Completely Clueless

I am a computer instructor, and I frequently get totally clueless people (that’s the idea- they come in clueless, leave with a clue). Today I had a lady that I swear, you could not have taught her the rules of Twister if you spent the whole day trying. (Right hand where??? Blue??)
At the end of the 7 hour training sesion entitled Windows 98 Intro, she is filling out the evaluation for me. She looks me straight in the eye and asks what this class was? I almost screamed out loud. I mean, DAMN! Hello??? Is this thing on???

“I can’t find the ANY key!”

“So let me get this straight…mega hurts means my RAM, which is the memory that goes away when I turn off my computer, and…if it’s not mega hurts, that means it’s got to be on my hard drive, and if I don’t back it up, the next time I turn on the computer it won’t be there any more?”

Designated Optional Signature at Bottom of Post

“I’m thirsty…I’ve been hitting the “tab” key all day, but no Tab! Must be broken.”

“My cup holder broke!”

I love the “tab” key one…I’ll have to use that one in class…I know these people are there to learn, but do you know what I mean about people so friggin’ stupid that you absolutely could not teach them how to play Go Fish, let alone computers? You are saying click on this x, right here…(pointing to the screen)…here…HERE!!! (touching the x). Still looking all over the monitor. Cripes…Very scary…
the topper was this idiot (after I spent a ton of time trying to help here) asking me the frickin’ class NAME! She didn’t even realize this might be very dumb/rude to ask me.
Then on the way out, she says “That was a great class, thanks a lot”
I went home and had an Absolute and 7.

An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; A pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.

“Hmmm, they have the internet on computers now?”

I hear ya, Zette. I have to give Homer Simpson the credit for the “tab” joke, though. Here’s another boring theater story I can relate. We had a main entrance door right next to two exit doors, all glass. We’d sit in the lobby and watch person after person first push on the handle, with their hand right next to the giant “PULL” sign, then, instead of pulling in response to the unsuccessful pushing, they’d slide their hand to the opposite end of the handle and push on that side of the door. THEN having no success with that, they’d walk over to the exit doors and stare blankly and attempt to grasp handles that weren’t there. It got to the point where any staff member approaching the building for their shift or any other reason would engage in an exaggerated slapstick performance of someone clueless trying to gain entrance, complete with squinting at the PULL sign and much head scratching and bewilderment, for the benifit of the rest of the staff already inside, of course.

Love the theater story…I personally have a coffee mug with the Far Side cartoon- Picture of a kid pushing on a pull door at the entrance to the Midville School for the Gifted. Hilarious. I guess the worst part is, I am really a bitch at heart, and i have to be sooooo calm and nice…I don’t even raise my voice to these idiots. I have hundereds of teaching stories that would shock you. No wonder people burn out in this job…all you want to do is slap them, and you have to smile and smile (they’re paying clients, after all). Oh, well…I’m over it…just had to vent a bit :slight_smile:

PS- maybe it would be fun next time someone does the theater door shuffle, to get on the other side and do a nice mime impression for them. You know, pretend you’re stuck behind glass, can’t open the door…they’ll probobly think it’s part of the show…

An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; A pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.

Ah…here’s a thread that I’m gonna love.

I work as a lab assistant in a computer lab in one of our fine local institutes of higher learning. Sometimes, I think they take that “higher” in a completely different way, though. The other day, this woman comes up to me and tells me that the printer keeps printing out multiple copies of everything. On the way to her computer she shows me a pile of about 200 pages of crap that printed out before she bothered to tell me this was going on. I sit down at her computer. She’s using Word. I ask her to show me EXACTLY what she did to print. She points the mouse on the printer icon on the taskbar…
…and goes click click click click click click click click
“That print box never opens, but it prints 8 copies of everything!”

My jaw about hit the desk. I explained to her that the “print box” wasn’t going to open, and that every time she clicked that icon, another copy would print. Her response? “Ohhhhh…I didn’t know that.”

No shit, lady. I went back, cancelled all the print jobs for that printer, sat down at my computer, told the other lab assistant the story, and we both got a great laugh out of it. But man, people are friggin’ stupid, sometimes.

Yeah, I was a tech at an institue of Higher Learning before my present job. A few good stories.
Hmm, lets see a good one.

Oh, one time we were in the lab checking all the mouses to make sure they had mouse balls. Sometimes people stole them. Well, one guy was watching us check each mouse as he chewed on something. I figured he was paranoid because you couldn’t eat in the lab. We get to the row behind him, he spits a mouse ball, yes a mouse ball, out of his mouth and he puts it back into the mouse. yuck.


This is an honest to God techie story that someone asked ME in class (no second hand crap here…)
We were talking about computers and she looked at my laptop computer. She then, with a TOTALLY straight face asked if, since it was a Thinkpad- ready? If that was the kind where you just think what you want and it does it. I snickered for a second, then realized she was not bullshitting. So I told her no- that was the telepathy/telekenisis model- much more expensive. She actually said “Oh” and just sat down. I about choked getting out of the room without laughing…

An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; A pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.

Hey, voguevixen, glass doors are FUN! I worked in retail during high school. The front of the store was all glass. There was one automated exit door. The pressure mat that opened the door was brightly painted. There were arrows on the floor pointing the way. There were handrails on either side of the door. Every night, after we closed, we would go up front, count the number of noseprints on the windows beside the door, and laugh. That hadta hurt!

The overwhelming majority of people have more than the average (mean) number of legs. – E. Grebenik

Speaking of clueless, Pricciar, I hope you know you momentarily gave me this horrible mental image of people going into medical labs, castrating mice and popping them in their mouths . . .

I love this topic!

I’ve been in tech support for a couple of years, both with Apple computers and now with Mindspring, an ISP. I have actually gotten these questions and statements:

  • can I save the Internet to my hard drive?
  • well, why can’t you make (the PC version of) MS Word work on my Mac?
  • I just got my domain, and now you have to make my web page for me.
  • can you see what I’m typing?
  • why do I have to learn all this stuff? Why can’t I just get on the Internet? (asked while I was walking her the setup for her dialup networking.)
  • do I have to connect to the Internet to get my email?
  • oh, no, I can’t check my email from here. It’s in New York.

And on, and on, and on . . .

I even had one lady who wanted a refund on her computer because it didn’t work. After a few questions, I realized that she had opened the box. Period. She hadn’t plugged anything in. She hadn’t hit the power button.


Hey, at least I know I’ve got job security.

“I’m surprised that you’ve never been told before, that you’re lovely, that you’re perfect, and that somebody wants you.” - Semisonic, f.n.p

Here’s a completely clueless law, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is well-intentioned, but makes for some silly things that have to be done in new construction.

My old company was redesigning an office suite. Part of the design was a glass double door with an electronic keypad for entry during non-business hours. On the inside, there was a red button to push (near the door but out of sight from the outside)to unlatch the solenoid to open the doors.

But according to ADA, there had to be a motion-detector to unlatch the door for handicapped persons. And of course, it had to detect said person close enough to the door that they could get there before it re-engaged. In other words, within about 3-6 feet of the door.

So now the button was pointless, since to reach it you would set off the motion detector.

On the weekend that we moved into the suite, someone bumped the wedge that was holding the doors open and they closed and locked. Nobody yet knew the keypad combo. But I just picked up a piece of cardboard debris laying nearby, put it between the door panels, and waved it around. That triggered the motion detector, and voila! I was back in our supposedly-secure office suite.


I work in Network ops at my company and also take care of the company e-mail system. Since EVERYBODY uses e-mail all day long, I do tons of user support. Sometimes it is really hard not to smack someone upside the head or at the very least, not laugh in their face.

The worst is when you have a user who cannot even navigate around their PC, you’re trying to walk them through something over the phone and all they can say is, “Is that one mouse click or two, right mouse click or left mouse click” ugh! You know it’s going to be a VERY long call!

Also, people that don’t understand that when they are using a PC from home, their e-mail has no way to get to their PC until they dial into the company post office. I’ll get a call, “I haven’t gotten any e-mail”, and I say “Have you dialed into your post office”, user: What does that mean. At one point I actually told a user to open her window and duck so that her mail could come fly in window into her computer- sad thing is, she believed me!

I am unofficially “the computer guy” in my office. You all know him - some of you may be him, in fact. The person who everyone goes to ask questions of.

My favortite:

  • “How do I cut & paste?”

  • Another person who used a computer for a year + in our office broke down that he didn’t know how to use Word. WORD!!

  • I had to forward e-mail from a main address to the right departments. One person replies to those e-mails by simply hitting “reply to” and winds up sending it to this main address, not the desired recipient. She still doesn’t get it after explaining it twice, so I simply forward them to the correct destination from now on.

Of course, it’s also fun to play tricks on these technophobes. Since they are clueless about computers, watching them go berzerk over these things make up for all pains… Try:

  • Switching the mouse buttons around from righty to lefty.

  • For that Solitaire addict, make the shortcut on the start bar go to a HTML file that screams and blinks, “Quit playiung games and get back to work!” I did this to someone in my office, and he is too sheepish to ask anyone (I mean, it doesn’t look good to say, “My game doesn’t work”), so he stopped playing games!

  • Lots of other neat ways to torment them!

It’s one thing to need help. It’s another matter entirely to have no common sense…

Brian O’Neill
CMC International Records

ICQ 35294890
AIM Scrabble1
Yahoo Messenger Brian_ONeill

I answer the hotline here in our computer office… what a hoot. Sure makes the day fly by.

My favorite -

I need to check for a certain folder on the C: drive, so I ask the customer to right click on Start ( with the intention of going to Explore), but the client says only the standard menu items are coming up. I go through the process 3 or 4 times… are you sure you’re clicking on the Start button at the bottom left of the screen… Yes… are you sure you’re right clicking… Well, I’m clickin the start button as far on its right as I can!
My next question… Do you still have the box that your computer came in? You know the rest.

“The intellectuals’ chief cause of anguish are one another’s works.”
Jacques Barzun
Cheers! CAL

I enjoyed reading all the technilogically clueless examples; here’s a different type.

For 6 years I was a tour guide at the Jesse James birthplace Museum in Kearney, Missouri. My first name is Jessi, and I was required to wear a nametag at all times while giving tours. Of course people asked the obvious when I introduced myself to a new tour group. some common obnoxious questions:
“Is your last name James?”
“Are you related?”
“Do you have a gun?”

Then, before I take people into the 180-year-old log cabin, I explain that all the furniture, pictures, etc are original and belonged to the family and please not to touch anything. There was always a smartass who would spot the <i thought cleverly concealed but necessary smoke detector> and say “Har har har! I bet that’s not original!” or a lot of the older folks would disregard my request not to touch anything. It was always the old people who would open dresser drawers when I wasn’t looking, sneak an illegal photograph, or other such off-limits things.

And don’t even get me started on people bringing small children to an hour-long tour on a hot summer day and expecting everyone else to be understanding when their children are brats.