TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: How to Survive a Tech Support Call

How to Survive a Tech Support Call

Monty Solomon (
Fri, 3 Mar 2006 13:16:47 -0500

From the Desk of David Pogue

How to Survive a Tech Support Call
The New York Times
February 22, 2006

OK, we all know that the tech-support problem is out of control these
days. But just for fun, reader John Stumpf, ex-CIO and now just a
"retired geek," wrote up a Guide to Dell Tech Support that's so
clever/funny/smart, I had to pass it on. Please welcome substitute
columnist John Stumpf.

Preparatory Work

So it has happened: you have fired up your Dell PC, and -- nothing. Or
the dreaded "cannot find boot drive" or something like that. Now you
are forced into the unenviable position of having to call Dell
Off-shore Hardware Support. Look at it as a journey, one on which you
will be tested, much like Job or Arthur Dent. You will descend into
the ninth circle, but with the proper preparation, tools and attitude,
you will return, a better person for it.

First, before you call, prepare. Raid your kids' library and find some
simple reading primers along the lines of "See Spot Run." This will
help you speak in non-complex sentences and monosyllabic words.

Make an appointment for that root canal you have been putting off.
After what you are about to experience, you will look forward to it.

Buy a speakerphone; it's tough to stay rational when your neck is

When you are ready to MAKE THE CALL, go to the bathroom, take an
aspirin, get a book or crossword, stock up on water and nibbles
(preferably ones with high sugar content and no nutritional value;
Twinkies are good). Shoo the kids out of your den; it's possible that
they will hear things that could cause serious psychological issues

Do your relaxation exercises; take a sip of water; remember Dan
Rather's closing, "Courage." And MAKE THE CALL.

What Happens Next


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