January 27, 2009


“I’m not doing that”, the irate voice said on the phone.

“I’m not doing that either”, she continued.


It’s always a joy trying to walk a customer through a problem that they are having with their e-mail. Especially when said customer is using an old residential dial-up account to send out mass quantities of e-mail to distribution lists holding hundreds of e-mail addresses.

Here’s the thing. When your computer is screwed up and you call the Technical Assistance Center and then get herded up to “Level II”, I am your god. I know what I am doing and I am going to do everything I can to make sure that your life on the electronic fast lane is a pleasant one. I’ll even help you troubleshoot Outlook Express or Outlook, which isn’t even really my responsibility, but I’m a nice guy.

Most of the time.

Once in a great while we’ll have a customer call in ranting and raving and carrying on like someone set their ugly sweater on fire and then they’ll refuse to do anything that you ask them to do so that you can try to figure out what the hell is wrong with their computer.

“I need you to change…”, I start.


When did it become socially acceptable to be an utter jackass on the phone? The woman that I was speaking with insisted she knew what the problem was. But she didn’t. She was way off base. She didn’t believe me when I told her that she had typos in her distribution list. She didn’t believe me when I told her Outlook was misconfigured. But she knew what the problem was. So I barked at her.

“Well then YOU fix it!”

Um, that’s probably not the right route to take. I put her on hold and did laps around the cubicles for three minutes. I was hoping she hung up. No, she’s too clever for that. So she listened to an endless loop of really bad marketing messages. I gave her another 60 seconds of advertising bliss before I took her off hold.

“I’ll escalate the trouble to another group and someone will be in touch with you.”

There is no other group. We’re it.

Welcome to the place you never want to go to when you’re in search of technical support.

She has been placed in “The Queue”.

Maybe I’ll call her back someday.