Tales of Idiocy and Woe...But Now I'm CRAZY in California!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Please, please, please, please, please, please...

...either shut up or leave. Please. I can't take it anymore.

- These were my sentiments for around 30 minutes today. I had one of the most annoying customers...the moron who thinks he's a tech and is completely and spinelessly indecisive. Almost nothing is worse than the 'noodle n00b', the 'braindead technician' who's got the personality of a wet noodle. Here's some excerpts from the conversation:

Customer: So I'm looking for a Panasonic toughbook.

Me: Oh really? Those things are pretty amazing, what with the steel case and the internal shock suspension and whatnot. Sadly, we don't carry any toughbooks...what with they're being like $5,000+ and such.

C: What? They're not $5,000. That's a load! I looked on the internet and they were like $3,500.

M: Oh really? Hmmm. Where were you looking?

C: I don't know...

M: (Sits down at computer) Well, let's look somewhere. Hmmm...how about Bizrate? They have prices for everything.

C: ...Okay...

M: (searches)...and...okay! Here we are. Well, this one's price ranges from $3,200 to $3,700.

C: See!? I told you! They're not $5,000. Where do you get your inflated prices from?

M: Uh, those are America prices. With the exchange and taxes, $3,700 comes to like $5,200.

C: Oh. Why are the prices American?

M: The website is American.

C: That's stupid!

M: ?!?


Customer: Hey, this one is more money than that one. Why is that?

Me: Well, that one has a different processor, more ram, a bigger screen and a bigger hard drive. Those extra items add to the price.

C: Do you have one of these for that price?

M: No, but I do have that one for that price!


Customer: So why do you carry AMD processors when AMD doesn't exist anymore?

Me: What? AMD is still around. This stuff is the same stuff at any other store...

C: Oh yeah? Well (competitors store) has one that looks like that with a 'Turion' processor.

M: Well, the 'Turion' is made by AMD.

C: No it isn't...it's a Turion. That's why it says 'Turion' on it.

M: 'Turion' is the model number, AMD is the manufacturer.

C: No. AMD makes those 'Athlon' processors.

M: And the 'Turion' processor. The 'Athlon' is one model and the 'Turion' is another model.

C: No...the 'Athlon' is an AMD but they're not around anymore.

M: I'm sorry, are we still talking about this?


Customer: What company is (names major manufacturer)?

Me: They'e only the third largest PC manufacturer in the world. You can buy their stuff at (names 4 other major retailers)

C: I've never heard of them.

M: Well, they've been around for like 15 years or more.

C: I'd think I've heard of them.

M: Oh really?

C: Yeah. I'm really up on technology.

M: I can tell...you seem quite well informed.


Customer: How much L2 cache does this hard drive have?

Me: L2 Cache? Are you talking about the L2 cache on the processor or the buffer ram on the hard drive?

C: L2 cache. When I say 'L2 cache' I mean 'L2 cache' How much does this hard drive have?

M: (rolls eyes) Well, that hard drive has no L2 cache.

C: What? That is a piece of crap. Why does it have no L2 cache?

M: Because it's not a processor. Processor's have L2 cache. Hard drives have buffer ram.

C: It should have L2 cache!

M: (sarcastically) OH! L2 cache! I mis-heard you. It has a billion.

C: What! No it doesn't! You're lying!

M: Yup...And you're preceptive. Kudos all around.


Okay okay. The last 4 lines of that last snippet didn't happen...but it did in my mind. HA! One day...one day...None the less, I've got to get back to work! Until Next Time,

The Armchair Polygraph Technician

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Okay okay okay okay...

...Now I've been holding out on you all. I had a gem around three days ago, but since my co-workers demanded that I blog the incident, I had to resist. Blogging is a divine force that chooses some people for greatness, you cannot force it. Homie don't play that. But now, the time has arrived. A rather large, nicotine toothed, raspy voiced, loud, obnoxious woman came into the store the other day. The conversation ensues:

Crazy Go Nuts University Graduate Customer: Hey there. I need a 66 millimeter CPU fan for a (random numbers) model motherboard with a (more random nonsense numbers) processor.

Me: Uh, I don't believe we have that specific part. We're not a parts dealer; we sell systems. I'd most likely send you to (other store) who handles that kind of specific stuff.

CGNUGC: Well, what the hell!? I bought the computer here! Why don't you have that damn part?!

Me: Well, we're not a parts dealer. Some places specialize in parts and components but other stores, like us, sell pre-made systems.

CGNUGC: Well I came here to get what I need here. Why the hell don't you sell what I need? If I come to a store, I expect them to have what I need! This is Bullsh*t! I don't want to get screwed around! I came here expecting you to have what I needed, but now you don't have it. I bought my computer here thinking I'd get help when I have problems and need service, but now I see that all you gave me was a load of Bullsh*t!

Me: Well, I'm not sure why you're so upset. We sell computers, not computer parts...hence, we have computers in our store. If we sold computer parts, then we'd have computer parts in our store. I'm sory you came to the wrong place for what you need, but I'll gladly let you know where you can find what you need...in fact, I'll even call over there to make certain that they have it before you drive over there.

CGNUGC: Well that just SUCKS! (points at me menacingly and starts speaking slowly, in an effort to sound dramatic) When I go to a store, I expect them to have what I need dammit...I don't want to get jerked around! I come here expecting to get help and get what I need and all I get is excuses. Have a great day! (turns and storms out)

Me: Okay, thanks! (smiling crazily and talking in a high voice) Have a Scrump-diddly-uptious day! By-yiee!


Yup. I enjoyed that conversation immensely. I often use that line of reasoning when I justify temper tantrums in McDonalds' resaurants...

Me: "What the hell! When I come to a resaurant I want a WHOPPER! Give me a WHOPPER dag nab it!"

Frightened 15 year old girl with acne and braces: "Uh, we don't have Whoppers. Would you like a Big Mac?"

Me: "Are you as stupid as you are ugly? I said WHOPPER! That's 'W-H-O-P-P-E-R'. Aren't you supposed to have the burger I want? Is this a restaurant or not?"

Frightened 15 year old girl with acne and braces: " Well, it is a resaurant but..."

Me: (cuts her off)...Well then give me a WHOPPER! WHOPPER!


Yeah well, I don't do that. I pride myself on not being a flaming moron. I'm a moron, but my moronicy is not accompanied with flamage. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Complaining Betty

Friday, October 21, 2005

So Igor comes into my shop and...

...I just about lost it. You know how some people just completely suck the life out of you? You try to help them and even if you give them something for free with a matching sack of gold bars and a Maserati and they complain that the sack of gold is 'too heavy' and the Maserati gets 'bad milage'. You know those kind of people? Well, one of those recently fell off the turnip truck right outside my shop today and decided to wander in, looking for a snowshoe for tropical use (If you know what I mean...sigh). Here's some conversation excerpts:

Customer: Why does that one have all those holes in the side?

Me: Those are for cooling.

C: I don't like that. Dust will get in there and wreck it. Do you have one without those holes?

M: You want one without holes for cooling?

C: Yes. Something with no holes in the side. Oh geez! This one has those annoying holes too!


Customer: Does this one come with CD's?

Me: Do you mean blank CD's?

C: Yes.

M: Well, it's not typical for computers to come with blank CD's, but if you pick up a system I could throw in a pack for you.

C: Hmmm. What programs are on them?

M: ?!? (inner monologue almost escapes...)


M: This computer has a digital card reader for reading cards from a digital camera.

C: Oh? That one is for digital camera?

M: Yeah. It's pretty convenient to have it on the front like that. Most people like that option.

C: What? That's not very good to have it on the front of the computer! You have to be standing in front of your computer to take a picture!

M: ?!? (look of confusion melts into frustration)


C: So why does this one not have extra warranty?

M: Well, it's not commonplace practice to include extra warranty in the price.

C: That sounds suspicious. If it's so good, why don't you warranty it?

M: Well, if that's a huge point for you, I'll include the warranty.

C: You sure included that warranty quick...why? What's wrong with it?

M: ?!? (fist clenches and arm is barely restrained...)

Well, that's some of the stuff that I remember. I'm sure that I'd need some sort of hypo-therapy to remember the rest. In fact, I need a shower.

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Idiot Magnet

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Duh Duh Duh...

...Another one rings the gong! Awe Yeah! Every now and then in the computer business, you get a customer who rises above the foaming masses of proletariat with a comment or conversation that is so asinine, you find yourself searching the perimeter for hidden cameras. Today, I encountered the turd in the waterpipe.

Now, if one searches on the web for around 45 seconds, or if one keeps tabs on technology at all, it’s not exactly news to know that certain companies are farming out call center work to India. Several large companies have their ‘1-800’ numbers wired straight to Calcutta, so to speak. The reason for this international relocation, of course, is that wages and working conditions in India, among other nations, borderline on being reminiscent of the dark ages. One doesn’t have to search far to hear stories of people getting paid a dollar a day, or companies hiring children, or having hundreds of people stuffed in a warehouse to answer phones in a building with inadequate ventilation (among other, significantly more important problems).

Today, a customer actually told me that “I don’t believe that for a second” when I made a passing comment on international call center support. He then proceeded to question me snarkily, saying “Do you really think that those companies would waste the money of doing that? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! Why would a North American Company hire people in another nation, on the other side of the world, to do the work that they could equally do here?”

I wanted to say “Well, paying 1 person $14 and hour is good, but paying 14 people $1 a day is better and saves the company $13.875 per hour on hourly wages, which is $111 per day per person. For the sake of numbers, let’s pretend that there are 200 people in a call center. That’s $22,200 per day that the company saves by farming out work internationally. Then, assuming that people in India don’t have the same Christian Holidays that we have (and consequently the call center can operate 365 a year), the company will save $8,103,000 per year on wages alone, never mind building costs, property taxes, health care, union costs, etc. So, they’re most likely doing it for the money, which seems to be the driving force behind all decisions in business. But I’m just guessing here.”

Instead of answering him though, I just changed topics. Amazingly, he didn’t buy anything at my store. Not because he didn’t find something worth buying, but because I walked him. I have a personal policy in my shop. I sell to n00bs, fools and whiners but I don’t sell to know-it-all-idiots…because know-it-all-idiots come back with problems that only know-it-all-idiots seem to have. They screw around with their system and start fooling with their registry keys or core system files (because they think they have a clue what they’re doing) and it always costs money to fix, which they are never excited to pay because they always could’ve fixed it themselves if only we’d told them what was wrong. Well, I hope he enjoys his bliss. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Tele-technician

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What is it with people and crime?

I don't have a clue what the deal is today, but I've had the same call twice in a row, in the last 5 minutes. Two people called me wanting help installing their admittedly illegal copies of Microsoft Office. One conversation excerpt:

Customer: I can't figure out what's wrong with my copy of Office 2003. It won't take my product key. The guys at the university that made the copy said that it would work.

Me: Excuse me? The guys at the university? Did they give you a liscence sticker with the copy they 'made' for you?

C: A what?

M: A liscence sticker? You know, the green and blue sticker with all the numbers on it?

C: Uh, I don't have that. Mine's on a post it note. It's yellow.

M: Uh, seeing that you admitted that your copy is burned with a post-it-note for a liscence, I'm not completely confident that you're trying to install a legitimate copy of Office 2003. I'm also not going to give you tech support on pirated software. If this conversation was recorded, I'd be in super big poo-poo with the powers that be.

C: Pirated? What are you talking about? Mine's not pirated! The guys at the university said I could use this copy they made me. They've given it out to hundreds of people and they've never had a problem with it! Why isn't mine working?


And the conversation continued. What kinda logic is that? Mine's not pirated because those 'tech guys' at the university gave out hundreds of copies? He might wanna stop by the medical wing for some intern to practice her C.A.T. scan skills?

The other call was super good too. People are simply amazing. Amazing. Hmmm...I wonder if Microsoft has a 'tattle line' for reporting pirates. Well, I might want to tread lightly there, in case they decide to come by my house with the reward cheque and see my stash...

"I SWEAR officers, it's all my room-mate's stuff! It's Blackjack's, not mine!"

Even though that would be true, I'd be like the boy who cried wolf and then was killed like 42 times over by the wolf. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Microsoft Informant.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Holy Snaps...

...I wrote too soon. People are stinking nuts. A guy comes in today with a digital camera that is like 6 months old. There are several pieces of plastic broken off the camera. There's an impact scratch on one corner and the housing is bent, with a several centimeter gap on one side of the housing where it's busted open. When it turns on, it makes a loud grinding noise and hums noisily. He then tries to complain that the velvet case hooked on something and broke his camera. He gets a blank stare. When he's questioned, he maintains that he's never let anyone other than himself touch it and he's meticuously careful with his camera and it had to be the case broke the camera. That's the only logical option. Obviously. Unfortunately, there was some question as to the veracity of his claims. Before the conversation could continue, he told us to 'shove it' and stormed out of the store. Apparently we should just replace the one he tossed on the floor and busted and when we didn't do that, we're doing something wrong. Sadly, he stormed out before I had a chance to find help him overcome his condition of being a fool. Oh well...you can't help everyone. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Customer Service Rep.

Friday, October 07, 2005

A Close Call...

...Yup. I had a close call today. I almost went to jail for pirating illegal software. "What?", you say...How did that happen? Well, it's a real short story. A customer came in and was mad that his computer came with the trial version of a certain office program that everyone in the entire world has 96 illegal copies of. So I tried to explain to him that since software is written by people who do so vocationally, it logically follows that those people, again who write the software for their employment, would charge money for their labours. I mean, how come all the blue collar guys (painters, electricians, riggers, drywallers, mechanics, etc.) who come into my store...the real "working man" kinda guys...who charge me outrageous rates for their services when I need them to do something for me...how come they somehow think that they're the only people on this planet who work for a living? I mean, does software grow on trees? Do I have a money tree that I don't know about? (If I had a dime for everytime people with a $60,000 truck made a huge fuss about my charging them $85.60 for spending 2 hours fixing their computer that they virused up with their idiotic usage of limewire...)

So anyway, after I tried to explain that software costs money, he ask me, openly and out loud, if I could give him a hacked copy. For real.

"Well, could you just give me a copy?" (with appropriate wink)

So, in an effort to clarify, I restated his question to make sure I understood what he was asking me:

"So you're asking me, in my place of business, if I would give you an illegally copied, illegitimate, hacked, black market version of (program name)? You're asking if I will pirate software for you that I would normally sell and make money on? You're asking me to essentially shoot myself in the foot by giving you, for free, something that I normally sell for $299?"

He then kinda grinned and looked me in the eye and said "yes" (for real...he must of thought I was joking or something...).

I then looked him in the eye and said "I'm sorry. I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but stealing is against the laws of every nation that I've ever heard of, including the one in which we live. Software piracy is a form of theft and as such, is illegal. I'm not going to risk going to jail for you, in case you're an under cover cop trying to trick me. I'm also not going to risk the massive fines associated with software piracy, in case you're Bill Gates and trying to trick me. And I'm finally not going to give you, for free, something that would normally generate revenue that is used for me to afford things like housing and food, in case you're my landlord and trying to trick me. So no, I will not give you a pirated copy of that software. Good try for asking though!"

He then colorfully suggested that I perform a sexual action that I'm sure is quite physically impossible, and left in quite a vexed state. I felt so sorry for that man.

This leads me to a riddle:

Q: What is the crime that is also it's very own punishment?

A: Being an fool.

No kidding. Being a fool is a crime; but the punishment for being a fool is itself being a fool. Fools do foolish things because they are fools, but in the performing of foolishness they become greater fools. What's a fool to do? Worse yet, what are we to do with fools? Well, I have actual suggestions on my other blog that deals with such philosophical questions...but here I'll skip the philosophical banter and drop to the bottom line, which is usually the same question:

Q. What would King Solomon, the wisest man who's ever lived, do?

A. Give them a good beating.

Hey! Don't blame me! It's in the Bible! Proverbs 18:6, 19:29, 20:30, 26:3. So the next time a fool is being a fool in front of you, do him a favour and help him out; find yourself a big rod and beat him good. Until Next Time,

The Armchair "Help a fool: Beat him good!" Geek.

***disclaimer - if you take that last part seriously, beware! YOU most likely have a beating headed your way soon!***

Thursday, October 06, 2005


How in the world do people shop for a computer? I mean, I cannot figure out some people for the life of me. Consider the following conversation excerpt from this morning:

Customer: I'm looking for a computer. What do you have?

Me: Well, you've come to the right place! I've got tons of computers! What kind did you have in mind?

C: I don't know.

M: Well, let's try to narrow it down. Do you want a desktop or a laptop?

C: I don't know.

M: Well, do you want it to be portable or is it going to be sitting at home on a desk?

C: I don't know.

M: Okay. Let's try a different approach. What do you think you'll be doing with it?

C: I don't know.

M: Well, will you be e-mailing with it?

C: I don't know.

M: Do you want to be on the internet?

C: I don't know.

M: Do you want to word process?

C: Maybe...maybe not.

M: Okay. Do you want to play games?

C: I don't know.

M: What kinda price range are you thinking of?

C: I'm not sure.

Eventually I got through to the customer and got an actual response out of him. Needless to say, he didn't buy anything. I almost laughed at him...but I'm a super nice guy and I didn't want to come across as rude. Just one question though...WHY would he be that clueless and try to shop for something technical? I could have handed him a dead carp with a power cable shoved in it's lips and told him it was a computer, and from the responses he gave me (and technical knowledge he evidenced), he would have not known any better and would have considered buying it (Well, Future Shop has a Rainbow Trout with a 220 cable for $100 more...do you have something like that? What's the warranty on that fish anyways?). How can people be clueless and attempt to shop for a piece of technical hardware? Would anyone ever attempt that with something like a nuclear weapon? No! Countries that get nuclear weapons learn about the hardware before dropping millions on bad weaponry that kills them instead of their enemies...well, most countries do (North Korea...I'm talking to you). And come to think of it, people are that dumb with regards to buying cars. Hmm...people might just be that idiotic in general. That sounds most likely, and for time constraints, we'll go with that. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Shopping Fool

Sunday, October 02, 2005


From now on, Spam comments are getting deleted. Nuff said. Until Next Time,

The Armchair Big Brother

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Speechless in Seattle...

...Well, I'm not in Seattle, but I am speechless. Consider the following phone call conversation:

Customer: Hello?

Me: Hello.

C: Hey. I bought a computer from you and the DVD burner doesn't work.

M: Oh? It doesn't burn DVD's?

C: No. I cannot get it to burn the DVD's!

M: Well, let's trouble shoot. What exactly are you doing?

C: Well, I rented some movies from Blockbuster and I'm trying to make copies of them.

M: ???!!!

C: Hello?

M: Uh, I'm afraid that I cannot help you break the law.

C: What? That's not against the law! Everyone does it!

M: You rented the movies. Do you think that Blockbuster would have simply given them to you? Are movies usually free?

C: F*ck this! When I bought a computer from you, you guys said that you'd give me support when I needed help. You guys are a bunch of f*cking liars!

M: Well, I cannot help you break the law. I'm sorry if you're upset at my uprightness, but I would no more be able to help you steal movies then I would be able to help you traffic marijuana.

C: Well F*ck you too!

M: Have a great day!

Until Next Time,

The Armchair Hacker