Fictional, of course. None of our clients are actually this stupid, and I wouldn’t be silly enough to publish a real event like this on my blog, ever.
A client phones up and asks to speak to me.
Client: “I’m using the ‘Data Export’ tool in… [part of application I wrote, new version recently deployed to him] …it was my understanding that it always used to export Excel files.”
Me: “Umm. Yes. Well, actually, it exports CSV files – that’s Comma Seperated Values. Excel will open them, and if you have it installed, it becomes the default application for opening such files.”
Client: “Mm-hmm. It seems to think they’re text files.”
Me: “Text files? You mean they’re opening in Notepad?”
Me: “Ah; okay – well, we just have to tell it to open them in Excel, then. Right-click on the file, and select ‘Open With…’: ‘Excel’.”
Client: “It’s not there.”
Me: “Oh. That’s odd. Okay then, just open Excel from the Start Menu.”
Client: “I can’t find it.”
Me: <thinks> “Which computer are you using?”
Client: “The server.”
Me: “Do you have Excel installed on the server?”
Thanks to Task Tracker, SmartData‘s funky in-house timesheeting tool, and it’s drill-down reports, I’m able to look back over the last year and work out exactly how much more work I’d have gotten done if our clients were even slightly computer-literate and didn’t need to keep calling up for help with trivial things every ten minutes. Ah well.