Wednesday, June 19, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on September 17th, 2008, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 9, Issue 27 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 9, Issue 27

Tech support or a bullet in your brain

What's the difference?


The other night, I was happily surfing the Internet, checking for good deals on Elvis PEZ dispensers from Austria, when my computer suddenly turned off. At first I thought it was a power outage, until I realized that every light in my house was still on (and I mean every single light; my kids are light-switch disabled). The power was obviously still on, but my computer was not. I got it to start back up, but then for some reason, I couldn’t access the Internet. No Internet meant no eBay. I was starting to think the whole thing was a conspiracy meant to keep me from outbidding somebody at the last possible second for the ’70s Elvis PEZ I had my eye on.

Since my 11-year-old son knows more about my computer than I do, I asked him for help. He was too busy playing video games in his room to help his old man. I was on my own. My wife, whom I love, casually suggested, in a tone that insinuated I was a moron, that instead of bothering our son, I should try technical support to fix the problem.

I searched through my unorganized desk and finally found what I was looking for. It was a small card that read, “For Tech Support, go to” That would have been all fine and dandy if I had Internet access.

I called a friend of mine and asked him to go to and see if they had a tech support phone number on the site. He seemed annoyed with me (for good reason). I sat on the phone and listened to his nose breath as he turned on his computer, waited for it to boot up, and then got the phone number I was looking for. As a person who has been down this road before me, when he hung up, instead of “goodbye,” he said, “good luck.”

I dialed the tech support number and patiently waited while I was on hold. I was forced to listen to elevator music, which was rudely interrupted every 30 seconds by a female voice that said, “Your call is very important to us.” Obviously, it was not so important that they minded keeping me on hold for 20 minutes.

The female voice continued, “All of our representatives are busy right now,” which meant they were standing by the water cooler talking about last night’s episode of Lost.

“Please hold for the next available person”—or don’t, because they don’t really care. They know I’ve already bought their computer, which is why my sorry self was on hold. They have my money.

Finally, after a solid 35 minutes—I know because I had nothing better to do than stare at the clock—a real person came on the line. “Hello. Welcome to HP. May I help you?” The accent was very thick, and I believe it was East Indian. I don’t think it was an English-as-a-second-language situation; it sounded like English as a seventh language, or more of a “learn English on the job training” sort of thing.

Accent or not, I was talking to a live human being, so I wasn’t about to complain. I told the gentleman my predicament, and he ran down a list of things to look at.

“Sir, is your computer plugged into the wall right now?”


“Sir, do you see the black cord on the back of the computer?”


“Sir, follow that cord and make sure that it is the one that is affixed into an outlet receptacle in your home.”

“Yeah, I got that. Let’s move on to something a little more technical.”

“Sir, is your computer running?”


“Well go and catch it! Just kidding, sir. Just a little tech support humor.”

“That’s a good one. I’m surprised you’re on the phone right now instead of doing Letterman. How about we get me back on the Internet? I’ve got PEZ to bid on.”

“Sir, what I am going to have you do now is turn the computer off, wait five seconds, and then turn it back on again. Go to the ‘Start’ button on the bottom of the screen and left click, then go to ‘Turn Off Computer.’”

“I got it, I got it. It’s off.”

“Sir, I will begin counting the five seconds.”

If Alexander Graham Bell had to hear that this was the conversation spoken on telephone lines across oceans and continents from India to California, he would probably find a way to come back from the dead, go back in time, and un-invent the telephone.

Finally, after an hour of my life was wasted and the computer still wasn’t working, I was ready to hurt someone. I realized that the reason tech support was in India as opposed to Los Angeles wasn’t so the company could save money paying lower wages. It was because if I knew that the guy I was talking to on the phone was in L.A., I would have driven three hours just to punch him in the stomach.

My patience was gone, I had a crick in my neck from holding the phone, and I was done turning things off and back on again, left clicking, and putting my right foot in and shaking it all about. Finally, I told my new foreign friend, “Dude, I’ll just go buy a new computer. My time is worth more than this.” That was a lie, said to make me feel more important than I am. It turns out my time is actually very cheap.

My new Indian tech support friend remained very polite, “Sir, thank you for using HP support, and I hope you make HP your next computer purchase.”

“Yeah, sure buddy. That’s the first computer I’m gonna look at.”

Rob bought a new computer only to find out his computer was fine. After talking with Dell’s tech line, which was in Alabama where the accent was thicker than the Indian one, it was determined that his wireless router was on the fritz.

Weekly Poll
Should the proposed aquifer exemption in Cat Canyon be approved?

Yes—the water from the proposed area can't serve as drinking water.
No—oil containments could still pollute usable groundwater.
Additional oil and gas projects can create more jobs.
We need to move away from oil and gas and look at renewable energy projects.

| Poll Results