Technology plays such a huge role in our lives, and unfortunately, sometimes it breaks. Luckily, there's people who know how to fix these issues, and do so for a living. They're met with unique and difficult situations every day, and do their best to fix them. Even if the issues are a little silly.
IT workers on Reddit share the dumbest demand they've ever gotten from a coworker. Content has been edited for clarity.
What Did She Do To It?
“I’ve somehow become the ‘Apple Guy’ at my work. We recently received a batch of brand new iPad Pros and within a week, I received a repair request due to a screen malfunctioning.
Turns out by screen malfunctioning they meant completely destroyed. Shattered. Like it had been continuously hit with a hammer.
Lady is giving vague explanations about what happened, talking about how it might have fallen off her desk…onto the carpeted floor.
But apparently this is something I can fix? She needed it for a meeting that afternoon. I had to explain that this isn’t something we can fix, that I’ll need to go through Apple for a replacement device.
Shocking news, apparently.”
Oh Mr. Windsor
“Back in my very early career, I had this customer named Mr. Windsor. He was this grumpy older guy, and everything was an emergency; he was always yelling about some IT issue he was having. The most memorable is he called us livid over some site he was getting a ‘Forbidden’ error on. How dare we forbid him from going to his website! I had to patiently explain that there was an issue with that site and he’d have to contact the owner.
About an hour later, he calls back demanding to speak to me personally. He got an e-mail saying he had a fatal error. How DARE WE wish him to die. Finally figured out that he’d misspelled the e-mail address, and the fatal error was coming from the mail system. I just looked up the number to the web company and told him to call. I’d love to know how that conversation went.
Anyway, a few days before Christmas we get a phone call. It’s Mr Windsor. He is slurring his words and clearly been drinking something festive. He called to apologize for being a miserable old duffer and thank us for being patient. Back to his usual miserable self after Christmas of course. Interesting character.”
An Interesting Connection
“Early in my career when I still did home-user work, I had a client request an onsite because ‘every time I go get a drink, my computer crashes.’
Wouldn’t crash when he like, went to the bathroom or anything – just when he went to get a drink.
So I’m staring at this computer, and I can see in the logs that there are crashes but nothing that would help me understand what was causing it (because…it’s not the drink…). Finally, I’m grasping at straws, and ask him to show me what he does when it crashes.
He’s says, ‘I told you, it crashes when I go get a drink!’
So I’m like, ‘Just humor me.’
He sits down in the chair, and then stands up, walks clean to the other side of the house (huge open living room thing with one of those weird sunken ‘conversation pit’ things and heavy shag carpet), walks up to this built in mini fridge, opens it, grabs a drink, closes it, starts walking back and opens the drink…and the computer takes a nosedive.
What the heck…?
Took about 30 seconds of feeling like the world had gone mad and this dude was like some sort of weird drink-magician, when the light bulb came on – the mini-fridge was probably on the same circuit as the PC. The compressor in the mini-fridge was going bad and drawing too much from the circuit when it kicked in – brown out, and the computer would crash.
Dude was right all along – his computer would crash whenever he went to get a drink.”
Was It Worth A Ban?
“Lady called to report her monitor wasn’t working. After troubleshooting and asking her multiple times if everything was plugged in, she finally pipes up that the monitor ‘doesn’t have the light on.’
The monitor wasn’t plugged in and she wanted me to wake a guy up at 3am to do it, because she was dressed to nicely to do it herself since she was preparing for a meeting at 6am. Told her to do it herself because I was not about to wake up the on call for that. She complained to our director and he literally laughed at her, and her reasoning for wanting the on call sent out. Now she is now banned from calling in.”
He Went Straight To The Top
“I got an email from a user one day: ‘the numbers on my keyboard don’t work.’
Alright, not a lot to go on, but probably easier to just give them a new keyboard. I look up the user to figure out where I need to go with a keyboard, and see their past logins are only on a work laptop.
Alright, better actually email them then: ‘Just to confirm, all the other keys on the keyboard work but not when you use the numbers on either the top row or on the pad to the right?’
Two days later, I get a response at nine am; ‘Just the pad on the right. This is really annoying, can you come take care of this quickly?’
Alright, you took your sweet time for that reply, but maybe you were out or busy. I came to the conclusion if it’s just the number pad, they probably habe number lock turned off.
I look up the model number, definitely has a number lock key so I email back at 9:15am: ‘It could just be the number lock has turned off, there should be a key called ‘Num’ with a lock on it just above the number pad, could you press that first then try to use the numbers and let me know the results?”
The next day, the user submits a ticket; ‘numbers on keyboard don’t work.’
Frustrated at this point, I send another email ‘Is this concerning the issue with the number pad? Were you able to try the num lock key and if so, how did that turn out?’
Two days later, the user sends a new email directly to me, and CC’s the CEO of our 10,000 employee company.
The email says ‘I’ve been trying to have this issue resolved for over a week now, can somebody please come fix my laptop, the keyboard does not work.’
I just stare at my screen for a minute, who the heck is this person? System says they are just a customer service representative, do they know the CEO? Have I really done anything wrong here? After the initial shock and self-doubt, I realize I’m totally fine and this guy has got to be the biggest moron in the world. So I walk over to my bosses office and let him know the situation, he’s just as dumbfounded when I mention the cc’ing the CEO part. He says he’ll look into it but for now just go down and fix the issue.
So I walk over to this guy’s station and he looks like he’s 18. He tells me the same things I already knew from the emails, I lean over him, open a notepad, press a couple keys and as I suspect everything works fine but the number pad is moving the cursor around. I press the number lock key and then type again, numbers appearing.
I just dead pan the guy ‘Need anything else?’
He of course doesn’t understand, and just says. ‘No, but I can’t believe it took you guys a week to figure that out.’
Knowing nothing good comes from this, I just say have a good one and leave.
Get back to my office, boss is laughing his butt off as I tell him what happened. He follows up with an email to the guys’ supervisor, cc’ing their manager and myself as well, basically retelling the story in full. Last I heard the manager chewed out the supervisor and the supervisor chewed out the CSR, heck if I know if an idiot that thick learned anything though.”
He Offered A Solution
“Years ago, I worked for a rather large internet service provider as a tech lead. A customer called in, demanding to speak to a supervisor because his internet was down and he was going to miss out on some multi-million dollar deal of he couldn’t get on the internet. He kept yelling at me throughout the call, and demanded I fix it immediately.
While troubleshooting the issue, I could see that I couldn’t reach the DSLAM his connection ran through. I advised him I would have to reach out to a dispatch center to have a tech go take a look at it. At some point, he informed me that on his way home he saw that a vehicle had run off the road into one of our boxes and it had caught fire.
He still said he was planning on suing our company if he wasn’t able to be online to make this supposed deal of his. I passive aggressively suggested he go to a Starbucks and wished him well with the lawsuit.”
He Found The Solution Quickly
“At one of my first jobs (during the early 90s’), I was senior IT admin for a medium-sized company. On my day off, the CEO called and I had to get in cause the mail wasn’t working and also the banking software didn’t work
This CEO was primarily responsible for the financial department, so especially this last part was hurting him.
When I came in, said CEO was really flaming. He was basically burning the entire IT department (of three people) as being incompetent, overpaid idiots. And all the loss of business revenue should come out of our pockets, etc.
So during this lovely tirade, I come in, and in a few seconds I realize we have a problem with the internet connection. Keep in mind, this were the 90s’, so we had a dual ISDN connection and a dial-up modem connected to it.
I run a few tests, and instead of the common modem sounds, I hear some low resolution voice on the line. I connect a regular phone to it, listen to it, and then gave it to the CEO saying, It’s for you.’
After that, the CEO said nothing, and used his own mobile to manage the finances.
What did the ISDN Phone say? ‘Due to not paying your bill, this line is disconnected. If you want to reinstate this service you have to pay xx + admin costs etc. etc.’
I went home after that, with a very big grin, and started looking for another job.”
Not A Very Savvy Traveler
“Previous IT for a US based online bank. The sheer amount of calls regarding unsupported devices or user error that customers considered my fault were staggering. We had to accept and troubleshoot every call regardless, and would guess at most 15% of calls ended up being an actual tech issue rather than Pebcak (problem exists between chair and keyboard).
My favorite though, was a man cursing up a storm that he was taking his business elsewhere. He was travelling and his mobile device did not allow access to our site. He had also apparently bought at least five (that the previous rep had failed to make work) phones from a street vendor before calling tech.
He refused to allow me to go over the basics, like OS and Providers and kept saying, ‘Just do your job.’
After at least half an hour, but probably longer, I finally was allowed to start with the basic steps. One of the first questions was OS and Provider (all of which where 10 years out of date or were names unfamiliar to me and my list of supported devices). Frustrated, this man complained about where he was stuck unable to access his online bank.
I don’t remember the exact location but I do remember my sadistic glee. This man was vacationing in an OFAC sanctioned country. Basically, he was vacationing somewhere the US has issued sanctions against, and our policy did not allow his card or online access in that country.
His response? ‘I don’t care, fix it.’
Thankfully after another half hour of me explaining I could not change security policy or the fact he was in a blocked country, he escalated to my supervisor which made it no longer my problem.”
She Lost A Laptop And A Privilege
“Had a lady executive use her laptop bag as a wheel chock when her husband changed her tire. She ran over it. She brought it to us and said, ‘Make this work. I have a presentation in an hour.’
Then left. We took it out of the bag and it was U shaped. We laughed at the situation. There was nothing we could do. The hard drive was even crushed.
She came back and screamed at us for our incompetence while demanding another laptop (her third in six months). Our team lead took the laptop to the VP of technology. He brought her down to our office and made her apology and told us she did not get any more laptops. If she wanted to work on the weekends, she had to come in to the office.”
He Found The Source Of Her Headache
“Got called at midnight because ‘Our only PC started beeping so I turned it off and now it won’t come back on.’
This is for our life-flight operators, so seemingly important.
Tried to get them to troubleshoot with me over the phone but got told ‘This is an issue for someone with a computer science degree and since I don’t have one, you need to come and fix it.’
All I could get out of them was that it was still beeping when she tried to turn it on, and ‘No, I won’t try again because it gave me a headache listening to it.’
Drove the 45 min into work, and found that they had pushed the keyboard under a cable so it was holding down a key. Moved the keyboard and magically the beeping stopped. They were really apologetic though.
They also had three computers, and only two operators at the time.”
She’s Definitely Embarrassed
“I had a lady who brought her laptop in for a simple software repair. I fixed it and get it back to her. She calls me directly two days later, and is absolutely irate that her camera isn’t working. I explained to her that I never touched her camera, but if she wanted to come back in I would gladly take a look. She didn’t want that, even though my location is all walk up and no remote support.
She absolutely wanted me to ‘remote in and figure it out, because it was working before I worked on it.’
I put her on hold, and as I was looking up her machine name, I remembered she had electrical tape over her camera.
So I picked up the phone and said ‘I seem to recall tape over the camera. Is that still there?’
She promptly hung up.”
Even IT Couldn’t Fix This
“I worked the help desk at my grad school. We had the power to reset passwords on student and faculty accounts, ensure computers were interacting with the network properly, etc.
Got a call from an elderly professor that he was having trouble logging into his account.
‘Okay,’ I figured. ‘I’ll reset your password.’
Didn’t work. Nothing I did remotely worked. Eventually, I had to actually go to this guy’s house (many of the faculty lived in special on-campus housing), where his computer was already at the problem page: Yahoo Mail. This guy thought I had the IT powers to fix his Yahoo password.
He had already locked himself out of his account by entering the wrong password too many times. For some reason the ‘forgot password’ link wasn’t working. He became irate when I explained to him that there was nothing I could do because his Yahoo Mail account has nothing to do with our school.”
What Was Going On Here?
“I’ve been fortunate to recently work in business-to-business software tech support—when something breaks, it’s one of the IT people in this thread calling me, rather than their end users. That usually means I get competent and invested people contacting us for help (though naturally their level of familiarity with our software varies). Still, every once in a while, the person who contacts us is … not that.
The worst case was definitely someone who worked for the equivalent of a state government’s revenue agency in a different country. They were the definition of a ‘problem customer’—unwilling to read documentation and comprehend the process in favor of insisting we remote in, and do our documented troubleshooting steps for them. The final contact we had with them was a remote session and phone call, where this technical contact insisted we import their license file into one of our products for them.
Me: ‘Okay, I can walk you through that process. Do you have it on the server already? That’ll make it easier.’
Them: ‘No. I got your email, though.’
‘Oh, okay. That’s good. Go ahead and follow the link there to download your license, and—’ I began.
‘No. You know how to use Outlook. Here’s it is,’ they rudely interrupted.
‘I’m sorry?’ I said, in pure confusion.
‘Go ahead and get it out of my mailbox. I’ve pulled it up for you,’ they impatiently replied.
‘I cannot look your email inbox to find your license file. That’s a huge security and liability problem?’ I said, completely dumbfounded.
‘Ugh, fine. I’ll do it for you,’ they said in annoyance.
They did indeed find the email we had sent with the license file download link, all the while acting as if my not digging around in a foreign government worker’s email and potentially seeing secure financial information for their citizens or government was sheer laziness on my part.”
How Did She Get That Number?
“In a prior position, I worked as a shift lead that oversaw the tier-1 troubleshooting team (for the Pacific) for the DOD’s military network infrastructure.
We got a ticket, which we are required to investigate regardless, that a user was not able to connect their mobile device to wireless.
Strange, this sounds like an end-end user issue and we don’t troubleshoot wireless. Turns out the ‘user’ was some woman at a Starbucks on a base in Georgia (or somewhere like that) could not connect to the WiFi at Starbucks. So she had googled military internet and through a series search refinements ended up with the help desk number.
I politely told her she’d have to talk to the Starbucks, and we dealt with military services and military customers (not as precise a term I should have used). She gave me an earful about how she was a military spouse, and she is on base and her husband was Captain so-and-so.
I didn’t waste any more time, so I gave the phone to my battle captain and he told her ‘Lady please, unless this is for NIPR or SIPR or you’re on a tactical mission this isn’t for you. Are you on a tactical mission?’
He then told us to cancel the ticket.”
Their Degree Says They Know
“The worst instance of someone asking for my help with their computer and ignoring my advice is one of my friends, he has a ancient decade old laptop, it’s not a complete piece of junk, as it was high end when he bought it, but still extremely obsolete.
One time he asked me how to speed it up and lower the fan volume, I took a look, noticed he had probably 30 Chrome tabs open at all times, and nearly every program on the device set to run at startup. I told him if he closed the tabs and didn’t have a bunch of unused programs running, that would alleviate both those issues hugely. Even though I offered to show him how to bookmark a page to keep track of them, he didn’t want me to stop the programs running on startup, and he didn’t want to start bookmarking tabs or anything. Solely just because that’s the way he’s always done it. For the next few months, every week or two he asks me if I can think of anything to speed it up, I tell him to close the tabs and stop the programs running on startup, he still doesn’t want to, then asks me again two weeks later.
One day, he comes to me and says his hard drive failed and asked me to install a spare he had, which I did. I figured it would be an opportunity to improve his computer using habits. With the fresh OS without a bunch of programs running and tabs open, he thought the speed was amazing. I offer to show him how to bookmark a tab, he still doesn’t want to do it, I explain his computer will run way faster, and it’s a better way to make sure he doesn’t lose the links. Give it a few days, his laptop is in the same position it was prior to the drive failing. He loses a link that he really wanted to keep track of, as chrome closed and was unable to recover his tabs, I once again suggest he bookmark them, and he still doesn’t want to.
After that, I told him ‘Don’t ask me for any advice relating to your laptop if you’re not going to listen to me. I literally studied this in college, you never know better than me in relation to IT.’
He stopped mentioning his laptop to me, other than an occasional complaint that Netflix won’t work.”
It Actually Was His Job
“I work in hospital IT, on the EMR. I once, several years ago, had a doctor call because he had charted an encounter on the wrong patient. This happens occasionally, but he had done almost an entire visit before realizing he was in the wrong chart. He wanted me to delete all of his notes and orders and ‘transfer them to the other patient.’
This is not something we have the ability to do.
When I told him I couldn’t automatically transfer that kind of documentation, and he’ll need to manually delete and rechart himself, he said ‘You do it. I’m too busy doing doctor things,’ and he hung up.
I tried calling back a few times, he refused to answer the phone. I called the nurses station and the nurse told me he instructed them not to bother him with calls from IT. So, I wrote my notes in the ticket, sent an escalation note to my boss to cover my butt, and closed the ticket.
He called back maybe two hours later absolutely FURIOUS. Screaming. Yelling. You name it, he was angry I didn’t just fix his mistake because ‘I’m a stupid freaking computer nerd, and this is not his job.’
Turns out, charting on the right chart is his job.
I ended the call and escalated the entire situation to our Chief Medical Informatics Officer, whom I have a great daily working relationship with. Basically the head honcho MD of all of IT. Super nice guy, sent me a lovely wedding gift; we’re buds. Didn’t hear back after that.”