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From: Wendy Edwards (edwards at
Subject: ABOI: Tech Support Horror

Here's another of Gavin Munday's posts from atj about dealing with technical support. Remember to read the FAQ before posting to ABOI!

Wendy E.

Tech Support horror!

Something's not right.

It was just working a minute ago, but it's not right now.

You check all the configuration settings. They appear to be exactly the same as when you last saw them. That was two weeks ago when you installed the software. It was functioning just beautifully until this morning.

You run every diagnostic program known to man. To no avail, I might add. Everything checks out as running just dandy. As a matter of fact, not only does the diagnostic tell you that your computer's working wonderfully, but that your daughter really isn't getting engaged to that hairy cretin that's been hanging around the house lately. You think for a moment that perhaps the Peter Norton Group has gone just a bit too far.

However, none of this helps the sinking feeling that's developing low in your gut. A sort of utter hopelessness is gnawing away at your insides, turning your stomach to a heap of wobbling Jell-O (tm).

As a last ditch effort, you grab the manuals from the shelf. You page through the index, looking for some referrance to the problem you're having. You discover that the "Common Questions and Answers" section was written by people who had never used the product and were WAY out of touch with reality in the first place. Nowhere in the entire 600-page book is there even a mention of the error message that keeps flashing on your screen.

Your dread fear is now confirmed. You've just discovered an "Undocumented Feature"... the fancy term used by corporate droids for "bug". You resign yourself to the hopelessness of the situation, read for your Rolodex, grab the telephone and dial. You have to call....

Tech support.

(As an aside, you have to realize that any good console jockey is going to take having to call tech support as an admission of failure. Many hackers have a severe complex when it comes to dealing with the corporations that publish our favorite programs. Only after the average hacker has checked the configuration 5 times, re-installed the software twice, and read the entire manual word-for-word will they break down and call the support line. Some truly pitiful types will try to use run-time monitors and dis-assemblers to try to catch and remedy the bug themselves. Contrast this with the average home user who will call tech support if they click on the wrong icon.)

The phone is ringing.

Finally, the line stops ringing. An overly cheery voice says, "Thanks for calling Happitech Software, this is the technical support department."

"Hi!" you begin frantically. "I'm having a problem with your software product HappiBase, and...."

"We're sorry, but all support representatives are busy at this time. Please hold for the next available representative," the recording continues. Your blood pressure begins to rise and your face begins to flush. Thoughts of taking a hatchet to the answering machine begin to form.

You listen to the Musak recordings of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree", "Hey Jude", "You Light Up My Life", and "Smoke on the Water". Finally, a human voice comes on the line.

"Happitech Technical Support, this is Cindy. Can I help you?"

"Yeah - I'm a user of your product, HappiBase. I installed it about two weeks ago, transferred all our client records into it, and deleted the old files yesterday. Now your program is telling me that I should go do unmentionable things to a donkey. What's the deal?"

"Sir," the chirpy voice on the line responds, "What is the name of the company you're calling from?"

"Sanguine Enterprises," you reply.

"I'm sorry - I don't show that company as a registered user. Have you mailed in your registration card?"

"Yes, I just mailed it out this morning."

"In that case, sir, you will have to wait until you have been entered into our Happitech database of registered users before you are eligible for technical phone support. It should only be about 7-10 days."

"But I can't shut down our business for a whole week!" you rage. "What do I tell the clients?! Can't I just give you the serial number or something?"

"Hold on, sir," the voice squeaks, "I'll check with my supervisor. Hold please."

You listen to the Musak versions of "Purple Haze" and "Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath". Your blood pressure is high enough to cause your brain to throb. Thoughts of throttling Cindy are forming.

"Yes, you can give me your serial number, and I can help you," the overly-cheery voice announces.

You rattle off the string of numbers: "74929194374".

"I'm sorry sir, could you say that a bit slower?"

You take a deep breath. "7..4..9..2..9..1..9..4..3..7..4".

"Thank you sir. What is your problem?"

"Your database is telling me to go sodomize a donkey! Everytime I click on a menu option, it suggests I might be more inclined to bedding down with a stable animal. The manual doesn't mention anything about it, no-one else I know who uses HappiBase is experiencing this problem, and the disks came straight out of shrink-wrap. They haven't been tampered with."

"Hold on moment sir." Cindy is gone again before you can stop her.

You listen to the Muzak versions of "I Wanna Be Sedated" and "Welcome to the Jungle". Your nose is now bleeding and thoughts of suicide are forming.

"I'm sorry sir, but it seems that one of our programmers modified a few hundred distribution copies in a fit of delerium. Under the menu "File", select "Disk", "Setup", "Format", "Advanced", and "Breakfast Cereal". Type "Cocoa Puffs" and your problem will be fixed. Send your original disks back postage pre-paid and we will mail you replacements. Have a pleasant day!"

"Zark off, Cindy." You hang up the phone noisily. Thoughts of early retirement are forming......

For more stories, jokes, etc etc, mail me!
I specialise in Monty Python/Blackadder/Tasteless/Hilarious/ stories/jokes
Gavin J. Munday (Gazz at

Note: I'm not the author, these tidbits were all forwarded to me via email. Where I know the author, it is given.
The From: header may be the author, or it may just be the person who forwarded it to me.
Feel free to contact me to claim authorship.

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