Tech Support To Make Your Head Explode

We always hear lots of stories on the internet about dumb people calling tech support.   People who think the CD drive is a cup holder and such.  And I know there are a lot of stupid people in the world.  And I’m quite sure a lot of them work in tech support.

I don’t think the object of tech support is to help you solve your problem.  I think it’s to run you around in circles until you give up and go away.

Before we begin, I should tell you that this conversation did actually happen, and exactly in the way you’ll read it below.

I don’t want to tell you what company of I was dealing with the other day, but it rhymes with “Lepson”.
“Tanya” answers the phone.

Tanya: “Thank you for calling Epson tech support.  How can I help you today?”

Me: “Well, I have an Epson Photo R340 and I’m having trouble printing CDs with it.  It was working fine until last night.  Now the CD tray is being sucked in too far and is getting stuck, which gives me a paper jam error.  I’ve tried everything in the book and on the troubleshooter to get rid of the error message.  Even turning the printer off and back on again does not work.  I think it’s something mechanical since it’s also leaving skid marks on the CD.

Tanya: So you’re saying you’re having trouble printing CDs.  Is that correct?

Me: Yes.

Tanya: Can you give me more detail?

Me: ‘Incredulous look’  – (So, I go into the whole detail again.  Hoping upon prayer that she’s actually listening this time.)

Tanya: Have you tried anything to fix it?

Me: Yes, I told you that.

Tanya: Do you have the printer manual?

Me: Yes, I do.

Tanya: What does it tell you to do?

(As if I were too dumb to look in the manual.)

Me: I told you I already tried the stuff in the book.

(This is like telling your doctor where it hurts and he asks if you Googled it already.)

Tanya: What does the error message say exactly?

Me: It’s says ‘Paper jam.  Please remove jammed paper or CD tray.  If error message does not go away, replace tray and try again.’

Tanya: So you’re saying it’s a paper jam error?

Me: Yes.

Tanya: Mr. Johnson, can you hold while I research this problem?”

Me: Sure.

You are then subjected to every version of “Girl from Ipanema” ever recorded.  10 minutes later she comes back on.

Tanya: Thank you for holding Mr. Johnson.  I need you to take the ink cartridges out and shake them.

(This strikes me as being about as effective as jumping up and down after sex as a form of contraception.)

Me: Ok, I shook them and re-installed them.  Same error message about a paper jam.

Tanya: Ok, I need you to unplug the cable from the computer.

Me: Ok, done.

Tanya: Has the error message gone away?

Me: No, it hasn’t.

Tanya: What does the error message say exactly?

Me: It’s the same paper jam message as before.

Tanya: But what does the error message say exactly?

Me: (So I again read the error message.  At this point I’m starting to think she gets turned on by the exact reading of error messages.)

Tanya: Mr. Johnson, can you hold on for a few minutes while I research this problem?

Me: Sure.

Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking…

Tanya: Thank for your patience Mr. Johnson.  Are the green lights on the front solid?

Me: No, they’re blinking.

Tanya: So you’re saying the green lights are flashing?

Me: Yes, they’re blinking.

Tanya: They’re flashing?

Me: Ok, they’re flashing.

(You think I’m kidding.  This conversation is word for word, the way it went down.)

Tanya: Ok, I need you press the ‘setup’ button on the printer. We’re going to do a nozzle check.

(Why are we doing a nozzle check?  The problem has nothing to do with the ink!  Frankly it reminds me a little bit of me.  When there’s a problem with my car, the only two things I know how to do are check the oil and the air in the tires.  Once I’ve exhausted those two options, it’s time to take it to a professional.  Unfortunately in this case, I thought I was calling a professional.)

Me: Pressing the button doesn’t do anything because there’s still an error message on the screen.

Tanya: Are the lights still flashing?

Me: Yes, nothing has magically changed.

Tanya: Ok, I need you to unplug the cable from the computer.

Me: It’s still unplugged from last time you told me to unplug it.

Tanya: Ok, plug it back in then.

Me: Ok, done.

Tanya: Ok, now I need you to unplug the cable from the computer.

Me: Really?  Even though I just plugged it back in?

Tanya: Yes.

Me: Ok, fine , it’s unplugged.

Tanya: Mr. Johnson, can you hold for a minute while I research this problem?

Me: Sure, why not.

When she walks she’s like a samba that swings so cool and sways so gentle…

Tanya: Thank you for your patience Mr. Johnson.  I need you to remove the ink cartridges and shake them.

Me: Seriously?  Again?

Tanya: Yes.

For the next hour I proceeded to shake the ink cartridges 5 times, unplug and plug the cable 4 times, and listen to over 8000 versions of Girl from Ipanema.

Tanya: Ok, Mr. Johnson, it looks like we may need to replace your printer.  What was the exact date of purchase of your printer?

Me: Well, this printer is a replacement for the last one that broke and I received it in December.

Tanya: Ok, but what was the exact date of purchase for the original printer?

Me: How am I supposed to know that?  Do you remember the exact date you bought your printer?

Tanya: I don’t own a printer, sir.

(Go figure)

Tanya: Don’t you have the receipt?

Me: Yes, in a bag of receipts from last year in the garage somewhere.

(Now, Had I 8000 versions of Girl from Ipanema at my disposal I would have put her on hold for the next 14 hours while I tried to find the receipt.  Instead I told her that wasn’t possible.)

Tanya: Well, in order to send you a new printer, we need to know the exact date of purchase.

Me: Does it matter?  The replacement lasted less than 4 months!

Tanya: Mr Johnson, can you hold for a minute?

Me: No.

Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes walking…

Tanya: Thank you for your patience Mr. Johnson

Me: I lost my patience a half hour ago Tanya.

Tanya: We’re going to take care of this for you Mr Johnson.

(I’m hoping she doesn’t mean ‘take care of’ in the Mafia sense.”

Tanya: I’m going to send you to a customer support specialist to help you.

Me: Great, thanks.

Steve: Hi this is Steve.  Thanks for calling Epson customer support.  How can I help you.

Me: I don’t know Steve.  Tanya sent me to you because they couldn’t figure out how to fix my printer.

Steve: Well, what seems to be the problem?

Me: You mean they didn’t tell you anything about my call before they transferred me to you?

Steve: Can I have your phone number please?

Me: Well, Steve I’m in a committed relationship, but just this once.  It’s (408) blah blah blah.

(Steve recounts the last hour’s discussion to me, putting me through the pain all over again.)

Steve: Mr Johnson… What was the exact date you purchased your printer on?

Me: I don’t know.  And I told the other lady that.  But the replacement printer only lasted 4 months which is not even close to the one year warranty it has.

Steve: Well, the warranty only covers the period from the purchase of the initial printer.

Me: Lovely.

Steve: According to my records here it shows you bought the printer in August of 2008.

Me: I believe that’s what I guessed last time.

Steve: That means you’re two weeks past your warranty expiration.  But we’ll make an exception this time and replace it for you.  (How frickin’ generous of them.)

Are you still in San Jo-zee? (He actually pronounced it that way.)

Me: No, I’m no longer in San Jose, the address is in Milpitas.

Steve: Can you spell that?
Phil: Sure.  M-I-L-P-I

Steve: Wait, M……..I………L………
Phil: P-I-T-A-S

Steve: Ok, so it’s spelled P…..I….T…..
Phil: Did you get the MIL part?

Steve: Oh, no wait.
(This is beginning to feel like ‘Who’s On First’ now.)
Phil: M….I….L….P…I…T….A….S

Should it really take the guy 4 minutes and 5 tries to spell the city right?  Lord knows where the thing will show up.

I figured it would probably end up in Minneapolis or possibly the city of Mipple which, frankly, is a fictional Midwestern town in an obscure comic book called “Omaha the Cat Dancer”.

If anyone could screw it up so bad as to have it arrive in a completely fictional town, they’re the folks to do it.

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