The Rules, Part 294

Behold, readers, the latest installment presenting rules when calling your friendly, neighborhood tech support person.


Rule # 697: Do Not Lie.


I know I’ve brought this up before, but it’s amazing how many different ways people will lie, and the myriad of reasons they have for lying to someone who is working on fixing a problem on their computer.


Sometimes, those lies are to cover up something that the caller screwed up in the first place that caused them to have to call in. This includes stupid things they did, stupid things they let their kids do, or stupid things they did after letting their kids do something stupid.


Other times, those lies are to not appear stupid. This occurs in instances when the caller has deleted an entire e-mail folder, and then not had the good sense to go looking for it in the deleted items folder. (Yes, this happened today. They were “cleaning out” some e-mails and deleted a folder that apparently held over half of their stored e-mail. I asked if she’d checked her deleted items folder, and she’d told me “no.” So I remoted in, and took 15 seconds to find the entire folder in, yes, the deleted items folder.)


And there are other times that people lie when they’re doing it simply to be lazy. Usually it’s over rebooting, where I’ll ask if they’ve rebooted to fix a problem, and the reboot works 90% of the time, and they’ll say yes and by the time I remote in, I’ll see that the problem is still happening because the system logs show they haven’t rebooted since 1975.


This also happened today. I normally respect admins, unless they’re being stupid, and this one was. She needed an Acrobat problem fixed, which required 30 minutes of uninstalling and reinstalling Acrobat, and then 15 minutes of repairing Office. At the end of that, to properly fix the problem, I told her that we needed to reboot. I ended my remote session and she paused for a while and then told me she rebooted. When I remoted back in after those couple of minutes, the problem persisted, and I was puzzled, because this was a procedure I’ve been through probably a hundred times or more. So then I checked the logs on her computer and found she didn’t reboot.


“You said you rebooted. I need you to reboot to finish the fix. But you didn’t reboot.”


“Yes, I did,” she lied.


“No, the logs here don’t show things shutting down and starting back up. That’s why it didn’t fix the problem.”


“Oh, well, I didn’t want to take that much more time.”


Like not rebooting saved us time to figure out why the fix didn’t work?


So here’s the lesson: don’t lie to your tech. It doesn’t end well.


See you tomorrow.