So you think you're computer-illiterate? Check out the following excerpts from a Wall St. Journal article by Jim Carlton:

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.

AST tech 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 shipping bag.

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 eliminated magnets and heat as the cause, it was found that the customer stuck the labels on the diskettes, then rolled the disks into the typewriter to type the labels

Another AST customer was asked to send a copy of her defective diskettes. A few days later, a letter arrived with Xeroxed copies of the floppies.

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 closing the door to his room.

Another Dell customer phoned to say that 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.

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.

Another 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.

An exasperated caller told Dell Computer Tech Support that she couldn't get her new Dell computer to turn on no matter how hard she pushed on the foot pedal. The "foot pedal" happened to be the mouse.

True story from a Novell NetWire SysOp:

Caller: Hello, is this tech support?
Tech: yes it is. How may I help you?
C: The cup holder on my PC is broken, and I am within my warranty period. How do I go about getting it fixed?
T: I'm sorry, but did you say a cup holder?
C: Yes, it's attached to the front of my computer.
T: 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 the cup holder? Does it have any trademark on it?
C: It came with my computer. I don't know anything about a promotional. It just pops out when you push the button, and it has "4X4" written on it.

At this point, the tech had to mute the call because he couldn't hold back the laugh -- the caller had been using the load drawer of the CD-ROM drive as a cup holder, and had snapped it off.

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Last updated July 3, 1999.
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