Bet it would have worked on Edgar's PC, though

This company has what it calls a "best-shore" approach to help desk support. "That means we have employees in other countries who get paid less than U.S. citizens to read from a script," grumbles a pilot fish working there.

"I've been having problems staying connected to the work VPN -- after five minutes or so, I keep getting kicked off. So I called the help desk to see if they could confirm my settings."

Help desk: Hello, Edgar. May I call you Edgar? What seems to be the problem today?

Fish: No, you may not -- it's Allen. And I can connect to the VPN, but it disconnects me almost immediately.

Help desk: Thank you, Edgar. So if I understand correctly, you can't connect to the VPN?

Fish: No, it's Allen. My name is Allen. And I can connect, but I can't stay connected.

Help desk: I understand, Edgar. So you are having problems staying connected to the VPN?

Fish: Please call me Allen, and yes, that is correct.

Help desk: OK, can you open up NetMeeting, so I can connect to your laptop and look at your settings?

Fish: No. I am working remotely and can't stay connected to the VPN, so I can't log in to NetMeeting.

Help desk: Oh, OK. Please hold on while I check on something.

Three minutes later...

Help desk: OK, did you open NetMeeting?

Fish: Um, no. I can open it, but I am not connected to the network, so you can't connect to me.

Help desk: OK. Then I don't think we can do anything until you get connected to the VPN.

Fish: Are you kidding me? Can you at least walk me through the configuration settings?

Help desk: Oh, yes, of course.

The settings, it turns out, are all correct.

Help desk: Can you try connecting now?

Fish: I didn't make any changes.

Help desk: Oh, OK. Well, is there anything else I can help you with?

Fish: No, you were just exactly what I expected. Thanks for nothing. I'll call Cisco directly.

Help desk: Thank you for calling the internal help desk, Edgar. Please call if we can help you with anything else.

Sharky won't get your name right either -- I change the details to protect the guilty. So send me your true tale of IT life at You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt if I use it. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

Now you can post your own stories of IT ridiculousness at Shark Bait. Join today and vent your IT frustrations to people who've been there, done that.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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