A caller uses a computer for 20 years and somehow didn’t catch something pretty simple. I received a call at one point from a lady who said her screen wasn’t working.

After a few diagnostic questions I learned the monitor was turned on but not displaying the output from the computer. Additionally, I was able to determine the PC wasn’t even on.

I wish I could say “ticket closed, that was a silly call.” However, that wasn’t the end. I had to walk her through powering on the PC, which simply entailed, “press the button on the tower” and then walked her through what she will see and when she will see it. Once she was up and running she showed her gratitude and I was very friendly of course. I was curious why she stumbled on something so simple so I respectfully asked what tripped her up.

The answer dumbfounded me.

She told me in the 20 years she worked there, the computer had always been on.

The points that were raised from this discovery were 2-fold:

  1. If you are an IT professional or simply working at a help desk while in school, kindness and overall professionalism can go a long way. You should never really express your anger or frustration in a way that can burn bridges.
  2. How in the world can someone use something for 20 years and not have a basic understanding of how it works?

Check out the discussion on reddit about this topic – The computers are these peoples primary tool, why is it okay for them to not know how it works?

I’m sure point #2 will draw in some people that will point out how I’m familiar with technology and the majority of people around me are not. That may be true, but ignorance is hardly an excuse. I’m not saying people that use computers should know everything about them. I’m simply saying they should have a basic understanding or at least need training in order to do their jobs.

In this particular example, I was pulled from a very important task to instruct someone how to turn on a computer.

Electricity has been around since the 1800s and the premise has remained the same.

Power on and power off.

All consumer electronics and business critical machines have a power button or a switch. We are not talking about a computer science level of work here.

Additional stories like my personal one above can be found in the subreddit, r/talesfromtechsupport.

I’m happy to now say that this caller uses a computer for 20 years and continues to learn something new.

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