Shark Tank: They just don't get it

Back in the days of 5.25-in. floppies, user calls support pilot fish for help. "I inserted the first floppy and typed 'Setup,' " she says. Good, fish tells her. "Then I inserted the second floppy." OK, says fish. And then? "Then," says user, "the third floppy just wouldn't fit."

"I'm losing e-mail messages," new user tells support pilot fish. You need to give me a little more information, says fish. "After I type up a message and enter an address, I hit the Send button," user says. "And my message disappears."

After a fruitless hour spent trying to get into the company's dial-up server, user calls e-mail admin pilot fish for help. Fish walks him through the normal procedure until he hits the error. "What does the dialog box say the error is?" fish asks. Answers user, "No dial tone."

Can you help me print raffle tickets for my church? user asks tech-support pilot fish. Fish finds user a Web site that offers a trial download of ticket-printing software. User has one more question: "Does the download include the special paper needed for the tickets?"

Trying to reduce systems administration costs, IT director pilot fish asks office admin to back up the server every day. Not too many days later, admin comes to fish with a complaint: "The server is now up against the wall and can't go back any farther!"

User drops by e-mail admin pilot fish's office to report that he's not receiving e-mail. So fish sends him a test message. And receives a reply e-mail message from the user: "Call me; still not receiving e-mail."

It's the third call today from a computer training specialist trying to install software on her workstation. "It says on the screen, 'Press any key,' " she tells support pilot fish. "What do I do now?"

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Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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