Doing computer repair and tech support on an informal part time basis has given me a chance to view users and their faults in a way has proven that the human capacity for self deception, wishful thinking, and stupidity knows no bounds...
Anyone who has listened to a user say "It just quit - I have no idea what happened!" knows that the user is likely not being truthful - especially when warranty repair is being requested. And if a laptop is involved things can really get interesting.
This exchange was overheard in an Apple store (via FailDesk) -
A woman brought in her laptop and started talking to an Apple tech guy about how "everything stopped working" and "the keys aren’t doing anything". He asked her to be more specific, but she just kept repeating herself, saying she had no idea why her laptop would stop working. Eventually, he took her laptop to the back, saying he would take a closer look at it. After a few minutes he comes back out with the backboard and fixes her with a stern raised eyebrow.
Tech: “Are you sure you don’t know why your laptop stopped working?”
Woman: “I’m certain! It just stopped!”
Tech: “Do you like drinking by any chance?” (the woman obviously thinks he is flirting with her, and says yes).
At this point he shows her the back case of the laptop, and you can see it’s just completely saturated with sticky red stuff. Her face just goes completely red and he says, “Well, that was an expensive glass of wine”. Turns out it’s going to cost her a ridiculous amount to get her laptop fixed, and she might as well get a new one.
Moral of the story - Laptops and liquids just don't mix! And alcohol merely makes a fatal (to the laptop and/or your reputation) mistake more likely...
Then there is the user that borders on being willfully ignorant and/or "has more important things to do" than learn basic computer operations then expects you to repeatedly walk them through an operation or better yet just do their work for them. I have gotten to the point with one such user that a reply to an email requesting help of RTFM (Read The F**king Manual) - or no reply at all - or not returning a phone call is almost a sure bet. The acronym PICNIC (Problem In Chair Not In Computer) was coined to describe this type of user.
Then there are the classic lines "I think it has a virus" and "It's really slow". These can mean anything or nothing at all. Recently, I had a complete Dell desktop system come into the shop to be rebuilt for donation to someone who would not otherwise have a computer. It is a machine of modest specifications - Windows XP Home, Celeron processor, 512MB of RAM - that should under normal conditions run reasonably well. Apparently the owner believed every pop up that said "Your machine has XXX viruses - let us fix it" and/or "Let our system utility help speed up your machine" and never said no to an offer. Multiple active anti virus apps, system utilities and tons of malware mean it boots in from 5 to 10 minutes if at all and waiting for a program to load and run makes the classic line about going out for lunch and a beer while you are waiting painfully close to the truth. Sometimes there really is a problem and since this isn't a high priority job I'll salvage her files and clean install Windows as time permits.
One final story is of a man whose machine has been in my shop repeatedly. It seems that every time it shows a sign of anything unusual out comes the restore disks and he would run them and then wonder why a version of Windows that was 5+ years old, with the original trial security software got clobbered so quickly as soon as he went on line! He never did really learn and would send me the machine periodically and pay the fee to have it fixed and updated - one thing he was though - a steady source of income and humor...
Finally in closing let me say that not all users are ignorant, liars, or have an attitude - most just want their problem fixed and are willing to learn from what went wrong so as not to repeat their mistakes. But the exceptions provide a rich source of at times sardonic humor and a reason to consume strong drink as we contemplate the foibles human nature.
OK - Time to get back to work...