Feb 03

If anyone has ever called the tech support department of their Internet service provider for one reason or another, every once in awhile you may get a tech on the phone who seems to be a little lacking in patience.  The reason for the tech’s lack of patience is most likely because the following conversation (or something very similar) happened moments before you called:

“This is Rich, how may I help you.”

“Your Internet ain’t workin’. ”

“I’m sorry to hear the Internet isn’t working for you.  How long has it been down?”  hurried sound of typing as the tech tries to figure out what’s wrong

“Don’t know.  Damn thing was working last night, but this morning, nothing.  I paid my bill, so why ain’t it working?”

“Well, according to what I can see here, it looks like your Internet should be working.  If you don’t mind, I’d like to try to do some trouble shooting over the phone…”

“…Can’t you just send someone out here and make this #$@*& thing work.  I paid my bill!”

“Yes, I understand your account is current.  I can’t get anyone out to your location today or tomorrow…”

“…So your gonna credit my $@#% account, right, since your Internet ain’t working and I gotta wait two days for you sons-a-$@#&s to come fix it?”

“I really think we can get this fixed over the phone if you just give me a few minutes to troubleshoot your problem.”

“Ok, fine, do your troubleshooting.”

“Great, thank you!  Could you please open your browser?”

“Open my what?”

“Your browser….”

“…What the hell is a browser?”

“Your browser is the program you use to surf the Internet; Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome…”

“…So you want me to open the Internet?”

“Yes, please open the Internet.”

“But I already told you, the damn Internet isn’t working.”

“If I could get you to pretend that the Internet isn’t broken and you were trying to get on the Internet, that would be most helpful.”

“But it ain’t gonna do any damn good, ’cause the Internet is broke.”

“Yes, I understand that the Internet is not working.  What I am trying to determine is the error message that you are receiving when you try to open a web page.  This error message may help us figure out why the Internet isn’t working.”

“Well how am I supposed to open the Internet if the Internet ain’t working?”

“I don’t actually need you to get online.  I just would like you to open your browser to see what error message you get.”

“What’s a browser?”

“For the love of… never mind!”

“Well, there’s no need to get snappy.  If anyone should be getting snappy, it’s me.  I’m the one who paid the bill and I’m the one who ain’t getting no damned Internet!”

“I didn’t mean to snap at you. I apologize.  Let’s try something else.  In the bottom right-hand corner of your monitor, there should be a series of little icons…”

“…What’s a icon?”

“An icon is a little, uh, like a picture.  There should be a series of little pictures in the bottom right-hand corner of your monitor.”

“Oh, ok, pictures, and what’s a monitor?”

“………– You’re kidding, right?”

“What’s a monitor?”

“Four years of college and tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and… your monitor is your screen… you know, the thing you look at when you are using your computer… kind of like a little TV.”

“Ok, monitor, got it.”

“Down in the corner of your monitor, do you see a picture that looks like… oh man… two computer monitors?”


“Ok… there should be a little picture that looks like two little TVs, one in front of the other, down in the bottom right-hand corner of the TV-type-thingie you look at when you use your computer.”

“I don’t have that.”

“You have to have that.”

“Don’t tell me what I have to have because I’m telling you… I don’t have that!”

“Ok… could you please tell me what you have pictures of down in the right-hand corner of the TV-type-thingie you look at when you use your computer.”

“Well… I got a picture of what looks like a speaker or something…”


“…and I got a picture of a little blue guy with a red ‘x’ on him…”


“…and I got a smiley face…”

“Right… right…”

“… and I got a picture of two little TVs with a red ‘x’ on ’em…”

“……..– So you have the icon of the two TVs that I asked you about?”

“No, these have a red ‘x’ on them.  You didn’t say anything about an ‘x’.  You gotta be specific.  I ain’t real swift with this computer stuff.”

“Wow, you could have fooled me.  Ok, can you please put your cursor over the little picture of the TVs with the red ‘x’ on them?”

“What’s a cursor?”

“For crying out… the little arrow that moves when you move your mouse.  The thing you use to select things on the screen.”

“I don’t have an arrow on the screen.”

“You have to have a cursor.  Every computer has a cursor!  You HAVE to have a little arrow that you use to select stuff!”

“I have a little hand that moves around when I move the mouse.”

“Ok then, that is your cursor.”

“But you said I HAD to have an arrow.  I don’t have an arrow, I have a hand, so you were wrong.  I’m not to sure you know what you’re doing.”


“Are you there?  Did I lose you?  Damn it, if he hung up on me…”

“… I’m here.  Can you please move the hand over the little picture of the TVs with the red ‘x’ on them.”

“Ok, done.”

“There should be a little pop-up message that displays when the hand moves over the little TVs with the red ‘x’.”

“Yep there is.”


“You there?”

“Yes, I’m here.  Could you please tell me what that message says?”

“It says, ‘local area connection – a network cable is unplugged’.  What does that mean?”

“It means that your computer isn’t getting the Internet through the cable plugged into it.”

“What cable is that?”

“It would be your Ethernet cable.”

“What’s a…”

“… Ethernet cable looks like an over- sized telephone wire.  It usually plugs into the back of the computer.”

“You know, that’s kind of funny.  I unplugged a cable from the back of the computer last night when I was cleaning up.  It looked like a big telephone wire.”


“Do you think I should plug that back in?”


“Hello, did I lose you?”

“A long time ago.  Yes, could you please plug your Internet connection back into your computer.”


“Why would you unplug wires from the back of your computer?”



“Yeah, I got her plugged in and your Internet seems to be workin’ again.  Thanks.”


Please, please, please think twice before allowing that codgerie, crankity person in your life to buy a computer.  If you have even the faintest sliver of humanity in you, and if you disregarded my first plea… for the love of everything sacred and holy… please do not let that crusty, complaining, technologically inept person in you life get the Internet!  Your goodwill may save the innocent from the fury of a tech support specialist gone postal!

14 Responses to “Tech Support”

  1. Thunder Says:

    LOL Welcome to my world 😛

  2. teh.dave Says:

    Internet is not for everyone…

  3. Lee Says:

    lol, now i know how the poor guy on the other end of the line feels. And i promise, i will do everything in my power to keep Dad from getting another computer, let alone internet.
    Next time i have a problem with my computer, im gonna call your work and ask for you. It would sound something like this:

    Hey Rich. My internet isnt working. Can you fix it.

    Your in a different state with a completely different internet provider. Theres not much i can do for you.

    I know i have a different provider, but arent all these things tied together?

    Yes and NO. There is nothing i can do for you. Call your provider.

    Well can you at least give me a place to start?

    Sure, call your provider. Or check to make sure your computer is plugged in.

    Which one is the plug in?

    Make sure all wires are plugged in somewhere.

    Okay, theres only one wire thats not plugged in.

    Can you describe it?

    Well it looks kind of like an extension cord. It has two flat spades and one round spade. It right next to an electrical outlet behind the computer.

    Try plugging it into the electrical outlet.

    Wow, your good. It worked. Thanks.

  4. Adventurer Rich Says:

    Thunder… seriously… you can have your world :)

    teh.dave… it’s not that everyone shouldn’t have the internet; it’s just that certain people need certain support. You know what would be a great start-up? A computer and Internet tech support company that hires only little old ladies as actual tech support! A little old lady who knows nothing about anything techie calls in and gets another little old lady who knows nothing about anything techie. For the first 30 minutes, they frustrate the CRAP out of each other, but after they talk about the grandkids and they complain about how their different illnesses have been flairing up, they end up sharing crochet secrets and everyone is happy! Whatever technological problem was the reason for the call is still unresolved, but the old ladies are happy and someone made some money somewhere!

    Lee… not bad, my young Padawan. With time, you will learn the ways of the Force! Only problem is, the only phone conversation I remember you and I having that had anything to do with anything electrical was you walking me through putting ground-fault outlets in the kitchen of my old house… and I almost got electrocuted… TWICE! So, as much fun as you would like to make does not change the fact that, when it comes to phone support, you SUCK 😀

  5. Adventurer Rich Says:

    Lee… besides, I have no idea what the hell a “spade” is, so you lost me! You’ll have to explain 😛

  6. Lee Says:

    i think a spade has something to do with gardening.
    Not only do i suck at phone support, i suck at internet support too.. Just not real good at explaining stuff. Im the guy they send out for on site assistance, in which case, i go fix the problem hands on, and leave the explaining for someone else.

    As for you getting shocked a couple of times during my advice, i like to think it was your inability to understand my very technical advice.

  7. Nancy Says:

    You’ve had to do tech support for my mother-in-law, haven’t you?

  8. Nancy Says:

    A key difference in your experience and mine: rarely do the HughesNet tech support folks speak clear English or understand an exasperated southern drawl.

  9. Adventurer Rich Says:

    Nancy, nice mom-in-law slam :) To be completely fair to the HughesNet techs in India, however, I think I would probably have a little trouble with an exasperated southern drawl myself!

  10. Judy Says:

    Customer service can be so frustrating! Thankfully people aren’t quite as dense in NE MT, at least the ones that I have to deal with (although I am highly annoyed by the people that call caller ID back “Uh, you called me?” No, no I didn’t. But if it’s important they’ll call you back.

  11. Adventurer Rich Says:

    “…people aren’t quite as dense in NE MT…” what? What does that even mean? Are you hitting the sauce again? :) Apparently a Nebraskan momentarily took control of a Montanan’s body:)

  12. Myron Says:

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book
    in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home
    a little bit, but other than that, this is fantastic blog.
    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  13. 1 Says:

    Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?

    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you

  14. tmsky Says:

    How did you have a wonder ideal ?

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