Signage Slip-Ups: Can You Back Your Claim On That?
Customer Rejects: Banana Laid to Rest on Gold Peak

Tech Support Hell: Printers Are Evil


Call center 3From sambeaux45, TalesFromTechSupport

Hopefully, you guys don't mind me jumping around in time. I'm afraid I don't remember stories in chronological order. For the first few stories, we are at the bank. Eventually, I will post stories from my other jobs.

The following three mini stories all happened in the same week. Three different branches called in more or less the exact same problem.

$me: Helpdesk, this is $me. How can I help you?

$teller: We can't turn our MICR printer on.

$me: Okay, can you verify that the power cable is plugged firmly into the printer?

$teller: It is.

$me: Okay, is the other end plugged into the wall or into a power strip?

$teller: It's plugged into a power strip.

$me, Is the power strip turned on?

$teller: Yes, yes, and the power strip is plugged into the wall.

$me: Okay, what happens when you flip the power switch?

$teller: Nothing at all, no lights, nothing.

$me: Hmm... Okay, can you plug a fan or lamp or something into the power strip to make sure that you have power?

$teller: I can plug my phone charger in... and it's charging my phone?

$me: Well, as unlikely as it seems, I guess you have a dead printer. I'll send someone out to take a look.

The next day I get an email from the contract tech that the power cable was barely hanging out of the printer. All he had to do was plug it all the way in. I got fussed at by my boss for sending a contract tech out to plug in a power cable...


Carolanne facepalm2)

A day or two after this incident, with the scolding fresh in my mind. Another branch calls in.

$me: Helpdesk, this is $me, how can I help you?

$teller: Our network printer won't come on.

$me(internal): Not again?!

$me: Can you verify that the power cable is plugged into the printer?

$teller: It is.

$me: please unplug the power cable and jam it back in as hard as you can.

$teller: Okay, I've done that.

$me: Is it plugged directly into the wall or into a power strip?

$teller: It's plugged into the wall.

$me: Can you unplug it and plug it back in as hard as you can?

$teller: Okay, now what?

$me: Please try to turn the printer off then on again.

$teller: Still nothing.

$me: Can you make sure that the outlet has power by plugging in a fan or lamp or something?

$teller: Okay. It has power.

$me: Okay, I guess you have a dead printer. I will send someone out.

The next day I get an email from the tech that the outlet had no power because a breaker had tripped. He reset the breaker and everything worked. Again, I was scolded for sending a tech out to flip a breaker.


Freddy face pat3) A day or two following the most recent incident, yet another branch calls in saying that their printer won't come on. My boss's office is literally feet from my cubicle. By the time I finish the call, he is literally in tears.

$me: Helpdesk, this is $me, how can I help you?

$teller: Our printer won't come on.

$me: You aren't fooling me this time...

$teller: I'm sorry, I didn't hear that .What did you say?

$me: Oh nothing... Can you verify that the power cable is plugged into the printer?

$teller: It is.

$me: Please pull the power cord out and jam it back in as hard as you can.

$teller: Are you sure?

$me: YES

$teller: Okay, done, now what?

$me: Is the other end plugged into the wall or a power strip?

$teller: It's plugged into a power strip.

$me: please unplug it and jam the plug back into the power strip as hard as you can.

$teller: Okay...

Jason Argh$me: Now, is the power switch glowing red on the power strip?

$teller: No

$me: Okay, make sure the power strip is plugged into the wall, then unplug it and ram it back into the outlet as hard as you can. Then tell me if the light came on.

$teller: ... uh.. no, the light is still off...

$me: Please flip the switch on the power strip.

$teller: It's on now.

$me: please plug a fan or radio into the power strip so that I can hear that it has power.

$teller: Okay, can you hear it?

$me: Yes, I can confirm that you have power .

$me: please try to turn the printer on again

$teller: It's still not working.

$me(internal): @#$%#!!!!

$me: Okay, I will send out a technician.

The next day, I get an email from the contract tech that the printer had a faulty power switch.

$boss: You deserve an attaboy for that last printer. You were exceedingly thorough, and we definitely needed to send a tech out. Also, I don't think I've ever laughed so hard in my life!


Carolanne computer 1Okay, still at the bank for this one... Rather than a conversation style, this will be more of a story.

One day, one of our mortgage branches calls in and says "Nobody but Mary can print.".

Huh, that's a bit weird. I call in and speak to several people ( the entire office is 8 people ). They have access to the internet, they can see other machine, but they can't print. Mary can print just fine. The printer ( a Toshiba copier ) is accessible through the web interface and is not reporting any errors.

Just for fun, I share the printer from Mary's PC and map the printer through Mary's PC on a user's machine. She is then able to print just fine. We power cycle the printer, and still nobody can print. We map everybody through Mary's PC but leave the original printer just in case.

We attempt to research the issue. We find NOTHING.

A few days later, the same branch calls back. Now Mary can't print, but one of the others can. Again, that person is the ONLY person who can print. We try various things including rebooting pretty much every piece of equipment in the office. Everyone has internet access as well as intranet...

We again escalate the problem to network infrastructure, and again, they find nothing. We map everyone through that person's PC and everybody can print that way.

About two weeks later, another branch calls with the exact same issue... on the other side of the country. By the end, we had about 5 branch locations calling every month or so with the same story. We never did find a cause, reason, or good solution.


Jason confusedAnd my last printer story for today. This time, this is a story from my time working for City Hall.

$me: Helpdesk, this is $me, how can I help you?

$user: I can't print.

$me: Okay, what happens when you try to print?

$user: Nothing!

$me: *sigh* That doesn't really tell me anything. Do you get an error message?

$user: No, just nothing comes out of the printer. I don't have time to do this on the phone, could you just come up here?

$me: OKay, I'll be up shortly.

So... I go upstairs and into the accounting cubicle farm. There are three cubicle in a row against the wall, each with only 3 sides. User is in the last cubicle. I ask her which printer she's having problems with and she literally turns her chair around and points to a printer TEN FEET away. Without taking a single step towards the printer, I immediately see the problem. There's a red blinking light on the printer. As I approach, I see the dreaded error message: Please load letter. User had sent the same print job 43 times... each time it didn't print, she would angrily send the print job again. I informed the user that the printer was out of paper, that she should perhaps put paper in it, and that she should verify that the printer has paper before sending 42 more print jobs and certainly before she calls the helpdesk. *sigh* Users...

TL;DR: Users lie and printers are evil.





"The next day I get an email from the contract tech that the power cable was barely hanging out of the printer. "

And this is why you always tell them to unplug it and plug it back in, which they did in the next story. But when they lie to you, there's nothing you can do but have them killed, and then YOU go to jail, and how is that fair?

Printers, to quote Dr Cox, are bastard coated bastards with a bastard filling. Printers and wireless connections should NOT be as difficult as they are.

Of course, lUsers that are so dim you can't see them in broad daylight doesn't help...


And you wonder why this site exists in the first place.

I do have a few printers sitting around, but getting them to work would be a bitch to do so.


Ugh...I hate printers. I'm able to troubleshoot just about anything any of the myriad electronics at work throws at me, but if the printer is being a baby, forget it. We aren't printing anything that day!


I cant tell you how many times I have told a customer to reboot their printer, and they tell me they refuse to do it because thats below their pay grade. I have had to send out techs to press a damn button.

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