A friend of mine–we’ll call him Thomas–had computer problems, and was forced to contact tech support via chat to resolve the issue. This was irritating, but he made lemonade out of his lemons.
What follows is a transcript of the chat, slightly redacted for privacy purposes. Fans of Western civilization, and those who like a little Chinese and French thrown into their discussions, will find it to be lovely reading, assuming that they are not asphyxiated by laughter while going through it:
WELCOME TO SOFTWARE TECHNICAL SUPPORT. PLEASE IDENTIFY THE NATURE OF YOUR PROBLEM.
I came unto my computer, there to design a web page, and lo! An angel appeared. And with a voice that sounded with all the symphonies of morning, it cried out, “YOUR COMPUTER IS NOT PROTECTED. YOUR FIREWALL IS NOT ACTIVE. ACTIVATE TO PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER FROM THREATS!” And as the birth-cries of the Christ drove all the false gods, once cast down from Heaven, from the shores of Earth, to the Hell in which they belonged, so did the firewall flee from my touch. And when I asked, O firewall! Why do you flee from me? For you are like the shadow that alights before the dawn, and I am like the lion, roaming over the hills, crying out for the only lamb that can sate its hunger, it responded, PLEASE GO TO OUR WEBSITE AND RUN THE TECHNICAL ADVISOR. And so I slouched to Bethlehem, to find what rough beast had been born there. And I engaged the technical advisor, and it told me to update my program. And I did! Before all the Elder Gods, I did! But then it told me AN ERROR HAS OCCURRED. And I was reminded of nothing so much as facing an elephant in must in a bazaar with only a .44 rifle in hand, and being told, without a proper elephant gun in hand, that I must shoot the elephant, even though it seems tame enough now, or I will lose the respect of the crowd.
PLEASE WAIT FOR YOUR AGENT.
Client (22:50:50): Thank you for contacting SOFTWARE Consumer Support. An agent will be with you shortly.
Representative (22:51:08): Hi Thomas, this is Representative from SOFTWARE Technical Support and I would be assisting you today.
Customer (22:51:14): Thank you. Long have I stood on this shore, waiting the return of the King.
Representative (22:52:06): As I understand, you are unable to update or scan using SOFTWARE. Is that correct?
Customer (22:52:11): No.
Customer (22:53:06): In point of fact, I am unable to resurrect my firewall. When I ask the Virtual Technician, “Why can I not resurrect my firewall?” it says nothing, because it is software, and not speaking software, and at any rate, does not have ears or a microphone. However, when I run the technician, it tells me it can fix most but not all problems, and that I need to update two components.
Customer (22:53:54): When I ask it to update those two components, it first throws a fit about being mocked for being mute and crashes Firefox. Then, when it feels I’ve learned my lesson, it allows Internet Explorer to trigger an update attempt on my firewall.
Customer (22:54:36): However, at the conclusion of that process, my SOFTWARE, clearly in collusion with the virtual technician, informs me that AN ERROR HAS OCCURRED, and suggests I reach out to support. That would be you.
Representative (22:55:56): Not to worry, we will leverage all our resources to resolve this issue because your concern is our concern.
Customer (22:55:58): All of my ports are open and receptive to SOFTWARE’s loving overtures, so I believe I can eliminate the problem on my end, from a connectivity standpoint. If you catch my drift.
Customer (22:56:13): Xie xie.
Representative (22:56:16): Ok, Thomas.
Representative (22:56:19): Thomas, for verification purpose, may I have your home telephone number with area code first?
Customer (22:56:28): My first gentleman caller. [Redacted].
Representative (22:57:15): May I know if you are contacting from the same computer, which has an issue?
Customer (22:57:36): You may. I am. A lacy little shirt. Why do you ask?
Representative (22:58:03): How do you currently connect to the Internet? (Dial-up, DSL, Cable, or Wireless)
Customer (22:58:35): I send epistles to Mr. Darcy by cable.
Representative (22:58:52): Thomas, thank you for all the information.
Customer (22:59:09): De rien.
Representative (22:59:28): Thomas, I am happy to assist you with this issue. In order to assist you better, I need to gather some basic technical information about your computer. I will send you a pop-up, please click on ‘OK’ to provide me the information.
Client (22:59:31): Representative has requested system information from Customer.
Client (22:59:45): Customer has sent system information to Representative.
Customer (22:59:57): I have clicked OK, and poured a libation on the ground in the name of my poor father, whom I carried on my shoulders from our burning city. Zeus willing, it has worked.
Representative (23:01:15): Thank you for providing system information.
Representative (23:01:44): Thomas, we would like to offer you a free remote session in order to assist you better with the issue. May I go ahead and take a remote access to your system in order to resolve the issue?
Customer (23:02:50): Let us go then, you and I, like a patient etherized upon a table.
Customer (23:03:40): Sure.
Representative (23:03:58): Now, you’ll be getting a prompt to give permission to access your computer, so in order to proceed with remote session in a faster way, please choose the option “Full Access to Keyboard and Mouse”.
Customer (23:04:42): Shall I wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled?
Client (23:04:53): Representative asked to share the customer’s screen.
Client (23:05:04): Customer accepted request to share screen.
Representative (23:15:27): To resolve this issue you need to uninstall and reinstall the SOFTWARE. Shall I go ahead?
Customer (23:15:45): But do not let us quarrel any more, my Representative; bear with me for once: Sit down and all shall happen as you wish.
Representative (23:25:51): I am going to run a tool on your computer which will help you to remove all the SOFTWARE products completely from your computer. Shall I go ahead?
Customer (23:25:58): Of course. A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a transoceanic multinetwork connection for?
Representative (23:27:10): http://download.SOFTWARE.com/products/licensed/xxxxx/xxxx.exe
Representative (23:40:16): Thomas, the SOFTWARE cleanup has been completed. Please “restart the computer now” and double click on the [SETUP ICON] shown in the desktop to install the SOFTWARE in your computer. After the installation your computer will be completely protected with SOFTWARE. Please contact us back with Case ID:XXX-XXXXX if any issue persists. Is that fine with you?
Customer (23:40:53): Sure. Thank you for your help. May all the Lost Ones watch over you.
Representative (23:42:13): Sure, Thomas.
Representative (23:42:15): You are most welcome, Thomas.
Representative (23:43:16): Thomas, is there anything else that I can help you with SOFTWARE products today?
Customer (23:43:20): No, save the fact that I have seen things that cannot be unseen. I beg you, burn the records of this, though they be my life’s and my uncle’s life’s work.