Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Miss Information is annoyed by the technology challenged

It is computer training day. The last Wednesday of each month, Miss Information’s colleague introduces people to the wonderful world of e-mail. Miss Information secretly refers to this workshop as “E-mail for People who Shouldn’t Use E-mail”. She used to be the instructor for this particular training session but it almost always made her curl up in a tiny ball and weep, so the guy in charge had someone else take over.

Here’s how it would go: a group of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed idiots…no, patrons…would drop in to benefit from Miss Information’s years of experience sending joke e-mails to her friends. The class would log on to some free e-mail provider, yahoo, hotmail, gmail, whatever. It didn’t matter, it was always a disaster. Some people just aren’t good at filling in forms. It often took the entire 2 hour class to get 10 people e-mail accounts and the 75% of the script dealing with actually using e-mail went unpresented.

Miss Information tried to feel good about getting everyone signed up but the end of the session was always really discouraging. The very last thing in every workshop was to make these clueless bastards…sorry, students…log back in to their brand new account. In spite of her pleading with them to write down their log in and password, in spite of her providing them with a little specially designed piece of paper to do so, in spite of the class only lasting 2 hours, the majority of the group would be unable to log in having forgotten their account information. Sheesh., wait, yes...morons!

Some things never change. As soon as the class was dismissed today a couple walked directly to the Reference Desk. They needed help logging in to their new e-mail account. What was their login? They weren’t sure. What was their password? Didn’t actually make a note of that. Miss Information sent them back to their instructor. Some people can’t be helped.

In other lack of technology news: a customer singing the praises of Wikipedia wanted to know how many volumes it was published in. Another patron wanted…no, needed…a movie with the word “sunset” in the title. When asked for additional details, the woman offered the information that the movie was released in a year starting with 19. Great. Big help.


At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


No, seriously, I feel your pain. I have gone through that so many times, as well as being tech support for people who really shouldn't be allowed to touch anything more complicated than single-ply tissues.

Sorry about the evil laugh. I've been watching alot Family Guy. Stewie's great.

At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn it. I left out the of, between alot and Family.

At 5:59 PM, Blogger No one asked us said...

I Love you!

At 12:14 AM, Blogger hamuhamu said...

Ugh. I teach our "get an email address" class, and while I have been quite successful at getting them to write down their username and password once they come up with them, it's the coming up with them that's the problem. I swear it can take half the class for them to decide on a username they like that hasn't already been taken. "But I don't know anyone else with my last name; how can someone else already have that one???"

At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have a similar problem. To set up their log in, they have to set up their secret questions/answers -- which they promptly forget. Usually they'll have to reset their password 1+ days later and they can't remember if they put a in space, if they capitalized, did they put a period at the end of Park Rd...

At 2:32 PM, Blogger Soph said...


So funny...and yet so true...and therefore, so scary.

We have customers of a similar ilk - "how many times do we need to spell this out to you?!"

I feel like telling them to get off the computer so that someone of higher intelligence can use it properly.

But, of course, I wouldn't...


At 9:41 AM, Blogger karenpiglet said...

I'm sitting here laughing with what people refer to as my "evil laugh". This is *exactly* what teaching an email class is like. It's scary how familiar this is. That's for making a winter day a little brighter.

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous finally_a_librarian said...

We have a character in the library who never signs up in advance for our email class (he would have to give his name), then is allowed to just "walk in" if there is space, which there almost is (we are prohibited from refusing repeat customers). He then creates a Yahoo email account using a bogus name and other info. He never writes down anything and of course never remembers any of the bogus info in order to retrieve his password.
Repeat the following week.

At 9:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The movie the customer referred to could be the one with Ethan Hawke and the French girl, Julie Diep (?).
I believe it's called After Sunset.
Check it out!
Your loyal colleague

At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have encountered a few people like that. One stunned guy couldn't remember his password, so I was finally able to get enough information to help him change it. Then he chose fourteen random digits as his NEW password. If you're going to use a fourteen digit password, USE THE SAME NUMBER OR LETTER fourteen times. Sheesh, do I have to think of EVERYTHING?

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Fencing Librarian is absolutely relieved to see everyone's commentary on the "technologically challenged." This means that it is the rest of the world who is crazy---not the sane few who run the library (and even that can be open to much debate!).
Since we are sharing, Fencing Librarin is inspired to tell one of her favorite e-mail stories. This involved a patron from a middle eastern country who could use the internet, but had trouble reading and writing English. He was married to an American and apparently they were going through a messy divorce. How does the Fencing Librarian know this? Because he frequently dragged her kicking and screaming over to the computer to decipher the e-mails from his soon-to-be ex and write appropriate replys ("No way is she going to get our camper! You tell her that!") Finally, starting to feel like she will be named as a third party in the case, Fencing Librarian told him she could no longer take part in the techno-sparring. Even after this, the patron found his way to the reference desk again, this time begging for help one last time. It was only a little question. What does "labor" mean? Fencing Librarian told him it meant "work." The patron looked totally confused. Something is not right, he said. If you say "my wife is in labor" what does that mean? Fencing Librarian explained that it means a woman is giving birth. The patron went pale. He said that Fencing librarian must have been kidding. Was she sure about this? She assured him she was. "A baby!" he cried "Having a baby? Aiyyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyiyi!"
Fencing Librarian was about to offer congratulations, but wasn't sure if the patron's reaction was joy or shock.


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