When Dealing With Someone Who Is Computer Illiterate, Here Is The Best Way To Handle It

Me: “Microsoft Office computer assistance; may I help you?”

Customer:“Yes, well, I’m having trouble with Word.”

Me:“What sort of trouble?”

Customer:“Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away.”

Me:“Went away?”

Customer:“They disappeared.”

Me:“Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?”

Customer:“Nothing.”

Me:“Nothing?”

Customer:“It’s blank; it won’t accept anything when I type.”

Me:“Are you still in Word, or did you get out?”

Customer:“How do I tell?”

Me: [Uh-oh. Well, let’s give it a try anyway.] “Can you see the C:\ prompt on the screen?”

Customer:“What’s a sea-prompt?”

Me: [Uh-huh, thought so. Let’s try a different tack.] “Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?”

Customer:“There isn’t any cursor: I told you, it won’t accept anything I type.”

Me:[Ah–at least s/he knows what a cursor is. Sounds like a hardware problem. I wonder if s/he’s kicked out his/her monitor’s power plug.] “Does your monitor have a power indicator?”

Customer:“What’s a monitor?”

Me:“It’s the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it’s on?”

Customer:“I don’t know.”

Me:“Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?”

Customer:[sound of rustling and jostling] [muffled] “Yes, I think so.”

Me:“Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it’s plugged into the wall.”

Customer:[pause] “Yes, it is.”

Me:[Hmm. Well, that’s interesting. I doubt s/he would have accidentally turned it off, and I don’t want to send him/her hunting for the power switch because I don’t know what kind of monitor s/he has and it’s bound to have more than one switch on it. Maybe the video cable is loose or something.]When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?”

Customer:“No.”

Me:“Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.”

Customer:[muffled] “Okay, here it is.”

Me:“Follow it for me, and tell me if it’s plugged securely into the back of your computer.”

Customer:[still muffled] “I can’t reach.”

Me:“Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?”

Customer:

“No.”
Me:“Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?”

Customer:“Oh, it’s not because I don’t have the right angle –it’s because it’s dark.”

Me:“Dark?”

Customer:“Yes–the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.”

Me:“Well, turn on the office light then.”

Customer:“I can’t.”

Me:“No? Why not?”

Customer:“Because there’s a power outage.”

Me:“A power–!?! …[AAAAAAARGH!] A power outage? Aha! Okay, we’ve got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?”

Customer:“Well, yes, I keep them in the closet.”

Me:“Good! Get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from.”

Customer:“Really? Is it that bad?”

Me:“Yes, I’m afraid it is.”

Customer:“Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?”

Me:“Tell them you’re TOO STUPID TO OWN A COMPUTER!” [slam]

(Source)

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