Back again with another tale from Government Call Center hell. Same Company as before, different contract. Was browsing a post about computer viruses and someone mentioned Linux which reminded me of this.
So this happened back in 2008(ish?). I was working for the Department of Education helping people with questions about the FAFSA and process for filling it out. I had many ridiculous calls but this one was one of my favorites and possibly the longest call I ever had there.
First the Cast:
Me: Some asshole on the internet.
Lou: Linux user
On to the call!
Me: Thank you for calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center, this is Bill, how can I help you today?
Lou: Yes I’m having problems filling out the FAFSA online, when I go to FAFSA.GOV it doesn’t load, but FAFSA.COM does.
Me: Well FAFSA.COM is a for profit company that charges you to fill out the form so I wouldn’t recommend going there. Lets start by trouble shooting your issue to see if we can get you online so you can fill out the application.
This was a pretty common problem for people using a older version of IE so I kinda jumped the gun a little and assumed thats what he was using (IT don’t crucify me here, yes I skipped step one). After a bit of back and forth about browser compatibility options which he didn’t seem to understand I finally asked what operation system he was using.
Me: Oh is it possible for you to use a computer with Windows or MacOS? Linux isn’t supported at all on the website so no matter what browser you use, you’ll have functionality problems.
Lou: No Every computer in town is running Linux, you mean to tell me that I cant get student aid for my kids unless I sell out to Microsoft or Apple?
Me: Yup (QA failed me for saying yup) pretty much.
Lou: That’s discrimination, I hope you realize that’s in violation of the law.
Me: I was unaware there was a law in relationship to computer operating systems, is there anything else I can help you with today?
Lou: Yes you can tell me how the government can justify alienating users of the 3rd largest operating system?
Me: Sir the website is developed by a contractor, I apologize for the inconvenience but Linux isn’t common enough for them to justify supporting at this time.
Lou: But its the 3rd largest!
Me: Well its easy to be the 3rd largest when there’s only 3.