User stepped on mouse, complained pedal wasn’t making PC go faster

Just one hour of teaching grannies the internet left instructor a broken man

On-Call Welcome again to On-Call, The Register’s weekly column in which we provide a little therapy by letting readers share their stories of horror tech support entanglements.

This week, met “Vince”, who “during 2002, unwittingly took on a contract with my local council to setup and operate a community cyber cafés.”

Vince told us he was bestowed “a generous budget” and that the council was lovely about the whole thing. So not many weeks later he was in full swing, punters were smiling and council came up with another idea: internet training programs for local residents.

The money on offer was, again, a pleasing sum. So Vince jumped at the chance, but now wishes he’s thought harder about the gig.

That’s because the classes were likely to attract the many elderly people that called the well-heeled suburb where Vince's cafés operated home. And as Vince quickly found out, grandma and grandpa were apt to be a bit befuddled when asked to “click on the large blue 'e' to open Internet Explorer.”

“By the end of the first one-hour class I was a broken man,” Vince told On-Call. “A panorama of frustrated grannies were each vying for my exclusive help and attention, all claiming that their computer must have a problem.”

“We had not yet managed to get as far as Google.”

One student stuck in Vince’s mind: she’d put her mouse on the floor, stepped on it and said “It’s not going any faster when I press the foot pedal!”

“It was at this moment,” Vince told us, that he realised the true horror of his six-month contract to provide such classes twice a week became apparent …

Have you signed up for a gig that turned out to be vastly harder than you first imagined? If so, write to On-Call and your story might pop up here on a future Friday. ®

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