Help Desk, May I Help You?

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Howard (Howie) Merrill is the Master of the Web Manor website, as well as the author of the wonderful newsletter The Funnies.  Comments, questions, and anything else about Howie's Corner should be sent to Howie.

Help Desk, May I Help You?

When I boot my work PC, I have to log on to the network via Novell. Novell's "Advanced Options" allow you to disable scripts. The scripts we are referring to are the ones that the PC "Help Desk" and/or LAN "Support" create to perform such minor tasks as screwing up windows, deleting your documents, disabling any games found even if the "Game" found is something like "Important work software" and other minor things. Part of the scripts is an automated virus database update utility. You see, we use a free virus protection software package (because it is free, not because it is good!) and the wonderful LAN boys periodically update the virus databases automatically via these scripts. I turn off scripts as a practice after many frustrating crashes caused by these scripts.

Once in a blue moon, I get my courage (provided by the Wizard of course) and turn scripts on to allow whatever will occur, to occur. On this particular day of foolish behavior, the scripts installed a NEW IMPROVED version of this free virus software and forced me to reboot to complete the install. Upon doing so, the virus software worked just fine, but now my e-mail program (Lotus Notes), no longer knew it was software. It thought it was a toaster and asked me to load a slice of bread into my floppy drive. OK, slight exaggeration but the point is that the e-mail program was not working.

I called the Help Desk, opened a ticket and was informed that they would send me my tracking number in e-mail. Um, am I missing something here? My e-mail is broke and you are sending me my tracking number in e-mail??? Um, and what do I need this tracking number for anyway? Well, if there are any questions, you can refer to this tracking number. I never have questions (uh-huh) so I didn't bother to write it down.

Many days pass, no e-mail is a mixed blessing but after a while, (When my boss got ticked off because I was not responding to his 600 e-mails), I called the Help Desk to ask about my mail problem. Of course, they asked me for my tracking number. I informed this person that I did not have it. They told me that it was sent to me in e-mail and can I go look for it. Explaining that the reason for this ticket was because my e-mail software was broken caused a major brain check in this person. They spent a few silent moment and decided that since this has never happened before, they would have to ask their manager what to do, so, please hold.

Whomever is responsible for the decision to put muzak on our phones when we are put on hold should be shot! There is something about listening to Anne Murray's take on "With a little help from my friends" that makes me want to break things!!!

After a prolong absence, the manager of the help desk picked up the phone and proceeded to inform me that we have a problem. We can not look up tickets without a tracking number and I am obviously incapable of doing what I am told since I did not write down this seemingly important number. I wanted to ask where his precise location was in this building, have him stay on the phone (and listen to Willie Nelson performing Green Day), and walk to his cubicle to strangle him!!!

But being the professional I am, I asked him to open a new ticket so we can get on with our lives. That raises a new issue. We can not open a new ticket without closing the old one (sic).

Let us try this another way. I ran your scripts, it corrupted my e-mail program, it did this because it overlaid a needed DLL in the windows system directory with an older version. Can we reinstall the e-mail program and get a fix from the anti-virus software vendor to avoid this situation? You might think that I just spoke in pig latin because this "Manager" made sounds like "EH, AH, OH, and UM". Apparently, this is a foreign concept. A "USER" that not only knows what is wrong, but also how to appropriately fix it. He sprung into action, utilizing his amazing ability to be as professional, mature, and helpful as possible, he put me on hold!

After ten minutes of Herb Alpert performing Stairway to Heaven, yet another "Manager" asked me the same questions, in the same order, refusing the same answers, and put me on hold

I hung up.

Now it is time to take matters into my own hands. I restored my e-mail software, windows system directory, anti-virus software directory, registry, and disabled scripts in Novell. Being back to where I started, I called the help desk to inform them that they can close the ticket. They asked what the ticket number was. I went into e-mail and discovered that they never sent me ANY ticket. They had the wrong e-mail address on their database.

I told them to open a ticket to fix the e-mail address and send me the ticket number.

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Last Revised: 02/25/2001