Things I just don’t understand about computer owners…

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I wish I knew what it is with these different crowds of computer owners.  There are two groups of them in particular that frustrate me to no end.  The one group that are petrified of their computers.  The other group that refuse to learn anything about their computers but expect help if any tiny thing goes wrong; and then get upset when you ask probing questions so you can better help them.

Of course the first thing I hear is “I’m computer illiterate.” or “I’m not a technical person.”.  I know that, or you wouldn’t be calling me.  That is a given.  However, you aren’t a mechanic either and yet you know to change the oil in your car every 3000 miles right?  You aren’t a food and beverage expert, but you know to keep your food cold to keep it from spoiling…  You know not to heat your cup of coffee in the microwave for 10 minutes or you’ll give yourself third degree burns drinking it.  Am I generally right?  So why is it, you’ve owned a computer for several months, or years, but you can’t tell me the simplest things about it?  Like what version of Windows or Mac you run?  What email program you use?  Why don’t you know to defrag your Windows machine every month?  Why can’t you keep your antivirus up to date?  These things aren’t that hard, you don’t need to be an expert to know any of this.  And what makes some people afraid of their computer?  It’s not going to jump off the desk and beat them up if they do something wrong.  “But I don’t know how!”  You didn’t know how to drive a car at one point, and you learned didn’t you?  You can kill people or yourself in a car, you generally can’t kill people with a computer.  Unless you throw it, or drop it or are an evil genius that uses it to control an army of human killing robots.  However, I’m thinking that’s kind of unlikely.

Then the folks who don’t want to learn.  They crack me up with their “I don’t know or care how it works, I just want it to do what I want it to do!”.  That to me is like owning a T.V. but don’t want to figure out the remote control.  Own a refrigerator but don’t want to know what temperatures to set it too.  Have a washing machine but don’t want to add soap or carry the clothes too and from it.  Own a car but expect it to do all the driving and maintenance.  A.K.A. it’s just not going to happen.  If you want something to do what you want it do to, you need to learn to use it properly.  Otherwise get a butler or maid to do everything for you.

Then of course they call me up, crying about something or other.  Can’t tell me a thing when I ask about “what is the error you are getting”, or “what program are you using to do that with” and so on.  And call me rude for not being able to provide help.  Funny thing, is I only ask three things of any one person when they call me.

It’s the only 3 things I ask of any customer:

  1. Know what you own.
  2. Read to me exactly.
  3. Listen to me.

It’s amazing that I can’t get that out of most folks that call me these days.  I mean, what am I supposed to do if you can’t tell me anything, you have no basic knowledge at all and refuse to even try?  I realize after nearly 20 years of tech support, I’m very well burnt out, but still, as time goes on, this trend seems to get worse and worse.  I remember back in the day walking an elderly woman through replacing a video card in her computer over the phone, and she did wonderfully.   Yet the past 5-10 years, I can’t even get someone to tell what version of Windows they spent their hard earned money on.

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