don’t you have one?

Here’s a common conversation at work:

  • Customer: Hi, my laptop has a problem, can you look at it?
  • Me: Sure… oh, it’s a blue screen of death? That could be hardware. We’ll need to book it in and look closely at it… did you bring the power adapter for it?
  • Customer: The what?
  • Me: …the power adapter. The big power cable that charges the battery.
  • Customer: Oh. don’t you have one?
  • Me: Not for every single make and model of laptop, we don’t. And definitely not (glances at laptop) for Vaios.

Fair enough, we’re a computer store. We do occasionally order in and sell laptop power adapters, and we have one or two universal adapters for our own use, but it’s easiest for everyone if customers bring their own in.

It’s common enough that it’s no longer annoying and I’ve grown my own natural response to it already. Today, though, we had an entirely new take:

  • Customer: Hi, I’m having trouble with my printer. I’ve brought my computer, can you plug it in and take a look?
  • Co-worker: Sure, have you got the printer with you as well?
  • Customer: No… don’t you have one?

I can completely understand people being ignorant about how their electronic possessions work. I’m a great example myself – I fix computers, but I couldn’t tell you what volts and electrons and transistors are for. I still think the microwave oven is some kind of voodoo trick aliens gave us to make nachos at 3AM.

But come on, would you book in your car for a service and deliver them the parcel shelf and the seat covers to examine? Are people really so afraid and ignorant of their computers they don’t even have the basic knowledge to identify what components need to be present to figure out why they can’t print?

Not that I’m calling her ignorant. I’m sure she’s just too busy to sit down and spend time learning about the device she places so much trust in.

3 Responses to “don’t you have one?”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Yes, car analogies work well. Quite often people ask me questions like, “I tried to run Word, and I got an error. What can I do to fix it?”

    My response to them is that it’s like calling a car repair shop over the phone and asking, “My car broke down. What exact car part do I buy to fix it?”

  2. Adam says:

    I’m well aquainted with how stupid users can be (I’m a sysadmin) but this one still amused me. And yeah, car analogies do work well. I remember explaining to my boss that it was not possible to drive from Newcastle to Sydney in 3 minutes, no matter how belligerently he might insist that he should be able to (as analogy to network traffic/link speeds/etc)

  3. Nathan says:

    I dealt with this lady… She’s not ignorant at all… Just about 85c short of $1. Sadly she DID bring the printer in, without ink. *rolls eyes* Some people do not pass go, do not collect $200 and DO go directly to jail.

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