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10 September 2009 @ 10:28 am
Everyone does stupid things sometimes, don't they?  
None of these are new; they just all happened to float up to my forebrain this morning, and so I thought I'd share them.

Case 1
Me: *dials phone at work, so it's the last digit of the exchange and a four-digit extension*

Stranger: Hello, this is (somebody I wasn't looking for).

Me: Hi, is person-I-was-looking-for there, please?

Stranger: There's no one here by that name.

Me: Did I dial 4-1234?

Stranger: No, this is 4-5678.

Me: Uh, you know, I think I just dialed her campus zip rather than her extension. Sorry 'bout that.

Case 2
Me: *turns on computer running Windows NT*

Computer: NTLDR not found. *does not boot*

Me: Huh? *turns computer off, turns computer on*

Computer: NTLDR not found. *does not boot*

Me: What the hell does that mean? *asks coworkers if they know what the hell that means*

Coworkers: We dunno; ask Michael.

Michael: *is not in the office*

Me: *calls help desk*

Help Desk: Remember the old error message "Non-system disk in drive; please remove disk and restart"?

Me: Yes....

Help Desk: This means the same thing.

Me: I'm an idiot.

Help Desk: Don't worry about it; we like easy questions. I don't know whose bright idea it was to take a clear, non-threatening, explanatory error message and turn it into something obscure and terrifying.

Case 3
Me, at Subway: I'd like a footlong meatloaf on Italian, please.

Subway worker: Ma'am, we don't have meatloaf.

Me: *pause, while I try to parse what he said and what I meant* Uh, meatball. I meant to say meatball. I'm sorry; I guess I was distracted or something.

Case 4
This was not so much a case of stupid as "lacking vocabulary in local Spanish", but it's still kind of amusing. To me, anyway. I'll present it in English.

Me, to pharmacy clerk in Venezuela: My roommate isn't feeling well, I need to get her something for constipation. ("constipado" was the word in my dictionary.)

Clerk: In the head? (Apparently, in the local dialect, that word meant "congested".)

Me: No. Ah, the opposite of diarrhea.

Clerk: Vomiting?

Me: No, no. Ah, the opposite of diarrhea, she doesn't go at all.

Clerk: Ah! Constipated! (Which sounded like "estopado".)

Me: Yes! Thank you!
guppiecatguppiecat on September 10th, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
At three in one day, you should get to go home from work.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on September 10th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
No, these are all from times in the past.
Johnjohnpalmer on September 10th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
You may or may not have guessed it by now, but "ntldr" can be thought of as "NT Loader"... the bootstrap code that figures out where the correct files are.

NT also had the wonderful terminology where the system disk was the disk where the bootstrap files were located, and the boot disk was where the system files (the WinNT or Windows or whatever-they-were-calling-it-that-week directory) were. So the "boot disk" held the system files and the "system disk" held the boot files, and I only wish I was making this up.

(It's not actually without sense. The "system disk" is the one that brings "the system" up, and finds the files needed to complete booting up, and the "boot disk" is the one that holds the files the computer uses to boot (rather than merely "start to boot"). But it's *still* confusing.)
K. Pease: pizzaceruleanst on September 10th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
Now that I think about it, aren't meatballs and meatloaf essentially the same?
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on September 10th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
The base mixture is pretty similar, but meatballs are fried and meatloaf is baked, so the final texture and taste are somewhat different. In my experience, anyway.
Stephen Harrissweh on September 10th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC)
"Help Desk: Remember the old error message "Non-system disk in drive; please remove disk and restart"?"

"Help Desk: Don't worry about it; we like easy questions. I don't know whose bright idea it was to take a clear, non-threatening, explanatory error message and turn it into something obscure and terrifying."

That's about the level of (lack of) knowledge I'd expect from helpdesk. In fact that error message means it _is_ a system disk in the drive but that it's not all there. They know enough to diagnose and fix the problem, which is all they need, but not enough to know what's actually going on.
Janet Miles, CAP-OMjanetmiles on September 10th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC)
To be fair to the helpdesk, that may have been their "this isn't completely correct, but it's close enough for users who wouldn't understand the correct explanation" explanation.
Ayoub™ayoub on September 10th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Yep, everybody does stupid things sometimes...

I used to work tech support, and I often had people call up and be very condescending, telling me how much they knew before explaining the problem. The solution was always something they'd overlooked.

I swore to myself that I wouldn't be that guy.

One day, I had to call cable support because my cable internet dropped out. Guess what? I was that guy. One little cable I'd forgotten to check... Now, I play like I'm not knowledgeable at all when I call a support desk!
Fat Fred the Otter and Skippy: iotterfatfred on September 10th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)

I ordered something last month. The guy called me and said it had returned to him. He read me the address I had given him: My P.O. Box number and my house street name.

Janet Miles, CAP-OM: ottar-oopsjanetmiles on September 10th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, dear.
Tom the Alien Cattomtac on September 10th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
Yes, everyone does those things from time to time. I always remember news stories I heard once about Ph.D.s who had locked themselves out of their apartments.

The saying-one-thing-while-meaning-another is one to which I am prone. Sorry to say, it gets worse with age if one doesn't have a sense of humor about it.

The spanish thing reminds me of my first day in Madrid. I had my phrase book with me as I tried to buy some razors for shaving. The clerk kept looking at me blankly until I opened the book and pointed at the phrase, then nodded and got me the razors right away. I figured out later that, with my mispronunciations, I had been asking for "tea with hair in it".
Janet Miles, CAP-OM: oopsjanetmiles on September 10th, 2009 07:47 pm (UTC)
"tea with hair in it"

Ew. :-)
Miche: battle sporksmicheinnz on September 11th, 2009 08:25 am (UTC)
I once had a boss who locked herself out of her office half a dozen times a day. Don't ask me how.
Wandrawandra on September 10th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
My brother went to a pharmacy in Majorca to get me something for constipation, and lacking the right words, mimed a kind of squatting, with exaggerated downward arm waving. The clerk thought he meant imminent childbirth.

(I wasn't there, which was probably just as well as I'm quite fat and this might have added to the misunderstanding.)
Spark_in_darknesssparkindarkness on September 11th, 2009 01:37 am (UTC)
Case2 I completely sympathise. If they'd only make the error message clear!