Some job boundaries are more fluid than others, and sometimes IT help desk professionals are asked to perform tasks that don’t strictly fit into the category of hardware, software, and connectivity problems. And sometimes IT service desk workers are asked to do things that are completely unrelated to their job descriptions, or that surpass human capability altogether.
Here are 5 of the most outrageous IT service desk requests collected from around the web.
1. Help Desk / Universal Information Repository: Potato / Po-tah-to
Business2Community.com’s Tech Gadget section solicited ridiculous IT service desk calls, and the people delivered. One person had some trouble distinguishing between the IT help desk and an encyclopedic repository of the totality of known information. Here’s how it started out:
User: “I was wondering if you could help me. Do you know those 55 gallon drums that they hold cooking oil in? The ones they use at takeaways and such?”
Helpdesk: “Yes… I think so.”
User: “Well, I was wondering if you could tell me why they chose that number.”
Helpdesk: “What number?”
The IT service desk worker explained that he was supposed to solve internet technical support problems, but that didn’t clear things up.
User: “Well, could you look it up for me and maybe put it on your web page?”
Again, the service desk worker tried to clarify what was and was not part of his job, and pointed out that the internet can be used for finding information.
Helpdesk: “Have you tried Googling it yourself?”
User: “Yes. I’m not much use at that sort of thing though … Tell you what; if you happen to come across it could you let me know?”
Helpdesk: “Erm — Okay. If I find out, I’ll let you know. Bye.”
2. Fight Vague with Vague
Every IT help desk worker has dealt with the vague problems like, “I can’t print.” Sometimes, the service desk worker resists the urge to suggest penmanship classes and fights vague requests with vague solutions, like a technician in this vintage LiveJournal post.
The Request: “Could you please check the Administrative port # 6 on the switch at the DVUC in Miami.”
The Resolution: “Checked Miami DVUC switch, admin port six is still there. Ticket closed, have a good day. -JFO@0813CST.2.19.04”
3. Our Approach to Climate Change Is All Wrong
Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, temperature trends, changes in polar ice caps: it turns out we don’t need to worry about any of that stuff. All we need to do is put climate change into the capable hands of IT tech support, as anyone reading thisDatamation thread on funny help desk requests would know:
“Last winter a user submitted a ticket for me to make the snow stop. This occurred in January and I closed the ticket in May. Job done, sometimes it just takes a while.”
All we need to do now is send tech support a request to halt climate change. Voila!
4. But, It Works for My Garbage Can
Modern consumer society offers all sorts of things in spray cans: spray paint, window cleaner, computer virus disinfectant … wait, what? Some people don’t quite grasp what computer viruses are, as related by this respondent to a Smart Data Collective thread on ridiculous IT help desk requests.
User: “Is there a spray I can get for my computer?”
Helpdesk: “Excuse me?”
User: “A spray? One I can squirt the inside of my computer with.”
Helpdesk: “Do you mean compressed air?”
User: “Does that kill the viruses?”
Helpdesk: “… You mean like a disinfectant? For computer viruses?”
User: “Yes! That would do the trick.”
Helpdesk: “I’m sorry, sir. There’s nothing like that available. Viruses are just a name we give to malicious software. We use ‘virus’ because it explains how the software behaves.”
User: “Oh… so no spray then?”
5. The IT Guy Who Saved Christmas
Imagine, if you will, a snowy village reminiscent of a charming Bruegel painting, only in the Dominican Republic. It’s Christmas, but one woman’s home is devoid of Christmas cheer, so she does what anyone would do: calls the help desk, as another respondent to the Datamation thread recounts:
“A lady opened a Service Request but provided minimal information as to what the problem was. As part of our agreement, I was required to go on-site and try to help her. I didn’t really know what to expect, but upon arrival to the user’s site the problem became crystal clear. Turns out she had problem ‘installing’ her Christmas tree. The lights were not flashing. It was funny and frustrating at the same time, as I had to travel 45 minutes to get to the site. But in the end, she had the perfect Christmas tree.”
And that’s how the IT guy saved Christmas.