Some people should just stick to the typewriter . . .

The exasperated help-line caller said she couldn't get her new  computer to
turn on.  Jay Alblinger, a Dell Computer Corp. technician, made sure the
computer was plugged in and then asked the woman what happened when she
pushed the power button.     "I've pushed and pushed on this foot pedal
nothing happens,"     the woman replied.  "Foot pedal? the technician
 "Yes," the  woman said, "this little white foot pedal with the on
 The "foot pedal," it turned out was the computer's mouse...
 One woman called Dell's toll-free line to ask how to install the
in her laptop.  When told that the directions were on the first page of
manual, says Steve Smith, Dell's director of technical support, the woman
replied angrily,  "I just paid $2,000  for this damn thing, and I'm not
going to read the book."
"A frustrated customer called, who said her brand new Contura  would not
work.  She said she had unpacked the unit, plugged it  in, open it up and
sat there waiting for 20 minutes waiting for  something to happen.  When
asked what happened when she pressed  the power switch, she asked, "What
power switch?"
 Seemingly simple computer features baffle some users.  So many   people
have called to ask where the "Any" key is when "Press Any  Key" flashes
the screen that Compaq is considering changing the  command to "Press
 Some people can't figure out the mouse.  Tamra Engle, an AST  technical
support supervisor, says one customer complained that  her mouse was hard
control with the "dust cover" on.  The cover  turned out to be the
bag the mouse was packaged in.  Dell  technician Wayne Zieschang says one
his customers held the mouse  and pointed it at the screen, all the while
clicking madly...
Disk drives are another bugaboo.  Compaq technician Brent Sullivan  says
customer was having trouble reading wordprocessing files  from his old
diskettes.  After troubleshooting for magnets and  heat failed to
the problem, Mr. Sullivan asked what else  was being done with the
 The customer's response: "I put  a label on the diskette, roll it into
 At AST, another customer dutifully complied with a technician's  request
that she send in a copy of a defective floppy disk.  A  letter from the
customer arrived a few days later, along with a  Xerox copy of the
 And at Dell a technician advised a  customer to put his troubled floppy
back in the drive and "close  the door."   Asking the technician to "hold
on," the customer put  the phone down and was heard walking over to shut
door to his  room...
 The software inside the computer can be equally befuddling.  A  Dell
customer called to say he couldn't get his computer to fax   anything.
 After 40 minutes of troubleshooting, the technician
discovered the man was trying to fax a piece of paper by holding  it in
front of the monitor screen and hitting the "send" key.
..some end up damaging parts beyond repair.  A Dell customer called  to
complain that his keyboard no longer worked.  He had cleaned  it, he
by filling up his tub with soap and water and soaking  the keyboard for a
day, and then removing all the keys and washing  them individually.
 Computers make some people paranoid.  A Dell technician, Morgan
says he once calmed a man who became enraged because "his  computer had
him he was bad and an invalid."  Mr. Vergara  patiently explained that
computer's " bad command" and "invalid"
responses shouldn't be taken personally.
 Tech support: Can I help you?
 Customer:  I'm having a problem installing the program.
 TS: What seems to be the problem?
 Cust: It's with the fourth disk.
 TS: OK - go on.
 Cust: I had a hard time getting the third one in - there's no way I'm
         going to be able to get the fourth disk in there.