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  • Checked Out At The Checkout
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  • August's Theme Of The Month: Best. Boss. Ever!

    Category: Technology

    A Total System Clean

    | NY, USA | Employees, Technology

    (I’ve just finished moving my boss’s desk and computer into his new office. My boss is notoriously messy; the desk was a disaster before I moved it. The department’s system administrator and I are discussing what to do next.)

    Me: “I should probably update the computer. I’ll bet it hasn’t been restarted in ages.”

    SysAdmin: “It looks like his anti-virus needs to be fixed, too.”

    Me: “And I ought to find a mouse-pad for him. Oh, and do you think you have anything that could clean off keyboards?”

    SysAdmin: “Uh…”

    (We both look at the keyboard, which is covered in dried spilled coffee and other dirt.)

    Me: “Do you think there IS anything that could clean THAT keyboard?”

    SysAdmin: *laughing* “I could get you a sandblaster!”

    (We did manage to get it clean!)

    Checked Out At The Checkout

    | YK, Canada | At The Checkout, Employees, Ignoring/Inattentive, Lazy/Unhelpful, Technology

    (I’m at the local hardware store. There is one customer in front of me and one behind me, and a teenage cashier who looks like the last place she wants to be, is here. She stands in silence, purposely looking away from the lineup, chewing bubblegum. Customer #1 is at the till, patiently waiting for her to notice. After about a minute of all of us being ignored, Customer #2 pipes up.)

    Customer #2: “Uhm, excuse me? Are you busy? You can deal with this lady you know.”

    Cashier: *pops her gum and sighs, then turns to start processing the sale*

    Customer #1: “I would like to return these two items as they were the wrong size, and get these two instead.”

    Cashier: *scans in the two new items, then adds the two old items, then presses the button to bring up the total*

    Me: *since I can see the till’s screen* “Excuse me, you added her returns. You need to subtract them for a refund.”

    Cashier: *gives me a look, and then looks at the screen. She heaves a huge exasperated sigh, and shrugs* “I don’t know how to do that.”

    Me: “Okay. Press ‘delete’ once. Then ‘enter’ twice. Then, where it says ‘2,’ type ‘-2.’ Then press ‘enter’ twice.”

    Cashier: *stares at me, popping her gum*

    Me: “Just do it.”

    Cashier: *another huge sigh, but does as told, and finishes the sale*

    Customer #1: *to me* “Oh, thank you!”

    Me: “No problem.”

    (Customer #1 leaves, and I place my items at the till.)

    Me: “On my account, please, under [My Name].”

    Cashier: *ignores me and starts scanning the items*

    Me: “No, no. I said on my ACCOUNT, please. You need to back up. Stop, and press ‘F5’ to get to the accounts screen to enter my name.”

    Cashier: *presses a random button, causing it to go to an entirely different screen. She grunts and tosses her arms up in frustration* “I don’t know what to do!”

    Me: “Calm down. Just abort the sale. Press ‘escape’ twice and hit ‘enter’ for yes to abort. It’s okay. Nothing bad will happen; it won’t throw off your till.”

    Cashier: *looks at me, then does as told, bringing the till back to the first screen*

    Me: “Now, let’s start again. Press ‘F5,’ then type [My Name]. Then ‘enter.’ Then you can process my items.”

    Cashier: *she does so, and we quickly finish the sale*

    Customer #2: *who has been standing behind me watching this entire thing* “Thank you SO much for helping her. We would have been here all day!”

    Me: “It’s no problem, really. I used to work here, so I remember the buttons. It’s the same system so nothing has changed.”

    Customer #2: *looks at me, then the cashier, then back at me* “…Can you stay while she does mine?”

    Not Determined On Terminology

    | The Netherlands | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Language & Words, Technology

    (I’m presenting a user interface design to my team.)

    Developer: *pointing at imagery* “So, this is an overlayer?”

    Me: “That’s an overlay, or a modal screen, indeed.”

    Developer: “Ah, so, an overlayer.”

    Me: “It’s overlay, not overlayer.”

    Developer: “No, it’s overlayer.”

    Me: “Overlayer sounds like a combination of overlay and layer to me. ‘Overlay’ is a word, and a ‘layer’ is a Photoshop term. Overlayer is not commonly used in this field. Just call it an overlay, or modal.”

    Developer: “Whatever, it’s just an overlayer to me.”

    Me: “Can we just stick to one word to avoid confusion? Overlay is the right word for it. Just use it.”

    Developer: “It’s overlayer.”

    Me: *facepalm*

    (This provided for a lot of confusion in the following meetings with team members, managers, and even stakeholders. The same happened for ‘throbber’, which is a little-known, but short and simple word for ‘thingy that spins when you are waiting for something to load’ – the term they insisted on using…)

    Can’t Solve The Problem Initially

    | Germany | Coworkers, Technology

    (I work in an office for engineering. My coworker always starts an hour earlier than me, so I am a bit baffled to see him after his first weekend off, still staring at his log-in screen, fumbling with some random papers, when I arrive. I start work and don’t think much about it but, as this continues for another hour, I ask him:)

    Me: “Everything’s all right?”

    Coworker: *a bit embarrassed* “I can’t remember my password.”

    Me: *trying not to laugh* “It’s your initials!”

    Coworker: *serious* “Oh, thank you. It’s so hard to remember.”

    Closing The Windows On This Scam

    | TX, USA | Liars/Scammers, Technology

    (We commonly get random sales calls at work, but as we’re a company chain store, we usually give the corporate number and that’s that. For the past four days, though, we have gotten a scam call from an 800 number that ends with four zeros at the end, which is how we have kept track of it. He has a strong accent, gives random male names, and always says he is with tech and calling about our computer.)

    Me: “[Store], this is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

    Tech: “Hi, this is Kevin. I am calling about your computer.”

    Me: *rolls eyes at coworkers and mouths that it’s him again* “Yes, what about the computer?”

    Tech: “Yes, your computer is having problems.”

    Me: “Oh, really? What kind of problems are you talking about?”

    Tech: “Well, when you are getting on the Internet, you are having problems.”

    Me: “Hmm, no, really haven’t. Can you explain what you mean?”

    Tech: *getting frustrated* When you are getting on the Facebook and your emails, you are getting things that are slowing your computer down. Are you seeing things like that?”

    Me: “Nope, haven’t seen a thing.”

    Tech: “Well, that is what is happening. Are you sitting in front of your computer?”

    Me: “I am.”

    Tech: “Is this computer on?”

    Me: “No. Should I turn it on?”

    Tech: “Yes, I need for you to turn it on for me.”

    Me: “It’ll take a little bit.”

    (I’m nowhere near a computer, so I stand to the side writing down everything that he’s said to me so far.)

    Me: “Okay, it’s on now.”

    Tech: “Is it on the Windows?”

    Me: “Windows? No. We have it on the desk.”

    Tech: “I mean do you have Windows on your computer?”

    Me: “No, I don’t believe in that modding nonsense for computers.”

    Tech: *getting frustrated again* “Is your computer run by Windows?”

    Me: “Oh! You mean is my operating system Windows! Yes, it is.”

    Tech: “Yes, then do you see your keyboard?”

    Me: “I see it.”

    Tech: “Do you see your control key?”

    Me: “Yes, what about it?”

    Tech: “Do you see what’s beside it?”

    Me: “The control key? There’s a shift.”

    Tech: *getting angry again*“No, what is beside it.”

    Me: “Well, there’s a key that looks like a menu item. That one?”

    Tech: “No! On the left side control key.”

    Me: “Oh! You mean my Windows key! Yeah, I see it.”

    Tech: “I need you to press this down and ‘R’ at the same time.”

    Me: “Okay, why do I need to do that?”

    Tech: “This will open up this black box so you can type run in there. Is this black box up?”

    Me: “No, I don’t have a black box up. What was I supposed to do again?”

    Tech: “You need to be pressing the Windows key and the R key at the same time.”

    Me: “Oh, you must want me to prompt a run command. Is that what you mean for me to do?”

    Tech: “Yes—”

    Me: “—and then you’re going to tell me how to give you access to my computer next. Of course, if my computer was actually running slow, I could always go into the BIOS to check things. Or I could get the TDSSKiller. Or run Spybot, or a number of other programs. However, I don’t think I have a problem. I think you just want remote access to my computer so you can still hard earned money from me. Luckily for me, I’m not stupid. You’re calling a company phone, so even if I did run that command, you wouldn’t have gotten anything from us. I will be notifying the necessary people about you and your scam. This number will be posted up so customers will know in advance you are a scam artist, and if you call here again, we are not going to be this nice to you. Do not call this number again.”

    Tech: “You are an idiot.”

    Me: “And you’re just angry that it didn’t work.” *click*


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