Boss: "You submitted the lowest bid to run our new technical support hotline, Mister Dogbert.  The other bidders would love to know how you plan to handle twelve thousand calls a day by yourself."

Dogbert: "Tell them to call me."

Scott Adams


My husband works for a company which provides on-line services.  A caller to the tech support lines was very upset because he had spent the entire day trying to get his new modem to work.  He was so upset that it took tech support twenty minutes to determine that he didn't have a computer.Sheri Lynn Meyers


Dogbert: "According to my online database, our product isn't compatible with your computer.  It's also incompatible with all other computers and all other software including our own.  And those red blotches on your hands — that's because our box is made of poison ivy."

Scott Adams


The tech support problem dates back to long before the industrial revolution, when primitive tribesmen beat out a rhythm on drums to communicate:

This fire help.  Me Groog

Me Lorto.  Help.  Fire not work.

You have flint and stone?


You hit them together?


What happen?

Fire not work

(sigh) Make spark?

No spark, no fire, me confused.  Fire work yesterday.

*sigh* You change rock?

I change nothing

You sure?

Me make one change.  Stone hot so me soak in stream so stone not burn Lorto hand.  Small change, shouldn't keep Lorto from make fire.

*Grabs club and goes to Lorto's cave*


April Walters


by Joe Lavin

"Thank you for calling Software Support.  All our sales people are currently dead, but please stay on the line and as soon as somebody rises from a grave, he, she or it will be happy to help you.  In the meantime, please listen to the greatest hits of Zamphir or press 2 and nothing will happen."

As you can tell, I have spent much of this week on hold.  That is my new job.  I used to be a mere temp, but I am now a permanent employee, which seems to mean only that I am on hold almost all the time trying to order computer manuals from this stupid company.

"Thank you for pressing 2.  We appreciate your continued interest in pressing 2, and look forward to serving all your future needs as long as they pertain directly to the pressing of 2.  If you would like to press another number, remember to please contact our customer support office at 1-800-555-1567, and they will be happy to help you with the pressing of other numbers.  Meanwhile, please continue to hold and enjoy the music of Zamphir."

I'm thinking of expanding my job.  Right now, I am on hold with just one company, but I'm not satisfied with that at all.  I have career goals, mind you.  I want to take over all holding in my department.  Soon, if I have my way, I will be the only one on hold.  I will have power. Whenever someone is on hold, they will come to me so that I can sit by their phone and wait.  I will be the master of all holding.

"We would like to remind you not to forget to eat while on hold.  The human body cannot continue to hold for more than a day without the proper nourishment.  Please press 6 if you plan to have a snack now. Please press 7 if you are about to pass out from hunger.  Please press 8 if you have already died."

Being on hold really isn't so bad.  After all, you can just turn on the speaker phone and go about your day.  I can still do all my other work, and when I'm done with that I can use Netscape or write e-mail.  Plus, when someone drops by with work, I can say, "I'm sorry.  I can't talk right now.  I'm on hold." It's great.

Perhaps I can make a career of it.  I'll start my own company.  That's it.  On Hold Incorporated, it will be called.  Our people will go into companies all over the world and sit at desks and be put on hold. Either that or I'll become a Holding Consultant, moving from office to office advising people how best to go about the holding experience.

"Thank you for holding.  All lines available for putting people on hold are currently occupied.  Please stand by while we disconnect you so that another person may be put on hold.  We thank you very much for holding with us and hope that in the future we may continue to serve all your holding needs.  Have a nice day.  CLICK."

Currently, my record for being on hold is 14 minutes and 14 seconds. Later, I was also on hold for 14 minutes and 7 seconds.  I was tremendously excited, as I was poised to break my record.  A crowd of onlookers from the office joined to watch this historic moment take place.  Bedlam was about to break out.

And then it happened.

"Software Support?" A woman answered.  I couldn't believe it.


"Software Support?"

"You actually answered.  Wow!"

"Yes…. Can I help you?"

"Um…. um…. um…." By then, of course, I couldn't remember exactly what the hell I wanted.  After all, I had been on hold for a long long long time.  I checked the papers on my desk in an attempt to jog my memory.  "Um…. um…. um…. Oh, yeah! Software manuals! That's it!"

The woman was quite helpful, and I was shocked.  Maybe I had been wrong.  Maybe these people were actually useful.  Maybe it was all going to be okay.  Maybe —

"I'm sorry, but I'm unable to help you with that request, but I can give you another number, and I'm sure they will be more than happy to put you on hold.  Let me transfer you now."

"NO! NO! NO!"

And that was it.  I was back to square one.

"Thank you for returning to square one.  All the sales people at square one are currently busy, but please continue to stay on the line until your body disintegrates completely.  Thank you for holding with us and have a nice day."

© 1997 by Joe Lavin

IDIOTS are everywhere…

I was signing the receipt for my credit card purchase when the clerk noticed that I had never signed my name on the back of the credit card.  She informed me that she could not complete the transaction unless the card was signed.  When I asked why, she explained that it was necessary to compare the signature on the credit card with the signature I just signed on the receipt.  So I signed the credit card in front of her. She carefully compared that signature to the one I signed on the receipt.  As luck would have it, they matched.
After interviewing a particularly short-spoken job candidate, I described the person to my boss as rather monosyllabic.  My boss said, "Really? Where is Monosyllabia?" Thinking that he was just kidding, I played along and said that it was just south of Elbonia.  He replied, "Oh, you mean over by Croatia?"
An actual tip from page 16 of the HP "Environmental, Health & Safety Handbook for Employees:""Blink your eyelids periodically to lubricate your eyes."
I live in a semi-rural area.  We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road.  The reason: Many deer were being hit by cars and he no longer wanted them to cross there.
My neighbor works in the operations department in the central office of a large bank.  Employees in the field call him when they have problems with their computers.  One night he got a call from a woman in one of the branch banks who had this question: "I've got smoke coming from the back of my terminal.  Do you guys have a fire downtown?"
I was sitting in my science class, when the teacher commented that the next day would be the shortest day of the year.  My lab partner became visibly excited, cheering and clapping.  I explained to her that the amount of daylight changes, not the actual amount of time.  Needless to say, she was very disappointed.
My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco.  She asked the individual behind the counter for "minimal lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg.
Police in Radnor, Pennsylvania, interrogated a suspect by placing a metal colander on his head and connecting it with wires to a photocopy machine.  The message "He's lying" was placed in the copier, and police pressed the copy button each time they thought the suspect wasn't telling the truth.  Believing the "lie detector" was working, the suspect confessed.