The sounds of Apple Tech Support

These audio files came to me by way of an ex-Apple employee who had worked tech support. This person did not personally take any of these calls, but I trusted the source enough to know they were real. I know these are just eighteen calls out of millions that Apple Tech Support has handled over the years; but even as such a small sampling it serves as a reminder that not everyone out there is as comfortable with computers as us geeks. It has always been a struggle for me to get my co-workers to picture their parents, rather than an ideal user, when trying to design features and user flow.

There are 18 different sound clips here, so be sure to page through the "Previous entries" via the link at the bottom of the pages.

Bill Gates runs Apple, in Texas…

The world is full of people who have an overblown sense of self importance. Usually such people think that everyone else is beneath them. So, it seems odd that a guy who thinks he can threaten Apple makes those threats to someone in tech support. If thisn guy is as big as he thinks he is why isn't he calling 'Bill Gates' himself? And if he doesn't have Billy's ear why does he think that the folks in tech support do? Apparently nobody told him that an informed threat is more menacing than one full of errors. Hyperbole also makes a threat less credible: If you can afford $30k to run a full page ad in the New York Times complaining that Apple won't extend your warranty to eighteen months than you can afford to pay for the repairs and save yourself the embarassment of having your recording passed around the call center.

The moral of the story is that if you want your warranty extended be nice, play the broke student card, beg... don't threaten tech support that you will use your pull to keep Bill Gates from building a new Apple campus in Texas and make it sound like you can afford to piss away $30k because you are stupid and refuse to come to terms with it.


The son of god uses a Performa…

I don't know how to describe this guy, other than he's nuts. Sure, we all tell tech support some crazy things to get help; but sane people keep it confined to the likes of "We are planning on purchasing 500 of these for out office, except we need to clear this one hurdle." This guy has none of the filters that sane people have that help differentiate between reality and fantasy. He is the kind of guy who starts talking to you about hard drives at Fry's and once he starts rambling you pray that the display case would topple and crush you out of your misery. He claims to own Apple Computer, yet bought his daughter a Mac Performa at Sears in 1974, he keeps military secrets on it, is the son of god, and has the president answering to him. The really scary thing is that people like this walk amongst us. You can hear the relief in the woman's voice when she finally gets to transfer him away, only to have her hopes dashed as he keeps the call going.