did her best, and as he calmed down, for once in my life I said the right thing. I turned to her and loudly asked "DO you have to deal with arseholes every day?" Self-important glared but slunk off, and the stewardess looked at him, turned to me and said "Thanks."
In my local NatWest one day, usual queue, customer in front in long loud nasty rant at the cashier, finishing with "I don't come here to be insulted!"
When he had finished I said, loudly enough for everyone to hear and as sweetly as I could "Have you tried Barclays?"
The sight of three very pleasant and helpful ladies behind the counter trying not to p*ss themselves keeping a "professional" straight face ...
I was at Heathrow flying to Chicago on business.
It was a bit of a jaunt and work could have got the job done over there for about the same money by a local so it was agreed that I could go if I kept to premium economy on the way out.
The computers were down but the queue of people extended to only about 15.
The young couple in front of me were being really rude and ranting to the check-in clerk and when it was my turn I was called forward.
I stayed put for a moment, said give your self a moment. The check in clerk grabbed a gulp from a bottle of water, took a second or twos pause and recomposed herself, then beckoned me forward with a "thanks!"
When I handed her my details she said "ah Mr J, we can offer you a free upgrade to business class, enjoy"
"Do you know who I am ?"
I've had that one a couple times over the years. My response is always the same, whether I know who they are or not. I look 'em up & down with a quizzical expression, and say with complete sincerity "No. I'm sorry, I haven't the foggiest." ... it instantly deflates even the most inflated ego.
A wee bit off-topic, but it's one of my favourite "do you know who I am" stories.
After he left government, Nigel Lawson was hired as a consultant by a City firm that my wife used to work for. He was hardly ever there, so his swanky office was very handy for meetings.
One morning, he'd forgotten his badge, so the security guard at the front door politely directed him to Reception, to be issued with a temporary badge.
At which point Lawson did the full "do you know who I am?" routine, in a performance that Laurence Olivier would have envied. After which the security guard again directed him to Reception.
A few days later, the security guard is called up to see one of the bosses.
"Heard you had a bit of trouble with Mr Lawson the other day?"
"Yes, that's right."
"You did know who he was?"
"Oh yes, of course."
"Yet you didn't let him in, and directed him to Reception for a temporary badge."
"Well done! That's exactly what you should do. You have our full backing and support. Thank you!".
Going even further off-topic, I heard from a friendly PC once about the new Chief Constable turning up at a local police station, and trying to walk into the back areas without presenting ID, taking the "Don't you know who I am?" line to the desk Sergeant (followed of course by explanation of who he was) but refusing to provide ID. Eventually, the poor Sergeant let him through, at which point the Chief Constable turned round and roasted the guy for letting him through without ID - the whole thing was a test of how well the staff were prepared to stand up to such behaviour/social engineering.
"Going even further off-topic, I heard from a friendly PC once about the new Chief Constable turning up at a local police station, and trying to walk into the back areas without presenting ID, taking the "Don't you know who I am?" line to the desk Sergeant...."
A vaguely similar thing once happened to my ex. wife. At the time she worked on the gate of a prison. The rules say that everyone entering is to show their ID, every time, regardless of who they are or how many times they've been in before.
On this particular day, the local MP was visiting and he took great exception to being asked to show his ID.
"Don't you know who I am?"
'Yes sir, I do, but no one is exempt from the rules.'
The MP in question is fairly well known for being a bit of a dick I think.
A story from circa 2001, which happened at an airport in North America, when heavy storms caused multiple flight cancellations.
The lady on the check in desk was confronted by a "Do you know who I am ?" character.
Cool as a cucumber she picked up a microphone and said "Ladies and gentlemen, we have a customer who doesn't know who he is. Can anyone help identify him?"
This was greeted by applause from the throng of more polite customers waiting in the check in queue.
“Do you know who I am...”
I don’t think this is apocryphal so I’ll offer it up:
Joel Douglas, the less famous son of the actor Kirk, was performing at the Comedy Store and getting increasingly frustrated by the audience reaction. He started shouting: "You can't do this to me, I'm Kirk Douglas's son!" At which point some wag stood up and said: "No, I'm Kirk Douglas's son." Then someone else stood up, and so on.
Sigh when I was just a tiny hell spawn working at frys some used that line on us at the return counter. This was 90 past the return date. Turn a out this little shit was related to some high up at AMD. AMD then promptly terminated us as a supply partner that their employees would buy from. My manger got reamed for that.
As someone who worked in Aldery Edge, Wilmslow and Knutsford for over a decade, I cant tell you how many A list and Z list celebs I've had to deal with. Kerry Katona and Stuart Hall to name but two off the Z list.
When they didn't like what I told them and they gave it the old "don't you know who I am" routine, my typical, brutal Yorkshire response was "No, not a clue love / mate. Don't give a monkeys anyway. Now do you want the rats gone or not"?
You could see the wind deflate from their egos.
Had that experience at the airport. One guy tried to cut the line at the security check lane, it was 1) the priority lane already and 2) not very busy. He was sent back by security, then complained that he was traveling on behalf of (bigger airline). Still: no, wait your turn. The guy in front of me (former moderately highly ranked politician, who had patiently waited) told the security guards that "he won't be getting much older, if you stress that much and have such an over-inflated ego you'll get a cardiac or something really early". Smiles all around.
When it was my turn, the guard asked whether I had recognized him. When I said no he told me who it was and that "he is flying really regularly, really nice guy, always friendly and smiling". Made my day - And that of the people at the security control...
The company I work for used to share a reception desk with the head office of a well known UK consumer electronics company. One day, instead of calling the technical department or contacting his retailer, a customer decided to bring his defective item into reception and harass the reception staff until they fetched someone to deal with his problem.
When they firmly told him that wasn't possible, he said that they should treat his problem more seriously because, and I quote, "I drive an Audi."
If Microsoft REALLY hated their customers, they'd replace Clippy with T-Bot from MS Teams.
T-Bot is far more annoying, and at least Clippy takes the hint if you tell him to go away...
Rule #1: START polite and reasonable.
When you then don't get a reasonable response, you escalate accordingly.
Each new person that it gets escalated to, you give the benefit of doubt, explain again, start over.
But, to be honest, sometimes there is no alternative but to get arsey with people when they can't fulfill a reasonable request.
Cases in point:
- IKEA: "No, we can't refund your faulty product and the remaining unopened products of the same type, just one day after you bought them from this store because we don't stock that model any more". Let me assure you, you will. I had to assemble an entire unit inside the complaints department, shoving customers out of the way to do so, to get the right attention for this one.
- Apple: "Sorry, we won't allow you to make more than 5 Apple ID's a day, despite you having 500 iPads on-site and us having this conversation for four years in a row and always allowing it before, no we won't put that in any form of writing (e.g. email), oh, by the way I'm the 'Head of written complaints'"
- Three: "We're going to charge you for a phone that never arrived, that you phoned up to block because it never arrived, that the contract for it was in the same parcel so you could never have signed, and then when you cancel the DD via the bank because we refused to do so, we'll threaten you with a lawsuit and then phone you 30 times in one day to chase you for the money" - Strangely, I've been threatened with no end of lawsuits and even offered to initiate a few on their behalfs, and never once appeared in court or lost the argument...
This is, in fact, several rules. But the most important is "each person it gets escalated to..." YES, 1000x yes. If it gets escalated, chances are the person it's going TO, is in more of a position to help, so starting off by going all ranty is going to hurt you. Plus, it's not fair to them.
I shall try to remember this rule in my future dealings.
A corollary (for those of us in the west). It may be tempting to get frustrated when you're dealing with someone in your own country, but to do something, have to escalate you to someone in India. They're well aware of the stereotype. And when you're polite to them and chatty... which is in truth, their due, you will get a LONG way toward fixing your issue.
Back in the mid '80s I worked for a shop selling word-processors, and we ended up with a batch of faulty green-screen monitors. Unfortunately most of these monitors would only go wrong several days after the sale, in spite of being soak-tested on arrival.
So many of these wretched things went wrong that we adopted the following procedure for returns:
Customer: (Angry) "I bought this from you and it's broken."
Salesperson: "I'm sorry to hear that."
Normally the customer would simply be given a brand new monitor and an apology for the inconvenience. Some would however break into an abusive rant at this point ...
Customer: "Idiots ... useless ... expense ... lost work ... what are you going to do about it?"
At this point the salesperson would, without comment, open the door leading to the cellar, remove the monitor from the counter and hurl it into the void, closing the door after it. They would then produce a new, boxed monitor and place it on the counter.
Salesperson: (Smiling slightly too much) "Anything else I can help you with ?"
Customer: "Er ... no ... thank you."
There was actually a pile of foam packing at the foot of the steps, but we ensured the monitor dislodged a strategically placed pile of junk on the way down.
Let us not forget that he was providing a service to those others in the queue who had been bypassed by this rude individual.
I can imagine a number of them got quite stressed when this foul mouthed monstrosity was served before they were (after all, what kind of message does that send to people?).
Showing this woman up in public would have alleviated the stress of those affected and they could then go about their day with a warm glow in their hearts in the safe and secure knowledge that somewhere on this planet, occasionally justice is served in a very immediate and entertaining fashion.
I hope they spoke loudly and clearly enough to make sure nobody in the queue missed any of the details.
And finally: "If there's anything else with which madam requires assistance perhaps she'd take her place in the queue just like all the other equally important customers and keep a civil tongue in her head."
I like a good swear as much as the next fucker, but in public you should try and tone it down, especially in front of kids.
At my last job the customer service staff were told that it was quite acceptable to hang up on a customer if they kept swearing after being warned not to. They'd usually ring back, and if they kept swearing they'd be put onto one of the manages who would also tell them to stop swearing and then hang up as well.
The customer is occasionally right, but more often a pain in the arse.
A few years ago we had a persistent problem with abusive users.I instructed my hell desk team that users had one chance if they were sweary, they could apologise and the call could be completed. If they didn't comply the call was terminated and or their name and number were recorded and passed on to me. At that point I would give them a call, point out that their behavior was unacceptable, give then a lecture on our organisational values and inform than that they had committed a serious breach of their conditions of service then offer them a choice, An apology to my team member or a call from me to their line manager. They then usually started a grovelling apology and I'd pass them back to the do the same to the technician they had abused. we never had a repeat offender and I never actually had to contact another manager but word got around pretty quickly and sweary incidents just disappeared.
I would have had no compunction about starting a disciplinary case and almost all organisations do have similar rules on behavior and respect. It really is up to team managers to ensure that behavious like this isn't tolerated.
Many moons ago I worked on a helpdesk (I'm sure that isn't too unusual on the Reg :) ).
Anyway, I got a reputation for handling arsey customers pretty well so I'd often get them 'escalated' to me. However, this was this one douche-bag who just wouldn't let up - it would have been more believable if he'd used the script for one of those 'rant' lines that used to do the rounds.
Anyway, I ended up having to escalate to this Ozzy guy, who had literally been there, done it all and subsequently sold the t-shirt company on so he could retire and do what the f*** he liked. Not a single customer in 5 years managed to stay angry when he was on the phone, except this one.
It was almost as if he were using us as some form of therapy and didn't actually want his problem solved. In the end the company 'fired' him as a customer and I'm pretty sure it was the only time it had ever happened.
Some people are just knobs and they like it that way.
I received a call from one of our Business Unit's senior directors at head office, about a local problem we had (can't remember exactly what it was - 20 years or so ago, but as I recall it involved an Exchange problem that I had troubleshot and determined what the problem was when they took too long to do anything about it (we used to do our own troubleshooting and maintenance out in the provinces, but those privileges were rescinded and moved to HO, due to one of my colleagues in another province deleting most of the company user mail accounts (he thought he was working on his local server, but was actually on the main server, and all he wanted to do was clean up his user accounts. We had warned them initially that it was daft to give everyone admin rights on all servers and that it should be compartmentalised with access restricted to local servers only, but they knew better). I somehow still had the admin password, so was able to pinpoint the problem and then sent an e-mail to the clever hotshots (using my HoTMaiL account, when Hotmail was still fresh and cool), detailing what the problem was and also giving the fix. I was not being a smart-arse about it - I just wanted the problem to be fixed asap, as my users were getting grumpier as the hours went by).
Anyhow - as I picked up the receiver the flecks of spittle were coming out the earpiece as he lay into me. When I got a gap I politely asked him to stop shouting and swearing at me, or I would hang up on him; which I did when he started screaming at me again. About ten seconds later the phone rang again - same story.
After I had hung up I went to my boss and gave him the whole story. He was quite supportive (not that I expected anything less - he was super) and said that he would sort it out. About an hour later I got a call from the same director, this time meek as a lamb and most apologetic.
Oh, the problem had disappeared about ten minutes after I hung up on him the second time.
Not me - the main protagonist above ----->
I had the amusing but very annoying at the time case with some arse company that I had never contacted trying to sell me something that I never wanted and only rang me because they had the wrong number. I was polite at first but when they repeatedly failed to take my number off of their systems I just started back at them.
One of the callers was rather upset at my language where I used rather crude anatonomical terms to describe what I thought of her mental and personal skills when I had been called three times that week already and already told the useless f***ers that they had the wrong number each time - including a call from her the previous night. She put the phone down and then she rang back a minuter later I told her to fuck right off and put the phone down myself and then she rang back a minute later and told me that she would report me to the police for abusive calls! I vaguely remember responding something along the lines of "please do, I can say what I want, you called me" although I probably dressed up this response a bit :)
Usually what would happen was that the calls would stop for a week and then they would start up again. When I was in a particularly vindictive mood I listened to what these arse-hats were trying to sell me and agreed that their sales guy could come round the following evening. They had the wrong name and address of course but I wasn't going to let that stop me booking an appointment. I put the phone on silent that evening and for some "strange" reason their sales guy was desperate to get hold of me all evening. The following day the sales guy called to have a go at me for wasting his time through him having to travel 45mins to the location in the evening, hanging around for 60mins or so and finally returning after another 45mins and my not being there. After I described in crude detail what I thought of about the (lack of) brain power of his staff and how they had repeatedly failed to remove my number from their systems he agreed that he would have been rather annoyed as well and promised to personally make sure that the number was removed from their systems. I never received another call from them again, so going postal does work sometimes!
A friend of mine who works at Tesco's gets the same sort of problem with their kettles. Customers bring them back complaining there's no power lead, often very loudly. He simply takes the kettle, opens the lid, shows them the lead inside the kettle, hands the kettle back and walks off.
"Customers bring them back complaining there's no power lead, often very loudly. He simply takes the kettle, opens the lid, shows them the lead inside the kettle, hands the kettle back and walks off."
What does he do when they complained they only found the lead after they'd filled the kettle with water?
"Folks who work in such situations dread the days after major holidays because they mean a flood of product returns."
Someone I know used to work in the Jewelry dept of a large John Lewis store and, due to the generous JL returns policy, it was quite standard to find someone buying an expensive neckace etc on a Friday only to come back on Monday asking for a refund because "when I got home I found it didn'r really work with the other items I would wear with it " ... when everyone knew the real reason was "I wore it a a fancy dinner party over the weekend and I've no need for it any more so can I have my money back please".
everyone knew the real reason was "I wore it a a fancy dinner party over the weekend and I've no need for it any more so can I have my money back please".
This is also common in the mail order clothing world, where returns for "doesn’t quite fit" or "doesn't suit me" are part of normal business.
The stray pieces of confetti are a bit of a giveaway that they actually used the clothes for a wedding.
I was with a friend at his work one evening in a petrol station when David Beckham stopped in to fill his car, he came into the shop and realised he hadn't brought his wallet out. He asked if he could pop home and come back with the wallet, my mate said yes - but the car stays on the forecourt. DB said come on, you know who I am, I'm not going to do a runner.
My friend pointed past me to a folder on a shelf - "those are the rules I work to, it states quite clearly car must remain on forecourt - nowhere does it say "Unless that person is David Beckham""
My choice of Manchester City shirt that night was perfect.
Around that time I was working in a hotel to make some extra cash, one morning I was putting the buffet out for breakfast with a hungry group of customers waiting, a guy walked out in front of me and said "get me 2 poached eggs", I politely said "certainly sir, as soon as I've finished putting the buffet out I will sort that for you" he shouted in my face "NO! Now!!"
I turned to the rest of the queue and said to the guests "apologies ladies and gentleman, this gentleman obviously feel he is far more important than you are, please excuse me". As I turned and walked away I saw the 10 or so people there turn on this guy calling him every name under the sun. I fully expected the sack, but when my manager dragged me in he said that all of the people in the queue had been to see him saying I deserved a medal for not planting him. I got a pat on the back and was told to carry on the good work.
I managed to graduate with an IT degree straight into a recession.
The only IT related job I could find at first was Christmas cover at the well known IT retailer's Lakeside Essex branch.
That was "educational". Being told to give great customer service then being told off for giving great customer service...
The sad thing is that on the techie side there were some quite knowledgeable people. And in those days they did a really good book section. Shame about the sales side and the products they were flogging.
After 3 months I'd had quite enough and had found another temp job effectively software testing.
The way they had of telling me my contract was over was to simply not put me on the next week's rota. B*stards. Still, saved me the bother of resigning.
Back when I had to man the front desk, students knew that jumping the queue was a Very Bad Idea.
One guy didn't, and he barged past ten other students queueing up patiently in front of him. Strike One.
He then started talking down at me like I was stupid. Strike Two.
That didn't get him what he wanted, so he started screaming insults at me. Strike Three, you're out !
"Right then, let's see why your account is suspended..."
<clicky clicky clicky> DING DING DING WE HAVE A WINNER !
He was still screaming abuse at this point, so I decided it was time to shut this loon up. I raised my voice from "Normal" to "Everyone In The Building Will Hear Me"...
"YOU ARE MASSIVELY OVER QUOTA AND YOUR ACCOUNT IS FULL OF JPG FILES WITH PORN-RELATED NAMES LIKE DOG-SCREWS-MILF-001.JPG. QUITE A CATALOGUE OF IT YOU'VE GOT THERE, SON !"
Did I mention that all of the other students in the queue were female ? If looks could kill, he wouldn't just be dead, he would have been a rapidly expanding cloud of greasy particles.
Chummy suddenly lost his composure, and I suspected that bladder/bowel control were about to go too, so I let him beat a hasty retreat - hey, I didn't want him soiling the carpets !
"Next please !"
"Back when I had to man the front desk, students knew that jumping the queue was a Very Bad Idea."
A surprisingly large number of university students are arrogant twats. Not a majority, but many more than you would expect from a supposedly self-selecting group of "intelligent" people. They can be especially arrogant and inconsiderate when I'm moving boxes and toolkits to the next job and walk 3-4 abreast and don't move out of my way like any normal and polite person would. After all, I've already moved over as far as I can for them, so I expect them to meet me half way. Those type seem to assume that I must be "lower down the pecking order" or something because of my job. I have, on occasion, said words to the effect of "hey, wait till you get your degree before you decide if your too clever to be polite. I got mine already!". I'd love to see the results on any research correlating student arrogance with degree results. Being there doesn't mean you are clever. Finishing successfully might.
"This incident took place back when speakers slotted into the side of the monitor."
Instant flashback moment for me! Those speakers were sometimes a royal pain in the behind!
I remember an old Packard Bell (Anyone remember them?) CRT monitor and speakers as the worst.
You see the hooks were on the speaker, those hooks slotted into a hole on the monitor to hang the speakers on it.
Okay so far so good right? Well those hooks on the speakers folded back into the speaker on the tiniest bit of pressure. The hole they went into was impossible to see as it was in the crease created between the front panel and the back of CRT and as thin as a razor blade
When attaching the speakers it would always cause the damn things to fold back in! Took twn minutes just to hook the damn things to the monitor!
I'm glad we don't have those anymore!
Oh cripes. When I had the TR6 I dreaded the trip to the local British Leyland parts department. If the part I needed I would leap in the air, click my heels and get a lift to Cox and Buckles for an over-the-counter replacement part (made in America using the original tooling). If it was a “stock part” I would have a three week wait for the wrong fucking part to be delivered even though I and the spares manager had pored over the microfilm together and identified the part by sight and part number at the time of ordering from “head office” (stock parts were never in stock). Bad quality, bad inventory control and bad attitude all down the pipeline. This in Coventry, the Detroit of England, car central.
I feel your pain Stevie. My father had a Scania-engined Plaxton coach. He ordered an exhaust pipe from the local Scania dealer, which arrived before lunchtime the next day, having been flown overnight from Sweden (at Scania's expense) as Scania UK didn't have one available when they should have a couple of spares in the country. At the same time, he ordered a replacement lamp glass from Plaxton's in Scarborough... despite being in stock, it eventually arrived from their Glasgow parts department around six weeks later...
He also had trouble getting a part for the wipers from Plaxton, as they insisted the part he wanted had never been used on that type of vehicle. That involved taking the part off, driving two and a half hours to Glasgow, handing them the part and saying "one of those, please" before they'd believe him and supply the part. Is it any wonder we don't have heavy industries anymore?
Shortly after we moved to Scarborough in 1987 there was a mass sacking of Plaxton's staff from the local coach-builders followed by several appearances at the local courtroom. Apparently they were walking out of the gates not just with a few nuts & bolts but entire bodywork sections!
Not quite the same but I once worked with a particularly inept "developer" who for the sake of the story we will call Greg.
Greg was straight out of uni and dropped into a development role in a company that I had been working for for a few years, he needed constant hand holding, as was to be expected but also needed some fairly basic ideas to be explained to him, he was hired as a web developer but didn't seem to have a clear idea of how a web page was delivered even after it was explained.
Anyway, this was round 2008 when the credit crunch happened and the VAT rates dropped to 15% from 17.5% - Our companies main role was knocking out eCommerce sites for our clients... You can see whats coming Im sure. HARD CODED VAT RATES, every single client site needed to be changed, it was a trivial change, but it was going to be time consuming.
The higher ups decided that what we would do is have the VAT rate stored in the database, change all of the sites to use the new setting and then at the end of the month when the new rate came into effect it would be an easy switch.
So with a bit of time before the change it was decided that normal operations would continue during 9-5 and then devs could do overtime in the evenings and weekends to implement the new changes.
To help facilitate this we were all given VPN access so we could remote in from our home PC onto our desktop dev machines in the office and work from home.
All of us managed this bar Greg.
On the first day after an evening of over time Greg complained that he was unable to connect.
So we tested everything, connected to the VPN from an external connection and RDC'd to his machine - all OK.
We decided it must have been a glitch, let him try again.
Day 2 - same thing, he can get on the VPN but not his desktop. So we go through all of the settings on his machine and try again and it all works.
Day 2 NIGHT. - I connect to the VPN and try Gregs PC - no response.
Deciding that this means that there is something weird happening at the office end of the connection we give up and decided to investigate the next day,
Day 3 - Cant find anything wrong.
Day 3 16:59:00 - Chatting to Greg about the issue at his desk as we pack up I watch him bend over and hit the power button on the front of his PC. Turns out he has been doing that every day and has been expecting the VPN to magically switch the PC on for him.
He works o a building site now.
"Anyway, this was round 2008 when the credit crunch happened and the VAT rates dropped to 15% from 17.5% - Our companies main role was knocking out eCommerce sites for our clients... You can see whats coming Im sure. HARD CODED VAT RATES, every single client site needed to be changed, it was a trivial change, but it was going to be time consuming."
I remember in the early '80s, coding some rate in payroll software as a configurable option. Many decades later and the government still hasn't changed that rate.
" Many decades later and the government still hasn't changed that rate."
A developer was explaining why their OO implementation of a POS terminal had been very successful. Basically a case of having hit all the problems in previous implementations - so their OO model was built from solid knowledge of likely variations.
Their benchmark test was the payment system on a ferry doing a regular "Triangle" route across the North Sea. This involved not only several currencies but apparently had to handle different multiple VAT rates too.
When working in the fruit store, we'd often hear "I've come all the way from <town that is less than 20 miles away>" to which the wrong answer was "that's just one junction on the motorway".
One time we had stock of mains adapters incorrectly packed with Euro plugs/leads instead of UK ones. One customer demanded that we send replacement leads in a taxi to his house, which was a 10 minute walk from the store.
"One time we had stock of mains adapters incorrectly packed with Euro plugs/leads instead of UK ones. One customer demanded that we send replacement leads in a taxi to his house, which was a 10 minute walk from the store."
Well, it wasn't the customer's fault you'd supplied something inappropriate. If, by the time he was supplied, you were aware of the error you really should have either supplied the correct lead gratis (correct option) or advised them that they'd need an extra lead.
I confess that I am sometimes that angry customer. Like right now when I have spent a fortune on a well known brand of mobile phone which arrived beautifully sealed with all its ancillary bits sealed in its box all carefully packed within the courier's parcel..... just several days late. When opened the box had a Plug for the charger. Not a UK plug, but a useless Continental one.
I contacted the well-known seller concerned by phone and was promised an urgent delivery of the correct UK plug.
Last night I had a phone call informing me that their Agent wanted me to phone the Manufacturer to sort out my problem. NOT the Agent, but the Manufacturer MY PROBLEM. Have they ever heard of the Consumer Rights Act?
Angry??? Incandescent more like. Are there any UK businesses still capable of doing that business without being led by the hand or dragged by the hair?
Not that it excuses the error, but didn't you have a travel adaptor of the right kind lurking somewhere? I've got three of those, I think, of which only one can be found at any given time (although the uk/us or nz/us ones are always evidence if a uk/eu is needed instead)
Not that it excuses the error, but didn't you have a travel adaptor of the right kind lurking somewhere?
Think about it. You buy travel adaptors so that you can use your native plugs in foreign outlets. Why would somebody who lives in the UK have an adaptor that connects a continental plug to a UK outlet?
Why would anyone have a "US/EU/A N Other" Plug to UK Socket Adapter ?
Not uncommon !!!
I have had such in the past when I travelled globally with kit that was sourced in the UK.
You can get a Global 'Anything to Anything' Adapter pack that allows you to make the thing you need from standardised interconnecting sub-assemblies.
Also was useful when people from our European or US offices needed to connect their kit and forgot their Adapters. (Always happens when you have no time to replace them.)
Also being a Global company sometimes you had kit that was shipped from another country for various projects.
All the Techies that worked with Customers Globally had the Adapter Kit issued as Standard.
"You can get a Global 'Anything to Anything' Adapter pack that allows you to make the thing you need from standardised interconnecting sub-assemblies."
Back when square-pin fused plugs were just coming in it was quite common to find round-pin sockets. Not only that but there were several sizes of them with different diameters of pin depending on the current they were supposed to support.
I acquired a wonderful plug to deal with this situation. It had various pins, round and square - the gem was the round earth pin which was coaxial, you could slide the correct diameter pin out and push the rest back. A little plastic lever could be adjusted to uncover the various other slots to let the appropriate combination of pins slot out. It was a wonderful idea except for one little detail. The cable grip screws were a bit too long and all too easily bridged the live, upstream of the fuse, with the earth. Bang!
Because you're in the UK with the continent just a loud fart away:
It's just something everyone should have chucked in the back of a drawer because it's a problem pretty much everybody is going to be faced with at some time or another.
Don't be a dick, but some retailers do need to be told how it fucking is. I hate that I have to resort to becoming a "worst nightmare" to get a satisfactory outcome but needs sometimes dictate it.
I will not start on staff or anyone who just happens to be in the line of fire but if they make themselves part of the problem they are inviting the consequences.
Yeah I came across that, washing machine broke after about a month, seller tried to get me to do all the work. Took a couple of weeks but I ended up getting a fixed washing machine and about 90% of the machines cost back in compensation. CEO email address sites come in very handy.
@Triggerfish, they do indeed. Jeff Bezos knows my emails well... ;-)
Those emails should however be used only as a last resort really, not for the 'I chipped my fingernail on your product, now I demand...' kind. Not unless you're Paris Hilton or one of the Kardashians...
"Those emails should however be used only as a last resort really"
Totally agree. If you can go to the CEO with a litany of cock-ups from all of your contact with their company it carries much more weight and is much more likely to produce policy changes at the sharp end :)
I love it when people bring their own petard and rope.
Just to be really pedantic, you don't require a rope if you are using a petard - the "hoist" in that case being done by the power of explosives.
A petard is a very old type of shaped charge or pipe-bomb used particularly to breach doors or walls, comprising a box or tube filled with gunpowder.
When I did tech support for ATT I had a manger chat me fror 5 minutes in prep me for this customer . For some reason we could not give him the email address he wanted. He response was to scream and shot like a spoiled 6 year old that was just told he can not have cake for dinner. I had no idea that a grown man could devolve like that so quickly.
Then there was this lady called Bea. Now Bea could not connected to the internet. Scratching my head as to why not . I see her modem on line. Then in moment of genius I asked her to turn of wi fi. It works Turn out she was connecting to neighbour unsecured wi fi. She asked me about it and I told her that her modem does not have wi fi. She became indigent and demand that I help her connect to her negator’s wi fi. I was trying be polite and tell her that she does not own that network and she would have to ask the neighbour. She hung up mad.
>Some of these f'wits HAVE CHILDREN...
Doesn't exactly take a genius to make a child.
All it takes is two persons of opposite physical sex, each with an orientation that makes them compatible, in the right circumstances at the right time of month. No sense, common or any other involved.
To raise a child... is another matter entirely.
Probably worked in sales and marketing. 4 to 6 is their mentality.
It's not a universal truth but is pretty close..
(Eons ago I worked for a RT-OS company now swallowed by Chipzilla. We had a 'Sales Executive' that wanted a Jag as a company car, even though it was blocked for people of his grade and experience. He whinged for months about it and eventually HR came up with a compromise - he got the car allowance according to his grade and put the rest of the monthly cost of his penis-substitute from his wages. Which was fine when the IT market was buoyant. Them came the post-Millenium IT crash and his commission reduced by about 70% and he couldn't afford the monthly payment on his Jag. Surprisingly enough, no-one in Finance or HR looked very favourably on his attempt to get the company to pay off his 3-year lease on the car after only one year.. He left soon afterwards - and then discovered that he was still liable for the extra cost on his car lease. Just goes to show that trying to be an overbearing bully doesn't work out long-term).
 Yes - he often used the words "Don't you know who I am" and "I pay your wages" to me and the other support staff. That ended when our manager had a quiet word with the Sales Director.
As you can see from my handle quite a few years at the helldesk. We have durable industrial equipment. The problem with being an abusive customer is that we remember. I'll pretty much ignore your abuse during the encounter. But the next time when you need a favor, "Sorry we can't do that." Be friendly and courteous and I'm wiling to bend a few rules as needed.
Over the past year, we in the US have been studying up on Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
It sounds like you've got a textbook example right there. The consequences of her own actions are clearly somebody else's fault. Wait until your neighbors elect her to public office, and then claim her admittedly tepid opponent was "just as bad."
Many years ago, I had an exchange that could be summarized like:
me: your account has been suspended due to continuously escalating disk usage from files being uploaded to your FTP site...
them: i'm not uploading anything, nor have i ever.
me: hmm, the logfiles seem to suggest that you have e-mailed us from the same IP address that was uploading the files...
But it's much more fun to walk in and ask actual technical questions just to see the look of bewilderment on their faces. Especially when you've seen them sell an expensive machine to an elderly customer who only wanted something to browse the web with and send the occasional email.
I found myself running the tech area of a well-known-PC retailer early in my career - it was an experience. My best customer was an older gentleman placing a Logik MP3 Player (with earwax-encrusted earphones) on the counter alongside his receipt, looking for refund. Looking at the receipt, he had bought said music device over a year prior, and must have used it every day since. I asked him whether they were faulty and he responded no, he just did not want them any more. After arguing with him for a good few minutes, I eventually got my point across. He promptly screwed on his tweed cap, told me to keep the MP3 player, and said he would never shop here again. A shame, because people like that made the hell of the Helpdesk passable.
I once bought a chainsaw from a national sells everything store. The automatic chain oiler broke, so they told me to bring it in for a free warranty repair. Three months roll by, and I call to say the job that was the reason I bought the saw is drawing near and where was it please.
They apologized profusely and told me to return to the store where a new saw would be given to me to replace my broken one. I do this, but am brusquely sent packing by the department manager. I go to the management office and go through the story so far, then back down to a chastened department manager who gives me a replacement saw.
Six months go by and I get a call to say I can pick up my chainsaw. I explain that it is no longer my saw because I have a replacement. The same scenario is enacted each Saturday for the next three weeks. The next call consists of “We have a truck in your area. We are dropping your saw off”.
I say “OK” and hang up, then we go out for a lengthy breakfast (I don’t see why we should hang about to take unwanted delivery of a saw over which I do not have legal ownership. When we return, the saw is sitting on the front steps.
I fire it up later. It leaks oil everywhere<.
So that worked. Later, the oiler on the new saw broke down. So I have the choice of oil everywhere or nowhere. I loan the Oil Everywhere saw to my brother in law who manages to get it stuck in a tree despite my supplying the drool-proofed “how to use this saw and not get it stuck in trees” manual (he never confesses but the signs are obvious). After this the saw only cuts in broad left-hand curves. I replace the chain bar and the chain but the odd behavior persists. Also, oil everywhere.
I buy a Poulan saw from Home Despot for my next big timber removal job. S’triffic.
Once, just over 40 years ago, I bought a Stihl 031av for firewood, limbing, brush cutting and other light duty use. Replaced the bar a couple times, the carb once, the ignition is now transistorized, and I've rebuilt the powerhead a couple times. She starts second pull on a cold morning after a month off. It wasn't the cheapest saw on the market, but I'm still using it in my firewood shed. Not a bad TCO, that.
Stihl saws are very nice. Smoke jumpers use them.
I bought the Poulan to cut up the sawn-off trunk of a 50-odd year old maple tree left outside my house after a 'misunderstanding" with a feller. Truth be told, I wanted the saw and was looking for an excuse.
After five minutes of cutting I was knee deep in tiny shavings. The chain made little plane shavings rather than sawdust/chips it was that sharp. Lost the edge abruptly after about an hour and I was never able to get it back with hand grinding. Had the chain skip the bar so destructively it buggered up a couple of teeth a few months after that, so had to replace the chain and bar (never got to the bottom of why; it was oiled properly and the bar was in what looked like perfect adjustment when cold. With the new chain I was seeing shavings again. Pure cutting joy.
Only bad thing about the Poulan (as an occasional use saw) is that it has no carb primer. You have to just keep pulling the string and chanting the Magic Start Words until it fires.
Fortunately I've never had the dubious joys of working on an IT helldesk. However I have spent more than a few years of my adult life behind a bar. And if you think these f*wits are troublesome sober, imagine what they're like drunk. There are many reasons for a customer to annoy a barman, and even more ways for a barman to retaliate; here are two of my more memorable.
At the nightclub I worked at back when smoking was allowed, all the slops were poured into a bucket before the glasses went into the rack to go through the washer. Bottles and glasses often had cigarette butts in them from folks who couldn't be arsed to find an ashtray or wanted to be absolutely sure it was extinguished. So the contents of the bucket were usually pretty rank and pouring it down the drain was a pretty revolting task. At the end of the night the remaining ice got thrown in the same sink. After we've rung last orders, some drunk neanderthal staggers up to the bar and demands ice for his drink. Nope, not got any, all gone, drink it up pal. Repeated f-ing and blinding ensues, with shouting. Eventually I lean over, smile sweetly and offer to take his glass and get some ice for him. I didn't say that it wasn't going to be from the pile of ice in the drain, that's just had all manner of slops and ash poured over it...
The second event was in the same venue but earlier in the night. I'm working a bar single-handed, serving two and three customers at a time with a couple of dozen waiting. The abbreviated version of the exchange goes: "oi b*tch, you've short changed me", nope, you gave me a ten and I've given you the change for that, "you f*cking thieving c*nt, I gave you a twenty" nope it was a ten, "f*cking b*tch, give me my f*cking mo..." at which point I've lost my temper, picked up the pint I've just served him and thrown it straight in his face " now f*ck off out of my bar!". Followed by a round of applause from the rest of the customers and a hefty tip from a few of them. (The second follow-up was that he went downstairs and complained to the door staff, who looked at his dripping face and asked what he'd done to deserve it. And then evicted him from the premises).
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