On-Call Welcome yet again to On-Call, The Register’s weekly reader-contributed story of the brutal business that is tech support.
This week, meet “Ant” who used to work for a prominent UK PC retailer.
Folks who work in such situations dread the days after major holidays because they mean a flood of product returns.
One Boxing Day (December 26th for US readers who inexplicably don’t get it as a holiday) Ant met “an especially unpleasant and angry woman” who showed up with a computer in a shopping trolley.
“She stormed straight past the lengthy queue shouting ‘you're all a bunch of stupid wankers’ and loudly proclaiming things like ‘how can you be so f*ck!ng stupid and sell f*ck!ng computers that don't f*ck!ng work’.”
Ant and his crew decided it was better to let her jump the queue than let her stand in it shouting obscenities, so made her case a priority even as she continued to complain that her sound and CD drive were both "f*ck!ng faulty".
This incident took place back when speakers slotted into the side of the monitor. The customer’s were still in their plastic wrapping with the cables tied up inside. Ant rated this fix “pretty easy”.
So did other customers still waiting behind the abusive woman in the queue. Ant told us those other shoppers “found it amusing when we pointed out - super and artificially nicely - that you had to plug the speakers in.”
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The rude customer responded with “Well the CD’s f*ck!ng stuck". She was right, Ant told us, because when he used the manual eject button to pop the tray open there was a a CD-ROM in the tray. Still in its plastic sleeve, which rather impaired the drive tray’s operation.
“It was lovely explaining to her, in front of the now openly laughing queue, that you had to take CDs out of their covers before putting them in anything.”
“That made the rest of the day fly by.”
Ant’s letter to On-Call finished by saying “Yes I know that we were dicks for letting her humiliate herself, but it was only because she was so vile.”
“It was the day after Christmas and she was swearing her head off in front of kids in the shop. People who came in with any problems, silly or not, usually get treated really well, but she was an arse.”
Have you had abusive customers or users? And how have you dealt with them? Share your story with On-Call by clicking here to send an email that might just end up in this space on some future Friday. ®