Hello. I’m calling because my printer has stopped working.
Well, it doesn’t work any more.
What I mean to say is, when I click on Print, my computer thinks it’s printed, but the printer just sits there.
Yes, of course it’s plugged in.
Yes, it’s switched on.
I haven’t done anything. My computer and printer were moved from the second floor to the first floor, and now it doesn’t work.
Yes, it is connected to the computer.
What do you mean, it’s not a problem? It’s a problem for me.
Not listed on your sheet? Look, can’t you get someone down to look at it? You’re on the 6th floor, right?
Manchester? That’s 200 miles away.
Yes, I know, you said that already. So what is on your sheet?
Only printer problems that affect more than 50 people will be considered? Excellent, because if my document isn’t printed that could affect everyone in the Local Authority [mainly because I’ll sent a ranting email to everyone in my Contacts list complaining about the rubbish technical support around here and then go on a mad rampage destroying every printer I come across].
You can see the problem now on your screen then? Ah, excellent. It’s working now. Thanks very much. Yes, you too.
Note: this is a true story. The call was only successful once I’d stretched the facts a bit. It’s important to have checklists and flowcharts for people to follow, but if there are ridiculous rules in place — like it’s a problem only if more than 50 people are affected — then callers have a perverse incentive to describe their issue, no matter how trivial in the total scheme of things, as something that will affect at least 50 people. In my case, it may well have done: I was trying to print a guide to online safety I’d written for headteachers, so I could photocopy it and distribute it at a forthcoming headteachers’ conference.
Yes, I could have, and would have, found another printer from which to print. But I did actually want my own printer to work!
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