With Halloween coming next week and everyone needing a good fright, we bring you Tales from Tech Support. I spent five years working over the phone tech support, most of it with Comcast in Baltimore. Oh, the stories I can tell…

At Comcast when a customer called stating that their internet was out I always did two things to quickly determine how computer literate they were. The first was to ask them to go to the Control Panel and the second was to find their IP address (this was of course irrelevant if they were running a Mac but most of them would say so). If they couldn’t perform either without my help they were not computer savvy. That is where this next type of person came in and what made it so funny when it happened.

Some people think they are an IT pro. They know it all. But yet, they’re still calling you. They’ve done all of the troubleshooting already, they’ve defragged their hard drive, they’ve cleared the cache and cookies, reset the modem, and darn it the internet still isn’t working. It must be on Comcast’s end. We had tool at Comcast to be able to tell if the cable modem was online, and in most of these instances it was. When asked if they have a router or are directly connected to the modem, they don’t know (oh, a wireless router was a common reply) and they don’t want to do anything, after all, they’ve already done everything.

Well guess what, once I finally got them to get the IP address it was almost always discovered that a router was present. After performing a proper power cycle of the devices they were almost always back online. When that didn’t work, hooking the computer directly to the modem worked. I remember remarking to a woman who had been really snappy with me that on occasion some of us know what we’re doing. There were people who said they were IT pros, and I will admit, as someone with an IT degree, it just made me shake my head and wonder why I couldn’t get their job.

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