You, I like. That other you? What an idiot!

This two-store retailer sells computers, but also offers help-desk and other IT services for its small-business customers, according to a pilot fish at one of the stores.

"I managed our second location, which opened an hour earlier than the other store," fish says. "That meant that, for the first hour. I got all phone calls for both stores, though I couldn't tell what store the customer was calling, aside from asking them."

One morning fish walks in to open his store and the phone rings almost immediately. Fish answers the way he always does: "Thank you for calling [company name], this is Fred speaking, how may I help you?"

The customer on the other end asks if the store sells used laptops, so fish walks him through the specs and prices of the three laptops the stores have in stock at the time.

Customer thanks fish for his time, says he'll stop in shortly, and hangs up.

"I sat down at my desk, and the phone rang again almost immediately," says fish. "Thanks to caller ID, I knew it was the same caller. I answered the phone exactly as before. He started asking the same question, and I gave him the exact same answer.

"It was deja vu at its fullest, and the entire time I was surprised the customer didn't realize he was getting the same answer from the same person as 30 seconds before."

Customer ends the call again by saying he'll be in shortly. Fish barely has time to hang up before the store's front door opens. It's the customer, and fish suddenly realizes he must have been calling from the parking lot.

His first question: Do you sell used laptops?

Fish walks the customer over to the used laptops and begins explaining the specs to him, covering exactly the same ground -- and using mostly the same words -- as in the two phone calls.

Is this a practical joke? fish wonders -- at least until the customer turns to him and says earnestly, "You know, I called your other store before calling you, and whoever answered over there doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. He was a bit of an idiot. You were much nicer to talk to."

Reports fish, "The rest of the interaction was a blur, as I couldn't believe what was happening. To this day, I still don't know if that guy was crazy, or if he honestly thought he talked to different people."

Sharky doesn't do jokes -- just true tales of IT life. Send yours to me at You'll snag a snazzy Shark shirt every time I use one. Add your comments below, and read some great old tales in the Sharkives.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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