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  • Too Early For Proper English
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    Category: Technology

    Doesn’t Sound Like A Spring Chicken

    | NV, USA | Employees, Rude & Risque, Technology

    (Prostitution is legal in some parts of the state and there is a house of ill repute called ‘The Chicken Ranch’ in the area. Also ‘chicken ranch’ is sometimes used as slang referring to brothels in general. This conversation involves a database consultant from out of state.)

    Consultant: “Customers always ask me if their system is the worst I’ve ever seen, but I tell them that after 20 years there is little that surprises me. In fact one time I installed our software at a chicken ranch.”

    Employee: “Was it a real chicken ranch?”

    Consultant: “Oh, yeah! It was one of those sad ones where they stuff the birds into the little huts and then have to destroy the barns after harvesting because they are so contaminated. The eggs and chickens were considered production units and purchase orders had to be generated for materials and supplies. Our system worked great for them!”

    (The consultant walks away as he is called into the next office over.)

    Me: *to employee* “Yup, totally got where you were going with that. Clearly we’re from Southern Nevada because I had the exact same question.”

    The Help(less) Desk

    | USA | Employees, Ignoring/Inattentive, Technology

    (I need to get a particular set of files put on my work computer in order for one function of a program to work. I email a screenshot to my boss, who forwards it to the programmer. The programmer tells both of us that he’s no longer allowed to do installs like that and that I’d have to contact the help desk. I forward the entire email chain to the “help” desk, and five minutes later, a techie responds.)

    Techie: “I can fix that error message, I’ll need to remote into your computer and it’ll take me about 15 minutes to do the work. When is a good time?”

    Me: “1:00 would be fine, but just to confirm, it’s not an error message. It’s the fact that I don’t have the files I need for such-and-so task.”

    Techie: “Oh, that would be a different problem. We’ll try fixing the error first and then if that doesn’t work, we’ll send it on to the correct approver for that function.”

    Me: “That is NOT the problem, but whatever.”

    (At 1:00, the phone rings and Techie introduces himself and takes control of my computer. He is clearly puzzled, as he starts by trying one thing, then tries something else, then does something completely different, none of which have anything at all to do with the problem.)

    Techie: “Bear with me; I just recently started doing these types of tasks.”

    (For the next fifteen or so minutes, he fumbles around, reinstalls a program, discovers he did it wrong, uninstalls it, and reinstalls it again.)

    Techie: “Now, let’s see about cleaning up some of these shortcuts.”

    Me: “Wait, what? What the f*** do you think you’re doing? If I have shortcuts on my desktop, it’s because I NEED them! Don’t you touch them!”

    (I finally get him to leave my shortcuts alone, and he directs me to retry the action that had caused the problem. Of course the program errors and shuts down again, because all he did was uninstall and reinstall the program. He didn’t load the specific files I need.)

    Techie: “Oh, that means that your supervisor just didn’t give you permission in that program to do that function. I’ll email him and explain it.”

    Me: “Um, no. This is NOT something my supervisor can do in the program. Please contact the programmer to find out what is needed, because you clearly have no clue what you are talking about.”

    Techie: “Nope, it says right here in our documentation that your supervisor needs to give you permission in the program.”

    (He immediately hangs up the phone. Five minutes later, my boss comes over with a baffled look on his face, after receiving the email. I explain, and he goes back to his desk and emails the programmer again. The programmer emails the techie, and two hours later, the techie emails me to tell me that he had finally figured out the problem and when can he remote in again. We arranged it for 3:30, and right on the dot, the techie calls me up. He tells me some cock-and-bull story about how he worked SO HARD to figure out the problem and finally got the solution, as I hear him clicking away in the background. The only thing is, though, I’m watching my monitor, and it never changes to indicate that he has remoted in. The clicking and the monologue go on for another ten minutes or so, then techie announces happily:)

    Techie: “There! All installed! If you’ll just do CTRL-ALT-DEL and log back in, I’ll have you test it.”

    Me: “I’ve never been logged out.”

    Techie: “Sure you have, I logged in under my own ID on your computer and I installed all those files you needed.”

    Me: “Nope. I’ve been watching for the past ten minutes, and nobody has remoted in.”

    Techie: “Yes, I did. I installed all those files!”

    Me: “Are you sure you were remoting into the right computer?”

    Techie: “Of course I am! Your computer is named [LASTNAME_WRONGFIRSTNAME].” *pause* “Oh. Oh, s***!”

    Me: “Uh-huh. You probably want to try that again. And then you probably want to go back to the person whose computer you DID put the files on and take them all back off again.”

    One Day Her Prints Will Come

    | MI, USA | Coworkers, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (A coworker of mine was recently promoted to replace her supervisor, who had left the company quickly and unexpectedly. Although the coworker is diligent and devoted, she lacks the background and training to be effective in her new role. In particular, she has no skill whatsoever with technology. I’m male and under the age of 50, so I’m her go-to person for tech questions.)

    Coworker: “[My Name], can you show me how to change the toner in the printer?”

    Me: “Sure.”

    (I show her how to change the toner cartridge, which is pretty easy given that there are instructions on the box and the printer, and the whole process has only four steps. Three days later:)

    Coworker: “[My Name], can you change the cartridge? It’s out again.”

    Me: “Okay… let me show you how.”

    (I show her again how to change the cartridge, explaining each step. A week after that:)

    Coworker: “[My Name], I’m gonna need help with that printer again.”

    (I sigh deeply, resigning myself to changing her printer cartridge every few days. A few more days pass:)

    Coworker: “[My Name]?”

    Me: “The printer?”

    Coworker: “Oh, no, I finally got that figured out.”

    Me: “Okay, great; what can I help with?”

    Coworker: “My stapler is jammed.”

    Me: *facepalm in despair*

    The Employee And The Hummus Have A Code

    | ACT, Australia | At The Checkout, Employees, Technology

    (My husband and I are shopping for groceries and find my preferred hummus is on sale, with a weird really long barcode on it. I wonder if it will cause problems at the checkout, but grab two anyway. When we are done shopping we head to the self-serve checkouts. Note there is one staff member for nine of these checkouts.)

    Me: *gets up to hummus and it won’t scan* “D***, it doesn’t like my hummus!”

    (I try scanning it a few more times and then give up. I look around for the staff member. Just then the staff member walks by me and tells her nearest colleague that she is ducking out. My hand is up to signal her but I drop it, presuming she hasn’t seen me. On her way out she looks back and makes eye contact with me before hurrying away.)

    Me: *deflated* “Well, what the h*** do I do now?”

    (The machine, which had been mostly silent, suddenly speaks up…)

    Machine: “Type in the code, or look up item.”

    (My husband and I look at each other before bursting out laughing. I type in the massive code, and it works. I then have to repeat this for the other hummus. Luckily the sale price is applied properly and I don’t have to retype it. We finish up, pay and collect our groceries. As we are walking out, the staff member comes back into the store, and quickly averts her eyes.)

    Me: “Did she somehow intuitively know my hummus was a problem and avoided us?”

    Husband: *shrug* “It doesn’t matter; the machine knew what was going on.”

    Working Against The Clock

    | Berkshire County, MA, USA | Employees, Extra Stupid, History, Technology

    (I am 15, and I have a cheap digital watch that has stopped working. My dad offers to pay for a replacement battery since he is going to the store to buy a replacement band for my mother’s favorite watch, an old-fashioned wind-up watch that used to belong to her father. There are two people working the jewelry counter at this department store, an older gentleman, who was helping out a family, and a girl maybe two or three years older than I am.)

    Dad: “I would like a replacement battery for this watch.” *hands her mine* “…and a black leather band that is the same size as the broken one on this watch” *hands her my mom’s*

    (My dad and I start discussing the other stops we need to make, and are not paying attention to the girl behind the counter. My dad glances her way and immediately cries out in surprise since she is jamming a screwdriver into the seam of my mother’s watch trying to pry the back panel off of it.)

    Dad: “Wait, what are you doing?!”

    Clerk: *surprised at being challenged* “I’m trying to change the battery.”

    Dad: “Only the smaller one needs a battery; that one just needs a new band.”

    Clerk: *slowly, and condescending* “This one needs a battery, too.”

    Dad: “No, it doesn’t. It only needs a band.”

    (The clerk turns the watch over and points to the (not running) watch.)

    Clerk: “If the little hands on the watch are not moving, it is because the watch needs a new battery.”

    (My dad is not known for his patience, so I decide now would be a good time to jump in before something gets broken. The other clerk behind the counter and the family he was with heard enough of the exchange that they were now watching us as well.)

    Me: “That watch belonged to my grandfather and was made before batteries were invented.”

    Clerk: *sneering* “Well, then, how does it go?”

    (I take the watch from her, wind it a couple times, and hand the (now running) watch back to her.)

    Clerk: *baffled* “Well… then… how does it go?”

    (I explain to her how there is a spring in the watch that you wind up, and as the spring slowly unwinds it powers the watch. At this point the other clerk had finished the transaction for the other family and they all joined us at our end of the counter.)

    Clerk: *still not getting it* “But how does it go?”

    (The older clerk motions us over his side of the counter where he replaces the band on the watch. The other family (which included children younger than I am, but knew full well that some old watches ran without batteries) begin trying to explain to the younger clerk how a wind-up watch works – she is still obviously not getting it. My dad pays for everything and as we are leaving we heard the young clerk one last time.)

    Clerk: “But how does it go?”


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