In college I did several of my co-ops (It’s like an internship, but educational? I don’t know.) for an anti-virus company that shall remain nameless, my second co-op I worked in the consumer support department and after a couple speed bumps got pretty good at figuring out what was wrong and the best way to fix it.
It’d been about two or three months before I got this call from a gentleman with a strong southern accent. I won’t say I knew everything there was to know, but I will say it took some effort to surprise me. It took a few minutes of bluster before I could finally get enough information to figure out what’s going on. His description of what happened went something like,
Client: “I installed this danged program and followed all the instructions just like the website told me to, it said it was gonna restart the computer, then it did, then halfway through restarting the whole thing just plum quit on me! the monitor is on but nothing happens when I push the power button!”
I’m walking him through some troubleshooting steps and trying to figure out what the heck actually happened, because that makes almost no sense. Break the operating system so it won’t start? Sure. Conceivable. Break the computer so hard the power button doesn’t do anything? Thaaaat’s a stretch.
A couple minutes into the troubleshooting process the dude takes the handset away from his head and shouts “Honey, can you vacuum someplace else? I’m trying to fix the computer and I can’t hear” Then puts the handset up close again and apologizes for shouting. Turns out that obnoxiously loud sound that had been getting progressively louder over the course of our conversation was a vacuum cleaner.
A clue! I ask him how long ago this happened.
He says maybe 10-15 minutes, and asks why. I ask him to check the power cable for the computer, wondering if whoever was vacuuming had unplugged his computer.
He says, and I still shudder when I hear this phrase, “Do what now?”
I repeat my instructions and he puts the handset down, then immediately snaps it back up and apologizes before hanging up.