More Luser StoriesGot a call from a woman said that her laser printer was having
problems: the bottom half of her printed sheets were coming out blurry. It
seemed strange that the printer was smearing only the bottom half. I walked her
through the basics, then went over and printed out a test sheet. It printed
fine. I asked her to print a sheet, so she sent a job to the printer. As the
paper started coming out, she yanked it out and showed it to me. I told her to
wait until the paper came out on its own. Problem solved.
I had been doing Tech Support for Hewlett-Packard's DeskJet division for about a
month when I had a customer call with a problem I just couldn't solve. She could
not print yellow. All the other colors would print fine, which truly baffled me
because the only true colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow. For instance, green
is a combination of cyan and yellow, but green printed fine. Every color of the
rainbow printed fine except for yellow. I had the customer change ink
cartridges. I had the customer delete and reinstall the drivers. Nothing worked.
I asked my coworkers for help; they offered no new ideas. After over two hours
of troubleshooting, I was about to tell the customer to send the printer in to
us for repair when she asked quietly, "Should I try printing on a piece of white
paper instead of this yellow paper?"
A man attempting to set up his new printer called the printer's tech support
number, complaining about the error message: "Can't find the printer." On the
phone, the man said he even held the printer up in front of the screen, but the
computer still couldn't find it.
And another user was all confused about why the cursor always moved in the
opposite direction from the movement of the mouse. She also complained that the
buttons were difficult to depress. She was very embarrassed when we asked her
to rotate the mouse so the tail pointed away from her.
Customer: "Hello? I'm trying to dial in. I installed the software okay, and it
dialed fine. I could hear that. Then I could hear the two computers connecting.
But then the sound all stopped, so I picked up the phone to see if they were
still connected, and I got the message, 'No carrier,' on my screen. What's
An unfailingly polite lady called to ask for help with a Windows installation
that had gone terribly wrong.
Customer: "I brought my Windows disks from work to install them on my home
Training stresses that we are "not the Software Police," so I let the little act
of piracy slide.
Tech Support: "Umm-hmm. What happened?"
Customer: "As I put each disk in it turns out they weren't initialized."
Tech Support: "Do you remember the message exactly, ma'am?"
Customer: (proudly) "I wrote it down. 'This is not a Macintosh disk. Would you
like to initialize it?'"
Tech Support: "Er, what happened next?"
Customer: "After they were initialized, all the disks appeared to be blank. And
now I brought them back to work, and I can't read them in the A: drive; the PC
wants to format them. And this is our only set of Windows disks for the whole
office. Did I do something wrong?"
This guy calls in to complain that he gets an "Access Denied" message every time
he logs in. It turned out he was typing his username and password in capital
letters. Tech Support: "Ok, let's try once more, but use lower case letters."
Customer: "Uh, I only have capital letters on my keyboard."
Email from a friend: "CanYouFixTheSpaceBarOnMyKeyboard?"
A woman called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer. The tech
asked her if she was "running it under Windows." The woman responded, "No, my
desk is next to the door. But that's a good point. The man sitting in the
cubicle next to me is under a window, and his is working fine."