On Call Friday is here! How is your weekend looking? Same as the last one, and the one before that? Never mind – before breaking into the lockdown lagers, join us for another entry in The Register's tales of those brave souls who are On Call.
Today's anecdote comes from "Leon" and concerns the outrageous porky pies occasionally emitted by customers only too keen to point the finger of blame.
In this case, Leon's customer was a rather well-connected chap. Our hero was tasked with keeping "his crappy laptop" ticking over, doing the odd bit of Desktop Publishing, video recording and so on. "In fact," said Leon, "anything that involves technology as he cannot get to grips with things that work by electricity."
Since we strongly doubt the person in question was particularly au fait with email or other internet-based means of communication, it was via the telephone that Leon's orders were barked. Which brings us to the incident in question.
The customer had appeared on a few local radio stations and was keen to show off share the experience with his equally well-connected chums. Leon was charged with burning recordings of the appearances to CD.
"I mentioned that hardly anyone has a CD player anymore, but talk of Soundcloud or USB sticks scared him to death."
The call came in a little while later, while Leon was enjoying the closing days of a well-earned holiday.
"What have you done to these CDs you made for me?" shrieked the voice on the other end of the telephone line, "I've had [insert name of well-known person] ringing me up saying that my daughters look nice!"
The customer added: "and [insert name of other well-known person] is asking why am I sending him photographs of my house? You have included private photos on the CDs that I've sent out to all my friends."
"My heart sank," Leon told us.
The customer, however, wasn't finished: "How can you have [expletive deleted] up so badly?" the tirade went on, "I'm a laughingstock. I expected so much better of you. You need to sort this out right away."
After his heart rate returned to normal, Leon pondered the problem: "I don't have any photos of his daughters or his house on the PC that I burnt his CDs on, how could this happen?"
Despite being sure he had not [expletive deleted] up, Leon spent the remainder of his holiday brooding on the problem. Not how any of us like to spend those precious days off.
"On my return," Leon told us, "I went round to his house to see what had happened. When I arrived, he repeated the tales of his friends phoning him up."
Leon popped a CD into the customer's laptop and, as expected, Windows Media Player popped up.
"There!" shouted the customer, "Look at those pictures! Why are they on the CD?"
Some may have already worked out what had happened. "What he was looking at," explained Leon, "was a history of the media files he had viewed on his laptop, not the contents of the CD."
"He had made up the stories of his friends phoning to make his story more convincing."
Leon told him bluntly that the files were never on the CDs, "and he knew he had been caught in a lie."
Doubtless to Leon's satisfaction, "I could see the look on his face change and a more conciliatory tone appeared in his voice."
"However, instead of apologising he said 'Well, that doesn't explain why I got those phone calls'."
We've all experienced the customer (or boss) that simply doubles down when caught out.
Leon's assessment of his soon to be ex-customer? "The cheeky, bloody, gaslighting tosser!"
Ever taken a call from a customer unable to discern fact from paranoid fiction? Or caught one in mid-stream of the highest grade of BS? Of course you have, and you should share the memory with all at On Call.