Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Beware Computer Programmers That Carry Screwdrivers"

The place I work, like many others, is fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have an IT support office.

The good: If we have a computer problem we have someone to call.

The bad: They're idiots.

I have so many frustrating/hilarious calls associated with this office I thought I would share one with you.

These calls always start the same way. First I call them and explain whatever problem I have. Something like,

"My computers smoking and won't stop shouting obscenities at me, what should I do?"

It doesn't really matter what the problem or situation is, the response is always the same. It's always,

"Ummmmm, hold on a second."

This answer is of course followed by five to seven minutes of Barry Manilow while I'm on hold waiting for an answer.

Every time this happens I find myself wondering what they're doing. Is there some sort of evil mastermind they all have to report to? Is he a super techie, sitting on a throne surrounded by all his phone answering minions? Do they have to address him as sir or your highness or your superiorness? Who knows.

Anyway, enough of the background, here is how the latest phone call went.

Them: "Hello, tech support can I help you"

Me: "Yes, we have an external speaker hooked to our address system that has fallen off the wall. I picked it up and brought it into my office, but we will need someone to come over and repair or replace it."

Them: "Ummmmm, hold on a second"

OK so you are saying to yourself, "that's not fair, why are you calling computer support for a P.A. speaker" right? Well your half right. It is a public address system, but it is controlled through our computer network. I figure if I knew this, the guys that installed it should probably know this too.

OK back on the line.

Them: "The person that usually works on the P.A. systems won't be back till the 15th can you call back then?"

Me: "Do you have anyone else that can work on them?"

Them: "Yes."

Insert uncomfortable pause here.

Me: "Well do you think you could send them over instead"

Them: "Ummmmm, hold on a second"

Barry Manilow

Them: "Is the speaker still working?"

Me: "The one sitting on my floor? I don't think so, can you send it a test or a ten count or something, maybe I'll hear it."

Them: "Ummmmmm, hold on a second."

Barry Manilow

Them: "O.K. What building are you in."

Me: "This is the fire department"

Them: "What building is that in?"

Me: "The fire department"

Them: "What room was the speaker mounted in?"

Me: "It was an external speaker mounted outside."

Them: "O.K. What room is that?"

Me: "Outside"

Them: "Well I can't put the ticket in if I don't have a room number"

Me: "Maybe you could try outside"

Them: "O.K. we will try to get someone over."

After I got over my frustration, it occurred to me that this was the guy we trust our equipment to. The equipment we rely on day in and day out. Not a very comforting thought. Lord knows I am not a computer genius but if this guy is any kind of gauge, I think I could have a pretty good career in the I.T. department. Maybe I need to switch professions.

Have you experienced this kind of genius anywhere in your life? I would love to hear about it. By the way as for the speaker? It is still sitting on the floor of my office and I haven't heard a test come through it yet!


  1. It's becoming pretty routine everywhere now, even where I work. (Ouch!) I just want your IT phone number. It's hard to find enough Manilow out there!

  2. This is hysterical. My husband is an IT guy but he also has to call IT tech support for some stuff. The only problem is he's not laughing as hard as I was when I read it. I think he's upset the whole Barry Manilow secret is out.

  3. Thanks and I'm sure your husband is the smart guy answering all the questions!

  4. Thanks for the follow on Twitter, Chuck. I stopped by to follow your blog as well.

    Nice ta meet ya!

  5. Hey, Chuck! Nice to meet you. :)

    I write fiction too and I'm married to a firefighter in FLA. He doesn't write, but he reads mine. ;)

  6. Hello and welcome to my new followers. I hope I can manage to entertain. See you in twitter land!

  7. This is too funny, Chuck. But at least you weren't dealing with a tech support guy located halfway around the world whose English was impossible to understand.

  8. It's the waiting on hold that gets me. Something about it (Barry Manilow?) renders me unable to do anything but sit with the phone to my ear.

  9. Ha! This made me laugh! You'll have to give us an update on future IT encounters.

  10. Thank you all for the comments and reads. Don't miss part two this week LOL.