Monday, September 19, 2011

“Beware Computer programmers carrying a hammer!”

For those of you that have been here before, you may have caught some of the stories I’ve written about our humorous, and rather incapable IT department here at work. In their defense, they’ve proven invaluable for providing material here in this blog, but for computer support… not so much.

Last Monday I came into my office, sat down, turned on my computer as I always did, and guess what, nothing happened. It powered up, acting like it was going to start, but when that magic windows jingle came on, the computer froze.

Being a fairly computer literate person myself, I did what any educated person would do. I slammed my mouse on the desk several times, muttered obscenities at the screen and gave the CPU a gentle “nudge” with the toe of my boot. Believe it or not, none of these things seemed to help, so begrudgingly, I called the IT help line.

As soon as the technician picked up the phone, I knew I was in trouble. He answered with a flat monotone “Yes!” and then let the uncomfortable silence take over the staticy connection. I tried to be cheerful, asking him how he was and even made a joke about the early morning call but still… silence. I thought perhaps we’d been disconnected so paused and offered a questioning “hello?” and was met with the same grumbling “Yes!” I’d received when he answered the phone.

Giving up the pleasantries, I told him about my problem and he went into what I now refer to as the new and improved IT mantra. In the past, they would have put me on hold, beating me down with the wet tortuous tones of Barry Manilow, but over the last few weeks they have changed things up, and not for the better.

“Have you tried restarting your computer” the apathetic voice said.

I told him I had and he said “try it again… I’ll wait.”

This is the new and improved solution for every problem computer related. When you call them, they tell you to restart your computer. And if that doesn’t work? Well they tell you to try it again, and again and again. It’s like trying to pull start that old lawnmower sitting in the shed. You can yank on that cord till your bent over, head between your knees, ready to puke, but broke’s broke, and no amount of pulling is going to change it.

Needless to say I restarted my computer, enjoying the entertaining silence of my disgruntled IT worker. It rebooted, and surprise surprise; the same thing happened. I explained what was going on, and true to form, he told me to try it again.

Unwilling to play this game any longer, I told him I’d already restarted it two or three hundred times before calling him. This did nothing to improve his sense of humor. I asked if he could send somebody over to fix the computer and he told me they were pretty backed up due to a wide spread computer problem in the network.

I thought to myself, as you probably are too, if he knows there‘s a problem, why did he have me jump through his hoops? If I’d been smart, I would have just shut up and accepted his appointment for maintenance, but instead I just had to ask.

“So do you think this might have something to do with the problem I’m having?” I said.

“Probably,” he said. “We found a software glitch in some of the computers, so I disabled them until we could repair it.”

Yes. Not only did he know about the problem, but apparently he was the one that caused it. But wait… it gets better.

That’s too bad,” I said. “How many did you have to disable?”

“Few hundred.”

He let the number hang in the air as if it was perfectly reasonable to take down a few hundred computers without warning on a Monday morning. No explanation, no solution; just BAMM… sorry your system’s down. The funny thing was, he seemed annoyed and even baffled at the number of calls he was receiving as a result.

A few more seconds, and he told me someone could be over sometime between that morning and the following Friday five days later (and you thought the cable guy was bad). Then without a good bye, he hung up the phone.

I should have been fuming, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about the blog I was going to get to write. I as I sat jotting down notes, I wondered If he was going to run every single person through the “restart your computer” mantra before doing something useful. If so, it was going to be a long day at the old IT office.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back next week to hear about the actual IT visit. It was nothing like I had ever experienced before, and when you’re talking about these guys, that’s saying something!

See ya and have a great day.


  1. Wow, am I ever glad the IT department where I used to work would actually send out market wide emails warning us when there was something up with the system. Of course, if it keeps the DJs from mumbling on-air...

  2. Wow.... there are no words for this. Hope they get there to fix things fast... have you spoken to anyone in charge about the fact all these computers were disabled without any warning?

  3. What's really sad is the IT guy probably hung up thinking you were the jerk. It never dawned on him that he might be the jerk.

  4. @Jamie. Yes I did. In fact it was a supervisor that came over to work on our computer a few days later. I will post what happened there on Monday and you will see that talking to a supervisor is a lot like talking to a stray rabit. You get au lot of blank stares and they look like they might bolt at any second.

  5. @ Leo. Yeah. I got the distinct feeling he was put off by the fact that I was calling the help line for help of all things LOL.

  6. First drop by here for me and I gotta say, that IT guy, probably hung up the phone and laughed at his co-worker. "I made him restart three times before he called me on it. How many you get? Five bucks if you can get the next guy to restart ten times before slamming the phone down."

  7. That's hilarious. I hadn't thought of that. I'll bet your right. It would sure explain a lot. LOL.

  8. I work in IT. I had to laugh at this...a lot. We're not all that bad, I swear! Come on over to my blog and you can read a post or two from my perspective. ;) (

    Sometimes we answer the phone, "Yes, we know we broke it. We're working on it right now." LOL

    @Lori - we, um, never ever place side bets...It's all totally planned out a flowchart.

  9. Really funny, Chuck. I just dropped by for the first time. Think I'll add your blog to my Google reader. I could use the laughs. It's a good thing the universe is still expanding, 'cause at the rate I'm going, I'll never be able to read all the blogs I add.

  10. @KK Thanks for stopping by. I bet you have some great stories about callers. I would love to hear them, I'll have to check out your blog for sure. I believe you when you say your not all that bad. In fact I'd bet most aren't. I just assume our IT department searches the world over until they find people the fit into their teams particular niche of inadequacy. Stop back by next week. Believe it or not, I still have more to tell.

  11. @Marlene. Thanks for stopping by. These darn blogs can definitely get overwhelming. I have just had to reserve myself to reading a few of my favorites. Hopefully I'll make your cut. See ya and happy reading.

  12. oh my, I cannot count the number of mice I have broken by slamming them on my desk. lol And my hubby is my IT person. Don't get me started.

  13. Hi Chuck...Being a guy who works in the field of IT and worked with my own hands a few years back I can totally relate but yep as KK said there are two sides of that story.. But if I were you.. I would have just gave that IT guy a bit of how I feel about it like "Hasn't it occurred to you that downing "a few hundred" might need you to actually move a muscle and write an email to these "Few hundred" let them know they won't be having any computers ?? " .. Well at least you could have called it a day :D

  14. All I can add is think of the wonderful blog material these IT guys are giving you. The rebooting is something the internet and TV dish techs make you do too--the last time my internet went out, I lied to them and told them I did when I didn't. They should be ashamed of themselves for turning us into a world of liars.