Things I wish I could say to my customers


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Today's entry: "What do you think is more likely? That the code magically started working a different way, without an update, or you're wrong about how it works and I'm right? Keep in mind that I have just re-read it before I replied to you."



  • I'm the customer! I'm always right!! It must be magic.


  • SockDev

    "A computer is not a magic wizard. It is not a mind-reading pixie. It's a tool; a dumb box that only does what you tell it to."

    Never actually wanted to tell a customer that (mainly because I never deal with customers :smile_cat:), but it seems a good thing to say ;)



  • FAQ you!!!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I know that quote! What's it from?

    In this case we are discussing something I wrote for them about 4 years ago. Due to the nature of the thing, they mostly only use it around this time of year, or so I infer by the fact that roughly every January they have a different complaint about how it works, until I remind them.



  • I've just gotten to the point where they get this from me

    There are 20 configuration values, and 32 scenarios that are most likely to cause your problem.

    1. Most likely answer.
    2. Another good answer.
    3. ...
    4. ...
    5. ...
    6. ...
    7. ...
    8. ...
    9. ...
    10. By this point they aren't reading, so I can bullshit something for them to go check.

    Please check all those things and get back to me.



  • I think the most concise way to describe a computer is "a machine that follows instructions".



  • "I'm sorry, I have no control over the schedule or prioritization of work items. That you were promised X by a salesperson and the reality that you will not get X by Y date are beyond my control. I'm just the guy who answers the tech support line in addition to being a maintenance developer. Please stop screaming at me. Yes, I can put you in contact with my manager. Yes, feel free to tell him that he has communication and leadership problems down his chain of command. By the way, are you guys hiring? That might come in handy after you finish your conversation with him."



  • @RaceProUK said:

    "A computer is not a magic wizard. It is not a mind-reading pixie. It's a tool; a dumb box that only does what you tell it to."

    if only....
    people not getting that is the reason i'm not doing support anymore



  • "I understand that you think this exercise is too big, but the time estimates I have provided are based on an average student."


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    We are $JOB_TITLE, not fucking psychics, not fucking miracle workers, we are $JOB_TITLE.

    Or, one I wish I could tell customers, "Piss poor planning on your part does not make something an emergency for me."



  • "You could pay a lot less than you are paying me to tell someone how they should do their job."


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    “What the fuck are you doing on this teleconference call? You've done nothing but obstruct everyone else.”



  • Not only to clients.



  • I'm really, really lucky. I worked in a LAN gaming center in a UK city for a successful hippy businessman with a weed habit. Therefore I got a lot of leeway with what I could and could not do and say. A few gems include

    • Dragging some little 18 year old scumbag out in a headlock
    • Telling someone I'd rather sleep with a male customer - who was sitting near them - than his wife (after being falsely accused of staring at the manbeast)
    • Regularly telling customers to fuck up - they loved it, however
    • As manager, having the right and backing to tell people to get the fuck out when they got annoying and tried to demand shit for free
    • Hitting someone with a chair when he tried to rob us with a screwdriver then chasing him with a stanley knife
    • Calling customers idiots regularly when bringing in machines for repair when the fault could have been avoided by clicking "no" or "cancel" on the pop-ups they didn't read. I did educate them though in a friendly manner, it was banter at the end of the day (I got a straight cut of repair fees)
    • Doing interviews. You have no idea how fun they are when you can look a candidate in the eye and say "You're talking shite mate, you can't even spell Cisco"

  • SockDev

    @thegoryone said:

    Hitting someone with a chair when he tried to rob us with a screwdriver

    That's just self-defence :smile_cat:
    @thegoryone said:
    then chasing him with a stanley knife

    That… isn't :smiling_imp:



  • @RaceProUK said:

    "A computer is not ... magic"

    See, I understand the sentiment, but I also understand the users who ask for ridiculous, impossible, clearly illogical things.

    I was a late bloomer in terms of computers and I was an adult before I stopped being the kind of user who can competently click their way around a GUI but has not the remotest idea how computers actually work. Even longer before things like the sort of all-singing, all-dancing graphical interfaces I use every day were remotely comprehensible to me.

    So I can perfectly well understand that for the majority of end users a computer is Sufficiently Advanced Technology. It simply makes no sense for such a person to try to think about what it's possible for something to do if it's indistinguishable from magic.

    Still frustrating when they ask for ridiculous things but computers can do such incredible-seeming things these days that even if you get through to them that computers are subject to the limits of the possible they would have no meaningful idea what those limits were, so yelling at them for it won't do you any good.



    "When you take this page out login breaks *because it is doing a necessary part of the login process*. You do not need to know how it works, all you need to do is leave it the f*ck alone."

    Context: an interim page between a login page and what it's logging into is 'hanging'. No it isn't, it's doing a thing. It is, however, a shockingly designed interim page, blank except for an hideous outdated header image at the top, so it does sort of look like it's not loading whatever it should have on it. But it's been explained that it is in fact supposed to look like that, and they can raise a change request to get it properly designed.

    Nope. They go to someone else and demand to have the page removed - if it's not hanging, they are presumably thinking, it's just a blank page, and therefore unnecessary as well as ugly. As a secondary WTF, clearly somewhere there is someone who is permitted to remove functional pages who has no grasp of the idea that said pages may actually be performing functions.

    At length we get the important necessary logging-you-in page reinstated, and reiterate to the [s]customer[/s] idiot that the page is doing something and you can't just hack it out because it has no visual content, and the incident is buried and half forgotten.

    It resurfaces, this time as a request to redesign it. By the way, asks the customer, I still don't understand why it broke login when we took it out. So that we can avoid breaking it in the future, can you tell me exactly what it does.

    IT BROKE LOGIN BECAUSE IT'S DOING PART OF THE LOGIN PROCESS. IT'S A FUNCTIONAL PAGE, IT DOES STUFF BESIDES DISPLAYING VISUAL CONTENT. YOU WILL NEVER TOUCH IT DIRECTLY, YOU NON-TECHNICAL IMBECILE, AND YOU KNOW THAT BECAUSE YOU RAISED A REQUEST FOR A DEVELOPER TO MAKE THE CHANGES. YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW HOW IT WORKS AND YOU WOULDN'T UNDERSTAND IT ANYWAY. THE ONLY THING YOU NEED TO DO TO NOT BREAK IT AGAIN IS NOT DO WHAT YOU HAD ALREADY BEEN TOLD BEFORE YOU DID IT NOT TO F*CKING DO.


  • SockDev

    @CarrieVS said:

    blank except for an hideous outdated header image at the top

    This is TRWTF.

    Just put a fucking spinner on it already! :smile_cat:



  • @CarrieVS said:

    an interim page between a login page and what it's logging into is 'hanging'

    Hmmm... this sounds like a WTF deep down. Also, I don't see a big problem in adding a loading .gif

    Not Hanzo'd since I think the WTF is in the login process, not in that blank-do-stuff screen.


  • SockDev

    @Eldelshell said:

    Hmmm... this sounds like a WTF deep down

    Interstitial pages have their uses; it's a good way to ensure a user is correctly authorised before setting up their environment, and also allows said environment to be built in the background (depending on how complex it is of course).



  • @RaceProUK said:

    That's just self-defence :smile_cat:
    @thegoryone said:
    then chasing him with a stanley knife

    That… isn't :smiling_imp:

    Welcome to Belfast, may I take your wallet?



  • Hey I agreed it was awful didn't I? I didn't design the page (nor did anyone, I'm thinking... not design in the usual sense of the word), and I'm currently in the process of replacing the hideous header with a standard-design interim page, spinner included.

    @Eldelshell oh, the WTF in our site runs deeper than this one login. I didn't do any of this, and I'm not in a position to suggest changing it. It does, in fact, work quite well.


  • SockDev

    @CarrieVS said:

    Hey I agreed it was awful didn't I?

    Note to self: cat emoji don't have the I'm kidding! effect I thought they did… :smirk_cat:



  • @RaceProUK said:

    cat emoji don't have the I'm kidding! effect I thought they did…

    I thought it was trying to bite me.

    Well you're quite right, it [i]is[/i] a WTF. It's worse than if it was just blank because the header makes it look like something should be loaded below it.

    I can only guess that it was done by a developer who was only really concerned with the function and for whatever reason hadn't been provided with a proper design (possibly the business had no idea an interstitial would be needed?), approved back when visual standards were a lot less standard, and nobody ever got round to doing anything about it until now.


  • SockDev

    I've found a couple of animations that could work for loading screens.

    @accalia'd like this one:

    I'm more partial to this myself:



  • The fox could do with being flipped so it's going 'forwards'


  • SockDev

    @RaceProUK said:

    @accalia'd like this one:

    she does.....

    /me wanders off to find more of Jeca Martinez's work.


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    I like the concept of the Sonic one, but the loop transition is a bit jarring to me...


  • SockDev

    @Polygeekery said:

    Or, one I wish I could tell customers, "Piss poor planning on your part does not make something an emergency for me."

    i have that on a 10x18 poster hanging over my desk.

    :laughing:

    ever since i put it up i've yet to be able to end a conversation just by pointing at it (i think the got the hint when i put it up....)


  • area_deu

    :smiley_cat:
    :pizza:
    ISWYM



  • @accalia said:

    i have that on a 10x18 poster hanging over my desk.

    10x18 feet? Miles? Ångströms?

    I used to have something similar: 'A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.' It was a bit smaller than 10" x 18" though.

    Now that I contract for a living it's more a case of 'A lack of planning on your part pays for my mortgage so hand over the cash and thank you very much.'.

    Filed under: Pedantic dickweedary


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    What the customer says: "But my [0.5 miles down the road] neighbor has your service, why can't I get it?!?!?"

    What I wish I could say: "Unfortunately, your neighbor lives on the other side of that creek. You know, the one with the 80+ foot tall old growth trees that block your connection to our tower."

    What I really, really wish I could say: "Your neighbor happens to live in a better area, with an actual house and an actual TV tower to mount an antenna to, instead of a chintzy double-wide. And he's not a prick about having an 'ugly' antenna mounted to his much-better-looking-than-yours house."

    What I have to say: "We'd be happy to install a relay from your neighbor's house to yours, if you and he can come to an agreement." (Which then causes all sorts of hell three months down the road when the neighbor cancels service or the relay doesn't work quite right or or or)


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @RaceProUK said:

    "A computer is not a magic wizard. It is not a mind-reading pixie. It's a tool; a dumb box that only does what you tell it to."

    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clarke

    For some people, the bar for "sufficiently advanced technology" is one step above a Lite Brite.



  • Had an interesting call the other day. There were several people from both my company and the customer on the call (normal weekly status sort of call).

    We got onto one issue, where one guy had talked to one organization there about how they didn't like the way the system was doing things, and they didn't want it to happen unless they gave their OK. The guy on the phone wasn't part of that organization, but I think he had a touch of Stockholm syndrome from talking to them for so long.

    The problem is that the organization has zero awareness about other parts of the bigger picture, and doesn't really care to. What they wanted to happen made no sense from the bigger perspective, and would have fucked over the overall workflow / other organizations. So I basically yelled at him (had to repeat myself a few times because he's kind of dumb).

    Fortunately, I have a lot of cred, and the guy in charge of our project at the customer likes me and doesn't like this other guy. Plus, I was totally right. Apparently, the customer boss later talked to my boss and expressed gratitude over putting that guy in his place.


  • SockDev

    @Polygeekery said:

    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

    For some people, the bar for "sufficiently advanced technology" is one step above a Lite Brite.


    That deserves an ÜberLike

    …and I had to correct the spellar of deserves twice.
    Damn you @accalia!


  • SockDev

    @RaceProUK said:

    Damn you @accalia!

    what am i? infectious?

    :laughing:


  • SockDev

    @accalia said:

    what am i? infectious?

    Seems that way; I knew I should have made sure you were tested :smirk:

    And I see you got rid of the tie. Didn't really go that well with the fur anyway :wink:


  • SockDev

    @RaceProUK said:

    Seems that way; I knew I should have made sure you were tested

    .... ick. left myself open for that one. -whimper-

    @RaceProUK said:

    And I see you got rid of the tie

    yeah. i need to get some more hats though... i only have the three.

    and maybe i can find an earring that works.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @RaceProUK said:

    …and I had to correct the spellar of deserves twice.Damn you @accalia!

    Perhaps that is what is happening to me also? Yesterday it took me 3 tries to spell algorithm.

    Damn you @accalia!! :)


  • SockDev

    @Polygeekery said:

    Damn you @accalia!!

    ok. but to where?

    i'm partial to Elysium, but i don't think you meant there... so where? Limbo? Tartarus? the seventh circle? the fourth? to hades?

    where are you damning me to man! where‽



  • @RaceProUK said:

    Seems that way; I knew I should have made sure you were tested

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/clinically_studied_ingredient.png


  • area_deu

    @Polygeekery said:

    algorithm

    Did you mean logarithm?
    Joking aside, why didn't you ask @algorythmics?


  • SockDev

    @accalia said:

    .... ick. left myself open for that one. -whimper-

    Surely you know me well enough by now that you do not leave doors like that open for me, especially after what I did to your avatar on Wednesday :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
    And the other idea is on its way; gonna do it over the weekend…
    @accalia said:
    where are you damning me to man! where‽

    Can't speak for @Polygeekery, but I'm tempted to say an eternity playing Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric :smiling_imp:



  • Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it's quicksort time!

    Cool Runtimes, the family film about unexpected Jamaican programmers taking the world by storm



  • Dude, you're an idiot. My job is to help you if you have questions or issues with our product. It's not my job to walk you through printing a line to the console in C#! No, I don't know WTF your project requirements are and WTF are you asking me? Go ask your manager! What? Your printer doesn't work? I don't even...


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @aliceif said:

    Joking aside, why didn't you ask @algorythmics?

    He may be to blame...I now always try to put a "y" in it.

    But, I don't ask him for...reasons. ;)



  • sexy



  • @Polygeekery said:

    For some people, the bar for "sufficiently advanced technology" is one step abovebelow a Lite Brite.

    FTFY



  • "Yes, it can be done. Just not with this budget or on this timeline."

    Actually, I say this to people all the time. May have been a factor in leaving my last job...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @VaelynPhi said:

    "Yes, it can be done. Just not with this budget or on this timeline."

    Actually, I say this to people all the time. May have been a factor in leaving my last job...

    That's not something you wish to say so much as something you have to say, or you'll get destroyed by idiots insisting that you can instantly give them the moon on a stick for 3 cents, some pocket lint and a broken button.


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