The American people are very generous
people and will forgive almost any weakness, with the possible
These are actual quotes from people who call up computer support
- "We don't know our address"
- "Is 'Utility' a word?"
- "My keyboard and floppy drive are broken because when I type
my name it says 'Bad command or file name'"
- "What processor does my 486 have - a 80286 or a 80386?"
- "Oh, I was putting a slash when you said 'space'"
- "My screen is under the monitor"
- "Do you do this for a job?"
- "It says it's not ready to read the CD ROM drive."
Tech: "Is there a CD in the drive?"
- "I've set the jumper cables properly."
- Tech: "Is there a disk in the A: drive?"
Tech: "Take the disk out."
- "Do I need to exit Windows to move the icon?"
- "What's my fax number?"
- Tech: "Do you have the computer open now?"
"Sure, I'm in the Program Manager."
- "How do I hit 'Escape'? With the mouse?"
- "My stereo isn't working."
- "... something ignorant is happening ..."
- "Oh, that space!"
- "I forget how to spell 'fix'."
- Adult caller: "Can you talk to my dad while I go pee?"
(Yes, an adult said this!)
- "I deleted some files."
Tech: "Which files?"
"I don't know."
Tech: "How did you delete them?"
"I don't know."
Tech: "Are you getting any errors?"
Tech: "How do you know you deleted files?"
"I don't know, I just do."
- "I didn't realize I was using software."
- "I'm installing Macintosh Works for Windows..."
- "I put the CD in the 5¼ floppy drive..."
- Tech: "The phone cable may have a short in it."
"But I have plenty of cable!"
- Reading back what he typed: "D-E-F-R-A-Z-G"
Tech: "Does 'defragment' have a 'z' in it?"
"Yes it does."
- "... there's some sunglasses with one red lens and one blue lens
..." (talking about 3-D glasses)
- "I bought this game and I want to know how to install
it. It came with these square things."
Tech: "Those are disks"
"Oh, is that what they are? Now, how do we get them into the computer...
- "I have an 810 milli-byte hard drive..."
- "My computer isn't talking to me."
- Tech: "Can I have your phone number starting with
area code first please?"
"Okay." BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP... (dialing number on
Tech: "No, sir. This isn't a recording..."
- "I haven't sent in my registration yet. Is that why I have
- "I've got a new printer. How do I get it into the computer?"
- "... 'Not ready reading drive A:'. Do I need to
put a disk in?"
- "I feel like I've done something. I don't know what,
- "I got this CD-ROM game from a store and there's no icon for it
- "I typed 'C:'; how do I enter it? The right
- "My reset button is on my modem."
- "How do we run the recovery disk? I can't figure out how
to start the computer."
Tech: "What happens when you start up without a disk?"
"We haven't tried that yet."
- Tech: "Okay, now what do you see on the screen?"
"Just a second, let me concentrate on what you said."
- "My manual says to type 'A:HPSETUP'."
Tech: "Then type that."
- "I deleted a drive."
- "I purchased my computer in August of 26."
- Tech: "What version of DOS do you have?"
"Yes, yes, that is correct."
- "I shut it off and I didn't get anything."
- "I've been trying to get through to you for 4 days and now I can't
remember why I called."
- "I'm going to continue to work with it until I find something
else wrong and then I'm going to call back."
- "I don't do much in DOS, but I like the Microsoft part
- Tech: "Any additional hardware?"
"Yes, Lotus 1-2-3."
- "I'm trying to figure out how to make a floppy disk."
- "I rebuilt my memory."
- "It sounds like there's a mouse inside of my computer bumping
- Tech: "Turn off computer. Insert restore diskette. Turn
computer back on."
"I turned the tube off. Do I need to turn the computer off
- "There are jumpers, but I can't see them."
- "These SIMM sockets are running away from me."
- "I came across this disk and stuck it in the computer. I went
into this screen and I thought I knew the settings. And now it's
doing it over and over!"
- "I'm one of your customers and I'm also a fireman."
- "It says to make sure it's off before you plug anything in so
we haven't connected anything yet. How do you know it's off?"
Tech: "Do you have the power cord plugged in?"
"No. And we can't tell if it's off or not..."
- "I've just beeen connected to you."
- "I added a black and white 24-pin polka dot printer."
- "Where would the [paperwork] be? In my hutch somewhere?"
- "It's givin me a bunch of readin."
- "I reformatted the 16-bit sound card."
- "It kept telling me to put in another disk. I've got 15 in there
now and can't read drive A:."
- "I need to ask about the Microsoft in my computer."
- "I'm just a customer and I enjoy the heck out of it!"
- "How do you start the encyclopedia? I put the CD in and clicked
on the icon and it says 'New Grolier's Encyclopedia' at the top and it
has these changing pictures and says to hit 'Escape' to continue. It's
been doing that for an hour now."
- "I keep getting a 'Fixed disk 0 failure'. We thought
it was a problem with our printer cable."
- (Trying to get to a C: prompt from Windows:) "Should
I escape out of DOS?"
- "OK, in my audio batch it says 1024 and I've read that means it
has four megabytes RAM."
- "I have a question and I can't seem to find it anywhere."
- Tech: "Do you run those games from DOS?"
"No. I bought them."
- "... I keep getting this C dot dot slash thing... Where am
Tech: "You're in DOS."
"Well, how do I turn this thing off? I can't go
anywhere from here!"
- Tech: "Type 'edit' and then--"
"How do you spell that?"
- "I'm setting up the computer and I've gotten to the point where
it says I'm ready to go and I don't seem to be going anywhere."
- "It keeps saying I need a mouse and I have a mouse,
but it won't listen to me!"
(Later said that he was yelling at the computer, but it didn't help...)
- "Are you real? or are you talking to someone else?"
- "I've been deleting files from my CD-ROM drive..."
- "I've got the A/C adapter in the right speaker; do I need
to plug it in too?"
- (After asking for customer's phone number:) "Hold a sec! I'll
need to think about that one."
- "'Not ready reading drive D:'. And it won't do anything!"
Tech: "Do you have a CD in the drive?"
"No. It's all preloaded on the system."
- Tech: "Okay. Now put the modem back in."
"I've got two of them."
Tech: "You only have one modem."
"Well, I've got a modem and a sound card."
Tech: "Right. Put the modem back into the computer."
"Just the modem? Not the sound card?"
(Later:) Tech: "Now let's put the sound card back in."
"Okay. Oh, I put the sound card in already. Should I take
it out and put the modem in now?"
- "Help!! I can't get 'Barbie and Her Magical Playhouse' out
of my computer!"
- "Hi. I formatted my hard drive thinkin it would cure somethin
and now there's nothin on it."
- "There's a program in my computer and I was wondering if
you could tell me what it should have." (Waits...)
- "Are you also a technician? Can I ask you a question?"
- "I was trying to program my unit and the CD-ROM doesn't work."
Tech: "Did you get an error message when trying to access
"No, not really."
- "For some reason we were using our computer the other day and..."
- "My screen has no red on it."
(Tech goes through the standard procedures and verifies that the red
signal isn't getting through, just the blue and the green.)
Tech (joking): "Did you try chanting in binary?"
Tech: "Yeah, just 10110100101..."
"The red it back!"
Tech (incredulous): "What?!?"
"Yeah, I can see red in everything in Windows now!! Let me
reboot to be sure... yep! The red bars are back..."
Tech: "Well, I can't guarantee it will stay..."
- "Do you make scanners? I'm at the computer all of the time and
I enjoy listening to scanners."
- "How do you delete a screen?"
- "The reason I'm asking about the cache is because I work
for the county for their homeless shelter and my granddaughter goes to
school. Do you understand?"
- Tech: "... X1DT12345 space and the 'greater
than' symbol which is the shift and the period key."
(Command echoes to the screen)
Tech: "What did you type for the 'greater than'?"
"The greater than symbol on the shift two key."
- "It's downloading, but it's not shaking hands."
- "I put the CD in the CD room and the disk in and nothing happened."
- (To his child:) "I'm talking to a human being right now!"
- "Where am I calling you from?"
- "I locked myself out of my computer."
Tech: "Well, what errors are you getting?"
"No really, I locked myself out. I lost that little
key and I can't get back in."
- "It says 'Press F1 to continue'. Should I continue?"
"You mean press F1?"
Tech: "Yes!" (already.)
- "After lightning flashed, sparks came out of my computer."
- "I have got a ... Pentium processor 486."
- "I was on the phone for three days waiting for you guys, then
I said 'To heck with it' and decided to do what the instructions said."
- "Could you stay on the line while this does it? I'm scared
to be alone with it."
Tech: "Why is that?"
"It's been doing weird things on me lately..."
- "But I did clean the disk! I put 10 of them in the dishwasher
- "Delete dial tone?"
- Tech: "Press F1 to enter setup."
- (About a chess program:) "I spent $2,000 on this computer
and it tells me I'm in checkmate when I'm not!"
Tech: "Sir, that appears to be a bug in Microsoft's program.
I'd like you to fax me an image of the screen and we'll send that to Microsoft
and let them know about the bug. The computer itself it not causing the
"You tell me I spent thousands of dollars on this computer
and it has a bug in it? I can't have my kids getting this false information
that this computer is giving me..." (Rambles on.)
Tech: "Sir, can you hold a minute?"
"Yeah, I can hold a minute. Either that or just give me my
- "I'd like to know how much a flight is from Jersey to New York?"
(This, after waiting on hold for 45 minutes with the computer company's
hold messages going on.)
- "Help, I'm drowning in cords!! I've got two black things in my
hand and I don't know where they go."
Tech: "What do they look like?"
"They have three prongs on one side and three holes in the other."
Tech: "Those are power cords."
"Yeah, where do they go?"
(She was trying to set up her computer ... again.)
- "MS Word 6 fell out of my system!"
- Tech: "Type CD space WINDOWS."
"I don't have a Windows key."
- "When you first bring your computer home and plug it in, does
it feed itself?"
- "My mouse is gone. Is that why they call them mice, because they
get up and walk away sometimes?"
- "I have an IBM convertable running dose."
- "... we're stuck in DOS ... How do we get back into [Windows]
so that we can turn off the computer?"
- "... Hello? I just bought this computer and I don't
know the first thing about it. What do I do with it?"
- (Reading:) "'You need to save your work in a new life'..."
- "It says 'Microwave Windows'..."
- "It's coming up into MS-DOS for Workgroups."
- "It's coming up to Microscopic Windows."
- "It's coming up to Microsoft for Works."
- "It says, 'Windows for Workshops'."
- "I have Microsoft for Workgroups."
- "It says 'Windows for WordPerfect 3.11 Setup'."
- "I need the manual for Microsoft Workgroups for Windows."