|A member of the Funky Media Group|
|Support Nightmares: My Computer - The pronoun problem|
|Posted by Winston|
|Sunday, 15 April 2012 18:05|
My Computer - The pronoun problem
In tech support, even the most basic assumptions can backfire. John, a network admin at a Mississippi school district, learned that firsthand -- and he's still laughing about his lesson years later.
John was working off-site one day when an office manager -- we'll call her Ms Schmidt -- phoned him up with an urgent issue. Ms. Schmidt was trying to print some documents, she told him, and her printer wasn't responding.
The fix was simple enough: John just needed to talk her through clearing the Windows print queue and restarting the print job. Tech Support 101, right?
"I told her to go to My Computer and open the Printers folder," John explained.
That's when the case took an unusual turn. Ms Schmidt told John to hold on and stayed away for a solid few minutes. When she finally came back on the line, she told John she had followed his instructions -- but saw no sign of her printer in the folder.
"I said, 'It should be there, unless you accidentally deleted it.' I walked her through refreshing the list and arranging the printers by name, but she still couldn't find it," John said.Then, the schmidt really hit the fan (so to speak): Ms S paused, issued a couple of quiet "ohhs," and said the sentence John will never forget: "Wait a minute -- why would my printer be ... uh, you didn't mean for me to go to your computer, did you?"
That's right, gang: Ms Schmidt misinterpreted "My Computer" to mean John's actual computer -- not the Windows icon on her own virtual desktop.
"She took it literally and just went straight down the hall to my computer," John chuckles. Once he realized what was going on, John got Ms Schmidt back on track and wiped out her problem in no time. These days, you can bet he's a bit more careful when choosing his words.
"It really cracked me up," John said. "It's easy to take for granted how something second nature to us can sound completely different to a user."