I provide tech support for my college. My college, as
many of you know, is well-known for being the seventh biggest party
school in the country, and the most violent. I've worked in this
department for four years, and I love most of my job.
Except the clients. Well, most of them. I've discovered that all clients can be categorized into four separate and definitely not equal groups.
Group 1: The client who knows everything already, knows it, but still calls the Help Desk because they want to show off their technical knowledge. Insufferable but tolerable. The Help Desk, to date, has hired five people from Group 1. There is only one left; I promise that I didn't kill the other four...but I did think about it. Often. In great detail.
Group 2: The client who doesn't know anything, knows it, and is an asshole because of their inferiority. These are the types who will argue with you for 25 minutes about how THEY KNOW that "the internet" and "the ethernet" are two separate things and they want "the internet", not "the ethernet". Most, but not all of the time, a Group 2 client is a retired professor from the History or Physics departments.
Group 3: The client who doesn't know anything and is too stupid to know that they don't know. The most notable example of a Group 3 individual was the woman who called me two years ago because she couldn't get on the internet. We troubleshooted for an hour before we discovered that she didn't know that she had to plug her ethernet cord into the jack. She called back twenty minutes later to tell me that she thought she had a virus, because something grey and liquid was leaking out of the back of her computer. "It's computer snot, right?" she asked.
Group 4: The client who doesn't know anything, knows that they don't know anything, and turn to us to help. I love these clients. They are, for the most part, patient, eager to listen, and glad to do what we tell them. Most of these calls or walk-ins take about five minutes to resolve, because these people actually listen to us. If they're mad and frustrated, it's usually for a good reason, and they don't lash out at the techs. You can always identify a Group 4 client because they ask how we're doing before launching into their issues, and because they actually sound like they care when they're asking.
I had a winner of a Group 3 ask me for help just now. She's an incoming freshman, someone who's grown up with the internet as a fact of her (waste-of-breath-food-and
Student: I need a password.
Me: Okay, for SPIRE or your OIT account?
Me: For both? Okay, I need your --
Student: No, for that account (gesturing vaguely at my laptop, my knitting, and my water bottle in turn).
Me: Uh, okay, well, let's get started. Can I have your ID number?
Me: No, I need your ID number. It's eight digits long.
Student: That is my ID number.
Me: Uh, unfortunately, no, it's not, but if you give me your first and last name, I can look it up for you.
Student: I don't know you. I don't want you knowing my name.
Me: I need some kind of identifying information so I can process your account, and since you don't have your ID number, your name is the easiest thing to get.
Student: Let me give you my Social Security number.
At this point, I could not keep my incredulity from showing. She won't give me her name, but she'll spout off with her Social Security number? I thought she was fucking with me, I hoped she was fucking with me, but sadly, she was not. She was just dumb, as the rest of the exchange demonstrates.
Me: It's actually safer for you and your information if you just give me your name.
Student: Fine. But you're fucked if you steal my identity, I already have $5000 in credit card debt.
Me: Oh no, that's awful! I hope it gets worked out soon.
Student: Like you care that someone stole my Social Security number.
Me: (blank, uncomprehending stare)
Student: Did you reset my password yet?
Me: Um, no, I'm sorry, I still need your name.
Me: (trying not to think about how many Smiths there are in the UMass databases) Thanks -- what's your first name?
Student: It starts with an "h".
Me: May I have your full first name?
(By this point, I was ready to stab her. With a building.)
Me: I need your full name to look up your account to give you a new password, since you don't have your ID number, so may I have your --
Student: I have my ID number. (She proceeds to recite it)
Me: Uh, well, uh, thank you. I've reset your passwords to ___, so you're all set.
Student: Oh, good, that's what you set it to when I called a few minutes ago.
Me: I whaa?
I HAD RESET HER PASSWORDS ON THE PHONE NO MORE THAN TWENTY MINUTES BEFORE SHE CAME TO MY OFFICE. SHE HAD GIVEN ME NO TROUBLE THEN. WHAT HAPPENED?
She had thrown away the piece of paper on which she had written all her information. "I didn't think I'd need to use it," she told me and shrugged. "I thought you guys would already have me signed up for classes, that's what we pay you guys for, right?"
(Where is that building. Stabby stab stab.)
Then, she asked me what operating system she should load on to her computer.
I looked at her with a completely straight face, and said: