20 Infuriating Things Computer Illiterate People Say When You’re Trying to Help Them

[Via FAILDESK | Tickld]


22 Responses to 20 Infuriating Things Computer Illiterate People Say When You’re Trying to Help Them

  1. In a library: “This computer is broken. It doesn’t have the internet.” (Patron can’t find the Internet Explorer icon; Firefox and Chrome are on the desktop).

    • I work in a library too, I’ve had people hold the mouse flat against the screen, ask me why all their files from their home computer aren’t in ‘My Documents’, ask me if they buy a computer it’ll just connect to the internet when they get it home wthout them having to set up an internet connection, and then half the time they want to buy stuff using credit cards etc, putting all their personal details online when they don’t even know what internet security is, terrifying!

  2. Keep in mind that the reverse is also true. Many times I have witnessed tech people do incredibly stupid things. From adding lots of salt to a recipe instead of sugar because “they’re both white, I didn’t think it would make a difference,” to a large group of programmers spending thirty minutes telling me my idea could never work (with increasingly insulting tones) only to have a mathematician with little programming experience make a working demo in the back of the room in twenty minutes.

  3. Back in the early 90’s a woman called us and told us she was stepping on the pedal, but couldn’t make it go.

    In a cuter note when my daughter was four she informed my wife she left a dead mouse on her pillow. It worked just fine once I put a new battery in it, The wife was much better after a couple of margaritas.

  4. After reading a brief email from my mom that read “Call me. The internet’s not working.”, I called her up to see what was going on with her computer. She said “I had problems last week but it’s working now. Why didn’t you call?”


  5. My mother in law wanted to buy a computer, but she wanted to make sure “it had email on it”. She ended up buying a teeny little laptop, which she was proud to say “It’s a Facebook!”

  6. After repairing a client’s computer (infected with malware) I installed a virus scanner etc and gave it back to them.

    A week later, I got a call from the client telling me that I had “broken their computer” with the virus scanner I had put on there.

    I took one look at it and asked the client, “where’s the virus scanner?” they replied they had taken it off because it wouldn’t let them install the screen saver of the cute little kittens they wanted.

    Meanwhile, the “cute little kittens” screensaver had funneled more malware onto their PC than that fat kid from Willy Wonka ate chocolate! 5 hours of malware removal and a fresh virus scanner later their computer was fixed again! *sigh*

    • You should have told them you would have to put it down because it had rabies. Then take it out back and shoot with with a shotgun… Or at least play a really loud “gun shot” sound effect…

  7. I had a reverse situation. Had a tech at work spend about an hour diddling around in the settings and such on my computer because there was a loud buzzing/clicking noise coming out of it and it was really hot. I kept telling him I thought it was a hardware issue, but he wouldn’t listen. Then he declared that it must be a hardware issue.

  8. I dunno…I’ve got an electric typewriter, and it’s RIGHT NEXT TO the phone, but I can’t get this Internet thing on it.

  9. These sound like fairly sophisticated computer illiterate people… conversations with my mother: “Mom, can you press the round button on your iPhone?” “My iPhone doesn’t have a round button.” “Mom… on the front… there’s a round button… on the bottom…” 5 minutes later… “Oh yeah, there it is.” It would be less horrific to me if I hadn’t had the SAME conversation with her like 3 months ago.

    And she thinks her monitor is her computer and her computer is just a box. Thank GOD she just upgraded to a laptop so I’ll no longer have to spend 3 hours trying to walk her through what she needs to plug in where via telephone.

    • This reminds me of telling my mother to move all her pictures and docs into a new folder I put on the desktop so it would auto backup everything I then showed her the folder and explained what to do. The next day I ask her how it went. She had no idea what I was talking about.

  10. I worked in a call center I was the first step of troubleshooting (I was mostly cable issues I’d pass the computer issues to IT) You’d be amazed at how many people don’t understand that if they don’t pay they won’t have internet even if “It’s still on my computer”

    Also once someone called pissed off because they paid they’re bill but couldn’t get on. They decided to pay said bill with their electric bill & had no power so logically we should pay for it to turn back on because she did pay for her internet. *face palm*

    • That’s what I thought. Now I am of the opinion that its getting worse. People start the computer, open chrome or heaven help us IE and they consider them selves “good with computers” so I ask new employee what OS they have at home. They don’t know. Me: is it windows 7 or 8? Employee: blank stare… I don’t know. Computers will continue to cater to us better furthering the gap between people who know HOW and the people who use.

  11. I’ve got it all topped, man… My mother is scared of the stove because she can’t just turn a knob to turn on the oven now. She has no comprehension of how to set the digital panel to get a temperature. She stared at it for the first 45 seconds it was in the house, shrieked, and then declared it a “Demon device” and has refused to touch it ever since.

    We once tried to teach her how to type for a job she wanted to apply for, which involved us turning on the computer, bringing up Word for her to type it, clicking in the white area and telling her to type (after showing her the keyboard and attempting to actually provide lessons, which she refused and said she could “do it on her own” and telling her flat-out to just type here and telling her not to use the mouse, which we showed her and pushed very far aside). An hour later, we hear her sobbing. She’s somehow not typed a thing in Word, the computer had all kinds of system files deleted, and her response is to start thumping on the monitor because its “making her look stupid”.

    Rinse and repeat these things in increasingly more dumbed down process levels, each time ending in her sobbing about how we are “doing something to the computer to make her look stupid” (we were not, for what it’s worth), until finally it comes down that she somehow deleted something that forced the computer to bluescreen (after multiple instructions not to leave Word aka “the white screen right here that’s already here” while tapping the screen to show her). It took us days of frustration trying to make it work again before we finally had to reinstall completely, losing all my school work (this was back in the day when an external HD would have cost a fortune and some of the things I was working on did not fit on a floppy).

    From that point forward, I have refused to teach her “the computer” as she asks.

    • I’m surprised she didn’t learn to use a typewriter in high school, back when secretary was one of the few jobs for a woman.