The monitor didn't work but the problem was between the user's ears

Worker was in the dark about this thing called 'electricity' that makes stuff work


On-Call How do you people survive at work? We're asking because in this week's edition of On-Call, our weekly reader-contributed column sharing tales of IT support, reader “Chilli” brings us a very frustrating story.

Chilli once worked for an outfit that had 300 remote depots, all of which turned to he and the rest of the IT for phone support. At lunch times, the team took turns to work on the help desk. And on Chilli's day, he received a call from a colleague whose monitor had gone blank.

After asking all the necessary questions about the caller's name, the branch they worked in an so on, Chilli asked if the computer was turned on.

The caller replied in the affirmative.

“Is the LED light in the bottom corner of the monitor lit up” Chilli asked. “It should be green or orange.”

The caller said “No.”

“Is there another monitor near by that you could swap the power lead over to,” Chilli asked.

The caller said “No.”

“Do you know where power supply is to the PC", Chilli asked.

This, the caller knew: the relevant box was under the desk. So Chilli asked the caller to trace the power lead from the monitor to the plug, then turn things off and on again.

“I've done that before", the caller insisted. But Chilli wanted to make sure, so he asked his colleague to do it again, just to make sure he'd found the right plug.

Chilli says he then heard 30 seconds worth of “clattering, things being knocked over, crashing, grunts, more crashing and squealing.”

The caller picked up the phone and said he couldn't find the lead.

At this point Chilli was a bit concerned by all the noise, so asked the caller if she was okay.

To which the caller answered that she couldn't see the lead. At all.

“Is it in a hard place to reach,” Chilli asked. “Is other stuff blocking you?"

“No,” said the caller. “It's just too dark here.”

“Too dark behind the desk?” Chilli asked.

“Yes,” said Chilli's colleague, “it's too dark in the whole office.”

That answer got Chilli worrying that perhaps something had gone wrong with his colleague's eyes. While he tried to think of something suitable to say next, she let him know that “All the lights are out in the office.”

“Why?" Chilli asked.

“Because we just had a power cut,” was the answer.

Cue a heavy sigh for Chilli and a request to perhaps call back after the power had bene turned on again?

If users have asked you to do something similarly silly, write to me and you, yes you, could feature in a future On-Call. Or if you've moved to another country to pursue your job, The eXpat Files are still open, so let us know where you've moved and we'll sort something out. ®

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