Stupid Questions at the Help Desk

Stupid Questions at the Help Desk

Stupid Questions at the Help Desk

I asked a user in London to copy a disk and then FedEx it to me. I was astounded to receive an actual printed photocopy of the disk. David Bulliment, Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc., Hawaii
[UPDATE: More stories here, plus, Am I too PC or not PC enough?] We’ve all heard the tale of the clueless computer user who is told by the Help Desk to press any key and responds by asking, “Which one is the ‘any’ key?” And then there’s the newbie who thinks the disk-tray on his PC is a cup-holder. I’ve always supposed that these chestnuts and others like them were apocryphal stories, meant to make us feel better about our own sometimes-tenuous grasp of technology. But what if these users are real? SysAid Technologies, an Israeli IT service management provider, asked IT managers around the world for true and bizarre service requests. The company distributed a list of memorable responses, some of which appear below. Did these anecdotes really happen? The ones with names attached carry more weight with me than the anonymous entries, but you can decide for yourself. It may be that the high percentage of incidents involving women indicates the persistence of the old, misogynistic IT culture. Got a story of your own? Send it along, and we can create our own list.
Senior Writer and author of the Know It All blog

Ed Cone has worked as a contributing editor at Wired, a staff writer at Forbes, a senior writer for Ziff Davis with Baseline and Interactive Week, and as a freelancer based in Paris and then North Carolina for a wide variety of magazines and papers including the International Herald Tribune, Texas Monthly, and Playboy. He writes an opinion column in his hometown paper, the Greensboro News & Record, and publishes the semi-popular EdCone.com weblog. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa, two kids, and a dog.
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