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This is a question Oldies vs Computers

As someone who is "good with computers" I get a lot of calls from people who've got problems. Some of them even have problems with their computers.

Back many years ago working for a telecoms company, I was called to a senior secretary who "had put a disk into the drive and couldn't get it out". She had one of the first Mac II machines with two drive slots. But only one drive.

Opening up the case revealed stacks of floppy disks that she'd been posting through the hole in the case for weeks. She'd only decided there was a problem when her boss wanted one of them back...

(, Fri 22 Sep 2006, 13:58)
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One stormy night (well, early evening)...
{sorry, I said Iíd leave off this QOTW I know, but Iíve got to squeeze at least one in Ė user stupidity is one of my specialist subjects, after all}

ÖI had to pull a late one at work to replace a shitload of network hardware that was getting a bit twitchy after 5 solid years of use Ė an operation which would render the entire company network inoperable for about 2 hours. I planned to get a start 30mins after the traditional end of the business day. Simple and painless.

Of course, I sent no less than three emails warning my companyís users about this, giving them literally daysí notice and a reminder the very day of the planned presto-chango action. Taking the lack of enquiries as a sign that everyone had gotten the message, I took the site offline as planned and began taking stuff to bits. Not more than 10 minutes after I had gotten started, I got a call on my mobile from a manager in one of our branch offices, a stroppy menopausal bint whose offensive mouth was a known fact Ė the conversation went like this:

ME: Good evÖ
MSB: Itís not working!

Iíd already guessed what was going on but her rudeness from the offset got my back up, so I decided to give her enough rope to hang herself. Non-geeks often fail to realise that IT folk are like waiters - woe betide you if you piss us off, and you won't know of our retribution until its too late. We have much more power than most people realise. So anyway:

ME: Iím dandy, thanks for asking Ė what can I do for you?
MSB: Iíve already told you Ė {idiot voice} I-T-S N-O-T W-O-R-K-I-N-G!
ME: {stroppy bintís name}, you know that Iím responsible for a good few systems here Ė Iím going to need some specifics.
MSB: There's nothing specific about it - {more idiot voice} N-O-T-H-I-N-G I-S W-O-R-K-I-N-G! Weíve got no database, no email, no nothing Ė what are you going to do about it? I'll tell you now, whatever you do youíll have to do it quick!
ME: Tell me, did you get the emails Iíve been sending about planned network downtime the past few days?
MSB: {incredulously} I never read those! My time's too valuable to waste on that jargonny stuff!
ME: I see. Okay, for one, Iím most definitely not a sympathetic ear to the view that my emails arenít worth reading and two, if you or indeed anyone else in your office had bothered to read even one of the emails, youíd now be with the rest of the company in knowing that the network is going to be offline Ė ENTIRELY Ė for a couple of hours starting about fifteen minutes ago.
MSB: Thatís not good enough! I canít finish this with no network Ė youíll have to bring it back now!
ME: Iím sorry, thatís not possible. You see, as I stated in the email, Iím replacing a number of pieces of network hardware tonight and Iíve already half-dismantled what was in there to start with Ė I mean to go ahead and replace the parts as planned.
MSB: {muttered profanities} I canít believe this! {my bossí name} is going to face some stern words tomorrow, and you can take that to the bank!
ME: Thatís your perogative, of course, but remember that in this case your problem is in fact your own fault for ignoring official instructions. You see, I donít send emails with high importance simply to remind you that I exist Ė I send them when I feel thereís something you need to know. {my bossí name} will most probably tell you the same.
MSB: {impatient sigh} Okay, so whenís it going to be back on? I need to get this done before 6pm, yíknow.
ME: Also included in the emails were the timescales for this, but since you, er, missed them, Iíll clue you up. I originally expected to be done by 7:30 for 8, but it may take a little longer now.
MSB: {more muttered profanities and cant-believe-this'es} Oh, and whyís that then?
ME: Because of the time Iím wasting on this call. With that in mind, is there anything else I can help you with?
MSB: Oh, fuck off {click}.
ME: My sentiments exactly - bye then.

She did call my boss the next day, recommending that I be disciplined for my attitude, and naturally my boss collared me about it. I detailed our telephone conversation and my boss agreed both that she was being a needlessly stroppy and abusive cunt and that she deserved everything she got for ignoring my emails in any case. I even got to sit by and overhear the conversation where my boss told her exactly that, though he was slightly more diplomatic about the stroppy cunt part. She must have gotten arsey with him too because he added that if she kept better track of her work deadlines, she wouldn't find herself in such situations. Silent applause from me for the coup de gras there.

Eventually, she pissed off one person too many with her obnoxious tone and got shown the door. A few people have missed her since, but I'm not one of them.
(, Wed 27 Sep 2006, 15:24, closed)

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