FRIDAY FUNNY: Which Came First? The Dopey Question or the Incomprehensible Answer?

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

Ever since computers became part of the workplace, users have struggled to keep their machines up and running. Often, they attempt to troubleshoot problems themselves, which tends to make matters worse most of the time.

Reading the manual is nearly useless and often impossible. These days, many machines don’t even come with printed manuals. Instead, users must download these documents and print them out–an act that is relatively impossible if the machine is already out of commission.

So what’s a user to do? Call tech support. Easier said than done, as illustrated by this collection of “real” tech support nightmares, grouped by vendor (courtesy of

From AST:
AST technical support had a caller complaining that her mouse was hard to control with the dust cover on. The cover turned out to be the plastic bag the mouse was packaged in.

Another AST customer was asked to send a copy of her defective diskettes. A few days later a letter arrived from the customer along with Xeroxed photocopies of the floppies.

From the Compaq Help Desk:
Compaq is considering changing the command “Press Any Key” to “Press Return Key” because of the flood of calls asking where the “Any” key is.

Another Compaq technician received a call from a man complaining that the sytem wouldn’t read word processing files from his old 5.25-inch diskettes. After trouble shooting for magnets and heat failed to diagnose the problem, it was found that the customer labled the diskettes and then rolled them into a typewriter and typed the label.

Another customer called Compaq tech support to say her brand-new computer wouldn’t work. She said she unpacked the unit, plugged it in, and sat there for 20 minutes waiting for something to happen. When asked what happened when she hit the power switch, she asked, “what power switch?”

From the Dell Desk:
A Dell technician advised his customer to put his troubled floppies back in the drive and close the door. The customer asked the tech to hold on so he could put down the phone, get up, cross the room, and close the door to his office.

Another Dell customer called to say he couldn’t get his computer to fax anything. After 40 minutes of troubleshooting, the technician discovered the man was trying the fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the screen and hitting the “send” key.

Another Dell customer needed help setting up a new program, so a Dell tech suggested he go to the local Egghead. “Yeah I got me a couple of friends,” the customer replied. When told “Egghead” was a softwre store, the man said, “Oh I thought you meant go find a couple of geeks.”

Yet another Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard was no longer working. He had cleaned it by filling up his tub with soap and water and soaking the keyboard for a day, then removed each key and washed them individually.

A Dell tech recived a call from a customer who was enraged because his computer had told him he was “bad and an invalid” The tech explained that the computers “bad command” and “invalid” responses shouldn’t be taken personally.

An exasperated caller to Dell couldn’t get her new computer to turn on. After ensuring the computer was plugged in, the tech asked her what happend when she pushed the power key, her response, “I pushed and pushed on the foot pedal and nothing happens.” The “foot pedal” turned out to be the computers mouse.

And finally, this gem…

Apologies for the dated nature of some of these problems; perhaps customers have finally become more tech savvy after all these years of embarrassing calls…