If you’ve ever suspected the tech support staff of acting a little bit passive-aggressive…

January 24th, 2011 · 126 comments

…well, you’re probably right. (Small acts of passive-aggression are just one of the many coping strategies IT workers employ in order to maintain their own sanity while forced to deal with incredibly, outrageously, mind-bogglingly stupid people like you.)

But if you think you’re being patronized when the Help Desk operator asks you to make sure your power cord is plugged in…well, you’re probably not. (Because — like the 10 other people who called before you complaining “My computer won’t turn on!” — your power cord probably isn’t plugged in.)

Just ask our submitter Jessica, who works the IT Help Desk at a college in Portland, Oregon. Jessica calls this chart,  created by fellow help-desker, “a very accurate visual representation of a typical day at work.”

The IT Help Desk Wheel of Responses: That sounds like a hardware problem. No, it's gone forever. OK, let me Google that for you. Have you tried restarting your computer? Is the cord plugged in? Have you tried changing your password? Yes, click OK. It's a scam, just delete it.

related: Passive-aggressive flowcharts

FILED UNDER: "customer service" · most popular notes of 2011 · Portland

126 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Smiley4099

    I would comment, but my computer won’t turn on because the cord’s not plugged in.

    Jan 24, 2011 at 7:33 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   Luisa

    Yes, we can tell what websites you look at. Yes, that includes the naked variety.

    Jan 24, 2011 at 7:38 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   AuntyBron

      ooOOoo! And I’m pretty sure that one is illegal in 23 states!

      Jan 24, 2011 at 8:26 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   Seanette

    I’ve done tech support. That wheel looks about right.

    Jan 24, 2011 at 7:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   Gene

      It is missing “Tap the keyboard” or “Move your mouse”

      -The computer screen isn’t showing anything, is it dead?
      -It is in sleep mode….

      Jan 25, 2011 at 5:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   the Librarian

    Have you tried turning it off and on again?

    Jan 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Indiechixor

      Great IT Crowd Quote, thought of that myself :D

      Jan 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   oi

      Was going to quote that! ok how about this?
      I’m sorry, are you from the past?

      Jan 24, 2011 at 10:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.3   The voice of... James Mason bang

      damn, you totally beat me to it!!! :-)

      Jan 24, 2011 at 10:32 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.4   WMDKitty

      Thing is, rebooting the computer works, like, 99% of the time.

      Jan 24, 2011 at 11:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.5   leena

      *headpalm* read first, then comment.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 12:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.6   Carol

      The IT Crowd reference FTW!

      Just don’t type Google into Google or you’ll break the internet.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 7:41 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.7   Karl

      I am SO going to post this to Friendface.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 6:19 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   Nunavut Guy

    Where’s Vanna?

    Jan 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   park rose

      In the Cherry Orchard?

      Jan 25, 2011 at 4:33 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   Canthz_B bang

      Flipping letters somewhere?

      Jan 25, 2011 at 5:58 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   park rose

      Nice, CB ♥ That’s what I call a money shot.

      Jan 26, 2011 at 6:54 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.4   Russian

      ‘In the CHERRY ORCHARD’ :) heart rose

      Jan 26, 2011 at 11:06 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #5.5   park rose

      A Russian would say that ♥

      Oh, I fixed up my email address so that my gravatar is showing again :oops:

      Jan 26, 2011 at 10:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   C.A.D

    Now if every office would just print one of these to post … they’d save a lot of money on their bill with the IT folks! I’m not sure if this is truly PA … since it is ever so true!!

    Jan 24, 2011 at 8:03 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   JetJackson

    I made a friend for life in the IT department the other day when I said “My PC can’t find a Dynamic Link Library file”. Name dropping IT acronyms has been the gateway to a new headset, larger screen and increased user privileges. They might get upset and frustrated when you know nothing but it only takes a little bit of IT knowledge to get them as excited as a meth addict that just found a rock in their underwear draw.

    Jan 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   Danny

      There’s a hyphen in dynamic-link library. ;) And, IMHO, it really should be “dynamically linked library”. But MS can rename things in grammatically-questionably ways if they want, I guess.

      Jan 24, 2011 at 9:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   shwo! bang

      Make friends in IT. Strive not to piss them off. This is the way to office happiness.

      Jan 24, 2011 at 11:51 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.3   SP

      There’s no hyphen with an adverb (ly ending) modifier. :)

      Jan 24, 2011 at 11:51 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.4   spoko bang

      I’ve worked in IT support for 12 years, and I would never refer to that kind of file as anything other than a DLL. If one of my users referred to it the way you did, I would assume they had stumbled randomly around Google for a half hour before calling me, which would have me very worried. Using big words when an acronym is appropriate is a symptom of A Little Bit of Knowledge. Which, in my experience, makes my job much more difficult.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 8:25 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.5   anglophile bang

      I say, old chap, can you help me with a tag for the HyperText Markup Language?

      Jan 25, 2011 at 9:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.6   GhostWriter bang

      A true Guardian to the IT Vault of Knowledge, are you. That’s what a dozen years in IT will do.

      My users..?” Oh Yes- the users are owned by IT! In fact, if one of “my” users speaks of a DLL file in any way other than acronyms, they are ridiculed- they have a disease called A Little Bit of Knowledge. Do they not realize how their small amounts of knowledge are simply annoyances, mere gnats, in comparison to the vast amounts of Knowledge which I bring to the table?

      I’ve never manned the Help Desk , but I think I can hold my own in the IT knowledge arena. That gives me no cred when I do call the Help Desk. I still get the same “meager peon” treatment.

      Have you ever tried to stop a Help Desk drone from stepping you through the six steps that pop up on his screen when you can’t access an application of a shared server? “Yes, I have the correct driver installed; we don’t have to do that again, I just did it myself!” “Yes, I have a valid login and rights, I wouldn’t be getting past the Login screen without those!” “No, I don’t need to update my password, I wouldn’t be getting past the Login screen with my current password if it didn’t work…”

      Then, we finally get to the problem- “Oh yeah, that partition is in maintenance today. We didn’t send out a notice because nobody’s here in the LA office from 2am to 6am- I guess we forgot about you guys in Atlanta…”

      Geeze- do ya think that Little Bit of Knowledge coulda been helpful before we spent a half hour redoing the troubleshooting I already did? But go ahead and write up that Support Ticket: “User could not access server app; – Performed troubleshooting; – App in Mnt., User instructed to retry in 1 hour.” Then you can claim Success when I finally get into the App – Good Job, Help Desk!

      Jan 25, 2011 at 9:25 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.7   anglophile bang

      Once, a long time ago in the dark ages, I had a problem with my CD drive driver, and it was preventing me to go online because it would only let my computer boot up in Safe Mode. So I called tech support.

      TS: no problem, do you have the CD with the driver on it?

      Me: Yes, but the CD drive isn’t working.

      TS: Oh, right. Then you can download the driver at such and such website.

      Me: I could, but the computer won’t let me out of Safe Mode, so therefore I can’t go online.

      TS: Oh, then you can just get it off the disk!


      I ended up having to drive home, download the driver onto a floppy, then drive back to work to install it, as we only had one computer.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 10:28 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.8   spoko

      Bitter much, GhostWriter?

      Jan 25, 2011 at 10:37 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.9   oi

      Our IT department updated our MSoffice to 2007 and screwed up the document managing program. Email war started between me and IT dep. They suggested bunch of generic solutions. None of them worked. I got pissed. Opened up my own eyes and the help files. did not find anything. really got pissed. this time actually opened the brain too. read coded error 55 times. found the clue word. plugged it in the search bar of help files. found three relevant topics. read them. figured out solution. followed through. voila!
      Now read the error code again. nothing at all. so changed my attack strategy from help files to common sense. opened the property box try to find the program name. found it was wrong! changed it to the correct one. Now followed the steps I previously deducted from help files.
      It worked!
      Called IT people. he acted like it was not a big deal. Then told me to write down those steps and email him. turned out there were lots of people facing same problem in other offices too.
      oh yeah we only have 50 people in our dedicated IT department.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 10:41 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.10   oi

      Makes you think why are they being paid for, for being lazy, shameless pirates?
      oh and my coworker said that I solved that problem because I am an Indian. :lol:

      Jan 25, 2011 at 12:48 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.11   The Elf

      I always found the best way to get IT perks is to be polite when asking for help and wear short skirts.

      I’m not sure which helps more.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 1:06 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.12   Seanette

      Responding to GhostWriter’s comment @7.6, techs don’t necessarily follow that set script to torture you. They do it because they’re required to and the supervisor monitoring that call will flip if they don’t follow that script exactly. In some cases, loss of employment could result from deviating from the dictated program for ANY reason.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 1:41 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.13   merkin4

      I used to take two dozen doughnuts to the Help Desk staff every payday. For three months, everything worked, and when it didn’t, it got fixed in minutes.

      After three months, I was back to persona non grata status. Had a huge problem, called the help desk, and got told to go redact myself. The following payday, I got a call from the help desk manager asking where the doughnuts for his staff meeting were.

      I explained the situation, and the following Monday, my computer had been switched out for something that should have had a Fischer-Price logo.

      Lesson – any courtesy to IT, no matter how small, will backfire.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 1:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.14   Erica T.

      Just as a random FYI, it’s not an acronym if you say the whole phrase.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.15   unholyghost2003 bang

      I too worked in an IT dept. My job was actually to break software that we developed/make it more “user friendly” for technotards. There were 6 people in a dept of about 15 that I would actually trust to USE my personal PC, 3 that I would trust to fix it. I swear that if 80% of people went to ONE IT weekly staff meeting they would realize that they have the skills to do most of their IT work themselves …

      Jan 25, 2011 at 11:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.16   Canthz_B bang

      I was almost arrested once for performing IT work…of course IT meant Inappropriate Touching, but I talked the girl out of pressing charges and got away with a warning.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 11:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.17   The Elf

      Random FYI, it’s only an acronym if it spells something you can say, like “SCUBA”. “DLL” is an initialism.

      /grammar nazi

      Jan 26, 2011 at 8:19 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.18   Canthz_B bang

      I verbalized “DLL” to a NJ State Trooper during a traffic stop in 1982.
      DUI laws were much less strict back then.

      Jan 26, 2011 at 9:00 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.19   butt

      I’m in IT, and in my department we’d just roll our eyes if someone tried to kiss our asses with a short skirt or a tech buzzword. Either we like you already, or we don’t (and probably won’t). We don’t care to give special/good equipment to anyone unless a firm partner requests it. Consider yourself lucky you don’t work at my company.

      Jan 26, 2011 at 7:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.20   JetJackson

      Butt, you’re spot on… I am so lucky not to work with a pretentious douchecanoe like you.

      Jan 26, 2011 at 9:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   Liz

    But … this doesn’t have the answer to the most mind-numbing question:
    “Which key is the ANY key?”

    Jan 24, 2011 at 9:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   leena

      we have a DVD-recorder in our office, and the remote actually DOES have a key that says ANYKEY. for all those who never could decide, i guess. our IT guy got a big laugh out of that.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 12:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   B.

    What does “CTRL” mean?

    Jan 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   punkypower

    It’s kind of ironic that the wheel was not created on a computer.

    Jan 24, 2011 at 9:45 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   The Elf

      The computer wasn’t plugged in.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   Faith

    I worked IT Helpdesk for 3 years at my last job…and I circled that wheel at least once a shift. Ugh.

    The worst part was when I jokingly said “did you plug it in?” I never got any laughs. DD=

    Jan 24, 2011 at 9:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   Crisp Flows

      Aaaand there’s glade’s “plug it in” jingle.

      Jan 24, 2011 at 10:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #11.2   punkypower

      I’m not an IT person, but people ask me for help with their computers at work. One person was positive her computer had died and wanted the actual IT guy summoned immediately. I pointed out to her that it was just unplugged only to have her refuse to believe that she could accidentally yank the plug with her foot.

      Another person wanted me to call IT because they couldn’t figure out how to center their text in Word.

      Jan 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   Jodi

    No, I can’t tell you how to rewind a DVD. You’ve called the wrong department. *head desk* (Yes, it did happen.)

    Jan 24, 2011 at 10:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   Crisp Flows

    Dang, I was hoping it’s a flowchart for creating a perfect PA Note.

    Jan 24, 2011 at 10:47 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   WMDKitty

    This is so very, very true.

    Jan 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   shwo! bang

    Yeah, you seem to have a “1-D-10-T” error. Have you tried checking the weak link between the keyboard and the chair?

    Jan 24, 2011 at 11:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   KillerKat

      Now, THIS is a quote I could definitely use!

      Jan 25, 2011 at 5:42 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.2   dohIT

      My particular favorite response is “This should be a picnic”

      Jan 25, 2011 at 8:59 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.3   WebFlyer

      PEBCAK error…. nothing we can do for that!

      Jan 25, 2011 at 11:47 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.4   Divvitar

      Ah, you beat me to it! ID-10-T error is a classic!

      Jan 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   dissipatedfog bang

    One of my favorite passive-aggressive (or perhaps just plain aggressive) sites is Let me google that for you: http://lmgtfy.com/. Type in the question and get a URL to send to somebody showing them how to use Google. I’ve never seriously used it, though I’ve been tempted many times.

    Jan 25, 2011 at 12:02 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   Kathy

      If people realized how often we Googled for solutions, they’d wonder why we have IT jobs at all. I swear, half the problems I solve are because of The Google. I think most clients think we know every error ever recorded for every piece of software and every hardware problem in existence. Still, I’m happy to Google for you for $70k a year.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 4:32 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   leena

    “have you tried turning it off and on again?” The IT-Crowd

    Jan 25, 2011 at 12:53 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #18   AuntyBron

    “Press Any Key – No, NO – not THAT one!”

    Jan 25, 2011 at 1:03 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #19   Canthz_B bang

    “Have you recently changed your password?…Okay then, try the new password.”

    Yeah, that was me. Changed my password on a Friday morning, and forgot all about it by Monday morning. Most embarrassing call to IT ever! :lol:

    Jan 25, 2011 at 2:59 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.1   *snerk*

      This is why I never change passwords on Fridays. Always, always at the beginning of the week. Because this would be me, too.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 10:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.2   The Elf

      Ours has a lockout if you enter the wrong password. I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked IT to reset my password because I changed it and forgot that I changed it. Then I have to change it to something new because I can’t reuse an old one. Hey, IT workers, at least I’m polite and appropriately sheepish when I ask.

      It really doesn’t help that I have over a dozen passwords for various things and they all have different change schedules and security requirements (must include special character, no special characters, min 5 characters, min 8 characters, etc). Then, when we get our security training, they say “Never write your passwords down!”

      Jan 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.3   Russian

      It’s strange the way I can remember all my passwords, but not which one is for which thing! Maybe if I wrote down an encoded reminder to myself. Anyone else have this problem?

      Jan 26, 2011 at 11:08 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.4   oi

      me too! Usually it takes like 3-4 trials to arrive at right one for the websites that I don’t use everyday. Of course system locks me out after third time. It would help if they put specific password restrictions with the log in screen.
      Yes! I have arrived at solution. I will write down restriction for each site and I can pick the right pw at first try! Thanks Russian for breaking down the problem for me.

      Jan 26, 2011 at 11:46 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.5   Canthz_B bang

      I hate the security question in case you forget your password.

      What street did you grow up on?

      Did I say “Halstead St”, Halstead Street”, “Burnett Ave”, or “Burnett Avenue”?

      Never mind. Your website isn’t really that important to me.

      Jan 28, 2011 at 4:08 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #20   NickDrakeFan

    I do tech support for video poker machines and that wheel is very accurate, even for us.
    If you’ve ever seen The IT Crowd, one of the characters just answers the IT desk phone with “IT, have you turned it off and back on again?” Brilliant.

    Jan 25, 2011 at 3:01 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #21   Grant

    It’s been my sad duty for over 10 years now to ask the inevitable. It also works for Sky TV boxes as well.
    We have a code for numpty call-outs; “your basic IO error.” Meaning of course incompetent operator. Also known as PEBCAK – problem exists between chair and keyboard.

    Jan 25, 2011 at 3:45 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #22   Oink

    I love “yes, click OK” – it’s my absolute favourite.

    Jan 25, 2011 at 4:28 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #23   Dave Gambrill

    If you want to be a little passive-aggressive after you Google for someone, you can use this handy site http://lmgtfy.com/ . It will show them exactly how they should have Googled it themselves. Enjoy!

    Jan 25, 2011 at 5:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #24   Russian

    While most of them are amusingly PA, does anyone think ‘that sounds like a hardware problem’ is completely useless? ‘You’re right, it’s not working. No, I don’t have any helpful solutions.’

    Jan 25, 2011 at 5:45 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #25   zomboid

    so that’s what those useless fuckers are doing 5 out of 7 working hours when they’re unavailable…building spinny wheels out of coloured paper and staples

    Jan 25, 2011 at 7:05 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.1   clumber

      No no, we can make pretty colored paper wheels while we are walking you through the steps to update your work-vital instant messaging program… which consist of “click install… click yes… click next… click yes…”

      Hell I could do it in my sleep AND make a pretty paper wheel. Unavailable means I already have 3 or 4 ‘special-snoflake users’ like you in the queue and/or you have been tagged as an asshole, which automatically puts you on the outer edge of our SLA.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 10:31 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.2   zomboid

      well, either that or you’re super-busy losing your shit on an internet comments thread.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 10:49 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.3   Cake Train bang

      Hell, we can lose our shit over the entirety of the internets while making papercraft squirrels and sleeping when you call up and start waxing poetic about how much simpler everything was back when people would just talk to each other face to face and you didn’t even need to “clean out your inbox” because it’s full of cat pictures and goat videos.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 12:04 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.4   clumber

      Actually, not that anyone (even me) gives a shit, but I was running a search for a missing file on one of our servers that a user mistakenly deleted or moved or renamed (she can’t be bothered to remember which) AND letting another users’ computer install an updated IM patch remotely. I had several progress bars running while playing on PAN. Oh, and my shit wasn’t lost at all. My amusement was mildly engaged though. Sorry but my face just always looks like that.

      Cake Train…. papercraft squirrels = awesome. How ’bout some armadillos?

      Jan 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.5   GhostWriter bang

      That brings up a Good Point. Why do I have to clean out my inbox? Google doesn’t make me do that- and I thought your mightiness was more mighty than Google.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 12:17 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.6   Cake Train bang

      That’s a good point Ghostwriter.. you should just forward all your goat videos to your gmail account and delete them from your work computer, that way the next time you request an increase in your mailbox quota you’ll have a legitimate reason for it!

      clumber: armadillo is now next on my list!

      Jan 25, 2011 at 12:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.7   GhostWriter bang

      That brings up a Good Point Cake… Why do you DeskMonkey’s always answer the hard questions with, “Oh, ‘Google’ does it? Well, why don’t you just go use Google then? Why are you even talking to me?” PS: You can have my goat videos when you pry them from my cold dead HDD.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.8   Cake Train bang

      I’ve encountered Another Good Point Ghost! Just because NASA can launch rockets into the Sun doesn’t mean that Dr. Ajax’s Miracle Hair Tonic Inc. should have that capability as well.
      Also, if you are saving your goat videos to your HD you shouldn’t have a problem with your inbox quotas as long as you delete the original message. FYI

      Jan 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.9   zomboid

      you’re right clumber, no-one gives a shit that you actually have to do some IT support work at your IT support job. what a drag for you, man. no wonder you’re upset.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 1:27 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.10   GhostWriter bang

      I assume that through your cryptic analogy, Cake, you are accepting the role of Dr. Ajax (and his Miracle Hair Tonic, Inc.). I award you three Jolly Good Points just for that volunteerism. Filming for “Ajax versus the Goats” begins tomorrow at 6 in the Help Desk Break Room. Wear your lab coat.

      PS: I don’t delete the original goat video messages because I enjoy the Directors Notes accompanying the files.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.11   clumber

      hehehehhhebahahhaha… awesome. You think I’m upset? Bahahhahaa… that’s funny. I was replying to your accusation that 5 of my 7 hour days were spent being a useless fucker making comments on PAN. Besides, I work 10-hour days. I was just trying to offer up the possibility exists that we useless fuckers could be doing more than 1 thing at a time.

      Other Good Points: Clean your inbox – well in our situation here we have to pay for all exchange email accounts and the price goes up for any account storing more than X_MB. We in IT think that is ragingly stupid, but not our call. The UberExecs have declared that no email boxes* shall be allowed to be over X_MB b/c they do not want to pay for it, so when anyone goes over that, their email is locked and we get the fun of those work tickets. We have none of the authority yet all of the responsibility and we get yelled at for this all the time.

      google We always? Always? Ok… well I’ve been in IT (deskmonkey?) for a bit over a decade and I cannot recall ever answering a hard question (or any question) with that phrasing. I love when folks do some research on their own, but it is so rare I am probably just admiring it like one would a 2-headed sheep.

      Any other good point/questions? I truly enjoy this sort of exchange. We do not have file server quotas here (yet) so I can’t answer to that except broadly. **

      *except their own
      ** I answer everything broadly, since I am a broad. heh

      Jan 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.12   clumber

      Passwords Can’t defend them at all. Especially when someone is expected to keep a dozen of them, all different requirements, all different spans of time. At the very least, single sign-on should be used. There are many studies that show security is simply not enhanced at all by making folks change p/w’s frequently. ~shrug~ However, the folks who make the policies really like the idea of difficult passwords…. Probably at least 10 of every 50 work tickets I get in a day are password related. In my personal opinion, that is a design flaw, not a user issue.

      Just please don’t tell other ppl your passwords, don’t hide your p/w on a postit note under your keyboard, on your monitor, or on the bottom of your trackball. I get neck strain trying not to see that sort of thing.

      [WTF - 4 posts on this and CB hasn't stopped by to slap me around yet?! I feel so abandoned... so lost...]

      Jan 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.13   zomboid

      your seven-paragraph TL;DR answer has certainly convinced me that you’re not fuming so hard at your little desk that your specs are steaming up and your shirt-pocket pens have all popped like cartoon thermometers

      my mistake

      Jan 25, 2011 at 2:33 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.14   clumber

      Ok Zomboid, just for you.

      Me like debate.
      Me love LOVE job.
      Me can do many things at once.
      PAN = fun!
      Me try explain to questions posed. Some need more than 1 sentence.
      Me sincerely apologize for your loss.
      Me also sincerely feel sorry for your IT staff.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 3:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.15   Cake Train bang


      tWrite, of course I’ll be in the Break Room at 6 to play Dr. Ajax’s. Hopefully you can bring the goat costumes for the extras and print out all of your saved Directors Notes for inspiration!

      Jan 25, 2011 at 3:45 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.16   zomboid

      don’t feel sorry for ‘my’ IT staff on my account, i’ve been working from home since the entire university server was down for three weeks running in december and they still haven’t quite got it going again. that was shortly following some weeks-long balls-up where hundreds of newer users lost access to their workstations after some virus fucked up the active directory. i don’t think anyone is exactly relying on them for support…

      Jan 25, 2011 at 7:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.17   Canthz_B bang

      Sorry, clumber, all I know about computers is how to hit the F5 key all day and night to see who has replied to my comments.
      Haven’t you heard? That’s all I do with my life!. ;-)

      Jan 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.18   park rose

      zomboid, clumber is great. That is all.

      Jan 26, 2011 at 7:05 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.19   Canthz_B bang

      *wonders which dumbass user downloaded the virus and how zomboid would fix the system*

      Jan 26, 2011 at 7:50 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #25.20   techess

      Wait, let me get this straight — a virus got into the network, so the tech people had to work around (or through?) the holidays recreating accounts and rebuilding the servers, while you get to sit at home?

      Geez, have a heart.

      Jan 28, 2011 at 11:11 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #26   Tess

    I love IT Crowd! And this wheel. And most of this thread.

    I read the others, but didn’t see “PICNIC” yet– Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.

    Jan 25, 2011 at 7:13 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #27   anglophile bang

    40 comments and no one’s linked this classic yet?

    Jan 25, 2011 at 7:20 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #27.1   Mark bang

      Dammit, Glo, I was totally going to link exactly that if nobody had mentioned it before I got to the bottom of the thread.

      Glo FTW! That flowchart is so totally exactly what IT people do.

      Unfortunately when I was doing IT work in college, it was before teh Google. We were using NCSA Mosaic, and people were still using blink tags religiously. Teh Google makes IT work a lot easier.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 9:14 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #27.2   =)

      I’m surprised that nobody has linked to web guy vs. sales dude.


      Jan 26, 2011 at 12:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #27.3   ITDrone

      Damn, anglophile! You beat me to it!

      Jan 26, 2011 at 9:48 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #28   anglophile bang

    I am the de facto tech support person for a small business. One computer, one completely technologically moronic boss. One day she called me after I got home from work and told me the printer stopped printing. She put new toner in it and that didn’t work. I asked if she checked for paper jams but neglected to specify both the front and back access doors. When I got back in, sure enough, paper jam in the back area.

    Two weeks later, I get a call from her. She’s got another paper jam, she has the back door open, now how does she get it out? I ask, what, is it really stuck? She says, no, can’t I just pull it out? :roll:

    Jan 25, 2011 at 7:24 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #28.1   Russian

      Paper jam in the back area? What are you really saying? ;)

      Jan 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #28.2   Canthz_B bang

      I’d have told her the printer was dead and had her buy a top of the line model to replace it!!

      That actually worked for me (not a paper jam, just an ancient printer) when I was doing billing for a durable medical equipment supplier.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 11:46 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #29   GhostWriter bang

    None of these sounded familiar until I read them out loud, using an Indian accent.

    Jan 25, 2011 at 8:07 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #30   owlie

    And sometimes IT is just fucking lazy.

    Jan 25, 2011 at 8:16 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #30.1   cackalacka

      Yeah, I work in a tech-support related area. Sometimes IT is perceived to be lazy, but due to budget cuts, they have to deal with 10x the amount of users/issues from charming people such as yourself.

      One can establish a validated system, built to spec, on time, and under-budget, and there will always, ALWAYS be some terse asshole who is pissed off because the system doesn’t do some heretofore unstated function.

      And their comments always has a personal critique lodged in there.

      “What, the system doesn’t serve soft-serve ice-cream? I know a guy in India that can remotely serve ice-cream AND sprinkles anywhere on the globe for half the cost of what we contracted you morons for.”

      Being a dick to your colleague is not a surefire way to get YOUR problem solved.

      When talking to an IT counterpart, one should ask themselves “Hey, if I acted this way to my waitress, does this raise the likelihood that phlem or bile will end up in my food?”

      If the answer is “Yes,” you may wish to adopt a more professional and collegial attitude.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 10:27 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #30.2   oi

      “you may wish to adopt a more professional and collegial attitude.”

      or he would spit in your computer’s mother board. He would say that he isn’t proud of it but he is a harbinger of the truth. So he will spit in your computer’s motherboard.

      oh shit! You already are spitting in their computer’s mother board! should have read the whole comment instead of just the last sentence.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 12:52 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #30.3   clumber

      I can’t help myself… spitting on mainboards makes such a satisfying sizzzzzle noise!

      Jan 25, 2011 at 2:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #30.4   owlie

      I’m a little bitter because it took me being polite albeit increasingly frustrated for 5 hours yesterday in back and forth e-mails to why they couldn’t type in a 12-digit MAC address to get my new computer validated on the good work network. I only received 6 e-mails telling me to just connect to the guest network (which I repeatedly told them I was already on), which usually requires at least 10 refreshes to download yahoo’s front page and downloads my files at 20 KB/sec.

      I finally went in person and found the IT guy playing Microsoft Hearts. A quick call to his supervisor got that problem fixed in about 5 minutes. Professional and collegial attitudes work both ways. Don’t tell me what I already know, especially in an epic wall of text.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 2:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #30.5   cackalacka

      “Don’t tell me what I already know, especially in an epic wall of text.”

      Says the guy whose second post weighs in the same weight-class as mine.

      Your slack-ass company’s work ethic notwithstanding, we live in a world where, since folks experience frustrations with inanimate objects, they are entitled to treat support staff as such.

      Trust me on this, professional and collegial attitudes do not work both ways.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 3:43 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #30.6   owlie

      Learn2reading comprehension then: “SOMETIMES they’re just fucking lazy”, so don’t get your panties in a bunch over a one-line statement. I was giving an anecdote from my own experience, whereas yours was the ravings of a disgruntled IT person. I’m not the one yelling at you over something you can’t help so don’t take it out on me. Sorry everyone’s mean to you, go home and cry about it to your WoW guild more. They’re your real friends, I promise.

      Jan 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #31   spoko bang

    The “Let me Google that for you” wedge should be about six times as wide as the others.

    Jan 25, 2011 at 8:29 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #32   Mimi


    Jan 25, 2011 at 8:34 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #33   aaa bang

    Hm. I’m feeling mentally lazy today, so I’ll just link to the Tech Support category on Not Always Right.

    Jan 25, 2011 at 8:54 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #34   Tucker

    “/sigh….Did you have the Caps Lock key on when you reset your password?” Yes, this happens often at a Community College Helpdesk

    Jan 25, 2011 at 11:37 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #35   crazedraven

    Okay, I work in IT…and I have to say, yes, we occasionally make people go through a bunch of generic, obvious steps before we get down to the solution, but that’s because you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve taken a user at their word that they’ve already performed these steps, only to find out after a half hour on the phone that they did NOT perform all those steps, or didn’t perform them correctly, and the problem was simple, and my time and theirs was wasted. So don’t blame me if I don’t take you at your word that you know what you’re doing. It’s not that I think I’m smarter than you, it’s that I already know how dumb all YOUR coworkers are. ;)

    Occasionally, I get a really great call, a call that’s like the support desk call equivalent of Plan 9 From Outer Space…so bad it makes my day. Like the time this one guy called me and needed to reset his e-mail password. When I told him to open Internet Explorer and go to a certain web address, his response was:

    “Okay, but I have dial-up. I’ll have to do that and then call you back.”

    Jan 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #35.1   clumber

      At least he understood that…. I used to work frontline tech support for a big bank and more often than not we would say something like, “Now, after we disconnect, I need you to click the next button” and then {CLICK!}

      Or my other favorite – I say something like “ok click next” and immediately I hear rapid typing. WTF ARE YOU DOING! ONE CLICK! I SHOULD HAVE HEARD ONE CLICK! THIS IS WHY “My screen doesn’t say that.” happens!

      Jan 25, 2011 at 2:25 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #35.2   ITDrone

      Clumber, I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked the user to take their hands off the keyboard or mouse after hearing “tappity tappity tap” or “click, click, click, scroll, click”


      Jan 26, 2011 at 9:57 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #35.3   Kate from Iowa

      God, that alone reminds me of my mother’s first PC. She had me up until nearly 2 am, I ran through everything I could think of that might be wrong, had her check and double check and rechek all the connections, wires everything…even had her looking for missing bits or signs that the boxes had been dropped by the UPS guy. Finally, at 1:45 (we’re speaking am, and I had to be at work at 5,) she goes “Oh shit. You are going to be so pissed at me. It’s all plugged into the power strip, but I forgot to plug the powerstrip into the wall.”

      Jan 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #35.4   Dina

      I think my favorite story my IT-working girlfriend every brought home was the time someone managed to explode a desktop by confusing the voltage switch with the power switch.

      Jan 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #36   Canthz_B bang

    I try not to call our Help Desk.
    I’m afraid that when they take remote control of my computer they’ll spit in it. :-P

    Jan 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #36.1   PANdrews

      Computer says ‘No’…

      Jan 26, 2011 at 7:46 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #37   MitziBell

    The IT techs who are slackers don’t care about your problem, no matter how big or small. The good ones are taking care of seven other people ahead of you, five of them at once, three of whom are even more stupid and entitled than you could ever be, no matter how bad you are. Might as well read PAN. :-)

    Jan 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #38   techess

    These comments are a good example about how in IT, you’re darned if you do, darned if you don’t. Of course there are cruddy IT people out there, but please remember — we deal with a lot of people.

    If you’re good with computers, fantastic, but there’s a good chance that most of your co-workers are not, which means that if we start every conversation with “Are you sure it’s plugged in”, it’s not an insult — we just may not remember which 5 out of 100 people are tech savy.

    For every person who does some research to try and help the tech team, there’s a person (or 12) who has done “a little research” and will now argue and argue and argue about the cause of a problem.

    And for pete’s sake, yes we do have to look things up because there is a lot of “stuff” under the IT umbrella. Someone may be great at networking, hardware, and fixing printers, but not know every quirk of Excel 2007. It happens. If the user figures out the answer faster, I think it would be nice to share the fix with the IT person.

    I know, I know, TL;DR, but there you go.

    Jan 28, 2011 at 11:04 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #39   Niveus Pluma

    Surely there’s only one response IT helpdesk techies need: “Turn it off and turn it on again”. Works every time…

    …except when it’s not plugged in, of course.

    Jan 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #39.1   Chimera

      Or when the power’s out. Yep. My war story:

      Client calls. Computer won’t turn on. Go through all the usual. Tell her to make sure it’s plugged in. She says she can’t tell, it’s daaark back there. I say can’t she turn on a lamp or something. She says, “Oh, no, the power’s been out for a while!”

      Feb 8, 2011 at 4:00 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #40   mo

    The worst is the IT techs that absolutely don’t know anything about IT. FAIL!

    Jan 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #41   travtek

    Recorded message, “We are now closed. Please hold for the next available representative.”

    Feb 12, 2011 at 2:26 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up


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