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Weird requests push buttons of IT pros

(CNN) -- Forgive your tech support staffers if they sometimes take a snarky tone. You should see the unending stream of oddball requests they field.

Robert Half Technology, a California-based staffing company that provides information technology professionals, asked 1,400 chief information officers nationwide about the strangest queries their help desks had ever received.

You've probably heard about the person who confused a CD-ROM drive for a cup holder, but some of the other survey answers, released Wednesday, were baffling.

Katherine Spencer Lee, the executive director of Robert Half Technology, said in a statement it's helpful to review the odd questions.

"These unusual requests highlight the need for technical support personnel to also demonstrate patience, empathy and a sense of humor," she said.

Here's a look at some of the oddest questions that IT executives reported receiving:

"My computer is telling me to press any key to continue. Where is the 'any' key?"

"Can you reset the Internet for me?"

"Can you rearrange the keyboard alphabetically?"

"My laptop was run over by a truck. What should I do?"

Some people wanted answers to make their lives a little less stressful. They asked:

"How can I block e-mail from my manager?"

"Can I open the bank safe using my computer?"

"Can you install cable TV on my PC?"

"I'd like to stop receiving e-mail on Fridays."

And some demanded entirely too much:

"I'd like wireless computer access in my motor home."

"How long does it take to bake a potato in a microwave?"

"My daughter is locked in the bathroom. Can you pick the lock?"
"Where can I get software to track UFOs?"


21,554 Posts
Some of those things sound like something my Dad might ask me; and he's only 54. Then there's my grandparents... late 80's and early 90's. They don't understand it at all.

Premium Member
4,479 Posts
Phelan said:
Those are actually pretty tame and run of the mill, especially for education IT.
Yeah, I've been asked some of those myself.

And some of those requests are doable. Get a Verizon aircard and as long as you are in range of a cell tower you are wireless and on the internet.

60 bucks a month for 5000 minutes.

Premium Member
4,479 Posts
This isn't a true story, but it is still my fave...

CS = Customer Support

Caller: "Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect."

CS: "What sort of trouble?"

C: "Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."

CS: "Went away?"

C: "They disappeared."

CS: "Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"

C: "Nothing."

CS: "Nothing?"

C: "It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."

CS: "Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"

C: "How do I tell?"

CS: "Can you see the C: prompt on the screen?"

C: "What's a sea-prompt?"

CS: "Never mind. Can you move the cursor around on the screen?"

C: "There isn't any cursor, I told you, it won't accept anything I type."

CS: "Does your monitor have a power indicator?"

C: "What's a monitor?"

CS: "It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"

C: "I don't know."

CS: "Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"

C: "Yes, I think so."

CS: "Great. Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."

C: ".......Yes, it is."

CS: "When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"

C: "No."

CS: "Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."

C: ".......Okay, here it is."

CS: "Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."

"I can't reach."

CS: "Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"

C: "No."

CS: "Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"

C: "Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle - it's because it's dark."

CS: "Dark?"

C: "Yes - the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."

CS: "Well, turn on the office light then."

C: "I can't."

CS: "No? Why not?"

C: "Because there's a power outage."

CS: "A power... A power outage? Ah, Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"

C: "Well, yes, I keep them in the closet."

CS: "Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."

C: "Really? Is it that bad?"

CS: "Yes, I'm afraid it is."

C: "Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"

CS: "Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."

22,109 Posts
:eek: :roll: :-D :lol:

99 Posts
No what is worse is being the top IT guys to fix things, and the lower level folks cant fix it and they call the help desk, help desk cant fix it (mind out here in the sandbox they got a lot of calls), so they get passed to us.

Such as a machine has two DVD drives, the top one doesnt work so they put a ticket in, not only that it gets passed on by Help Desk!!!


Well that is what I faced yesterday...*sigh*

4,097 Posts
:roll: :lol:
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