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This is a question Clients Are Stupid

I once had to train a client on how to use their new website. I said, "point the mouse at that button." They looked at me with a quizzical expression, picked up the mouse and held it to the screen. Can you beat this bit of client stupidity?

(, Sun 28 Dec 2003, 22:47)
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This question is now closed.

Parents are stupid
First post...blah blah blah

Last year my parents finally took the plunge and bought a computer to get on this t'internet that everyone was talking about. Having managed to set the thing up themselves they called on their dilligent son (me) for a crash course in using the internet. To be fair they picked things up quicker than I thought they would and were off surfing in no time.

I went back a week later for Sunday dinner and asked if everything was ok with the computer. "Fine", my dad replied. My mum just gave me a sheepish look. Later that afternoon I logged on to their computer to check my emails and was flabbergasted to see that their internet history was full of gay pr0n sites.

"Er, why are all these sites in your history?" I asked - visions of my dad, a gimp and a family tragedy filling my head.

"That's your fault!", piped up my mum indignantly. You said if I typed "Hot male" into the search engine it would take me to the email login".

"That would be m-a-i-l, mum".


Thing is there were loads of sites. She'd obviously tried dozens of links.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 12:15, Reply)
Mobile Phones confuse some people...
I had a customer call to say they wanted to disconnect their mobile as it was too expensive,
ME "ok, do you think your talkplan is too high?"
HIM "No"
ME "so what are you finding expensive?"
HIM "The batteries, I am switching my phone off after every call I make, but the batteries run out within a month & it was too expensive to keep buying new ones!"
(He added that he had so far bought 3 batteries at a cost of about £50 a piece.)
ME (biting lip) "are you aware that the batteries are rechargeable?... that's why we supply a charger."
HIM "Shit"
The line went dead
(, Wed 31 Dec 2003, 18:04, Reply)
Being in IT support and all...
We've got a bit of software that lets us take remote control of someone's PC. In order to do this, the user must accept a message to let us connect. Thus the following happens:

ME: Can you click yes to that message? It will allow me to take full control of your PC.

User(Dumb Twunt): Oh, Ok

ME: Thanks,

User: Oh my god, the mouse is moving on its own. Oh my God, God, Sh*t, F*ck, oh my god....

ME: Calm down, that's me doing that. See it goes left, it goes right.....

User: *faints*

twats All of them
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 14:58, Reply)
Ye Olde Dumbass Revhead
I was running a small computer sales and repair business some 15 years ago, and was asked by one of my clients who was a distributor of car parts to visit one of his retailers. So I head down to the outskirts of Melbourne to this crappy stinky parts shop and speak to mr grease-monkey about his problems. He advises me that his tape backups have stopped working. So I take a look at the drive, give it a clean, frig around for a while and finally admit - yep, it's knackered - I'll be back in a week with a new one.

A few days later I get a call from him.

Bruno: "Hey Vaggs, this tape drive you fixed is even worse now - it's completely eating my tapes."

Puzzled, I say:

Vaggs: "What are you talking about, I said I'd be back in a week - what do you mean it's eating tapes?"

Bruno: "Well I've put three tapes in it so far and they just keep disappearing?"

Vaggs: "Huhh??" - At this point I was completely intrigued - "This isn't possible Bruno, what exactly are you doing?"

Bruno: "Oh, well hang on, I'll do it again"

-- shuffling noises heard in the background, a few tapes clatter to the floor as he obviously pushes a heap of crap around on his desk --

Bruno: "Ok, here I go - I'm putting in the tape now"


Bruno: "Hear that?"

Vaggs: (Attempting to control laughter) "Bruno mate, you realise I removed the tape drive from your computer don't you?"

Bruno: "Oh - I thought the hole looked a little bigger".

I replaced his tape drive a few days later and fished out four tapes from his PC....
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 4:12, Reply)
Unusual... hmmmm
Bizarre one.

I worked at Time Computer's head office in Tech Support for 2 years (yes, it was shite). We had a few interesting calls. One particularly memorable customer was this guy who kept calling in. I got him a lot of the time.

First call - he kept getting illegal operations. He was convinced, no matter how much we told him otherwise, that it was because he was looking at pr0n and he had been caught.

Second call - He wanted to put a fireball (his words) onto the computer as the illegal operations were now because he had top secret submarine plans on his computer, and the FBI were watching him. He was terrified he was going to get caught.

Third Call - people were speaking to him from inside his computer. He'd convinced himself that there were little people watching him from within the 'grey box' and were trying to steal his plans. It was they who were posting the illegal operations on the screen.

Fourth Call - He began talking gibberish to us about NASA and the way they were trying to get his plans. By now, we were just humoring him. He said 'I really need to go and reboot my eyes'. I could hear his wife crying in the background.

Fifth call - His wife called to enquire as to a refund. I was concerned, so I asked how he was. It transpired that he had decended into insanity and was committed the previous day.

So, so strange.

There are more which I may or may not post, depending on how much work I'm not doing.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 15:05, Reply)
I've just remembered another one
I work for an IT training company and one of my former colleagues was our resident "teccy", responsible for keeping the network afloat etc. One day an ink-jet fax machine ran out of ink, so he wandered off to get a new cartridge. Moments later he returned, a new Epson cartridge in his hands, unperturbed by the fact that the fax machine was actually made by Ricoh. Anyway, there followed a few seconds of him trying to force the cartridge into the machine without success, before he decided to compare the new cartridge to the old one. After a short while, he excitedly points out that the sole difference between the cartridges was a small plastic lump on the new one which the old one didn't have.

Now, what would *you* do at this point? Put the new one back and find the right one for the machine? Of course you would. Not this guy. He wandered out to his car, returned with an angle grinder, and proceeded to reshape the cartridge. There was a scream, the angle grinder stopped suddenly, and he ran in, covered with ink.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 11:03, Reply)
I work in
a certain office superstore named after small bits of metal that hold paper together, and..well cambridge people are stupid to put it kindly. i work on saturdays (cos im a dirty student) and atleast once a day we have some clever genius who tries to look like he knows everything, so he doesnt look stupid and ends up looking even stupider, the other week this guy comes in and says "i need a printer"
... i take him to the printers

"do these do colour nowadays?"

"yes, they do" i assured him

"will they work with any computer?"

"within reason" i tell him, "but if your computer isnt too old it should work"

so the guy buys the printer, a cable and about a centurys worth of printer cartridges.

so i carry on with my daily duties (stading around not doing much and talking to people), about 3 hours later the guy comes back and come up to me, printer box in hand, and says "i think my printer is broken, the ink is leaking, can you check it for me?"

by this time im a bit suspitious of the multicoloured stains on his sleeves, so i open the box, and it is flooded with a black resevoir of ink, holding back my laughter, i asked him how he put the cartridges in his printer, and he went on to tell me how he poured each colour down the paper feed. the poor bastard had used about £150 of ink and a £70 printer.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 10:16, Reply)
Clients Are Stupid
I once was DJing in a club, on this massive stage (about 6 feet off the ground) for a few hundred
E/Piss Heads, when I watched this man (with a great amount of struggle) climb up on stage and stagger's towards me.
While rummaging through his pockets for a sweaty crumpled up fiver, he ask's "Uuuuuggghhh, al'wight mate? Ow Much are two bottle's ov Becks then?"

Brilliant!! :-)
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 4:18, Reply)
ok here's two:
stupid person #1 wanted to know what to do when his mouse cursor had reached the middle of the screen but his mouse had reached the end of the table. The icon he wanted to click was a few inches to the right of the mouse cursor.

"Oh dont worry" he said, "I've figured it out myself..." and then continued to roll the mouse down the table leg.


stupid person #2 reported that her machine had lost all power.

It turned out she had the mouse on the floor under her desk... and was trying to get power to the pc by pumping said peripheral with her foot, a la sewing machine/car accelerator.

oh how we laughed.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 10:25, Reply)
Virgin Atlantic Balloon Challenge
100% true ... I once worked for an industrial computer company in Southampton. We did installs on everything, including the outside of oilrigs. Anyway, Richard Branson was doing his 2nd round the world balloon challenge and came to us (the fool) for a Panel PC (basically a PC with a big weatherproof touchscreen, no mouse/keyboard). We duly sorted one out and it was installed by someone on the Virgin team. The day it was due to take off I got a call asking for help.
To cut a long story short, some lesser engineer had discovered Minesweeper on the Panel PC (yep, Windows) and had spent too much time playing. His superior, in an effort to stop this behaviour had deleted the relevant .exe and, for good measure, a few .dll files ("because they looked like Minesweeper might use them").
At the point that I was called, they were 3hrs from scheduled take off, with a buggered, non-booting PC - their main navigational system.
Needless to say, takeoff was delayed. I chuckled heartily when I saw the 6 O'clock news ...
Branson never made it even when the thing did go up eventually. That'll teach him, the beardy f*cksock.
(, Tue 30 Dec 2003, 22:03, Reply)
More helpdesk nonsense
While working for a local government agency I had the pleasure of dealing with several ridiculous IT helpdesk calls, but only one was funny enough for me to remember it now...

Phone rings, I pick up:

Caller: Hello!!? It's on fire!!
Me: Pardon? What?
Caller: It's on fire! It-it-it-it's burning our eyes!!!
Me: Please calm down Sir, what's on fire?
Caller: The screen! It's on fire and it's burning our eyes! What should we do?!
Me: Have you turned it off at the mains? Have you called the Fire Brigade?
Caller: Not yet, thought we should call you first to check what we should do.
Me: Well, it would be best to turn it off and call the Fire Brigade. Then get a new monitor.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 10:53, Reply)
The client is always right.....riiiiiight
We managed to sell some software recently, and the client/user insisted on instaling it himself. Despite my suggestions that his IT guy do the install, or better yet, I could do it for him, he was convinced in his own ability. Fine.
I called up the day after to check on how things went, but he seemed somehow less sure of himself than previously, and mumbled something about how you had to know the little tricks to get things working these days, before he hung up.
3-4 days later their IT bloke calls me asking if they can, "erm, have another copy of the software, please". It turned out the user had put the pc on the floor so the CD drive was in a vertical position, and glued the CD into the drive tray to stop it falling out before the tray moved back inside the case.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 8:58, Reply)
not a personal client...
But a relative of friend of mine ran a computer company in the DOS & windows 3.1 days. one afternoon a customer who had bought a computer, phoned in. the conversation went as follows:
techy: How can i help?
woman: My computer won't work!
techy: can you be more specific please?
woman: i don't know whats wrong, it's being weird and it won't do what i want!
techy: are there any messages on the screen saying what the problem might be?
woman: well, it says my himen has been broken or something.

the phone was subsequently slammed down, and the techy burst into fits of laughter, he barely managed to relay the story to his co-workers, at which point they all burst out laughing too.
moments later the phone rang, they manage to gain composure and answer. the same woman was on the phone 'hello? i think we got disconnected, can you help me with my broken himen please?

she was helped in the end, but i could never look at himem errors in the same light again.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 0:00, Reply)
Trainees... sorry if this is long but this should be recorded...
This is ALL true. *shudder*

In a previous job I managed a store selling materials for loft conversions. There was only one staffer per store but occasionally I was sent a trainee, so they were, in a sense, customers of mine. One in particular was monumentally stupid... here is a *very* short list of his worst foibles...

In the first week, he ran out of fuel 3 times on the way to work. His petrol guage was broken and instead of keeping the tank topped up (or fixing it), he tried to calculate his fuel consumption for each journey and bought accordingly. He was bad at maths. Monkey.

He could not work out how to put staples into a stapler, nor figure out the safety catch on a hole punch. He honestly thought that credit card machines worked by braille, reading the card number, not the magnetic strip and almost broke a customer's Visa card by trying to force it.

He went to another branch to collect a long weight (wait) and still hadn't figured it out when they sent him back THREE hours later.

We had display staircases and loft ladders that needed varnishing. He did a staircase starting on the bottom step and worked his way up! At this point I had given up on him and just let him do it. Later that day I said he could go early if he went to the local DIY superstore for some stripey paint *it had to go from top right to bottom left* to decorate our store room. He appologised the next day and said he had tried 3 other stores but none could help. It took me 10 minutes to then explain why you couldn't get stripey paint.

I know this is long but I'm nearly done.....

Finally I got shot of him and sent him to another store. (The background here is that I banked each day's takings at the Girobank in the local Post Office). The other manager needed a wood sample sending to a customer and gave the addressed package plus stamp money to our friend. He promptly walked past the GPO in Richmond and into the bank, queued up and asked the teller how much his parcel would cost to send. Bank clerk looked for hidden cameras and said that he would have to go next door (where the Post Office was). Monkey boy instead queued at the next window in the bank, got the same answer and then had a barney saying they were taking the piss. He then returned in a strop to the store, past the post office and when asked why replied "they said it was a bank". Stupid cranberry thought if you could bank in a post office the reverse was true.

The worst thing? He had a 2.i degree. From the University of North London (Tottenham). I fear for the future.

Thanks for your patience. I feel better now *sigh*
(, Wed 31 Dec 2003, 12:06, Reply)
While discussing a lady in my work with an I.T. representative who had dealt with her inane queries on many occasions :(e.g. "How do I turn this on? - Press the ON button" and the likes). We went to another pc in the office and tapped into her pc, we (or he) sent a fake windows error message to her screen saying.


Believe it or not, she did, and stayed there until someone asked her what she was doing.

Laugh?, I nearly died.
(, Tue 30 Dec 2003, 15:17, Reply)
we used to call them "the meat"
Ah those were the days...

meat: my laptop won't receive emails when it's turned off?!
me: (in my head) how do you know?

meat: i can't type my password in
me: why not?
meat: it keeps coming up with a load of stars (asterisks)

from my VMS days...

me: type in dir *.dat
meat: eh?
me: type in d i r star dot d a t
meat: star?
me: asterisk
meat: eh?
me: hold down the shift key and press 8
meat: oh right! you mean cabbage
me: eh?
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 18:39, Reply)
Problem Server
Our company supplies small LANs to our clients, and we retain admin rights & remotely support the servers (not that we don't trust them or anything...)

Support keep a score of the daftest calls received. Winner at the moment is this one:
"We've got a problem with the server!"
"OK, can you tell me what's wrong?"
"Well, it's overheated & set light to the curtains. What shall we do?"
"Errrr.... get a fire extinguisher?!"
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 9:43, Reply)
I used to work at a local college
I have removed all manner of material from floppy drives. Paper clips, rubbers, student cards and once a credit card from a confused lady who was trying to buy on-line.

My favourite isn't one of mine, but someone who used to work at Doncaster Council.

Client - I've spilt coffee in my bosses keyboard.
IT - Was sugar in it?
Client - no
IT - OK swill some cold water in it, this will remove the coffee - then hang it to dry for the day.
Client - OK I have a sink in the office.

After this, a very irrate manager rang up

"Which nobhead told my secretary to put my laptop in the sink then hang it to dry?"
(, Wed 31 Dec 2003, 12:54, Reply)
One of my clients
decided that instead of paying a professional (me) to do his website, he would do it himself. After all, how hard can it be?


The most galling part was that he spent three days calling me to help him with his HTML. cranberry.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 14:55, Reply)
Eep. This one was just odd
This happened in February 1998 and I'm trying to get this as verbatim as possible. Answered the phone at work one day with my standard greeting and got this.

Caller: I've just bought a telephone for my sister, you see, and she's in a wheelchair...

Me: Right...

Caller: It's a very good phone, but I'm having trouble programming my phone number into the memory. It's a BT Model.

Me: Well, we're not really set up to give that sort of advice. Is there a number in the instruction pamphlet in the phone?

Caller: [Indignantly] Well, there might be. I didn't think to look. [Pauses] It's just that...

Me: Sir?

Caller: I am through to the National Disabled Telephone Helpline, aren't I?

Me: [Long silence caused by me cutting the mic on the phone off to hide the fact that I'm unsuccessfully stifling giggles]

Caller: Hello?

Me: [composing myself again] Sorry, sir; yes you are through to the National Disabled Telephone Helpline. It's just that we give out disability advice. Not telephone advice.

Caller: I see. [Pause] Oh, I think I have a number here. It's in the pamphlet, like you said. [Pause] Thank you, you've been very helpful.

Me: No, thank you. Goodbye now.

Caller: Goodbye.

What I loved is that he was determined to thank me for something in spite of having rang up and made a complete arse of himself. Bless.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 11:17, Reply)
I work in online media and advertising.
Last week we had a client send us the creative for an ad. They sent us a jpeg. It was a screen shot of a jpeg opened up in PhotoShop Elements.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 0:09, Reply)
Whilst working at a travel agents...
...selling round-the-world tickets to a couple of (rich) gap year students:

Customer A: "So we'll be in Sydney for new year then?"
Me: "Yes"
Customer A: "Is it their summer then?"
Me: "Yes"
Customer B: "So when do Australians celebrate Christmas?"
Me: "July"
Customer B: "Really?"
Me: "No"
(, Wed 31 Dec 2003, 14:51, Reply)
Maybe a tad hypocritical.......
I work for a company that provides certain b2b services, and one of our clients is a large (one of the biggest) arms manufacturer...

...as part of our excellent service and in the wake of 9/11 we offered all of ours clients an additional service whereby members of our staff would work out of normal working hours in the event of a major terrorist attack or major military conflict (such as the invasion of Afghanistan / Iraq / A.N Other Oil Rich Country). To cover the expense of staffing and other overheads we said we would be charging our clients for the service (the price was negligibly different from what it was going to cost us .... ie we weren't offering the service primarily for profit)...

...anyway, all of our major clients welcomed the service with open arms ... apart from the aforementioned arms manufacturer (one of the BIGGEST ARMS MANUFACTURERS IN THE WORLD don't forget) who told us ... and my jaw dropped when I heard this ... that they thought it was imoral that we were trying to profit from a conflict situation !!!
(, Wed 31 Dec 2003, 12:27, Reply)
I designed a draft website for a nightclub manager
and burned it onto a floppy disk so I could show it to him at his office.

A lot of makey-uppey text was needed in the early stages, so I had them playing host to Oasis on Friday and Blur on Saturday - with £1 entry and free drinks.

I pop the disk in, open the index page with a browser and leave him to it for a bit. He looks at the draft site and clicks around happily for a bit, then gets to the upcoming gigs page:

Him: Are you mad? You can't print (sic) this! How long has this page been here?
Me: Since I built it. Yesterday.
Him: Can we delete it? If we're lucky, no-one's seen it yet.
Me: Nobody *can* see it. It's not live.
Him: I can see it!
Me: You're viewing it from a disk.
Him: But it's a web page, right?
Me: Well, yes.
Him: So anybody on the web can see it!
Me: No, they can't - not without the disk I gave you.
Him: But you can buy them anywhere!
(, Tue 30 Dec 2003, 13:38, Reply)
Built a PC for my dad
which I do at work from time to time for customers so it's *sort of* a client. Certainly stupid anyway.

Built him a brand new computer and as it was Christmas, installed Microsoft Flight Sim 2000 on there. He was made up.

Until the point he phoned me up in a blind panic.

Him: Chris you know on that Microsoft?
Me: What, Windows?
Him: No, the game...
Me: Ah, OK. Yeah?
Him: I've just crashed it
Me: The game crashed?
Him: I crashed the plane into a mountain [/building (I forget)]
Me: Yeeeees?
Him: Look, that won't of damaged the screen will it?
Me: Bye dad
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 15:10, Reply)
Name that password
I have a client who is the most stupid person you could ever meet in your life. Her name (changed to protect the stupid) is Jane Warnes.

Recently, she could not get e-mail due to a lost password, so I looked up the password on my support database, & it was "jwarnes".

I told her the password & she said, "just a minute, I won't be able to remember that, let me find a pen".

I was about to say, "but it's your name", then thought better of it, as it might have complicated things.
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 7:34, Reply)
I'm a lighting designer
An architect once said to me "we've increased the quantity of skylights in the building (an airport), so you must be able to save a lot of money... we won't need as many lights!"

You will at night, mate. See when that big orange thing goes below the horizon...

(, Sun 28 Dec 2003, 23:02, Reply)
Odd phone call
Here's one I had a month or two ago. I still don't know what the point was.

Customer: "I'm just restarting my computer."
Me: "Okay."
Customer: "It seems ok so far."
Me: "Right."
Customer: "I'm back in Windows."
Me: "Fine."
Customer: "Shall I call you back if there's any problems?"
Me: "That would be lovely."
Customer: "Bye."

The man is a tit.
(, Wed 31 Dec 2003, 15:16, Reply)
Come here, and there's more...
As well as working on an IT helpdesk I worked at a certain televsion company (one that provides satellite telly. Again, no names)

Best one was (and I can't even start to remember the exact details of this) was one customer who told us he was cancelling his subscription because aliens (yes, aliens) were interferring with his signal and he couldn't see the picture properly. now ehen he was having a party with the Spice Girls (as you do) they suggested he get cable TV as the cables are underground so the aliens can't play about with the signals. He was really apologetic about this, especially as we sent him out a birthday card (eh?!?!?) but he was going to come up and visit us to say goodbye. "You're coming up to dunfermline?" asked my colleague. "No", he replied "I'm coming up to the satellite to visit you".

By this point, half the staff had put their phones on Busy and were listening in to this on a huge conference call.

Swear to god, this is true. And if any of you know anyone who worked weekends at this particular satellite telly call centre in Dunfermline in the the summer of 96 they will probably know about it.
(, Tue 30 Dec 2003, 15:52, Reply)
The Data Brick
I used to work for a company who provided computing services for a large UK food consortium. Our department worked with one of their branches, responsible for bread and morning goods - a well known brand.

Every day, each bakery had to transmit their sales and orders to the mainframe, held at our offices.

One time a particular bakery up north just couldn't get it sent. We were on the phone with them for ages and ages, and they eventually called in their data processing manager, who was off that day.

She came on the phone and tried all the usual things, then said "Hang on while I check the data brick". We were left puzzled over what the hell she was talking about. When she came back to the phone, she said "Ahh it's all sorted now, it should arrive soon.". We asked her what she did.

Back in the day, every bakery had a 2400 baud modem. At the appropriate time they'd call the mainframe number and once they heard the screech of the modem at the other end they'd press the DATA button on the modem. This particular bakery thought the whole concept was stupid and in need of automating, so they placed a brick - a whole brick - next to the modem and slid it forward until it depressed the data button. Now, all they had to do was dial the mainframe and it would take over.

Of course, on this day the cleaners had moved the brick when dusting the computer room down, and the dp manager was off that day. Because no one else had any idea this even had to be DONE, no one knew anything about it.

I still chuckle when I think of the data brick...
(, Mon 29 Dec 2003, 22:06, Reply)

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