So you think you're computer-illiterate? Check out the
following excerpts from a Wall Street Journal article by Jim
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Another Compaq technician received a call from a man
complaining that the system wouldn't read word processing files
from his old diskettes. After trouble- shooting for magnets
and heat failed to diagnose the problem, it was found that the
customer labeled the diskettes then rolled them into the
typewriter to type the labels.
4. 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 copies of the floppies.
5. A Dell technician advised his customer to put his troubled
floppy back in the drive and close the door. The customer
asked the tech to hold on, and was heard putting the phone
down, getting up and crossing the room to close the door to his
6. Another Dell customer called to say he couldn't get his
computer to fax anything. After 40 minutes of
trouble-shooting, the technician discovered the man was trying
to fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the monitor
screen and hitting the "send" key.
7. 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 software store, the man said, "Oh, I thought you
meant for me to find a couple of geeks."
8. Yet another Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard
no longer worked. He had cleaned it by filling up his tub with
soap and water and soaking the keyboard for a day, then
removing all the keys and washing them individually.
9. A Dell technician received 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 computer's "bad command"
and "invalid" responses shouldn't be taken personally.
10. An exasperated caller to Dell Computer Tech Support couldn't
get her new Dell Computer to turn on. After ensuring the
computer was plugged in, the technician asked her what happened
when she pushed the power button. Her response, "I pushed and
pushed on this foot pedal and nothing happens." The "foot
pedal" turned out to be the computer's mouse.
11. 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 pressed
the power switch, she asked "What power switch?"
12. True story from a Novell NetWire SysOp:
Caller: "Hello, is this Tech Support?"
Tech Rep: "Yes, it is. How may I help you?"
Caller: "The cup holder on my PC is broken and I am
within my warranty period. How do I go about
getting that fixed?"
Tech Rep: "I'm sorry, but did you say a cup holder?"
Caller: "Yes, it's attached to the front of my
Tech Rep: "Please excuse me if I seem a bit stumped,
it's because I am. Did you receive this as
part of a promotional, at a trade show? How
did you get this cup holder? Does it have
any trademark on it?"
Caller: "It came with my computer, I don't know anything
about a promotional. It just has '4X' on it."
At this point the Tech Rep had to mute the caller, because
he couldn't stand it. The caller had been using the load
drawer of the CD-ROM drive as a cup holder, and snapped it
off the drive!