S2E15: Tales of Terror From The Haunted Help Desk
Speaker 1: Hello Everyone, and welcome to another edition of Ask Anything, presented my Mojer Consulting. I'm your host, inaudible, Mojer's HR advisor. This week we're reading your most horrific, terrifying, spine tingling, insert your horror movie cliches, Halloween inspired tales of terror from the haunted help desk. Producer Brian and I surveyed our fearless, intrepid, courageous, and stout- hearted consultants who have been on the front lines of the haunted help desk over the years and asked them to share their most bone chilling tales of terror. You're definitely going to want to grab your stuffy animals, turn on the lights, and make sure you're around someone, because these tales will be scary. Bobby, Casey, Jennifer, and Joe bring you some of their scariest tales from the deeply haunted help desk, and you surely do not want to miss any of these. Hang on to your pointy hats, because it's haunted help desk time. First off we have Bobby, one of our fearless haunted help desk consultants. He's been through his fair share of haunted situations throughout his career, and he's here to share some of those with us.
Bobby: A few years ago I was doing remote support. It was kind of turn and burn, so I helped a ton of people every day just from all over. One of the sessions I had was with this woman that, it seemed like she might have been having kind of a bad day. Not sure. But, when she was talking to me she was cordial, nice, nothing out of the ordinary. But, any time she would converse with anybody else that was in the room with her, she was a monster. Just being a terrible person. Yelling at them, degrading them, all this. I got the impression that she might have been maybe pretty well off, it sounded like she was a big echoey room and all that. After a period of time she said someone was at her front gate. I'm like, " Okay, yeah." She yells for somebody to get it, and then of course they either just didn't listen to her or indisposed somewhere else. She's like, " Useless, I'll go do it myself." She goes, and I'm just sitting there waiting and I'm not hearing anything from that end. She just walked off, I wait, and I start to get curious. I'm like, this seems like there's a story here. I wait 10 minutes, 15 minutes go by. I kind of hear some weird noises off in the distance on the phone, because yeah, I just didn't put her on hold or anything. Just sitting there waiting on mute. Shortly after I hear that, like maybe some yelling, like there was a maid or something like that. I just hear footsteps walk up to the phone from the middle of the room, and suddenly the call hangs up. Just out of nowhere. No words, nothing. This woman was stressing how important it was that she have her issue fixed, and it was something that I needed to guide her through. So, having that happen, I'm thinking did something go wrong? Oh well, well I can see if I can proceed with the remote session, kind of in emergency mode, like well, I'll see if I can fix it. They end the session just abruptly shortly after hanging up the phone. It was just so odd, that circumstances around it, so mysterious. The whole time I'm just sitting here thinking like did this woman just get taken out by the people that she was yelling at, or what?
Speaker 1: All I could think about when you were describing her, and listeners I'm sure you guys will relate to this, is that TV show, The Big Bang Theory, Howard's mother? " Howard, go get the door."
Bobby: It would have been something like that.
Speaker 1: Did you ever see any corresponding news stories or anything?
Bobby: No, and I looked, because in the position I had I knew all the information about these people if I wanted. I could do a quick Google search and all that. Nothing. Just dead air online. I have one more. This one didn't happen to me, this was to my wife. One day, this guy came in and he was crazy. I mean, just immediately. The guy walks up to the counter and just slams his laptop down, like violently, and is like, " Fix it." Doesn't give any description, doesn't say what happened, nothing. She's like, " Well, I mean what's wrong, what can I do?" He just repeats himself, " Fix it." She's like, "Well, okay." She flips it over to look at the model. There are bloodstains on the bottom of the computer, and so she's like well, this is weird. Flips it over. Starts to open it up. He's like, " Don't look at anything on this computer." She's like, "Well, what do you want me to fix? If I can't turn it on, I can't fix it."
Speaker 1: Kind of hard if you want it fixed.
Bobby: He's like, "No, no, no. If you look at anything that's on there, I'll know about it and I will do something." He's very nondescript, just these thinly veiled threats the whole time. She's like, " Okay, I think somebody else is better suited to help you." She goes and gets a manager. The manager starts getting this guys information and he looks the guy up in the system, and he is blacklisted from every other store. He's being going around to stores asking for help, just being totally nondescript and on the offensive the whole time. He gets escorted out of the building, because they have a cop there stationed a lot of days. He escorts him out of the building. As he's being escorted out he looks back and to my wife and the manager was like, " I'll be seeing you guys again." Just leaves.
Speaker 1: Geez.
Speaker 1: People wonder why it's so hard to find workers for retail.
Bobby: No kidding. I mean, one little additional mystery, find the little things. Every once in a while I'll run across people that fry electronics. Because, I had touch time with thousands and thousands of people. One in several thousand would literally fry electronics when they touch them, and I have no explanation for it. The first person that happened with, I didn't believe them. They were like, " No, this keeps happening to my laptops, my phones, and all that." I'm like, "Well, you need a new phone, so go check out our demo models and all that." Five minutes later they walk back, they were like, " So, I killed one of the phones that were there."
Speaker 1: Oh, geez.
Bobby: Like, a new model that had just come out, the moment they picked it up.
Speaker 1: Wow. I mean, it doesn't surprise me. I've seen some doozies out there, but hey Bobby, thank you very much for being with us today and providing some great stories here for our haunted help desk episode. We really appreciate it.
Bobby: Hey, no problem.
Speaker 1: Up next we have Casey, who's also a part of our intrepid haunted help desk consultants. Here she is with producer Brian.
Casey: A company that I used to work for, I took on their cellphone account. I was in charge of not only distributing the cellphones but also maintaining those as well. I noticed that when evaluating all the devices, I ended up finding out that they were all on iPhone, which a lot of VIN users all. But then, they were all on the same Apple ID, so as anyone with an iPhone knows that's not very good if you have multiple people using the same Apple ID on a cellphone. Because, obviously that is what backs up all your data, and-
Brian: How many people are we talking? Like, how many different phones-
Casey: Oh, we're talking about 20 people.
Casey: It really all started because someone came to me and was like, " I'm getting so and so's pictures, or I'm getting so and so's text messages." I'm like, " That's odd." Then, when I looked at their phone that's when I saw that, and I was like, " No, this is not good." Actually, I take that back, it was 22 people. I ended up having to overhaul 22 iPhones to change their Apple ID's over to use their work email address, and as we both know there's no automated way of doing that. You have to do that individually. These were engineers, so these were maintenance guys, they were always on the road, so you had to schedule time with them. I think it took me probably three months just to get them all done. Specifically there was an app that they were using that was a tracker app, it tracked their time. Because they billed their time based off of the property that they were working on. That tracker app was originally purchased by the first Apple ID that was on those phones, and because they couldn't find another tracker app that they could either A, get used to, or B work with their system the way they were used to, I essentially had to finagle not only switching these phones over to their work email address. But then, I had to sign into app store through the old Apple ID, reinstall that app, and then sign back in with their new Apple ID. Yeah, not sure what happened after all that because eventually that company stopped being able to use the native mail client, the Apple mail client through their 365 accounts. That was the only way that that app would email their tracker shits was just using the native mail client, it wouldn't cooperate with Outlook. But, I was gone by then. On a further note, I guess more what Halloween related, and kind of related to the iPhone situation. We had collected a cellphone, now at the time I didn't even think anything of it. We weren't using it, we didn't need it. I just put it aside and I other projects I was working on, so it really wasn't a big deal. I just thought whenever I had the time I'd reset it if I needed to re- provision it. Probably about three to five months later, we got a new employee and we needed to use that cellphone. I power the phone on, and I ended up finding out that he had been using his personal email as his Apple ID, instead of his work email. What made it even worse was that we ended up finding out, or excuse me I ended up finding out later that day, that he had actually passed away a couple months before that. We were already dealing with trying to get into this phone, and I can't even switch it because it has a personal email address on it of a person who's no longer with us. Took me about a month to work on this with Apple. I think our saving grace was the fact that this was a company phone, and it was owned by a company profile or a business profile with the cellphone company. I think that's what actually ended up making it easier to get through to it and remove that email address. But yeah, yeah never want to deal with that ever again.
Speaker 1: Now with us is Jennifer. She spoke with producer Brian about her first help desk job, in a situation that definitely tested our stout- hearted consultants patience. Let's have a listen.
Jennifer: Yeah, so this was years ago. My first help desk job. I had a woman call in saying that she couldn't connect to the internet, so did the normal trouble shooting. Looked at her modem, her router, everything's fine. Then she goes, " Oh, well I'm in a hotel room in Georgia." Her home address was in Maryland. I was like, " Oh, well you have to go to the front desk at the hotel and get the wifi information." She's like, " No, I have a wireless router at my house, it's supposed to connect." I was like, " It only goes like 300 feet, it doesn't go five states away." Or, however far she was. She kept arguing with me, and it was my first time working a help desk so I didn't really know how to handle it that well. I was trying to explain it to her like, " I think you're thinking of a broadband card type deal." She's like, " No, absolutely not, the whole point of me getting a wireless router was so that I could connect to it anytime, anywhere." She just refused to listen to me about it not working. Then, she told me she was on a work laptop that was missing all of her favorites like to her bank account, and that I stole them somehow and was keeping her from the internet and stole her favorites so I could hack into her bank account and steal her money. She just lost it on me and asked, " How did you even get your job, you don't know what you're talking about, you're completely incompetent, did you even graduate high school?" On and on and on. Then was just like, " Well, let me talk to your manager." I was like, " Okay, but they're going to tell you the same thing." She was like, " I don't care, I want to talk to your manager." So, I transfer her and that was the end of the call, and I just kind of sat there in wrap up like what just happened? How do people not understand how the internet works? Then, I didn't hear anything else from my manager so I guess, I don't know how he dealt with it, but I'm glad it was out of my hands after that point. This is a shorter story, but there was a lady who was arguing with me on the phone about her internet being down. I said, " Well, I don't see your modem on." I was like, " Can you check it?" She's like, "It would never come unplugged, blah, blah, blah, why would I even look at that?" I'm like, " Well, sometimes it happens where like if your light switch is connected to your outlet or whatever." She was like, " Fine, I'll humor you." She's like, " Yeah, it was unplugged, thanks." Click, and just hung up on me. I don't think people realize how difficult that job is, because you only have so much time to get through these phone calls and then you're only allowed like 30 seconds in wrap up or something to finish up the notes. Then, you instantly have to take another phone.
Brian: Got another one on the line, yeah.
Jennifer: It's just people screaming at you all day, so.
Brian: So few of them are people calling in to tell you how happy they are with the product.
Jennifer: That was from several years ago, but it still haunts me to this day.
Speaker 1: Finally we have Joe, who's a veteran of our haunted help desk. He's seen it all, and this next story is one for the ages, because it will definitely show you what not to do when working with a multi- plug. Joe, how are you?
Joe: I'm doing very well. I've got a story from way back when. It all started off, I was working for a medium to large size company back in I guess the'90s. That ages me too much. Back at that time we had offices in a bunch of major cities. Miami and Chicago, LA, San Francisco, and New York. We happened to have a sales office in New York as well as some other offices, and they had recently let go of some sales people and were really hurting for sales representatives at the time. There was another individual at that office who was the receptionist. They really wanted to be a sales person, and so they finally gave in said, " Hey, you can be a sales person." She immediately jumped up, grabbed her computer and all of her stuff, ran and claimed an office with a window, right. This is unbeknownst to anybody else really outside that office. I guess about an hour or so later she called our help desk and they forwarded the call to me, because they had no idea what was going on. They continued to tell me how no matter what they do, the computer would not turn on, at which point I was confused a little bit. I said, " All right, well let's see what's going on, it was working at your other desk, right?" They were like, " Yeah, yeah, it worked fine there." I said, " Okay, well does the monitor turn on." Well, no, no, monitor won't turn on either. I said, "Oh, okay, well, flip the light switch on in your office. Is it on or off?" She says, " Well, it's off." I said, " Go turn it on, let's see if that does anything." They went over and turned the light switch on and everything. This whole time she's got me on speakerphone. I used to go to that office quite often, about once every month or two just to work on different things and their network or some work stations or something. I'd always go out with the sales guys and gals out there, dinner and stuff. One of the other sales reps happened to be walking down the hall and heard my voice on the speakerphone and was like, " Joe, hey, how are you doing? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." I was like, " Oh my god, how are you doing man, I haven't seen you forever." All that kind of fun stuff. He goes, " What are you doing?" I said, " I'm trying to get this computer working for so- and- so." He just started laughing. Crying laughing. Bending over, couldn't stop laughing. I was like, " What's going on, why are you laughing and everything?" He's like, " I'll call you in here in a couple minutes." I'm like, " Okay, whatever." Continue working with this person on their computer and everything, and for the life of me I cannot figure out why this will not turn on. Power cords are all plugged in and everything and it just, it won't power on. Finally, the other guy he gives me a call and he says, " You're not going to believe what they did." I said, " Oh god, what's going on, what happened?" He goes, " They have everything plugged into the power cord." I said, " Okay, that sounds right." You know? He tells me, " Yeah, they plugged the power cord into itself."
Brian: Oh, god.
Joe: I was like, " Are you kidding me?" This is like an hour, hour and a half later, I'm like I never thought to ask that. After hanging up-
Brian: They had a multi- plug, like a power strip multi- plug.
Joe: They had a power strip and they plugged it into itself.
Brian: Well, you did ask if it was plugged in and they said yes, which is technically-
Joe: It was plugged in.
Speaker 2: Correct, yeah.
Brian: That is accurate.
Joe: Yes. It was plugged in. I did not ask if it was plugged into the wall, I just asked if everything was plugged into the power strip and if the power strip was plugged in.
Speaker 2: You'd except for them to understand that when you're asking if it's plugged in. You'd except them to tell you yes, it's plugged into the wall.
Brian: An important lesson in the specificity of questions.
Joe: Honestly, should you really need to ask that one though?
Speaker 2: I mean, no, you asked the right question. You don't necessarily have to go very specific, but I guess in this example you had to.
Joe: This is one of those things where it's like hey, do you call Best Buy to come over and change the channel on your TV, too?
Brian: With a lot of the stories we're getting, I feel like is this a question I should have asked? The answer is always no, and yet there you are.
Joe: Yeah. You weren't specific enough.
Speaker 2: I just, I'm speechless, I don't even know what to say.
Joe: Well, so I talked to her about plugging the power cord into the wall and she did and everything started working fine. I just should have gone home after that, that day.
Speaker 2: No kidding.
Brian: How does one document that call?
Speaker 2: Yeah, what do you say, if there's a log that you had to complete from your different calls, what do you say to that. How do you document that?
Joe: Verified all power connections were connected, corrected one power connection and everything worked. You just try to leave it. Just leave it.
Brian: Guided client to effective power reroute.
Joe: Okay, we'll call it that. This is one of those things where, you know you hear people telling stories all the time and you're like, " Nah, these are made up. There's no way someone could have actually done that." Then, it happens to you and you're just like oh my god. This does actually happen.
Speaker 2: See, and people complain when people at the help desk tell them, " Did you turn on and off your computer?"
Joe: Uh- huh( affirmative), oh yeah.
Speaker 2: Sometimes that does the trick. Yeah.
Brian: Why are you asking me all these stupid questions. Like, well...
Joe: Now you know, and that's an hour and a half of my life I'll never get back.
Speaker 2: Well, Joe, we really appreciate the time. This was one heck of a story. We're putting ourselves on video because we keep laughing so, but thank you very much Joe, we really appreciate your time.
Speaker 1: Thank you for listening into this week's edition of Asking Anything, presented by Mojer Consulting. We hope you enjoyed listening to our tales from the haunted help desk episode. Join us next week when we continue to dive deeper with our resident experts in what they're currently working on. Remember, if you have an idea or a topic you'd like us to explore, please reach out to us through our social media channels. In the mean time, please remember to give us a rating and subscribe to our feed wherever you get your podcasts. Until then, don't eat all the left over Halloween candy in one day, and so long everybody.
Gather around the campfire, or pull a blanket over your head and light a flashlight under your chin, as we share some of the hair-raising, bone-chilling, goosebumps-inducing true tales of terror from our consultants' careers and time they spent at the haunted help desk.
There are no simple "Blue Screen of Death" stories here. Too common. Too mundane. From an enigmatic, problematic, and unbelievable power source, to a blood-stained laptop...these are true tales of horror lived by some of Moser's consultants and they're joining us in this Halloween-inspired episode to share them with you.