At Least They Speak English

RoutineThis week’s Spin Cycle is all about routines.

Everyone has them.  Some people cannot live without them.  Ours are fairly boring – we are, after all, in our mid-40s.  Our idea of living on the edge is spontaneously deciding to go to the new Japanese restaurant that opened down the street after work – and that spontaneity waits for us to go home and let the dog out and feed the fish first.

Our lives will become even more routine once The Young One has returned from Texas and begins high school (yea gods!).  Which is fine – it is comforting, even.  By the time this all comes about, I’ll welcome it.  Routines are great, as long as you don’t become completely bound by them.

And therein lies the rub.   You see, my routine has been completely disrupted today by the necessary installation of a non-standard, non-plug-and-play printer and some non-standard software that requires a “smart card” software license to run on my laptop.  I’d already installed these several years ago on an old laptop that finally went up to that Big Operating System in the sky.

And I remember what a complete pain in the ass they were to install.  I remember having to call the people that sold the damn things to me and speaking to their tech support.

I hate talking to tech support.

Not because they can’t do their job, but because they do too good of a job.  You see, they have their routines, too, and their routines consist of speaking with the technically ignorant all day, every day.  And because they speak to the technically ignorant all day, every day, they don’t know what to do when they come across someone who knows what the hell they’re doing but just needs a little help.

“Hello, tech support.”

“Yeah, hi – this is Jan from That Software Company.  I’m in the process of reinstalling the Non-Standard Printer and PIA SmartCard Software y’all sold me on a different computer.  I’ve downloaded the necessary drivers and got my laptop to recognize the printer, but it won’t print a test page.  Also, when I go to run the Software, it crashes when it attempts to initialize the SmartCard license.  Can you help me out here?”

“Okay, ma’am, first you need to download the printer drivers…”

“I’ve already done that.  My computer is recognizing the printer, it just won’t print a test page – it says it’s downloading the data and just hangs there.”

“So to install the drivers, I’m going to need you to turn off your printer and go to and choose your model from the drop-down menu.”

“Excuse me, but I’ve already done that.”

“Oh.  Uh…okay, to install the driver, you’ll need to find out where you saved the executable on your hard drive and have it install to the correct folder on your hard drive.”

“I’ve done that too – look, I’ve got the damn printer installed.  The computer recognizes it.  I just cannot get it to print a test page.”

“Oh.  Okay.  Well, let’s see if it’ll print a test page.  To print a test page, you’ll need to -”


“Ma’am, there’s no reason to shout.  If the printer won’t print a test page, all you need to do is say so.”

It’s going to be a very long day.

22 thoughts on “At Least They Speak English”

  1. This is just spot on.

    Sometimes the husband and I play this game. I’m the IT person and he is the inexperienced one. No, it’s not a kinky sex game. JR just has a hard time with technology. I try not to treat him like a total idiot though. Unlike your tech guy.
    .-= Michele´s last blog ..6 Things I learned in Chicago =-.

  2. Sounds like you need the young one to come home early 😛

    “I fix it, Mommy” 😀

    Love you, miss you.

  3. But the teleprompter crashes and go ouwie! The look on the Pres’ face was great – too bad they didn’t show enough footage to see if he started babbling like a “Bush”!

    Kinda sorry state of affairs when a post about “routine” involves a tech support call. Hmmm guess when you are in a tech business it IS routine!

  4. I hate calling tech support for the exact same reason. I have known many people who have worked tech support, so I know what kinds of people they often have to deal with, but it still gets frustrating trying to talk to them when you know exactly what you want them to do, but they insist on running through their standard trouble shooting first.

    Love the Calvin too.
    .-= Arwen´s last blog ..Spin Cycle: Routines =-.

  5. When I make calls such as those, like Jan, I make sure that Ive at least done my part, so that I can tell them what Ive done and so we can get to the meat of the issue. However, I am not afraid to tell them, politely or otherwise, that if they cannot help me by listening to what I have to say in order to move forward with the issue, then I’d like to speak to a supervisor. And anyone who tells you they dont have a supervisor is completely full of shit (Ive heard people from our infamous cable company in the area say this). I too get frustrated with these tedious techno-morons and have no problem letting them know that.

    The Big OS in the sky? I hope its not a Microsoft OS, or we’re all screwed. During your upload to heaven, it BSOD’s (Blue Screen of Death, for the less technically minded) and you end up in purgatory (core dump).

  6. You have touched on something that is unfortunately part of all our lives. For those of us who are technologically challenged – unlike you – your tech guy speaks the language that would make me want to hug him. I guess we all have different frustration levels…

  7. I have this problem all the time. I usually end up shouting: Look! I was messing about with computers when you were in nappies…

    But it doesn’t help. They just say, Now I need you to restart your computer…

    I did develop a lovely email relationship with a tech support guy from a company in Czechoslovakia. We puzzled together, him in curious English that added an extra dimension to my not quite understanding him.

    In the end when it was I who came up with the solution and emailed him happily to say so he wrote back, “I am so glad! You are very handy!”

    I thought that was cute. Made up for (most) of the automatons.
    .-= Duchess´s last blog ..The parable of the floating boat: a modern, moral tale =-.

  8. Stopping by from Spin Cycle.

    Ah technology. I have a story to tell about how my wireless base station got killed by a pumpkin and all the things that I needed to do in order to have a new one installed. I’ll have to post on it now.

    I like how you tie in routine with breaking it up by something that is totally frustrating– I always find that happening to me too.

    Great spin.
    .-= Chris (AKA: CaJoh)´s last blog ..F2: Hot Doug’s =-.

  9. This makes me appreciate the tech support at my last company. They used to start and the end and move backward until they found the problem (instead of starting with install the printer drivers…)

    Love the Calvin. Remember, when it comes to computers, patience is a virtue and keep the windows open (shame to have to pay for a window and a new computer when you finally throw it!)
    .-= Mama Badger´s last blog ..Spin Cycle- The routine =-.

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