Your mouse can't reach that Excel cell? Buy a 'desk extender' said help desk bluffer

And the user believed him, too, for a while

On-Call Welcome once more to On-Call, our Friday rummage though readers' recollections of tech support jobs that produced odd endings.

This week meet "Wendell" who told us he "worked at a company in the mid-80s, when Windows was just starting to appear."

"Of course, the 'executives' insisted on having Microsoft Office, specifically, Excel."

Wendell wasn't an IT pro at the time, but he had built his own computer in the early 1980s, "before the IBM PC". Thinking his knowledge could be handy, he "offered to be available to train and solve issues".

A call duly arrived seeking just the sort of assistance Wendell had in mind. The caller was an executive "claiming he was having problems with Excel".

Black and white television with white noise

My PC is broken, said user typing in white on a white background


The situation was dire: the exec "was attempting to access a cell on the right edge of the spreadsheet but said his mouse had reached the end of his desk and he could not move the cursor beyond that".

Remember how we said Wendell wasn't an IT pro at the time of this tale? His response shows he had the soul of a proper BOFH.

"I complemented the exec on his 'power user' status and said he'd discovered an issue that only 'really experienced users' would ever encounter." Nice psychology that. Next, Wendell "offered to order him a 'desktop extension shelf' so he could move the mouse further".

Wendell said the exec could expect the extension shelf to arrive in about a week and walked away, job done.

"Oddly enough, I never heard from him again," Wendell told On-Call.

Have you solved a problem with a lie? If so, share your whoppers with On-Call by clicking here to write to El Reg and we might be telling your tale here on some future Friday. ®

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