It was cloudy out today.
At least, thats what the people that kept calling me were saying; I didn’t have a window nearby so I couldn’t verify their tales. When people calling in for tech support start talking about the weather I have a feeling they’re just feeling helpless. In some way they are trying to prove that they’ve got some advantage over me because they have a concept of the outside temperature and precipitation levels. Despite that, talking about the weather is normally the high point of a call. The rest is typically awkward silences followed by nervous responses to questions.
However, today things were about to veer from the norm. Today I got a call from someone that refused to talk about atmospheric phenomenon at all! In fact, the caller refused to talk about much of anything. He just kept saying “Hey, can I bring my laptop over. I’d rather talk about this in person.”
Typically I try to avoid letting users into my inner sanctum since then they know what I have in inventory and are more likely to ask for things. However, something in this gentleman’s voice swayed me so I acquiesced to his request.
Five minutes later he was sitting in front of my desk holding a laptop. Without saying a word he opened the lid and turned the laptop around to face me. I was in shock… the laptop keyboard was missing half of its keys, and many of the remaining ones looked like they had been chewed on.
I looked at him, pleading for an explanation. Finally I spoke up “Ok… so were you using your laptop as a bird feeder, or as a chew toy?”
He suddenly couldn’t meet my eyes. “Neither… my pig ate it.”
I tried to maintain a straight face. I went so far as to fake a ‘facepalm’ in order to hide the snickers that were beginning to sneak out. However, in the end I just ended up snorting into my hands before I broke out into full laughter.
“Wait, so what were you doing with your laptop on a farm?”
“No, I have a house-pig. I had my laptop on a coffee table, and the pig managed to get up on the table and root at the keyboard. He got most of the keys off, and it took me 20 minutes to get some of them out of its mouth.”
I looked a little closer at the keyboard, and noticed something out of place.
“How did these keys get teeth marks on them?”
He directed his gaze at the floor before responding. “I… I spent half the night trying to put the keys back on the keyboard before I realized a lot of the clips under the keys were damaged.” He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a zip-lock baggie with the missing keys in them. Most of them were completely unrecognizable.
I couldn’t help it… I laughed again. I knew about the horrors of putting keys back on some keyboards, and the thought of attempting it on an entire keyboard was absurd.
I continued to give the guy some crap, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Finally I looked into getting a replacement keyboard.
Thankfully the laptop was covered under a no-fault warranty. However, as penance I made him call it in and explain to our warranty support exactly why the keyboard needed replacement. The poor Indian guy on the other end of the line just couldn’t process the explanation and finally just said “So… um… lets just say its malfunctioning then”.
Then he talked about the weather.
Somehow he knew it was cloudy outside.