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Tech Support Hell: Is It Plugged In? Are You Sure?


1 droidFrom ambercore1000, TalesFromTechSupport

This takes place at my first job, when I was studying to work with IT. It was a normal day running without any major issues. Until the phone rang.

ME - Only a Student getting the hang of things.

CU - Confused User.

ME: "Standard Greeting"

CU: Our internet is down on the whole top floor! Please come out and fix the issue!!!

Now this customer has two floors in a "Business apartment complex" but is hosting their own IT equipment in their office. This also means that I know at least 20 users are without internet.

ME: "Okay, that's bad. Can I get you to go to the IT room and check if there is light in the humming boxes out there?"

(When I say IT room, image a broom closet where the janitors store stuff, then just a open rack closet attached to the wall. no doors)

CU: "Everything is dark! There are no blinking lights?! Is that normal?"

ME: "No that's not normal. Is there a power cord that is not attached to the power strip?"

CU: "No everything is attached!"

I spend a couple of more minutes trying to get the user to make sure that the cords are correctly seated in the power strip.

ME: "Well, then we will have to send a guy onsite. We will be there in around 1 hour."

CU: "Good! Just hurry!"

Now getting to the customer does not take 1 hour, this was just to give myself some time. This was in a major city and taking public transportation was the quickest way to the customer. So I gathered some tools and went to catch the bus.

I arrive at the customer 30 minutes later, and walked up to the top floor where they were located.

Carolanne computer 1ME: "Hello CU, I am here and I'll just take a look at the issue."

CU: "Sure! Do you need anything? I'll just go grab a cup of coffee."

ME: "Naa, I'm good! thanks anyway."

So I go into the "Server Room" and plug the cord into the power strip again, and head for the kitchen.

ME: "So, I will be heading out of here."

CU: "What do you mean? We cant work? Did you forget some tools?"

ME: "No. The power cord was not attached to the power strip, as we talked about over the phone..."

I end up spending 30 minutes at the location teaching the user how to plug a power cord into a power strip, and give them some recommendations on how to prevent this from happening again.

All in all a great day as I did not have to do phone support.




A friend of mind did tech support for a company that manufactured exercise equipment for gyms. Most of the people he dealt with were muscle head trainers who found weightlifting to be intellectually stimulating.

"Is the treadmill plugged in?"

"I don't know."

"You don't know if it's plugged in?"

"I'm not technical."

This is far more common than one might think.

Misty Meanor

Let this be a lesson, that for something to get power, it must be plugged in!


It must be plugged into a working outlet, not itself. I've seen too many UPS and power strips plugged into themselves.
Older computers sometimes had a power cord from the monitor to the computer power supply. You powered up the computer and the monitor powered up. Change the monitor chord to one that goes to an outlet and fun time because the monitor just needed to have the on button pushed and wasn't left in the on position by the last user anymore. You tell them "The computer is on, but you have to press the on button for the monitor." They press the computer power button instead. You had to go to the room and ask "Are you watching?" and press the on button for them.

Kai Lowell

Don't you know that's too many buttons to keep track of? How can anyone be expected to REMEMBER all that?

(with tongue seated firmly in cheek, naturally)


Yeah, I've had the troll science power strip more than once..."Here is a plug. Here is a power outlet. Putting the plug into the power outlet means that there should be power, but there is not. It's OBVIOUSLY time to abuse a tech support person because there's no way plugging one end of an extension cord into the other end shouldn't work."

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