DISCLAIMER: I am not prejudiced against all tech support people. Some of my friends work in tech support. I’m not calling tech support people evil and incompetent. I am merely conveying the frustration I had to deal with today. This account only refers to today specifically and is in no way a representation of the tech support industry as a whole. Also, the dialogue has been slightly exaggerated, since I don’t remember a word-for-word account, although they were recording the call so I suppose I could get it from them. That would require calling them again, however, and I don’t want to do that.
INT. MOUNTAIN VIEW 4TH LOUNGE DAY.
Enter DAVID GANSSLE, a young, socially-awkward-but-well-intentioned film geek. David is troubled, due to the recent death of his laptop’s hard drive. Tormented at the thought of having to go a long time without his own computer, he decides to overcome his irrational hatred of talking on the phone by calling tech support, unaware that the experience will only reinstill the hatred until it burns with the passion of a thousand suns. David sits down and takes out the piece of paper with the tech support number and his computer’s information written on it. He dials the number on his cell phone.
VOICE ON PHONE: [incomprehensible mumbling that ends with something sounding almost like “Howcanihelpyou”]
DAVID: [uncertain] Uh…is this Dell Tech Support?
VOICE ON PHONE: No this is Some Hospital Or Another. Try 1-800-[some number]
DAVID: Oh. Okay. Thanks.
David hangs up, and dials the number given to him, slightly amused that apparently the mistake has been made several times before.
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: Hello, thank you for calling Dell. Your call may be recorded. If you are calling about purchasing a new product, press one. If you are calling about an order in progress, press two. If you are calling about a technical support or troubleshooting question, press three. If you are calling about that little screwup with the exploding batteries, press four. If you are calling about other random crap, press other random buttons.
DAVID: [presses three]
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: Is this a technical support question about those exploding batteries? Say yes or no.
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: [long pause as the computer attempts to analyze David’s voice patterns] Okay, please punch in or say Some Important Number Located On A Little Sticker At The Bottom Of Your Computer. It should be clearly labled with text that says “Some Important Number Located On A Little Sticker At The Bottom Of Your Computer.”
DAVID: [having previously copied the number onto the piece of paper, he reads it and punches it in]
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: Let me see if I have that right. [Repeats each individual digit in the long Important Number] Is this correct?
DAVID: [after realizing the computer wants to analyze his voice again] Uh, yes.
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: Please tell me the nature of your call. Please say one of the following: Something Software Related, Something Having To Do With A Printer Or Modem, Something About A Keyboard, or you can say None Of The Above.
DAVID: None Of The Above.
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: Please hold, a representative will be with you shortly. [pause] Did you know that chatting online with tech support people is free and easy? Go to Dell Dot Com and connect with tech support people via chatting online! It’s free and easy! You can do it for free, and it’s as easy as chatting online! Remember, chatting online with tech support people: It’s Free And Easy.
GUY WHO SOUNDS LIKE APU: [picks up the line] Thankyouforcallingdelltechsupportmayihaveyourfullnameplease?
DAVID: …uh…David Ganssle.
GUY WHO SOUNDS LIKE APU: Alrightyesthatsdavidandwhatsyourlastnameagainsir?
GUY WHO SOUNDS LIKE APU: Howdoyouspellthatsir?
GUY WHO SOUNDS LIKE APU: Yournameisdavidgansslethensir?
DAVID: Yes. David Ganssle.
GUY WHO SOUNDS LIKE APU: Verygoodandmayihaveyourphonenumberpleaseincasethecallgetsdisconnectedsoicancallyoubacksir?
DAVID: [says phone number]
GUY WHO SOUNDS LIKE APU: Verygoodandmayihaveyourcodenumberthatisnotthecodenumberyougavethemachineearlierbutislocatednexttoitonthestickersir?
DAVID: [reads off code number from piece of paper]
GUY WHO SOUNDS LIKE APU: Verygoodyouhaveaninspironeightysixhundredandyourwarranteecoversyouforanothertwoyearsnowwhatisthetroublesir?
DAVID: Well, I was working on my computer, when all of a sudden it froze, and when I restarted it, it said it couldn’t locate a hard disk, and when I took it to computer services on campus, they said the hard drive was completely fried and I need a new one, so…I’m calling to see about getting a new one.
GUY WHO SOUNDS LIKE APU: [after a pause] Alrightwillyoupleaseholdonaminutesir?
GUY WHO SOUNDS LIKE APU: [after a longer pause] Davidwillyoupleaseturnyourcomputeronnowsir?
DAVID: Oh, hold on, my computer’s actually in my dorm room, let me go get it.
David runs over to his dorm room to grab his computer and run back to the lounge, but somewhere along the way loses service and gets disconnected. After a few minutes of not getting a call back from Guy Who Sounds Like Apu, he dials the tech support number again.
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: Hello, thank you for calling Dell. Your call may be recorded. If you are calling about purchasing a new product, press one. If you are calling about an order in progress, press two. If you are calling because you’re a frustrated little college student who is desperate to get his stupid computer to work again because it is the only source of comfort he has on campus and he’s so desperate that he’s actually willing to go through the tech support call process twice, press three.
DAVID: [presses three]
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: This better not be about the exploding batteries, because earlier I said press four for that. It’s not, is it?
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: Punch in that long annoying number again.
DAVID: [does so]
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: [basically just asks David to go through all those tedious steps again]
DAVID: [basically just goes through all those tedious steps again]
AUTOMATIC FEMALE VOICE RECORDING ON PHONE: Please hold, a representative will be with you shortly. [pause, then some generic music] Did you know that listening to advertisements on the phone while being put on hold is easy? Being put on hold is easy, and it’s a great chance to listen to some advertisements. Why don’t you try listening to some advertisements while you’re put on hold?
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: [picks up the line] Hello, thank you for calling Dell, my name is Incomprehensiblymumbledname, may I have your full name please?
DAVID: David Ganssle. G-A-N-S-S-L-E.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Okay, and if you wouldn’t mind giving me your callback number, please? If it’s not too much trouble for you.
DAVID: [does so]
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Alright, and that code number, if you wouldn’t mind telling me what that is?
DAVID: [does so]
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Alright, let me check your records. Is this your first time calling tech support?
DAVID: Well, actually, I just called a few minutes ago and got cut off.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: I see. Yes, you were calling about a hard drive problem?
DAVID: Yes, that’s right. My hard drive is completely fried, and I need a new one.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Alright, David, do you have your computer with you?
DAVID: Yes, I do now.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Alright, then, would you mind turning it on for me and describing what happens?
DAVID: [pushes the power button] Alright, well, it shows the Dell loading screen, but it’s making this weird clicking sound, and before it can get to the Windows loading screen, it says “Unable to locate hard disk, press F1 to retry boot, F2 for incomprehensible menu settings a layman like yourself will never understand”.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Alright, David, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d like you to press F2 please, okay?
DAVID: Alright. I pressed F2.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Now press a bunch of other random keys for a while that I’ll seemingly think of off the top of my head.
DAVID: Okay, if you say so.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Now, turn off your computer and turn it back on.
DAVID: [does so] It still does the same thing when I turn it on.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Alright, then, I’m gonna need you to do some more stuff. Do you have a screwdriver on you?
DAVID: Uh, no, can’t say that I do.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Can you get one?
DAVID: Hold on, let me check.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: It’s alright, take your time.
David runs down the hall, although leaves his phone on the couch of the lounge this time so it won’t go out of service. He runs into his own dorm room, where Andrew and Seth are sitting.
DAVID: Hey, either one of you happen to have a screwdriver?
SETH: I do. Follow me.
David follows Seth into his room, explaining the backstory of his little screwdriver-necessitating predicament. Seth gives him a little toolkit with a screwdriver with many detachable heads. David is quite grateful, and returns to the lounge, and finally fiddles enough to find a head that will fit the screw keeping the hard drive in place.
DAVID: Okay, I have a screwdriver.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Now, I need you to turn off your computer, unplug the AC adapter and remove the battery, and then unscrew and remove your hard drive.
DAVID: Okay…hold on…done.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Now I need you to also remove your CD/DVD drive.
DAVID: [does so]
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Now, I need you to hold down on your power button for ten seconds. This doesn’t actually do anything, but it makes you feel like this step has a purpose.
DAVID: [does so, because he’s all for feeling like things have a purpose]
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Now I need you to put your hard drive back in.
DAVID: Okay, done.
NICE SOUNDING WOMAN: Now put in your battery or plug in your computer, and turn it back on.
DAVID: Okay, it’s turned on…and it’s still the same as before.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: [after a pause] Okay, there seems to be a problem with your hard drive. It may be fried or something. We’ll have to send you a new one.
DAVID: [politely refrains from shouting “THAT’S WHAT I SAID AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS FREAKING CALL!”]
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Now, your warranty is still good, so just give me your mailing address, and we’ll have it sent off.
DAVID: Okay. Messiah College, Box 5…
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Wait a minute. Is it a post-office box?
DAVID: Uh, it’s a campus mailbox, yes.
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: [after a pause] We can’t ship to post-office boxes?
DAVID: Why not?
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: We do not understand post-office boxes, and we fear what we do not understand. Is there any other address we can send it to?
DAVID: Uh, you could send it to my home in Connecticut, and then my parents could ship it from there to here. My parents have a sufficient comprehension of post-office boxes. [gives home address]
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Alright, thank you very much, David. I now want you to download various drivers off of the internet for reasons which do not really concern you. Do you have access to a computer with an internet connection right now?
DAVID: Uh, there’s a computer lab in the basement, but I have no phone service down there…
NICE-SOUNDING WOMAN: Alright, if you will please go to one of those computers, I’ll give you instructions. Just go to blahblahblah.dell.com, and follow the onscren instructions.
David goes down to the computer lab. On the way down his call gets disconnected, as he predicted. He goes to the specified URL, and the onscreen instructions lead him nowhere. He decides to leave the lab and head toward dinner. As he leaves and enters a service area again, he notices he has two voice mail messages. One of them is from Guy Who Sounds Like Apu, giving him a direct number to call. That could have saved some agony. The other is from Nice-Sounding Woman, who says that the drivers thing wasn’t really all that important yet and that stuff can get settled when the hard drive arrives, and thank you for calling and all that. David calls his dad to let him know about the situation, and then goes to dinner, and spends the rest of the evening recording voiceovers for a ridiculous redubbing project, holding on to the vain hope that his new hard drive won’t get lost in the mail.