Worst Computer Help Story?

Discussion in 'Community' started by Punani, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. Punani macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2004
    Los Angeles

    Just curious as to what has been the acme of everyone's most awful computer help experience--be it friends, family, etc.

    I once had to help out an acquaintance of my mom's to set up a Hotmail account (circa. 1997). It was clear she was somewhat computer literate, but it took me 1 hour to get her to fill out the Hotmail application. She asked me about every single form, "What should my password be?", "Is that password good enough?" "Does that email look good to you?" And so forth. Of course, then after she finished, she resized the browser window and the form data vanished...

    She really wasn't horrible to deal with, I just couldn't understand why she was asking me those questions, it was akin to asking a bank teller if my ATM PIN is good.
  2. MacNeXT macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2004
    I once helped a friend's father out with his Packard Bell. There were all sorts of problems, and I decided to do a reinstall. It took AGES because the Packard Bell recovery software was a total piece of crap.

    While the software was installing, we had a little chit chat with a cup of coffee. We talked about my Computer Science study and he asked me how to extract MP3's from music CD's. I told him I didn't know that off hand, but that I'd give it a try once the system was installed again.

    However, it was pretty late when it was finished, it took much longer than I anticipated and I subtly made clear that I wanted to go home. He must have interpreted as if I didn't know how to solve the MP3 issue, because he said "Uhmm ok, well could you ask a teacher of yours how to create MP3's then???"

    "Sure... I'll do that"

    Another story I heard from a study mate was that he was asked to install some sort of Disney computer game for a kid. The mother suggested he should make some sort of school project out of it...
  3. mgargan1 macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2003
    Reston, VA
    When I worked at gateway, I had a guy come into the store, pick up the mouse on one of the demo computers, and then point it at the screen in attempt to try to get it to move the cursor. The gentleman the explained to me that our mouse was defective, and he would proceed to buy a Dell, because their mice work.

    I also had a guy come in asking the difference between the celeron and pentium 4, well I told him... and he then went off telling me that he wanted me to grab two identical computers, in one put a celeron, and in the other a pentium 4. He wanted me to run a program to see if he could see the difference. Needless to say, i told him that I wasn't able to do that, and then he stormed out of the store telling me that he was going to buy a dell.

    I had another guy come in to the place where i work now, an apple reseller.. and he told me that he wanted a mac with windows... sure enough, i made him a solution with Virtual PC, and he said he wanted a truely windows machine, and proceeded to berate the Mac OS...

    I have lots more, but i'll spare you the really really bad ones.
  4. Free Faller macrumors newbie

    Jan 30, 2005
    This is a story that is currently going on.

    I guess it's LIVE you might say.

    My Powerbook had a creaky hinge. Big deal. It sounded bad when I moved the display. Big deal. It moved back and forth as I typed making a really annoying noise. Meh. I noticed cracks getting bigger on the hinge. :eek:

    So, I called up Apple.

    "Sorry we don't do take ins anymore"
    "What? Why's that? All companies do!"
    "We had many issues about lost hardware, sorry sir."
    "SO? Fix the problems. I want to send my Powerbook in."
    "Sir we have advised you to take it to the nearest reseller for repairs."
    "Sorry but the nearest one is 120 miles away. Go figure. I want to speak to your supervisor."

    At this point I was put on hold.

    Then the supervisor came on.

    "Sir, I am sorry about your situation. However, we canno-"

    "I am sorry as well. I just called up to send my Powerbook in for repairs. It is under warranty. I expect, in a warranty, to be able to SEND IN the product, not just to get 'advice' to take it 120 miles away. I am a student as are many of your customers. We cannot afford to drive around the country, I can't even drive. "

    "OK, I will file a case with Customer Relations, they are not open today though, please wait till Monday."

    Call ended.

    In the end, they took my Powerbook to the 120 mile away repairer.

    The Engineer called me and told me he needed a new display, it was the hinge playing up but a)Apple always sent a hinge and display, never one or the other (I was to learn this wasn't true, later) and b) he wanted to make sure it was the hinge, if it was the display then he could replace that.

    So, 11 days later, I recieve the Powerbook. Sweet? No. No fix whatsoever. And even worse, no charger, which they had asked for. I couldn't use it so I called the repairer.

    They took it back in, and they had to re order the display (why?).

    I called the Engineer, about 9 days later, he said that it had arrived, but there was no hinge. Just the display. And this didn't fix the problem.


    The hinge will be there tomorrow. Hopefully.
    3 weeks with no Powerbook.
  5. Duff-Man macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2002
    Albuquerque, NM
    Duff-Man says.....my job is to provide IT support so I have had plenty of stupid things happen...

    One of the stupidest incidents was having a user call complaining that the network printer kept "beeping" every minute or so and it was driving the people around it crazy. I asked if there was any error message on the printer display and was told "no, it just says Ready." I check the print queue and it is empty. Okay, so I told them I will come downstairs and have a look at it. So I get to the printer and sure enough I hear "beep beep" - but - the sounds are not coming from the printer all.....it is one of the idiots pager going off....needless to say when I pointed that out to them they felt a bit stupid......oh yeah!
  6. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    May 14, 2002
    Where am I???
    My father-in-law was doing tech help at M$ (he's MS Certified) and he got a call from a woman who wanted to know how to make her new modem work so she could get on the Internet.

    Long story short (and I'm paraphrasing a little), but after about an hour of flipping this switch and that, re-plugging, changing cables etc, he finally said,

    "Let's try rebooting your computer."

    To which the woman replied:

    "Computer??? I dont have a computer. I'm not spending all that money on a computer!"

    I'm not sure how she happened to find the help phone number, but somehow she did and I always smile when I hear that story
  7. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    I volunteer with a kid's summer camp and that camp is part of group of summer camps, basically a committee of a bunch of camp directors and staff, the committee's goal is to help different camps network with each other, help each other advertise and support each other on issues like getting suitable insurance, dealing with government regulations for campsites and water, etc.

    Anyway, at a recent meeting we met a bunch of camp directors who were interested in joining us. One of them was a rather large fellow who runs a "School of Rock" type summer camp (boy, that sounds fun!) He seemed like a good knowledgeable fellow, very direct in speech, commanding.

    Upon discovering I did computer tech stuff (I run the website for this committee) he came to me and asked if I did consultations. I don't (I'm a student) but I certainly entertained the idea. Why not? Drop in, fix a computer, make some quick bucks. I asked him what I could help him with.

    "Well, I'm with Rogers (cable internet), and every time I go to check my email, I get all these junk messages. How can I make that go away?"

    He wanted me to come over and fix his computer so he would not get spam anymore.

    I declined.

    (I wanted to suggest a spam blocker but I quickly got the feeling he would not understand how to use it, and be upset if it wasn't 100% accurate - in the end I referred him to the Rogers helpdesk, let them explain it...)

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