Our Typical User

Last night Jamie and I were trading stories of the various people that we run into when we are at work. It is interesting to note how many oddball characters there are in our lab. This is not to say that there are not legitimate people that we do help, but we do get our hand full of people who are just plain inconsiderate, crazy, and have no damn idea what they are doing. I’ve filtered them into the following categories:

  • The Average User
  • The Foreign Language Barrier User
  • The Just Come Here User
  • The It’s Not Printing User
  • The Last Minute User
  • The I Did Not Know User
  • The ZIP Disk User
  • The CD-Rs are Like Floppies User

Now, on to the good stuff about bad stuff–or something.

The Average User

This person is the user that we really like to see. They are usually kind and the willing to try to figure things out on their own. However, if they do get stuck they will be kind about asking for help. This type of user is the one whom I like to deal with most. But, usually you never have to deal with them at all because their level of aptitude is so high that they do not require to be babysat by us.

The Foreign Language Barrier User

Since our university is one of the best in the nation for medical research and study, we get a lot of foreigners, whose first language is not English, in the lab. It is not that they are and less intelligent than anybody else in the lab (this is not the case at all), but when there is a question, it is sometimes darn near impossible to understand what they are trying to ask. The combination of accent, poor English, and small vocabulary make it hard to recieve a question. So, imagine how hard it is to answer a question that you do not understand to begin with. Frustration++;

The Just Come Here User

Every once and a while, about every other shift, you’ll get a user who approaches the desk, gets about 15 feet or so away and just blurts out “Come here I need help.” Alright, that is fine and well, but 90% of the time the question can be answered from the desk. I can tell you that your files are gone if you restarted, because that is what the computers do and there is nothing I can do about it. So, if you ask me a question I will get up out of my chair at the desk and help you. But, if you feel the need to tell me to “come here” I won’t even think twice. I’m not your bitch, don’t treat me like it. Ask a question, you will get an answer.

The It’s Not Printing User

Ok, our printers have a power save feature on them. This is great because it saves us money when the printers are not being used. However, in this day and age when people need things this minute they grow old of waiting very quickly. Alright, so you decided to print your slides 2 minutes before class and the printer has to warm up. What can I do? Nothing. Just wait. More often than not the following three things are what they complain about the most:

  1. The printer ate my money and it didn’t print.
  2. It says it is processing, but nothing is coming out.
  3. It printed part of it, but then it “stopped”.

Man, where do I begin. OK, first, read the signs about how to print. Print jobs not paid in full will not be printed and if you don’t have the money to cover it, find some. I can’t and won’t cover it for you. And no, I don’t have any change. Plus, I don’t refund for ignorance. Look at the signs right in front of your face. Secondly, just wait. It will come. You are probably printing something that takes a little bit of time to render, so just wait. I can’t make it print any faster. I don’t have any magical powers. Thricely, see my last three sentences.

Printing makes me laugh, mainly because it causes people so many problems. I’ll refund you if there is a legitimate mess up or it is the hardware that screws it up, but like I said earlier, I don’t refund for ignorance. I’ll even add impatience to that list.

The Last Minute User

Every night the lab closes 15 minutes before the library. EVERY NIGHT. So, you think people would catch on. Nope. You always have a few who will argue with your every now and then. But, you know what? I don’t care. I’ll even give you a card for my boss so that you can take it up with him. However, I am pretty confident that he will talk to you, but then realize that you are just crazy when it is all over.

But, about closing the lab… I always give a 5 minute warning in addition to the 15 minute warning that is announced over the speakers to the entire library. During my 5 minute sweep of the lab I can always tell those who will make it and those who won’t. An instance of this was a week ago when I was closing:

Two Asian women were at a computer in one of the classrooms and I poked my head in to tell them that they had 5 minutes left and that they should save and begin to print if they needed to do so. However, when I left to move on to the next room I had this feeling that this was not going to happen. So, when it came time to close up the lab they were still running in circles doing something. But, when I walked by the classroom, after the computers shut down, they were saying something like “Where did it go? It’s gone!”

Yeah, it’s gone. And more than likely there is nothing that I can do about it. I’m sorry, but the lab is now closed and I will have to ask you to leave.

The I Did Not Know User

OK, this is simple. I didn’t know that…

  • the computers will erase everything on the desktop on restart.
  • you close exactly 15 minutes before the rest of the library.
  • I needed to pay for the entire print job for it to print.
  • you don’t have special magic lab powers to make it work or bring my files back.
  • ZIP disks can go to hell.
  • you have signs everywhere that explain everything. EVERYTHING!
  • I needed my hand held to do every single task.

OK, you get the idea. Next!

The ZIP Disk User

OK, you can see where this is headed… ZIP Disks need to all be burned.

The CD-Rs are Like Floppies User

No they are not the same, let me tell you why… Oh really? Yes. No, you can’t do that with a CD-R.

So, for any of you who have lame users where you work, this is kind of for you. We tend to deal with them every day and at times it is just a little more than you really want to deal with. I have become desensitized to my sympathetic part of my mind when I am in the lab. I am now down to the real answer with all of the warm fuzzies taken away from my response. It is not that I hate my job, I don’t. The job I have must be the cushiest job on campus. I get paid to study and surf the Internet for 16+ hours a week. It is just that sometimes users just drive me up the wall and this post is about those users that make me do it.

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